Y.O.O.O. – You Only Olympics Once

Sam Lack, Sports Editor

Whether it was Nadia Comăneci’s perfect 10 in gymnastics in 1976, Michael Phelps’ stunning eight gold medals in 2008, or the historic run of the U.S. Basketball “Dream Team” in 1992, you only get one summer Olympics during your time as a high-schooler, and undoubtedly something will define it.

There are the consistent staples of each Olympics, that agonizingly catchy trumpet-led tune (doo doo-doo doo-doo do do do, etc.), NBC’s monopolizing coverage led by the ever-punny Bob Costas, the daily troubles of avoiding spoilers before primetime coverage begins, the painful yet somehow amusing wipe outs on the high bars, and still, each and every Olympics can be defined by one moment, one image, one unforgettable memory.

I don’t know what will define this summer’s games, will it be Lochte vs. Phelps? Will it be Usain Bolt’s quest for world dominance? The 17-year old wunderkind Missy Franklin’s swim to glory? The first ever medal issued in the sport of Women’s Boxing? Maybe, like Greg Louganis in Seoul, 1988, a nasty wipeout will define London’s hosting of the Olympics (Louganis hit his head on the platform dive, and still won the gold)

Whatever it is, make sure you remember it, it’s an unforgettable thing that only comes around once during your high school career, and if you blink, you’ll miss it. Sure, you will get–or already had–a Winter Games, but especially here in Florida, I just can’t get as excited to watch curling as I can to watch beach volleyball. Maybe it’s my proximity to the beach, more likely it’s the uniforms, but I’m more inclined to watch the Summer Olympics than the winter ones.

I laugh now, but my poor father’s high school Olympic experience was defined by the stunning lack of American athletes, as the U.S. boycotted the Moscow games in 1980. Russia would subsequently boycott Los Angeles in 1984, another blow to the integrity of the Olympics.

We can only hope that something tragic won’t define these games, but, on its 40 year anniversary, I can’t help but mention the horrible massacres at the 1972 games in Munich, where 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed by a terrorist group.

Obviously we remember these victims today, and pray that nothing so horrible will ever happen again. The Olympics are a time to lower fists and guns, and bring the world together, if just for two weeks, to showcase the globe’s greatest competing against one another for international glory. Enjoy, Remember, and GO USA GO!