Thursday, August 14, 2008

2008 Olympics

I know, I know. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I have a good reason. I’ve been at the pool, training. And at the gym working out on the pommel horse. And the uneven bars. I even made a stop at Cabella’s and checked out their archery section.

“Excuse me sir, can you tell me where I can practice with your archery equipment?”

“You mean our bowenarras ma’am?”

“No, your archery equipment.”

“Well, shoot, we done have some bowenarras, what kind of game you after?”

“The Olympic games.”

“Olympic? What is that, some kind of large game hen? Or is them big moose up near the Dakotas? I think my brotherinlaw Dale once shot his self an Olympic. You probly gonna need a 15 pound bow for that.”

So, look for me in 2012 in London. But, I’m not sure which even yet. Swimming might be a long shot since I’ve noticed you have to put your head under the water for the most part. Maybe the back stroke, but there is still the turn. Well, as soon as the 50 meter back stroke is introduced, look for me to represent the red, white and blue!

“And competing for the United States in this race John, is a new comer to the sport, Kara Gallagher.”

“You know, I understand she lobbied to get this particular event in the Olympics.”

“You’re right John. She petitioned to get the 50 Meter Leisure Backstroke to be introduced as an official event. So it’s no surprise to see her here in this debut race. The swimmers will be penalized if they do the 50 meters in under two minutes. There were a lot of other has-been athletes way past any type of athletic prime, that didn’t want to stretch too far out of their comfort zone, or train too hard to be included in this 2016 Olympics. Now we have events introduced such as the new track and field competition you might have heard of – The Lawn Mow.”

“Yes, Al, I have heard of that new sport. Someone will walk away with the gold medal this year in getting the straightest lines mowed with a standard self propelled walking mower. Amazing.”

“I am looking forward to the Floor Scrub John. There is an exciting new competitor this year, who is from the same family as Kara, they are sisters – Shauna Goates. She is the heavy favorite in this event. Although Mina Vladimir from the Russian Federation knows her way with a mop and should give Shauna a run for the gold. It should be a real exciting event.”

“Well, they are getting ready to start the 50 Meter Leisure Backstroke. Let’s watch this underwhelming event unfold.”

But seriously, I LOVE the Olympics. I love the fact that whatever crazy political upheaval or wars are going on around the world, for 10 days, there is an athletic truce. So far, in my life, there are three Olympic moments that I will never forget. There have been plenty of amazing ones, but my memory would have to be jogged to remember them all.

One: Kerri Strug sticking the vault in 1996, on a practically broken ankle, thus clinching gold for the US over Russia. I still get a little misty when I watch the clip. That is HEART baby! Love it.

Two: Every moment of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Go USA? No, go Salt Lake City!! We aren’t as backward as the world thought we were! Yea! I also met and have a picture of Gloria Estefan shopping at the fan tent. The Miami Sound Machine lady still looks good after all these years, and has a tween daughter! She was very nice.

Three: 1992. Derek Redmond. He falls injured during his race, gets up and to everyone’s surprise and cheers, attempts to cross the finish line after the other runners have already completed the race. Redmond, crying in pain (and I’m sure disappointment) begins to limp on one foot toward the finish line. But, that’s not the best part. Here comes dad, fighting his way past security to help his injured son finish the race. He wraps his arms around his son’s waist, and together, they cross the finish line. A father knew what finishing the race meant to his down but not out by a long shot son. I don’t remember who took gold in that race, but I will never forget who came in dead last. How many competitions can you say that about? Heart, yes. Determination, yes. But love above all is what was captured that day.

Well, I now have 4 amazing Olympic events I will never forget.

Four: 2008, Beijing. Men’s 4x100 Relay. I have to be honest, before this race, I did not know that the other USA swimmers even had names. I tuned in to see if Mr. Phelps would add another gold medal to his collection. Ah, that’s too bad, I thought, halfway through the race. It doesn’t look like gold is in store for us. Then, Lezak enters the pool. But still, shoot, I thought, the French are going to win. 50 meters to go. I sit up a little, mutter under my breath, go. 25 meters, I can’t help but stand, it’s almost automatic, go. Then, like the rest of the country, for that last 25 meters, I was shouting, and jumping and screaming at the top of my lungs, GO, GO GO! WE WON! YES! YES! YES! I was all alone, and shouting and jumping, and, yes, crying. What an amazing race. Will Phelps go down as probably the greatest swimmer of all time? Yes. Is he Tiger Woods in a speedo? Yes. But it will be Lezak and his run down of the French that I will always remember.

So friends, if I don’t answer my phone or have another 10 days between posts, it’s because I am in training.


Postscript # 400 - Congratulations to Cullen! The second African-American in history to win gold in swimming! Go to to find out what he is doing with his new fame!


Lorflor said...

Kara - I am SOOOO glad you posted! I absolutely ADORED this made me miss you oh so bad. keep up that training! See you in London!

LHall said...

That was a fun read Kara. You're the best!