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Thank the Gods for sport

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

Are you addicted to the current Olympics coverage as well?

In a time when there is a global pandemic, I have to admit I was a little skeptical on how the Olympics would work. I got a little jealous watching our athletes go to the International Airport and get on a plane. I got a little emotional thinking about all those Aussies trying to get home and yet we were sending so many to Tokyo. I was uncertain how this would actually work.

I watched the opening ceremony and felt sorry for Japan. An Olympics should generate tourism and crowds and pump international spending into the economy. It should showcase the beautiful country, and everyone should flock there for the event. Instead, the empty stadiums, and the masks hiding the smiles of athletes made the whole thing eerie and made me feel sad. It made me feel sorry for Japan.

And then the games started.

Suddenly I was engrossed in the stories of these athletes. These men and women who had trained so hard for an event in 2020 that never happened. Instead of throwing in the towel, they kept at it, training even harder in the hope that the games would still go on in 2021. I have trained for ultra-marathons, and I know the toll it takes on your life. I know the early mornings, the late nights, the weekends spent entirely training – and I am nowhere near the level of these athletes. They give their whole life to one moment, one Olympics, one time in history. They relentlessly pursue what for many is unattainable. They want to be the best they can be, they want to be the best in world.

For many of us in Australia we have been living in lockdown, or a limbo of in and out of lockdown. Suddenly instead of turning on the TV to watch the daily press conferences from around the country, I am keeping the TV on in the background all day to hear what Aussie is coming up for a medal final, what Aussie is about to take on the world. Zoom meetings are suddenly interrupted to watch a swimming final and cheer on a hero. Dinner is suddenly held back until the canoe final is watched whilst biting fingernails. Whilst the doomsday feeling of lockdown hasn’t completely disappeared, its been pushed to the background and instead of feeling blue we are cheering and jumping off the couch as our Aussie heroes show us what their hard work has meant. It’s not always a gold medal, but its bloody hard work every time and as Aussie’s we could not be prouder of them.

Its not a normal Olympics – Athletes cannot socialise, they cannot see the sights, they cannot do much more than train and compete and then hide back in their rooms to avoid the dreaded Covid that lurks in the village. Yet they still show up over and over again and bring us joy in our living rooms.

I have never been more engaged in the Olympics, and never been more proud of our athletes - thankyou to every one of them!

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