For those few that aren't aware, the Olympic Games are underway in London. The world is watching (us in America are watching, sometimes just a few hours behind but that is a different subject) and winners will be celebrated. For some sports this is the only time they'll be on for the next four years. However, for me, I won't really remember the winners or which nation won the medal count bur rather I will remember the games as a passing milestone in my life.
My first memories of the Olympics on television were the Calgary Winter Games of 1988. I was only 5 at the time but my memories of Peter Jennings hosting on location in Calgary are very vivid. Each Olympic Games is important to me as I remember where I was, who I was with, and how I was feeling.
My family always watched the Olympics with a great interest and I think I picked up from that 1988 example that something important was going on. It was unusual for my mom to watch anything related to sports outside Nebraska football and the fact that it went on for two weeks added to the mystique.
For the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville the broadcast rights in America switched to CBS and with it a a captivating theme. I was a broken record humming that song the entire time. "Kansas" also became hockey during this time as I was obsessed with hockey goalies.
I could share each Olympic Games memories but that might get a bit long so I'll just share a few more. The end of the 98 Games in Nagano were a very rough time. Honestly and I am not kidding I was shaken and sad because this was CBS' final broadcast and that theme would be heard no more. Even then I knew, and I wasn't diagnosed at the time, that not being exposed to that song every four years would be like having those memories of those nights with my family the Olympics deleted. A quick side note; it 2004 I tracked down the composer of the song and I got the sheet music for it!
I talked a lot about the Winter Games but the Summer Games also have memories associated for it. The 2000 games was right before the day I met Emily who is one of the primary focuses, and motivation to write, my book. Four years later the Athens games were held and I felt alone, confused, and it was a dark time in my life. Truly it was the saddest Olympics for me and I felt no hope at this time. However, I do have one bright memory from it and that was covered in this blog post.
The Summer Games of 2008 was shared with my mom. Not really by my choice, but rather my infamous run in with a horse. We watched the opening ceremonies at a hotel in middle of nowhere Iowa as my mom drove me to a race I was directing and then back in South Dakota we watched every night much like I remembered when I was young. Of course the most awesome Olympics memory I have goes back to my second blog post.
So last night I was sitting in the hotel here in Concord, North Carolina for various USAC events, and NBC's intro for their primetime coverage began (this was the first time I was able to see it this Olympics) and I was flooded with memories. I'm talking about the flood of feelings that is felt in all limbs and a feeling as if one is free falling. It was sudden, it was strong, and I realized this is now what will be remembered; right now I feel as if I have it all. Remember, I have an Associative Memory System and it's this that makes the Olympics so important as it is a great way to mark the passage of time. And with these games, the first Olympics since I got my job, I feel so lucky. When NBC's usual song (this was the version from 1996 but it's still the same song) I thought back to where I was four years ago and where I am now and what a difference and for me I measure movement in life by where I was during the Olympics.
After the Games pass I will still think about them. I will listen to both of the songs I linked to from time-to-time to remember all the memories from the Games of old. While these games from London are happening right now someday it will be like my memories of the 1988 Games. 30 years from now few will have sharp memories of these games outside those that are competing in them. For me though I will have sharp memories as these are the first Games that I had direction in my life; a true milestone indeed!