Friday, January 28, 2011

Flashback Friday - Olympic Fanfare

Did you and your family watch the Olympics when you were growing up? Which was your overall favorite - summer or winter? Which individual events were your favorites? Since blogging is international, which country did you cheer for? Have you ever been to an Olympics or known anyone who competed? What are some of the hallmark memories of the Olympics that you remember? Did the Olympics ever inspire you to take a certain sport (or practice more!)? Do you prefer watching them the old way when everything was delayed in the days before 24-hour cable and internet? Do you watch them more or less today than you did when you were growing up? What about the Special Olympics? Have you ever had any involvement with them?

I've always loved the Olympics. We watched them when I was growing up, but it wasn't anything like the media overload it is today! With no cable, only B&W TV, and just the three network stations, the availability was pretty limited. But we always watched the figure skating in the winter and the gymnastics in the summer, and certain memories stand out:

1972 Summer Olympics - I vaguely remember Olga Korbut and her pigtails and her amazing feats in gymnastics. I also remember watching cheering for Cathy Rigby and then being embarrassed as a teen that she was the person who advertised Stay-free pads! I remember absolutely nothing about the Munich Massacre that occurred during the second week of the Olympics, mostly because if it had to do with news, I tuned it out when I was eleven years old!
Dorothy Hamill
(Google Images)
1976 Winter Olympics - Dorothy Hamill was the figure skating darling, and after she won the Gold Medal, every little girl (and some big ones!) wanted a wedge haircut just like hers!
1976 Summer Olympics - Nadia Comaneci scoring the first perfect 10 ever in gymnastics. She was such a little pixie!
1980 - I don't think I watched any of the Winter Games; I was a college freshman and lived in the dorm and I didn't have a TV in my room. And of course the 1980 Summer Olympics were boycotted.
1984 Winter Olympics - So many great skaters! The men had the fierce competition between Scott Hamilton and "the Brians" (Brian Boitano and Brian Orser). Katarina Witt from E. Germany won the Women's Gold. Kitty & Peter Carruthers from the US won silver in pairs, and then there were Torvill & Dean.
1984 Summer Olympics - OH.MY. I LOVED these! These were the ones in Los Angeles, so the time zone made them so much easier to watch. I had been out of college just over a year and was working as an RN on the night (11 PM - 7 AM) shift at the hospital. As soon as I got up in the afternoons, generally around 3:00-3:30, I would turn the TV on and watch until I had to go to work. Jim McKay and Al Michaels became the voices of the Olympics to me that year!  So many moments to remember. Carl Lewis in track. Greg Louganis diving. The debut of Synchronized Swimming, which gets lots of snickers but still fascinates me: how do they smile like that under water?! And then Gymnastics was an Olympics all its own! The men, led by Bart Connor, winning the team Gold. And of course, Mary Lou Retton, the first gymnast outside Eastern Europe to win the gymnastics all-around competition. Even without YouTube, her concentration as she ran approaching the vault and then her sunny smile as she stuck her landing, as well as Bela Karolyi's jubilation, are etched in my memories. But let's watch it again anyway!

Since I've been an adult there have been plenty more exciting and also heart-wrenching occurrences. Kristi Yamaguchi. The whole Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding debacle. Kerri Strug nad her fierce determination as she performed the vault in spite of excruciating pain. Shannon Miller, Shawn Johnson, and more. And it's been fun to watch it with my kids and see their interest in the various events.

What are your Olympic memories? Share them on your blog and link up here! And be sure to come back next week; I've already got a really fun Flashback Friday planned!


View blog reactions


Nel said...

Enjoyed this! Dorothy Hammel she was good also! Thanks so much for hosting this, glad I made it again this week.
until next time... nel

Jim said...

Good memories you had, Linda. I am glad you liked them. More of our children today should spend their time watching the Olympics so that they could appreciate more of the good things in life.

We did get to watch most of the boycotted 1980 Summer Olympics as Mrs. Jim, Karen (daughter), and I were doing a two week plus bus tour of Europe.

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

Great questions this week! I am glad to get back into a new routine and to be able to include Flashback Fridays in that routine! ;-)

Kathy said...

Linda, at first I wasn't so sure about this topic, and what I'd write. It turned out to be one of my favorite posts that I've written for Flashback--and it reminded me of some really good times. Thanks! Be sure to check out Cobbtown, GA's version of the Olympic rings on my post. So funny!

sara said...

We always watched the Olympics when I was young and I never miss them now. I was so happy with they decided to put them on alternating 2 year rotations instead of every 4 years!! I love every part of them and watch as much as I can.

I was fortunate enough to go to the Games in Atlanta, GA. We got there the day after the bomb incident. What I remember most about it is that there were soooo many people there, it was like a bunch of ants. We had a great time!!!

Mocha with Linda said...

Sara, I forgot to mention how glad I was that we get them every two years now! Four years was a long time to wait!

Cindy said...

I love watching the Olympics, both summer and winter. So many good stories come from them.

Debbie Phillips said...

Thanks for this weeks Flashback. I have wanted to get back to doing more of my favorite meme's and this was a great way to start off. My family loves the Olympics. I could have written your post... we are so much alike as far as the Olympic events we like. You did a much better job writing yours than I did though.
Thanks again.

Barbara H. said...

We shared a lot of the same memories, but there were many you brought up that I'd forgotten about. Once we get started we get on a roll! That Mary Lou Retton event was an all-time favorite.

bp said...

I recognized several of the names you mentioned but don't remember if I saw the actual events.

Look forward to see what you've got up for next week!

CeeCee said...

Loved the Olympics growing up. Recently I wondered what happened to Osaka Baul (sp). I loved watching her skate. Who could forget the Gaylord Twist ( i had such a crush!)

Susan said...

I really missed the winter olympics this year... by that I mean, last year we were so excited watching the winter sports, now there's none on tv. Naturally I must cheer on the Canadian teams but if they get knocked out or are not included in a specific sport I'll continue to watch but cheer on everyone equally.

I was too young to remember the summer olympics when they were hosted here in Montreal but I'm still helping to pay off the white elephant which is the olympic stadium! ugh!