This post is completely unrelated to TVB or Thai Lakorns, but for the two weeks when Olympics were happening, I was immersed and addicted into watching the games of the 31st Olympiad held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From the minute I woke up, I was reading news about the recap of the previous day. Throughout the day, I was updated with the results of the final events, knowing what events were taking place and who won. During lunch, I would read more about events coming up that night. During primetime, I would sit, glued to the seat from 8PM to 12PM, catching every glimpse of the events. After the events were over for the day, I would check the medals table count. I would continue reading about the events and learning about the athletes before heading to bed. The following day, I would repeat. I was very on top of the latest events, news, and medals count. I learned so much about the different sports and events of the Olympics through this year!
For this Olympics, I was addicted to all the swimming events and the beach volleyball matches. And once those came to an end, I eventually shifted my focus to the indoor volleyball matches and track and field events, or whichever was being shown on TV. Each athlete had their unique story to tell. They were all there after years of hard work, representing their country and trying to make those who love and support them proud. And with every medal comes with sweat, tears, laughter, and joy. Every race was worthy of cheering for. Every winning moment or world record broken was worthy of celebrating. The Olympics games were a celebration of sports, a celebration of all the countries coming together to participate, and lastly a celebration of citizens worldwide to be proud of their country and support those representing their country.
As a supporter of #TeamUSA, these are my favorite and therefore what I feel are the top three moments of the Olympics:
Katie Ledecky. 19 years old. Stanford University student to be. 4 Golds and 1 Silver in Rio 2016. Her best moment: winning gold in the Women’s 800m Freestyle (August 12th, 2016).Credit: Esteban Biba / EPA / Los Angeles Times
Before Rio 2016, the only American female swimmer I knew of was perhaps Misty Franklin from the London Olympics. Through watching the team relays, I was introduced to Dana Vollmer, Leah Smith, Lia Neal, Lilly King, Simone Manuel, Kathleen Baker, Maya Dirado, and most importantly Katie Ledecky. As she was competing in the Women’s Freestyle finals, it was obvious she has power. By power, I mean speed. She would gradually pace herself ahead of the other competitors. Winning by a tenth of a second is common in these swimming competitions, but she wins by a few full seconds in each race! By the time the Women’s 800m Freestyle came around, it was a known fact that she would win Gold. The only question that remained on the line was: what would be the time that she breaks the world record, her own world record? The whole world watched as she swam the 16 laps back and forth across the swimming pool. At one point while everyone was swimming towards one side, she was swimming the opposite side, having already completed that lap. At the end of the race, she completed the 800 meters in 8:04:79, breaking an Olympic record and a world record. At just 19 years old, Katie Ledecky surely has at least two or three more Olympics she can compete in to win more medals and to continue breaking records!
Michael Phelps. 31 years old. 5th time Olympian. 5 Golds and 1 Silver in Rio 2016. His best moment: winning gold in the Mens 4x100m Medley Relay (August 13th, 2016).Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times
Before Rio 2016, I only knew Michael Phelps from watching the 2008 Beijing Olympics, with him being the talk of town by sweeping Gold in all eight swimming events he participated in. And, Ryan Lochte was his fellow teammate. Having barely paid attention to the 2012 London Olympics, I had a lot to catch up on, not knowing he came out of “retirement” and the American swimmers. And quickly enough, I found myself searching and reading about Nathan Adrian (who is half Chinese by the way), Conor Dwyer, Townley Haas, Ryan Murphy, as well as Michael Phelp’s other fellow teammates. Michael Phelps splitting his swim cap right before he was about to swim his leg of the race and immediately asking Conor Dwyne to borrow his swim cap proved him have a quick reaction. Michael Phelps staring down Chad le Clos of South Africa right before the Men’s 200m Butterfly Semifinals spoke for his competitiveness. And surely enough, when he did beat Chad le Clos in the Finals, he did not forget to wave his finger, indicating he was number one. The ultimate shocker must have been when Joseph Schooling, a young swimmer who had looked up to Michael Phelps won Gold in the Men’s 100m Butterfly Finals. For the first time in Olympics swimming history, there was a three-way tie for the Silver medal between Michael Phelps, Chad le Clos, and László Cseh. His last Olympic race of his swimming career, before his retirement, ended on a good note and was another historical moment to add to the books. With that gold medal, he continued to be the most decorated Olympian of all time, with 23 Gold medals, and 28 medals in total, the GOAT (Greatest of All Time). His fiancée Nicole Johnson, his baby son Boomer Phelps, his mother, and his sisters cheering from the crowds, along with members of Team USA and fans cheering for him proved him to be an American legend. Will Michael Phelps do it once again for “FOUR MORE YEARS” or is it really the beginning of his retirement?
Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross. A team composed of a three-time Olympic Gold medalist and one-time Olympic Silver medalist. 3rd seeded Women’s team in the Olympics. Their best moment: winning the Brazilian team in the Women’s Beach Volleyball Bronze Match (August 17th, 2016).Credit: FIVB / NBC Olympics
During their first match, the commentator told the story of how their team was formed. During the 2012 London Olympics, Kerri Walsh Jennings was playing with her longtime partner Misty May-Treanor and April Ross was playing with her partner Jennifer Kessy for Gold. Knowing her partner was retiring after that Olympics, Kerri whispered “Let’s go get Gold in Rio” into April’s ear while hugging her, a typical drill after playing the match. They officially became a team in 2013, after Kerri gave birth to her third child. Not having watched that match, I was addicted into watching the #SunshineGirls (as I call them) play. Every time they scored a point, their high-fives were amazing to watch. They were so coordinated and dynamic! Kerri’s blocks and April’s serves were all on point. It was incredible to watch them win one match after another in their pool play and advance to the semifinals with no problems. But, as fate would put it, they lost to Brazil’s Ágatha Bednarczuk Rippel/Bárbara Seixas de Freitas in the semifinals, putting Kerri Walsh’s dream of winning her fourth Olympic gold medal to an end. It was Kerri’s first match lost throughout her Olympics Beach Volleyball career. Both of them could not sleep after being defeated by the second seeded team in the Olympics. Within 24 hours, they had pulled themselves together and played in the Bronze match against the first seeded Brazilians Larissa França/Talita Antunes. Although they lost the first set and seemed as if there was no hope in the beginning of the second set, Kerri and April seemed to have figured what to do midway, winning the second set and eventually the match. Although their journey for Gold did not happen, it was motivating and inspiring watching them get back on their feet after a dramatic defeat. Both of them revealed that was the toughest match in their career: it was either win a medal or nothing at all. It was emotional watching them stand on the podium with the Bronze medal, knowing how much effort they put into winning it. And now the question remains whether Kerri Walsh will try for Tokyo 2020 with April Ross, knowing she can.
Thank you Olympics for an amazing 2 week journey and allowing me to learn so much about the sports of swimming and beach volleyball, something I would not have had interest in if it were not for the excitement and cheering!