How Travel Made Me an Olympics Nut!

I’m not a sports fan. Well, ok, I’m not a sports fan until it’s hard not to be one. Like when the Stanley Cup Finals were happening in Vancouver last year and I was right in the middle of it! But for some crazy reason, I’m really into the Olympics. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking that it’s hard not be into the Olympics. I don’t think that’s it though.

Salt Lake City Olympic Torch

Do I enjoy watching some of the not-normally televised sports? Sure! I mean, watch those gymnasts do their thing. It’s pretty incredible what they can do with their bodies! But that’s not really why I’m an Olympics nut. No, no. I really love the concept of the Olympics. The notion that for 17 days, athletes from different countries can put aside their differences and just be human beings!

Yes, of course you see politics in the Olympics, especially when it  comes to the intricacies of the Opening Ceremonies’ Parade of Nations. As countries come in one by one, a few notable things stand out. Like the fact that Taiwan is called Chinese Taipei and uses a totally different flag. Why? Well, it’s all an effort to appease China, of course!

But it’s easy to overlook this and see what those of who travel already know. That behind all that political bs that we hear about constantly, we really aren’t so different from each other at all! Human nature is human nature, regardless of where you are in the world. And those international athletes at the Olympics are just like the Olympic athletes from your own country. They train just as hard. And their families cheer them on with the same intensity as those swimming moms do from your own country!

Sit there and watch those games for a bit. Aside from probably rooting for your “home team,” do you see those Chinese athletes perform and think about how they come from a “communist” country with no free press and a undervalued currency? What about those Aghan athletes? Do you think about how hard their living conditions must be? No. And that’s the point!

When the Closing Ceremony comes around on August 12, you’ll notice that the athletes will enter the stadium as one giant, intermingled group. There will be no divisions by country as you saw when they marched in on Friday night. And that’s a beautiful thing. We are one species sharing one planet. So why not love thy neighbor? Why not talk to someone whose different than you? I bet they’re life is pretty interesting! That clump of athletes is a picture of diversity, just like the world is! Aside from fair competition, they have no animosity towards each other because of things that governments do! That’s truly how most people in this world really are!

I love the Olympics spirit. I love what they stand for, pitfalls and all. I may not be a sports fan, but I love the Olympics for the same reason I love to travel! It shows off the best of humanity! So I’ll be watching as much as I can this time. And you better believe that in two years, I’ll hooked on my TV once again!

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16 Responses to How Travel Made Me an Olympics Nut!

  1. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy July 31, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    I don’t usually get into the opening ceremony, but watching the parade of athletes from the various countries was cool. Besides being educational, it gave me some ideas for potential trips… Montenegro, Kiribati, Sao Tome and Principe, Benin, Tuvalu… seeing all these countries not normally covered in travel blogs was getting me excited.

    • Aaron August 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

      Hahaha nice! Personally, I kind of find the Parade of Nations to be rather boring. I did get rather excited though to see that Bhutan had an Olympic team (I’m only assuming that it’s for archery…that’s a BIG deal there)! I love the artistic side of the ceremony, but then again, I theatre for a living…

  2. Leslie July 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    Cool to hear your Olympic origin story 🙂 It must be awesome to be in the host city during the games. I also enjoyed being in Vancouver during the Stanley Cup festivities.

    • Aaron August 2, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

      I’m sure it’s an amazing experience! I actually went to an Olympic soccer match when the Olympics when in Atlanta in 1996 (the soccer matches where actually in Birmingham, AL and I was living about an hour away in Tuscaloosa at the time). It was a cool experience, though we weren’t in the actual host city! Vancouver was a pretty epic experience though!

  3. Adam - Travels of Adam July 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    I’m totally with you on this! I don’t usually get into sports, but there is just something about the Olympics which make it seem so majestic and wonderful—and international—that it’s hard to resist….pitfalls and all!

    • Aaron August 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

      SO hard to resist! I love it!

  4. Elizabeth August 1, 2012 at 2:53 am #

    I totally understand! It’s my first Olympics living abroad and being able to watch and experience it with people from all over the world is an experience like no other! We are all citizens of the world!

    Great post!

    • Aaron August 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

      That’s awesome! I can’t say I’ve ever seen the Olympics abroad but I imagine it would be a fantastic experience! I’ve spent major non-religious holidays abroad, like New Year’s Eve, and some people could care less (it was a rather boring New Year’s Eve in Egypt).

  5. Ava Apollo August 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    I’m with you, I love the olympics. Every time the games are on, they remind me of what I was doing the last time they were on. So nostalgic 🙂

    • Aaron August 1, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

      Haha I love it! I never really thought about it but it kind of is one of those things that I sort of gauge periods of my life by. I mean, in 2008 I was a VERY different person, yet it kinda feels like it was only a week ago or so!

  6. Rease August 3, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    You know I am ALL about the Olympics. Travel definitely helps. I always cheer for Team USA but I also cheer for my second home of Argentina, my beloved Mexicans, and I love seeing small countries sending just a few athletes and still coming home with a medal. It’s all just so epic and beautiful!

    • Aaron August 4, 2012 at 2:13 am #

      Haha yes, if there’s one thing I know about you Rease (other than our strange collegiate connection) its that you too love the Olympics! And yes, I have to admit, on top of the awesomeness of the world coming together I do love just how epic the games become. Maybe it’s because of my work background in that I know what goes into pulling off events that I have such a fascination in something like this!

  7. Anthony Braybrooke August 6, 2012 at 1:11 am #

    Great post! I’m from the UK, but as of two weeks ago I’ve moved to Aus. I didn’t think I’d have a problem missing the Olympics ’cause… well, to be honest – having it drilled into you everyday for the past 4 years is a tad annoying. I was well and truly ready to leave! However, now I’m in Oz I haven’t been asleep before 4am for the past week since I’ve stayed up to watch it. I haven’t cared this much about international sport ever before. I think you discuss the same reasons why as I’m feeling!

    • Aaron August 7, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

      Interesting perspective! I feel like when the Olympics are held in the U.S. (like Salt Lake City in 2002) we don’t get quite so into it. I bet it would be different though if I lived in a city where they were being held! Glad to hear that after the annoyingness, you’ve come around to appreciate them after all.

  8. Kristen - Hopscotch the Globe August 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    Great to read your Olympics story:)

    I’ve been really enjoying following the Olympics. Travel and Escape has a writer in London covering the events. I’d much rather following the Olympics through social media and travel bloggers, rather than listen to commentators on tv.

    It’s been great to follow on T+E: http://www.travelandescape.ca/tag/olympics-in-london/

    • Aaron August 9, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

      Hehe well the commentators that NBC has for their coverage here in the US are kind of laughable at times as to some the ridiculous things they say. It is nice to watch the events on TV though, even if I already know who won gold…

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