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Looking forward to Summer Olympics, cheering for athletes

Looking forward to Summer Olympics, cheering for athletes

Posted: Friday, July 27, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By Donna Ryder, Associate Editor

Looking forward to Summer Olympics, cheering for athletes | Just A Thought, Donna Ryder

People who need to find me tonight need to look no further than the chair in front of my television. I’ll be sitting there watching the opening ceremonies of the 2012 edition of the Summer Olympics.
Danny Boyle, known for his movie “Slumdog Millionaire,” has been tapped to direct the production. The Associated Press reports the ceremony is called “Isles of Wonder” and is inspired by William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” Boyle has said the opening sequence will feature an “idyllic British countryside setting complete with live farm animals, including 70 sheep, 12 horses, 10 chickens and nine geese.”
There’s sure to be references to James Bond and it’s been stated by The Sunday Times that one section will feature characters from children’s fiction classics, including “Alice in Wonderland” and “Peter Pan” — and a showdown between Lord Voldemort, the villain of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books, and a horde of flying magical nannies based on Mary Poppins. Former Beatle Paul McCartney has said he will perform the closing act.
I can’t wait to see who will light the Olympic torch. I’m not sure I’ll ever forget when heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali lit the torch in Atlanta in 1996. I also won’t forget that summer Olympics because I witnessed the torch relay coming through Nashville. At the time, I was the editor of The Ashland City Times and covered the event because a member of the Cheatham County Board of Education, a marathon runner, had been selected to carry the torch for a segment of the relay. Although he didn’t get to keep the torch he carried on the run, he was able to purchase a replica that only the torchbearers could obtain.
I don’t particularly like to watch sporting events on television, but when it comes to the Olympics it’s a different story. I’m compelled to watch.
I was on the edge of my seat watching Michael Phelps in the pool four years ago and sat back and took in the thrill of Shaun White riding the half pipe in 2010 in Canada. I also felt the heartache as Apolo Anton Ohno stumbled during a semifinal heat in the 1500 meter during the 2006 games.
I remember the games of 1988, OK, maybe not the games, but that time. My oldest sister’s boyfriend had given me and my sisters his old black and white portable television set. The screen was probably no bigger than six inches by four inches. My dad was pretty strict about bed time on school nights, but I hid the television set in the room beside my bed and would push the bedroom door closed so I could watch the Olympics, which aired well into the early hours of the morning. That was the year Greg Louganis hit his head on the springboard during the diving competition.
Women’s gymnastics, swimming and diving are my favorite sports to watch in the summer, but I have been known to watch beach volleyball and rowing.
I’m going to try to catch as much of the games as I can this year, something that should be made easier by the Internet and video of events I miss.
Of course, the screen will be a lot bigger than six by four and in full color.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by email at dryder@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 7.27.12

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