Figure Skating is My Winter Gymnastics and Gymnastics is My Summer Figure Skating

by susanedotcohen

For the last week, I have been watching the US Olympic trials in diving, swimming, track, and gymnastics. As the previous sentence implies, I take my Olympics viewing seriously. So seriously, that I watch the Olympic Trials. I probably should be thanking NBC for the unlimited access (underwater swimming views) and of course, for Bob Costas.

The fact that I watch the Olympic trials should be enough to convince anyone that I am far from the average Olympics fan. I am not even sure I can be considered a fan. I am more a fanatic. My enthusiasm deserves the whole word and not the abbreviation. To understand why I am watching the Olympic Trials, one first needs to understand my relationship with the Olympics.

For two weeks, every two years, I watch the Olympics. That is right. I watch the summer games and the winter games. I am an equal opportunity Olympics fanatic. However, I must confess I do have two favorites. I love watching figure skating and gymnastics. Figure skating is my winter gymnastics and gymnastics, my summer figure skating.  In other words, if the winter olympics are on, I want to be a figure skater and if the summer olympics are on, a gymnast. The two sports, although different, are linked to each other through their artistry, power, and the flying factor.

In all seriousness, there is something about watching athletes perform at the highest level under pressure. There is something about watching their focus and how they take that focus, and turn it into a performance. The pressure, focus, performance trio, is a trio I can watch over and over again. Yes, I favor swimming over track, but give it a night or two, and I am the biggest track fan in the land. I have such admiration for any athlete who can overcome the pressure and perform. The chance to see that daily, over a two-week period, is incredible.

The pressure, focus, performance trio, is only part of the Olympics fanatic equation. In fact, it is only part of the Olympics equation period. What makes the Olympics so special are the athletes’ stories. Each athlete is more than their performance. They took a journey to reach this athletic feat. Knowing the athletes’ journey makes watching them more meaningful. That is where the Olympic Trials come in.

The Trials offer viewers the chance to participate in part of the Olympic journey. A chance to see the athletes achieve their dreams. Qualification is the dream. Without qualification, there is no gold medal. To see the athletes qualify, and the emotions expressed when they qualify, is incredible. Whether it is an athlete making her first team or in the case of Michael Phelps, his fourth team, the trials are special.

I feel privileged for the opportunity to watch the Trials. For a chance to join the Olympic journey. I look forward to continuing that journey later this month during the Olympics.

P.S. Never too late to want to be a gymnast. Well it probably is since I cannot do a cartwheel. There is after all, always figure skating.