Rio Olympics 2016

Rio de Janeiro.jpg

A very important person in Terry’s and my life, our beautiful granddaughter, turns 21 today. Happy Birthday, dear Kayla! Mimi and I love you very much and pray for you every day!

Also this weekend the Games of the XXXI (31st) Olympiad, more commonly known as the 2016 Summer Olympics, will conclude. This major international multiple-sport event began August 5 and will end August 21. It has virtually dominated major TV coverage for 17 days.

The decision to hold this event in Rio de Janeiro was made by the International Olympic Committee in 2009. More than 11,000 athletes from 206 countries have competed in 28 different sports at 33 venues in the host city and at five more locations in Brazil.

Numerous controversies preceded the Games, including the instability of the Brazilian government, pollution in Guanabara Bay and health concerns caused by the Zika virus. Use of illegal drugs by Russian athletes added to the list of challenges faced by the host city and country.

Nevertheless, Rio Olympics 2016 has provided many hours of viewing pleasure for people around the world. Almost every event included manifestations of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Just a few of my many memorable highlights include:

  • USA men swimmers, with Michael Phelps’ record of 28 medals, including 23 gold!
  • USA women swimmers, particularly Simone Manuel. The first African American woman to win a gold medal in swimming, she said: ““All I can say is all glory to God …!”
  • USA women gymnasts, led by Simone Biles’ championship performances. Her height is 4’9″!
  • Numerous track events, including Jamaican Usain Bolt’s gold medal in the 100 m. race. He’s a bit too cocky for my blood but does make the sign of the cross before every race. He’s 6’5″!
  • Two 70+ year old female coaches, South Africa’s Tannie Ans and Hungarian-Romanian Márta Karolyi, USA gymnastics team coordinator who lives in Huntsville, Tex. Both have coached athletes with incredible life stories who won gold medals!

Many other highlights occurred, too numerous to mention. You most likely have your own list.

Olympic contests remind me of St. Paul’s words: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (1 Cor. 9:24-25)

Young Olympians with incredible athletic skill today will someday become elderly former Olympians with bodies that refuse to do what they once were able to do. The last half of that sentence already describes many people, whether or not they ever were great athletes.

By God’s grace, young and old alike can look forward to a crown that will last forever! Thanks for the short term memories, Rio Olympics 2016!