My favorite sport in the Summer Olympics is, by far, gymnastics. I was watching in 1984 when Mary Lou Retton got her perfect 10 on the vault. That same year, the dreamy men’s team won gold (I had such a crush on Peter Vidmar!). I watched what is still one of my favorite Olympic moments of all time when it happened live: when Kerri Strug vaulted on an injured foot (when she probably shouldn’t have) and clinched the gold medal for her team, and then Coach Bela Karolyi (love him) carried her to the podium for the medal ceremony. It still makes me cry like a baby.
This year, I’m watching with interest like always, as is J. He is amazed by the skill and muscles of the men’s gymnastics team, probably because he has been into working out over the past year (tickets to the gun show, anyone?) and has been fascinated with events like the high bar and the parallel bars. It’s fun to watch together, holding our breath and gasping with every release and every landing.
At one point while we were watching over the weekend, he turned to me and said, “Isn’t it weird that I’m so interested in gymnastics this time around?”
“No,” I answered. He probably thought I was talking about the correlation between the athletes on television and his weightlifting interests, but I was really talking about what I remember from 1996.