Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Olympic Memories

Tonight the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics will take place in London.  It has been thrilling to watch all of the athletes compete after they trained so very hard for so many years.

For years the Olympics have a running thread in my life.  In grade school I was able to ice skate every winter at the park a block from our house.  As I skated in circles around the rink, I would pretend that I was Sonja Henie participating in the Olympics.  In the summers as I took a water ballet class, I would dream of being Esther Williams.  I also remember hearing all the talk of Roger Bannister's 4 minute mile.

In 1980 we watched the United States Ice Hockey Team make a miracle happen by winning the gold medal in Lake Placid.  It was a very cold Sunday afternoon when our neighborhood gathered in one house to watch the game together on a big screen TV.  I think maybe it was a 24 inch screen!  There was lots of yelling and cheering involved. A few adult beverages too.

In 1987 the company I worked for won a trip for 2 to the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  3M was the vendor that awarded the trip to my company.  To award the prize, my company based entry into the contest on attendance.  To enter the contest one had to have perfect and on time attendance for the previous three months.  When the drawing was held and my name was announced, I was amazed!  The irony is that the day after the drawing I was late to work due to snow on the roads!  It was a first class trip all the way.  We were flown from Chicago to Minneapolis and spent the night in a hotel with all of the 3M guests.  Our plane to Calgary was entirely 3M personnel and guests.  I still have the jackets we received on arrival in Calgary.  Since 3M had leased the use of a country club for their guests I was able to borrow a pair of  ice skates and finally skate at the Olympics.  (at not in an important distinction)  Some of the events we attended were the opening ceremony, ski jumping, luge, downhill skiing, and ice hockey.

During the 2010 Olympics I began writing this blog after being inspired by Thomas MacEntee's Winter Genealogy Games.  Overall I would have to say that the Olympics has played a recurring part in my life and I wouldn't have it any other way.