I wasn’t always obsessed with the Olympics as I am today. You see I wasn’t much of an athlete as a kid (hard to tell, I know) with the pinnacle of my sporting achievement being allowed to go to the regional sporting carnival for long jump where I was firmly beaten by nearly every other competitor. Predictably this made me somewhat sour on the whole idea and I found my pursuit of computers and games much more rewarding. Whilst my attendance at the Sydney Olympic Games might not have changed my opinion something strange happened when the next games rolled around: I started to love them.
This was way back in 2004 where I was just starting into my second year of university and working several different odd jobs in order to make some extra cash. I was still working at Dick Smith Electronics back then and of course we set up one of the television sets right in front of the entrance with the Olympics coverage playing non-stop. People would come in and just stop, mesmerized by the athletes competing. Us well trained salespeople would then stand along side them, first and foremost to see if they needed any help, but inevitably we’d just stand there with them and the conversation would always drift towards Australia’s latest achievements. I think it was that sense of universal comradery that made me so fond of the Athen’s games of 2004 and that feeling stayed with me for 4 years.
Then in 2008 the Beijing Olympics came around and I started to feel that same fervour again, a kind of buzz from the entire world focusing on this one event that only occurs once every 4 years. I was hooked and I stayed up until late with my housemate beside me, eagerly soaking up every second of the opening ceremony. I followed Australia’s exploits closely, sharing in the revelry and feeling extremely proud to be part of a country that could excel so much in crafting elite athletes. I stared toying with the lofty idea that I too could one day find myself there (whether via physical eliteness or some other means was not yet clear) and knew that that feeling I had 4 years prior would not be one that would fade in the coming 4.
Indeed whilst I might not have made the 5am starting time for the opening ceremony this year (something I know will haunt me for a while) I did get as much Olympics in as I could whilst it has been going on during the past 2 weeks. Whilst our performance might not have been as expected I still can’t deny just how great our team has been and what a great joy it has been to watch them all this time. As I was stepping out the door this morning I managed to catch a few brief moments of the closing ceremony and it took all my willpower to not shove off work for the day in order just to watch the rest of it and then curl up on the couch, contended.
There’s another thing that every Olympics invokes within me: a deep sense of reflection. Back when the Beijing Olympics was on I wasn’t a blogger, starting this little online repository of my in December of the same year. I was only just engaged to my now wife, I was earning about a third of what I am today and I was still yet to take the longest trip overseas of my life of which I’d document everything right here on this very blog. Going back even further just makes the transitions seem even more incredible and is a testament to why I never plan more than 6 months ahead any more as there is no way I could’ve guessed I’d end up where I am today.
So you might be wondering then what my plans for the next 4 years might be in the lead up to the 2016 games at Rio de Janeiro. To be honest with you I’m not 100% sure as whilst that idea that I could compete at the games hasn’t died (although that might be a symptom of the realisation that anything is achievable with enough hard work, but that’s a post for another day) my recent rediscovery of one of my passions has led me to think there might be another, more viable way to get myself involved in some way. In all honesty it probably won’t be any less work, indeed my level of knowledge about physical fitness and photography are arguably at similar levels, but suffice to say that I’ll be working on both of them seriously and I wouldn’t be surprised if my path turns towards the Olympiads.
Sure it’s still a dream (and a lofty one at that) but what are dreams if we don’t at least try to realise them? I’ve always said to people that once one of your dreams comes true you start to look at your others more seriously and I’ll be damned if this isn’t one I feel is worth pursuing.