Monday, August 6, 2012
It took a whole lot of convincing to get me to attend the Olympics this weekend. In the months leading up to the games, every time I spoke to Dad, he asked me if I’d purchased a ticket yet. I was resisting I think for a few reasons, 1) Obviously I’m a pretend real-life Londoner so I have to find the entirety of the Olympics utterly obnoxious, 2) I really wasn’t interested in braving the crowds, and 3) I didn’t actually believe there were any tickets left that didn’t cost a deposit and my first-born child.
When I went back to the States last month, my parents finally convinced me that it was a once in a lifetime experience and I should stop complaining, pick any event, and go. Fine.
I began to actually get excited when I realised there were still tickets left for the women’s +75kg weightlifting. Now, I know my interest in women’s weightlifting has been heavily concealed for the past 23 years, but it’s out in the open now. The real reason it was so exciting, was that I’d get to support Holley Mangold, a Dayton native who has been on the Reveal family radar for a few reasons. She was well-known in Dayton as one of the few girls who played football on the offensive line, her brother, Nick Mangold, plays for the New York Jets who we often watch play against our beloved Bengals, and her sister attended Agnes Scott College, graduating the year before I did. Exciting stuff.
So, my day yesterday consisted of lots of cheering for Holley and Sarah Robles (the other lifter from the USA) and continually being thankful that my parents didn’t let me miss such an opportunity. I’ve heard others say this, and now I’m sure its true, but at the Olympics, no matter what sport you’re watching or who you’re supporting, you can’t help but be caught up in the spirit of it all. I went into the event only having done minimal research on the sport, but they lead us through it and by the end I could keep up with the most diehard of fans.
What’s more incredible though than the ever-supportive crowd, was the discipline and humility of the lifters. My heart broke when they missed a lift and there were definitely some watering eyes when they’d succeed. These women dedicate everything to their sport, to their bodies, their mindset, their countries…so admirable. Since I’m not an athlete, sometimes it’s hard for me to relate to this extreme dedication to something so physical, outward displays of strength or speed or stamina, but I know when I finally discover that one thing I can’t live without, it will feel like thousands are cheering.
- Holley Mangold Competes in Women’s Weightlifting at 2012 London Olympics (bleacherreport.com)