I think it effects me even more because I know from experience the amount of work, dedication, mental preparation, and sacrifice that goes into becoming an extremely competitive athlete. While I wasn't even close to the level that these Olympians are at, that proves that much more to me that they have given so much of themselves to be where they are at right now.
Spencer set a goal a while back to be in bed at 9:30 every night since he has to be up so early for school. While I usually am right there with him, I have had to make an exception since gymnastics is usually on sporadically every night from 8 -11 pm. And let me tell you... it has been awesome! The women's team finals last night was probably the best night of gymnastics I have watched in many years. Those girls hit - everything. From beginning to end. Ya there were a few bobbles here and there, but that is seriously incredible that all five of those girls brought it like they did, and all on the same night. I know the feeling of feeling just a little bit off when you walk into a meet, which is a huge feat to overcome when you are in a sport as precise as gymnastics. One twist started a millisecond too early, one back-handspring just a little too high, one bar release move just a little bit off and it could be over - just as we saw from Russia last night. I know how hard it is to hone in those emotions, whether it be nerves, excitement, defeat, demonstrated so well from each and every US gymnast. Overall, watching that meet brought me back to the mindset that I needed to have each day as I walked into the gym and as weird as it sounds - watching those skills (at least some of them) triggered my muscle memory into thinking exactly what my body would need to do if I was going to attempt one of those skills again. The mind is amazing and its crazy to think that my muscle memory is still there to some extent after at least five years of no gymnastics. That is such a testament to the power of the mind and how important it is to not only physically train, but to mentally train.
Anyways, I love gymnastics. And I love the Olympics. There is something to be said about a person that can have so much control of themselves, physically and mentally. Here are two of my favorite clips from women's gymnastics team finals last night:
For anyone that knows the slightest bit about the sport, you will understand how incredible this vault really was. The height that she gets is like no other woman in the sport, the form, and seriously it's just perfection, textbook. Mckayla Maroney was brought on the Olympic team this year solely for her vault - competing in no other event. Last night she proved that no one else can do what she can do, in all honesty. She is the reigning World Champion on this event, and rightly so. Click here.
And of course, the moment the team saw that they won gold. So perfect.