Olympic Highlights

Everybody seems to be doing highlights of the Olympic Games now that they are over so I thought I’d give my version. I won’t mention swimmers since I’m guessing you’ve seen enough of those. I have some words that stand out to me. Except for the last, I’ll do alphabetical order.


They swept much of the metal for the medal stands. Then, with obvious love for each other, the ladies’ gymnastics team paid tribute to their coach Marta Karoli as they named themselves “The Final Five” in honor of their being her last Olympic team before her retirement.


Again the American ladies’ gymnastics team was a cross section of both ethnicity and religion, and Ibtihaj Muhammad won a bronze medal in fencing wearing a hijab.


Brazilian celebrations when they won had to make you happy for the home country, especially for the overboard excitement when they won silver and bronze in men’s gymnastics.


Multitudes of stories fit this word, but I think of tiny Fiji winning a medal in rugby, the number of foster kids’ stories, and the refugee group that may not have won a medal but attained a goal by overcoming circumstances to be there.


17-year-old Sydney McLaughlin, who lost in the finals said “This is the end of my season, not the end of my career” and then turned to her task of reading two required books before she goes back to high school. I’m waiting to see what she does in Tokyo.


USA’s Abbey D’Agostino and New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin got mixed up in a tumble that threw them in the 5,000-meter heat. Abbey helped Nikki up and encouraged her to finish the race. Soon it became apparent that Abbey was injured and couldn’t finish. Nikki then encouraged her to run together to the end, which they finished dead last. They have been awarded the Pierre de Coubertin Medal for sportsmanship, previously awarded only 17 times in Olympic history. They also gained a friendship.


I loved the people who understood that “on the platform” is a great accomplishment even if the medal isn’t gold.


My favorite highlight was Tori Bowie who swamped the pages of the Hattiesburg American because she had spent her college days at the University of Southern Mississippi. She starred on the front page of either the headline news or sports page for days, sometimes both. In addition, she featured prominently in the Facebook posts from the university’s Cook Library where she worked as a student aide to help finance her college career. One of those foster children raised by a grandmother, she is from Sand Hill, Mississippi, a town every bit as big as it sounds. We Mississippians are proud that she won all three colors in medals. Of even more importance, she seems to be a genuinely nice person as well.