It was the summer of 1995, and the anticipation was building. The Olympics were coming to Atlanta and we could not wait. I was talking to my sister Kim and she was talking about how great it would be if we could see the most popular event in person - gymnastics.
Well, we didn't win the drawing for those tickets, but we did find a way to get some. I never will forget going to Atlanta with her family and watching volleyball, track & field, baseball, and yes...gymnastics. We saw the qualifying rounds and the women's all-around competition. I remember sitting at a table in the CNN Center and talking with my sisters about how it was so special - a once in a lifetime opportunity. We saw the USA team that won a rare gold medal...in person. They were called "The Magnificent Seven." What a memory!
A month later, Kim went to be with her Lord in an unexpected accident. As I continue to miss her and her daughter Holly, I think back on that Olympics, and I'm so glad we got to share that before she went ahead of the rest of us. I will never forget it.
So it probably not surprising how much I have enjoyed the last three nights of the London Olympics. A long 16 years and 4200 miles away from those Atlanta nights, a US gymnastics team has repeated the feat. No, they have gone farther - winning the team gold medal and then following it up with Gabby Douglas' all-around gold.
As I have watched, pride and patriotism has enveloped me. Watching the joy of those young ladies who worked so hard to get there is almost overwhelming. But I can't help but think back to Atlanta. and to my departed sister. How much we enjoyed those games, and how she would have enjoyed watching this team.
So forgive me if I get a little carried away with this once-in-four-years sporting event. It's personal. and I love it.
U. S. A.