I'm nostalgic tonight for the Olympics, and for all my childhood memories that involved watching the Olympics.
It is no secret that my family is rather patriotic, and we get even more so during the Olympics. And if the Olympian is from the DC/VA area, LDS, or a gymnast, we get even more supportive.
My first Olympics memory was from 1980. While the rest of you recall the Miracle on Ice, I still recall the diving. We had a lime green, plaid tweed, pull out bed, couch in our family room back then. And Little Sisty Ugler and I loved to put on our leotards and watch gymnastics and diving all night with our parents, and then get to fall asleep on the pull out bed. It was not uncommon for us to re-enact the routines on the TV. And my first Olympic memory is of Little Sisty Ugler re-enacting a dive routine- right off the couch, onto the tile floor, knocking herself out cold. What happened next was my then 3 year old sister's first ambulance ride, and the first time I ever vomited. What?? Yes, the stress of seeing my unconscious and greenish (I still remember how she looked green) sister being taken out of the room on a stretcher caused me to "feel a tickle in my throat." "Feel a tickle in my throat" has now become synonymous with "Erin's about to blow."
My next Olympic memory is of 1984 and the LA Summer Games. I remember wearing patriotic colors for weeks. And idolizing Mary Lou Retton and Greg Louganis and Peter Vidmar. Connections? Mary Lou- gymnast. Greg Louganis is half-Samoan (and therefore worthy of McBride clan admiration), and Peter Vidmar is LDS. Really, as if the Games being played on US soil wasn't enough, our loyalty to them was over the top. I was certain I was going to be the next Mary Lou. I despised all Romanians and Soviets appropriately. And my parents even took us to see the US team national city tour later that year. We met a news reporter there who "interviewed" Little Sisty Ugler and me, and wrote in the Washington Post how much we loved Mary Lou Retton. Which is to say, a lot.
I remember crying when Greg Louganis busted open his head on the diving board. And I still hold my breath for every diver until they have cleared the platform, especially on back flips.
I can recall practicing my gymnastics dismounts when I jumped off the trampoline, the pull up bar, my bed, and any other place I could probably "dismount," always landing with my arms in a perfect V above my head.
I love the Olympics. I love the team spirit. I love the non-politics of it all. I love seeing the impossible get conquered. And I love imagining in my head that I'm still a 9 year old girl in her favorite red, white and blue, leotard doing her Perfect 10 floor routine.
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