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February 15, 2010

Memories of Olympics Past

Olympicrings With the 2010 Winter Olympics just beginning, I've been thinking about my favorite Olympic memories. No matter how many events each Olympics has, it still seems that I only remember one particular person, team and/or event from each one.

The first time I remember watching the Olympics was in the summer of 1984. However, even though I didn't watch earlier Olympics, I vividly remember the excitement of Nadia Comaneci getting the first perfect 10 in gymnastics in 1976 and the United States ice hockey team winning in 1980. I've watched so many clips that I feel like I saw it live.

In 1984, I was mesmorized by the gymnastics competitions, both men and women. Both teams were amazing, but the highlight for not only me, but the entire country, was Mary Lou Retton scoring a 10 on the Vault to win the individual Gold medal in Los Angeles. The only gymnastics memory that has come even close, since then, was in 1996 in Atlanta, when Keri Strug vaulted with an injured ankle and landed on one foot to help the women's team win the gold metal.

I have even more memories from the winter gymnastics due to my love of figure skating. I became a big fan of Kristy Yamuguchi when she won the gold in 1992. Little did I know then, the excitement that the 1994 figure skating competition would bring. The entire country witnessed Nancy Kerrigan getting whacked on her knee, a month before the Olympics, by a man that Tonya Harding's ex-husband hired. The night of the Olympics medal events, all eyes were on the two of them when Oksana Baiul of the Ukraine skated ahead of them to win the gold medal.

Competing in the 2002 winter Olympics figure skating event was Sara Hughes from Long Island, the area I had lived most of my life. Although Michelle Kwan was heavily favored to win, she fell during her performance. She might have still won if Sarah Hughes had not given the best performance of her life. Watching her come from nowhere to win the gold was so exciting. Living on Long Island and then seeing the excitement everywhere was even better.

So far the 2010 Olympics have only brought me sadness. The tragic death of Georgian luge competitor, Nodar Kumaritashvili, has dampened my excitement for this year's games. Will this be my big memory of the 2010 Winter Olympics?

Original 50-something Moms Blog Post by Jennifer Wagner who also writes at  Connect with your Teens through Pop Culture and Technology