As it does every two years, the Rio 2016 Olympics have whipped the world into full emotional hyperbole. Seems like at every turn there’s an inspirational tale of gritty success or an equally uplifting story of competitive failure outshone by the undeniable gleaming beacon of shared humanity. And with each instance comes the familiar refrain:
“This is what the Olympics are all about.“
To that end, we’ve put together an exhaustive list of all the things that the Olympics are all about.
-After colliding on the track, two runners help each other to their feet and limp home together, finishing the race dead last, smiling, arm in arm.
-The light catching and then glimmering on a shiny new gold medal.
-The American National Anthem playing as a young swimmer on the top step puts her hand over her heart and cries, feeling the weight of a life’s work justified.
-Having to text my ex girlfriend to get her Time Warner Cable password so I can watch NBCOlympics.com.
-Two strangers at a bar bonding, crying, and hugging each other after watching a 19 year old gymnast stick a perfect landing despite a broken ankle.
-A smooth flawless stream on NBCOlympics.com due to buying a new stronger router a week ago after you realized you’ve been working hard and saving well which means you deserve–and can afford—high end electronics.And maybe you don;t have much time left…
-Two athletes from different continents smiling at each other.
-Switching from the track and field pole vault semifinals to water polo to dressage and back to track and field in time for the pole vault finals with seamless speed and unparalleled picture quality on NBCOlympics.com, even though I was coughing a lot while clicking.
-Non-invasive targeted advertising that gets me (on NBCOlympics.com).
-The pure joy on the face of a diver emerging from the pool, catching a glimpse of his mother in the stands, both knowing that he nailed it.
-The pure joy on my face as I broadcast 720p quality live video across multiple devices at NBCOlympics.com.
-Watching montages of my favorite athletes in their most glorious moments set to Katy Perry’s “Rise” (NBC’s official anthem of the 2016 Rio Games) every morning at NBCOlympics.com and thinking, “maybe I’ll beat my health problems…”
-The Opening Ceremonies (where do they come up with that stuff?!)!
-Losing track of time as I manically refresh the medal count table on NBCOlympics.com, the endorphin rush that accompanies the USA bar rising a notch higher as the puny Chinese bar stays still, then being jerked awake and looking up as my wife sleepily tells me she’s going to bed and reminds me that I have liver surgery in the morning.
-Looking forward to the commercials (they make me cry every time).
-Sitting perched up in bed deep into the night while my wife sleeps soundly, trying not to think about my failing liver, opening up my laptop and basking the only light in the bedroom–a blue-gray glow from NBCOlympics.com–reflecting off the single tear I shed remembering that I might not make it but yes, we are from different countries with different languages, values, strengths, and weaknesses but, by God, somehow we have made this blue orb an inhabitable—heck, sometimes even ENJOYABLE— space to live in and coexist.
-Bob Costas telling a story.