I'm not talking about the gymnastics teams or women's beach volleyball or even basketball ... all of which used incredible teamwork to accomplish victories. No... I'm talking about the opening ceremonies.
China wins, hands down... and I would not want to be the home of the next Olympics because they have some serious shoes to fill. I have to say that I've always liked opening ceremonies, but sooner or later there would come a point where I would find myself bored. I was waiting for that to happen (mostly because I was hungry and wanted to make something for supper) but I was glued to the television. It was so visually impressive with the giant LCD screens, but the human element was truly beyond words.
Of course, I'm going to find a few to use regardless. :)
I loved the idea of the artwork progressing with each element, beginning with the dancers painting with their bodies and ending with the footprints of the marching countries' athletes. But nothing was more impressive than the sheer number of people (2008 to be exact) drumming at the beginning or doing tai chi later on in the ceremony. They said these people practiced eight hours a day for over four months to perfect their synchronization and turn their art form into a true masterpiece.
The idea that those perfect circles are comprised of 2008 people moving in perfect rhythm is spellbinding. And I want to know why we all can't work so well together in our every day lives. Seriously... think about what that country came together to do and show the world about unity. And then think about the controversy of the human rights violations that made people want to boycott the Olympics this year. How can those two ideas possibly be coexisting?
But they are. And they do every day in our lives. We can come together for an event and create a true spectacle but we often can't stop to help someone we see stumble on the street. The men's basketball team figured out this year that living within their own bubble isn't the way to create an Olympic team. During the last summer Olympics in 2004 they were the "Dream Team." They believed their hype, concerned less with making themselves a team and more with their own name-recognition, leaving them cocky and expecting gold. They didn't show support for other sports or hang out in the Olympic Village... and they lost their gold medal status. They beat themselves with their attitudes.
This year, the "Redeem Team" is fixing that. They have refocused their idea of what it is to put on a USA jersey, are attending the women's basketball games and have shown up to cheer on the beach volleyball teams. They've been spending time with the swimmers at the Olympic Village and are becoming a part of the experience. And so far, they are playing like olympians.
That's what I'm going to try to remember when these games are over. When attention turns to Russia bombing the Republic of Georgia and the human rights violations of China... I'm going to try to remember what can happen when people come together for a common goal. Because as we saw in the Men's 4x100 swim, the result can be nothing short of miraculous.