I love the Olympics. What is it about the Olympics? What gives them the power to rivet a non-athlete like me to the screen watching athletic events? What gives them the power to restore my broken faith in humanity?
The things that bother me about America haven't changed, and yet, after watching the games tonight I am full of hope.
Paul Hamm, American gymnast, was pegged to win a gold medal in this event that I forget the name of, something no American male gymnast has done for years. In the finals that aired tonight, he fell disastrously on his vault, and it looked for a while that he had lost his chance for the gold, or even a medal. He fell from 1st to 12th. How could anyone make up so many points? How could he possibly focus on his last two events?
It helped matters when the guy who had taken the lead scored abysmally on the high bar, but Paul Hamm still had to pull off phenomenal scores on his last two events to even be in medal contention again.
He performed a practically flawless routine on the parallel bars, earning the second-highest score of the night. He was back in medal contention, but in order to win the gold he had to score at least 9.825 on the high bar.
After a breathtaking (and nerve-wracking) routine he scored...a 9.837, coming from behind, and winning the gold. All this while battling a sore shoulder.
Though America has many egregious flaws, a country who can produce such a remarkably determined, dedicated, resilient son can't be all bad.
Paul Hamm has proven that anything is possible. I will never doubt that fact again.