I cannot wait. My wife cannot wait.
Our 6-year-old daughter is practically freaking out.
Emmeline is a tried and true sports nut — a muscly wisp of a girl who invents games that somehow incorporate baseball, soccer, horse-back riding and fairies. While her dream of winning an Olympic gold in these fanciful events aren’t likely — although you never can tell what the Olympic Commission will approve in, say, 2034 — it’s exciting to see her eyes light up when these powerful women athletes take the main stage during the trials, as if she’s thinking deep down that in a few years, it really could be her.
This is yet another reason why I love the Olympics: girl power role models.
From track and field to swimming to gymnastics to water polo and diving, we’ve watched just about everything available and then gone out to the backyard to re-create the events. While swimming has been difficult without a pool, who knew she could throw a Frisbee across three yards?
Just like the rest of us every four years, she’s become a couch-potato expert in everything from diving to gymnastics, assessing toes that aren’t quite pointed or splashes that appear too frothy.
But the best part for me, the part that fills me with secret thrills, is to see her get a chance to find powerful women athlete role models in every sport imaginable. She’s one of only a handful of girls at her school to partake in every sport she can find, and I can’t help but think sitting on her butt for two weeks has got to be the best training possible. I can see it in her eyes when we go out later to the backyard. They’re filled with fire and determination and effort.
“I can do it,” she says, “I can be in the Olympics.”
We’ve talked a lot about the sports we want to watch when the Games begin. It shouldn’t surprise me to know what her favorite is, although I’ve never actually watched it before. I just can’t wait to see her try to re-create those events in the backyard.
What are the events you can’t wait to watch this year? My Top 8 are below.
Track and field 1 of 8The kid is running her first mile race at the end of this month -- right at the start of the Olympic games. To her, the race might as well be in London -- that's how excited she is. So to see pro runners doing their thing ... she's in love already.
Triathlon 2 of 8She more or less humors me whenever we see a triathlon on TV, which isn't that often. I've done one this summer, and I'm excited to see how the Olympic athletes drop the hammer. The kid just likes to point out that all they all finish with faster times than me.
Gymnastics 3 of 8Want to show your daughter some incredibly brave, hard-working athletes? Switch on the Olympics during any balance beam or bar event or the vault. I don't have the rings to do half of what they do. My girl, though, thinks she can master each event. With a lot of hard work, I tell her, she can.
Swimming 4 of 8You don't need to know much to get the drama of swimming. We particularly like these events, because we race each other in the pool or on the beach.
Women’s softball 5 of 8Oh. Wait a minute. Drat.
Judo 6 of 8As a major lover of wrestling and, yes, UFC, the kid is going to flip her brain to see women wrestling in the judo competitions. I simply cannot wait.
Soccer 7 of 8Now we can talk about drama. I have a feeling the whole family is going to be glued to the TV during the men's and women's events. I don't remember growing up with women soccer athletes on TV all that much. It thrills me to the core that she gets to see this.
Equestrian 8 of 8To be honest, I've never watched more than five seconds of these events. But if you're raising a horse-crazy girl, be prepared to surf every channel in search of equestrian events. The kid trains under a former Olympic athlete, so I can't wait to see her face when she finds out just how awesome her trainer really is. Can. Not. Wait.
Mike Adamick writes at Cry It Out!
Main photo: Cowboysindians.com
Slideshow photos: Morguefile.com