I’m really into the Olympics this year! Even though I feel like I literally just watched them, but I guess four years goes by pretty quick. Women’s gymnastics is my favorite. I was 13 in 1996 when Team USA won the gold, and I remember being obsessed with it. I had posters of the team in my room and my friends and I created our own Olympics that year. It’s a summer I’ll never forget.
As Barney Stinson would say, it was- wait for it….legendary.
There were a ton of girls around the same age in my plan growing up, and we were all best friends. We did everything together, and that summer we created “The Pinehurst Olympics,” after the street we lived on.
We found this railroad tie, which we covered with floral contact paper, and hoisted up on cement blocks for a balance beam. It was just about the right size, and only about two inches off the ground, but we thought it was amazing. I seriously don’t know how we didn’t get really injured on that.
Our backyard was perfect for the floor exercise, running and doing one-handed cartwheels, acting like it was fifty back-flips, trying not to run into the cyclone fence (obviously out-of-bounds).
For vaulting, well we just vaulted over anything we could: toys, garden tools, each other, you name it. I don’t remember if we did anything for the uneven bars, but I vaguely remember hanging upside down off a branch on a big tree on our yard, so that might have been it.
We always had great gymnast costumes (bathing suits) and awesome music (Keith Sweat and 2 Unlimited come to mind) and even taped ourselves doing commentary so we could play it back during the routine. We must have recreated the Kerri Strug vault moment about a hundred times; it never got old.
We even created handmade invitations and went around our plan inviting people to our event. I think our moms came, but that was about it.
It got me thinking how easy it was to amuse ourselves back in the day. And funny that at my tender age of 13, I was really still a kid, and a lot of these Olympians today were already training and getting ready for the biggest stage of their life at that age. I’m so impressed by their determination and maturity; it’s astounding.
I wish the girls all the luck the in the world tonight and I can’t wait to tune in and watch, even though thanks to my stupid New York Times app, I already saw the results. 😦
And to my Pinehurst Olympics girls, we may never have another ’96, but I know I’ll never forget it, we all won gold, and I love you all so very much. GO USA!