At the start of the games, Jacob Corrigan wrote a story about Olympic super-fan David Chin, who said: “This will not be someone’s first and only Olympics. They say you catch a bug. You have no choice but to come back.”
As the finals days of the Olympics winded down, I began to understand what Mr. Chin was saying. I can throw out a few sappy lines about having the time of my life in London, but instead I’ll give some concrete evidence. Everyday, whether it was at the venues, in the tubes or at Waterloo station, I found the red maple leaf. That’s right, the Canadians were one of the most visible fan bases at the games, even more so than American fans. Maybe the Americans are a little more discreet about showing their colors, but for Canada – a country who isn’t well known for their summer Olympic prowess – the turnout was unbelievable. I have to chalk it up to the Olympic fever spilling over from the successful 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
When I woke up in New York this morning, I had an Olympic hangover. I wished I could do it all over again. This time in my life, with an incredible group of people, in a city like London, truly once in a lifetime. As London 2012 passes the torch to Rio 2016, it’s tough to look forward because I have no idea where I’ll be at that point. If I get the chance, I’ll be there in Brazil cheering on the Americans, the Canadians, the host nation and all the athletes who sacrifice so much of their lives for one shot at glory.
With London still fresh in my mind, I think back to the Michael Phelps press conference I was lucky enough to get into. After Phelps took his final gold, he answered question after question about retiring, then left the future of U.S. swimming to his younger teammates. When the conference was over, Jake and I walked up to ESPN’s Michael Wilbon, one of my favorite sports personalities, to get his thoughts on the London games thus far.
“After 10 Olympics they all start to mesh together,” said Wilbon.
He asked us if we were enjoying our first Olympic experience, then posed for a picture.
“Your first Olympics will be my last.”
With a half smirk, he passed us the torch and walked off into the sunset. Or at least that’s how I’ll remember it.