Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

Like most of us, it is with a heavy heart that I watch the London Olympics come to a close. I have thoroughly enjoyed the 17 days of constant Olympic coverage. It is a pleasure to be a spectator of the games not only for the display of impressive athleticism (and equally impressive physiques), but because it also allows us to take on the role of being a proud American cheering on our Olympic athletes.

To be entirely honest, I am not always so proud to be an American in the context of the international spotlight. Our government officials garner headlines for pornographic tweets, Snooki grabs attention for practicing being a new mother by carrying around a 24-pack of beer in a stroller, and there's been quite a bit of less-than-inspiring news in the last few years on the economic front. It's not that I don't love my country and feel an utmost gratitude for the freedoms that it provides, but the focus of international attention is often on headlines considered to be entertaining as opposed to inspiring.

The Olympics have been a breath of fresh air and I would get chills on a daily basis just listening to Morgan Freeman narrate those Visa commercials (how exactly were those put together so quickly?). Every sports bar, pizza parlor, and even the nail salon showcased the games, while creating an environment in which we could feel inspired and uplifted on a daily basis. So instead of giving the spotlight to Miley's new haircut or to a Kardashian, I would like to take a moment and thank all of the athletes who basked in the spotlight with grace, poise, and courage.

There was the tale of Gabby Douglas living in Iowa during her formative years that inspired me to take on a physical goal and really commit to it, despite the sacrifice that may come with it. The courage and dedication of Oscar Pistorius brought tears to my eyes and watching the winning sprinter ask for the South African's name badge as a gesture of respect humbled me to my core. Missy Franklin's interview with Bob Costas was full of true and electric positive energy as she grinned from ear to ear for five minutes straight, still soaking in her moment of winning a gold medal despite not having yet received her high school diploma. And my heartfelt congratulations goes to Michael Phelps for setting a new standard in the world athletic arena. It is a rare man capable of making such a mark on this world. I also want to thank Procter & Gamble for highlighting the role of family at each commercial break.

The Olympics are a rare occasion in which the world comes together to compete, not for things like power or money, but for the glory found in being a winner representing our respective nations. I am proud to be an American and wish the Olympics could air every summer. The games and the athletes remind us that we should be grateful to our forefathers who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.

Unfortunately we will have to wait four years to witness another great display of summer games. So, I am going to put it out there right now that I intend to save my money for a trip to Rio. Who's with me?

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