Schuckman: I am feeling very Olympic today

Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up! It's Olympics time!

To borrow a quote from Sanka Coffie, the affable brakeman for the Jamaican bobsled team in the movie “Cool Runnings,” I am feeling very Olympic today.

Patriotic, too.

The opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics — a year later than originally planned due to the coronavirus pandemic — take place Friday night, beginning wall-to-wall coverage of the games across the nationwide network of NBC affiliates and platforms.

So for the next two weeks, there won’t be much channel surfing around our house.

It’s all Olympics, all the time.

The opportunity to wear the red, white and blue has been tantalizing for me since an early age. Few honors are bigger for an athlete than to be asked to represent the United States on the world stage.

My mom loves to tell the story of my youth when I’d say, “It’s time to do the flag.” I would stand in front of the TV with my hand over my heart as the national anthem played for an Olympian who just won a gold medal.

We laugh as we remember those moments now. The appreciation for such moments hasn’t changed.

I’ll stop, listen and enjoy every time “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played in Tokyo. I suspect it will happen quite a few times.

Everyone seems to have a favorite Olympic sport. During the Winter Games, I gravitate to the bobsled coverage. In more recent years, I’ve found curling to be mesmerizing and captivating.

At the Summer Games, the pool sports grab my attention. Swimming, diving, water polo … count me in to watch them all.

Mainstream sports don’t excite me at the Olympics. USA Basketball is a collection of incredibly talented players whose lifelong goal was to play in the NBA or win an NBA championship. They may have dreamed of being an Olympian, but it wasn’t their singular pursuit.

Olympic dreams have driven swimmers, divers, sprinters, high jumpers, gymnasts and equestrian riders since they started. The emotion we witnessed from them during the U.S. Olympic trials was gripping and telling.

It gets ramped up exponentially in Tokyo.

That makes it must-see TV. For the next two weeks, nothing will be better to watch.

Today, I’m feeling very Olympic. I want that feeling to last.

Matt Schuckman is the editor of Muddy River Sports.

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