My first memories of the Olympic Games are dominated by Nadia Comaneci, who during the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, earned the score of 10. It was the first time that a perfect score had been earned in gymnastics. Nadia then went on and earned six additional 10s during the Olympics. She was 14 at the time, just 5 years older than I, petite, determined and focused. I remember the huge grin on her face every time she finished a routine.
In 1980, the American men's hockey team captured our nation's hearts with the defeat of the heavily favored Soviet Union team on the way to the finals. At my house, we watched the game as a family, cheering wildly at the end when the Americans won what came to be known as the "miracle on ice."
In 2004, swimmer Michael Phelps captured Americans' hearts and hopes, winning six gold medals and two bronze medals. He followed up in 2008 with a record-breaking eight gold medals noting, "records are always made to be broken ... anybody can do anything that they set their mind to."
This morning, I woke before dawn to run/ walk 4 miles with Midnight, my black lab. I wanted to stay in bed for a bit more sleep, but knew that we both needed to get up and get out. It does not compare with the training, the sacrifice of the Olympic athletes, nor does my performance, but with a busy life as a wife, mother and writer, it's the best I can do with what I have.
"When we do the best we can," said Helen Keller, "we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another."
I'm looking forward to being inspired by the Olympic Games. Inspired to do the best that I can -- and watching for whatever miracle might be around the corner.