He looked up at me, and asked, “Um, who do you want me to make it out to?”
There he was. Just three feet away from me. Seated at a table signing posters. Greg Louganis. The most decorated diver in Olympic history.
“Well,” I replied, “would you mind saying something like, “To DeeDee, Thanks for the wonderful evening.”
“Allrightythen.” And he did.
Okay, he didn’t say “allrightythen.” But, I’m sure he thought it. I’m sure he also thought, “this girl doesn’t get out much.”
Which would be beside the point.
The year was 1986. Ish. I found myself working at the same convention that Greg Louganis was promoting, well, whatever Olympic divers promote. Bottled water, I suppose.
I still have that poster. Neatly wrapped up in a cylinder along with my vintage Tom Selleck poster. (No, I never met him, just ended up with the poster.) The word you might be searching for to describe me in the 80’s, would be LOSER.
Greg Louganis was my only brush with Olympic greatness. Well. I did get to see the Olympic torch when a local newscaster ran through downtown Burbank carrying it during the summer of the 1996 Olympics. Which, if the truth be told, made me tear up. But then, so does a good Hallmark commercial.
I remember watching my first olympics in 1972. I was mesmerized by a tiny pixie girl with pig tails, named Olga Korbut. And I remember seeing her breakdown and weep after an event. I thought to myself, crybaby.
Because I hadn’t yet cultivated the empathy gene.
And as much as I loved to watch her, I didn’t want to be a gymnast. Miss America, yes, but gymnast, no.
Not even Nadia could woo me in the 1976 olympics.
I think that, even then, I instinctively knew that my spaghetti arms and legs would never sustain me on a two inch beam. Or six inch. Whatever. And then you have that leotard giving you a wedgie on National TV. Um, pass.
I have circles under both eyes from staying up much too late to watch the Olympics with my girls this week. Emme cannot decide if she wants to be Shawn Johnson (the pint sized gymnast), or Michael Phelps (the AMAZINGLY AWESOME UNBELIEVABLE swimmer), or Misty May-Treanor (beach volleyball).
I’ll give her a clue. Since she’s going to hit 6 feet tall by the time she’s 14, gymnastics are out. And who could compete with those tiny Chinese gymnasts anyway. Which btw, if they are really 16, I will eat my own underwear.
Beach volleyball is a NO because, HAVE YOU SEEN THOSE SWIMSUITS THEY WEAR? She’d be picking sand out of places that sand should never be.
I think her best bet is swimming. Fiddledaddy was a swimmer. And she will be long and lean. And the swimsuits are flattering. While I’m on the subject, I’m so glad that the swimmers no longer have to worry about losing their speedos when they dive in. Way to cover up. Can I hear an amen?
At any rate. A whole weeks worth of nail biting has nearly done me in. I watched the men’s Swim Relay at 5:00 Sunday morning. A stunning victory. That Mrs. Phelps should be awfully proud of her baby boy.
I hope I can sustain that kind of grace as I sit in the bleachers at the 2020 games, watching my sweet girl don a swim cap and goggles. Although, keeping the cameras unknowingly trained on Mrs. Phelps as she applied her lip balm, for 30 seconds, was excessive. Even by Olympic standards.
So, what was you very favorite event? I have to say that mine was the swimming.