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This “Shouts from the Stands” submission comes from Charles Hartley:
Enough ice dancing. Enough speed skating. Enough skeleton-ing. Enough about Norway.
Enough triple toe loops.
Enough Winter Olympics.
It’s now time to focus on the 2020 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Japan. We have two years to get ready, and this is the starting point. Here and now we make the pivot.
Look into that Japanese Olympic swimming pool and visualize the guy who won’t be there – or so he says – Michael Phelps. Even if he’s not, we will feel his presence. Michael Phelps permeates all aspects of swimming present, past, and future.
If he’s not there, who will be there to haul in all the Gold Medalsfor the U.S. team?
Katie Ledecky, probably. That will be cool. Maybe she can make progress towards breaking the Phelps Olympic Gold Medal record of 23. That would make for good theatre. We would all get captivated by that.
What about Ryan Murphy? Will he break his own Olympic record in the 100-meter backstroke? Is Lilly King on her way to back-to-back Olympic Golds in the 100-meter breaststroke? What medal ceremonies will be as emotional as the one with Ryan Held at the 2016 Games. Out of nowhere, he made it onto the Olympic freestyle relay team that won Gold.
He cried. It was exquisite. The tears remain fresh.
We have to ask ourselves this serious question, however. If Phelps doesn’t participate in the 2020 Olympics, should the entire event be canceled? Without him, the Olympics are just a few track and field races and some hammer throws plus a steeplechase. Without Phelps, swimming is just another sport. Without Phelps – the greatest swimmer of all time – we are left grasping for somebody in the swimming world to pull us into the drama. It could be Ledecky. It could be Phelps, but he says he’s not participating and that he’s retired. But he’s said that before and come out of retirement.
You might be thinking that the Summer Olympics of 2020 are too far away for us to care. So why write a blog about it over 600 days ahead of time? Because life is about looking forward. We have our futures and they should be embraced with intense contemplation.
Look beyond yourselves. See what the 2020 Summer Olympics could be. Find a way to care about something that you have no reason to be thinking about right now and are not particularly interested in anyway. Just dig in. Focus your thinking.
Read some books about Phelps. His is quite the story. Check out some of the Gold Medal races on YouTube. Find any reason you can to start caring about the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Cogitate about swimming. Start making big splashes as you shower.
Watch some YouTube videos of Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines broadcasting the Jason Lezak comeback for Gold to beat the trash talking team from France several years ago.
Remember how much you love watching the 400-meter individual medley, the ultimate test of swimming skill and grit.
Picture yourself already there in the stands, watching the U.S. team
race for Golds at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
About Charles Hartley
Charles Hartley is a freelance writer based in Bernardsville, New Jersey. He has a masters degree in journalism and a masters degree in business administration.