“Did you guys compete?”

kim glass tyra banks Beijing Olympic 2008

Date 21/08/2008
Location: Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Semi Final Volleyball Women: USA-CUBA

“Tyra! Tyra Banks!” Are we at the studio of America’s Next Top Model? We have told at home that we would be going to the Olympics. Well, don’t worry. We are and we just witnessed a great match of volleyball. A smooth 3-0 victory against Cuba gives the Americans their ticket to the Olympic final. Then why are we calling out for Miss Banks? And did she respond?

There are many things about the Olympics that make it special. The high level of competition, the incredible density of sports and the atmosphere amongst fans from all over the world.

But there is more. Something that sets the Olympics apart from for example Football. There is still, although at risk due to further commercialisation, a feeling of being part of the Olympic Family. There is a certain closeness with the athletes at the Games. This suits our behaviour as 12-year olds. And 12-year olds sometimes do funny things. Getting a signature for example from Olympic athletes.

“Tyra! Tyra!”. After the Cuba match the American players meet up with their loved ones. We stand close and see the emotions. Athletes are often separated before and during the Games from their families. They have only occasionally the chance to meet up and exchange a hug. After a few minutes we see that somebody is pointing out to Kim Glass (that is in fact her real name 😊), that two Orange guys are waving at her. She nods and comes in our direction. Our “Tyra, Tyra” call out did work. And not only because Kim Glass really looks like Miss Banks. I find out later that she actually díd audition for America’s Next Top Model!

We get our autograph. But we get much more then that. In the exchange of a few words she asks thé question that we were longing to hear for years; “Did you guys compete?”. I have no reply. No words pop up. We, compete? Here in the Olympics? We are two guys in our mid 30’s! The only Olympic discipline we are qualified for is Tickethunting. Ray is quicker and replies “Yes”. “In what discipline?” is the next unbelievable question; “Track and Field!”. I look at Ray and smile. His dream of participating in the Pole-vault at the Olympics suddenly seems real now.

These seemingly small interactions make the four year pause between summer Olympics worth the wait. Part of the Games. Part of the dreams.  “And how did you guys do?” “Ok!” Is the answer. Yes. Indeed. Ray is right. We do quite all right in the discipline of collecting worthwhile Olympic memories.

kim glass Beijing 2008 olympics volleybal Tyra banks
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