Monday, July 16, 2012

Olympic Dreams - My Snapshot Memoir!

The Olympics have always fascinated me…the glory, the prestige and most of all, the honor! I was fortunate enough to be able to live my Olympic dream four years ago during the games at Beijing.
August 2008 – I will never forget stepping out of the plane as a Physical Therapist and following the color-coded lines through immigration and customs at the airport. When you came through the doors there were people to greet you and whisk you away to the Village— YES the ‘OLYMPIC VILLAGE’ was to be home for the next 2 weeks.
I lived in a 3-bedroom apartment, which I shared with the Indian team. Across the street was the recreation area with video game arcade, soda machines and an Internet café. The courtyards were magnificent with its stone and water features, murals, flowers, trees etc. Everywhere and anywhere you looked embodied the spirit of the Olympics—higher, stronger, faster. A 5-minute walk down the street was the cafeteria…the size of 3 football fields if not bigger. Here you we were all equals; standing in line at a food cuisine of your choice. There were stations for fruit and yogurt, desserts, fusion, Asian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Grills, BBQ and good old McDonalds.
Here you were just another Olympian --- it was here that I got to meet Kobe Bryant and the USA women’s volleyball team. One night I sat next to the Greek men’s basketball team, the next night I caught a glimpse of Usain Bolt getting dinner. I would try and guess an athletes sport based on their build as they walked by with food trays ;-))
The gym and fitness center was an absolute treat to me as I watched various sports train all under one roof, every athlete pushing themselves to their potential, reaching for the best they can be. In the evening I hung out at the players area where we played foos ball, shuffle and air hockey --- just being people
My most memorable moment would have to be the opening ceremony---walking around the birds nest stadium in my colors behind the flag, the flashing lights in the arena, the deafening sound of the crowd, the performances – the drummers ---I still feel the enthusiasm and the sheer pride of being a part of something so spectacular.
My most cherished moment would have to be the long-lived tradition of the pin exchange. You see the Olympics is about brotherhood and friendship – so one exchanges pins of one’s country with a person from another country. You got to share a story, you learnt where they were on the map, you said a greeting in a new language, whatever the exchange – a memory every single time. Some of the pins were more beautiful and ornate than others, some fun amd others were just special. I could go on and on --- what I have besides my memories – are my badge, my Olympian bag, my colors and my pins. 
 Since the 2008 Olympics I have joined a new team, here in New York at Duffy & Bracken Physical Therapy. Were I am proud to help our patients become pain free and assist them in becoming “Olympians” in their own right. If you would like to see any of my personal memorabilia and hear more tales…. head down to the clinic where they will be on display to celebrate London 2012.
Check out some pictures below of my Beijing 2008 Olympic experience:

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