Anyone who has been to the Olympic Games knows that it's about much more than the medal tally at the close of the games.
To me, the Olympics are just as much about the fans who travel across the world, sport the silly hats, paint their faces patriotic colors and are wrapped head to toe in their nation's flag for the mere experience of cheering on their countrymen. These fans who lose their voice because they are chatting U-S-A or Can-a-da or Ger-man-y or I-ran until the bitter end.
When the athletes see the sea of their countries' flags and hear the chats urging them on, it gives them this the extra boost. It lets them know that they aren't the only ones out there in the rink, on the slopes, or on the track. The support makes a world of difference to the athletes.
I know there is a reason that the Canadians won fourteen gold medals at their home games. The lines wrapped around the block, just to get into a local pub to watch the gold medal U.S.A. vs. Canada game, helped gave Canada that little edge to push them onto the top of the podium.
I know that the hoards of Americans screaming Billy Demong's name made a difference as he surged forward on the final lap of the Nordic combined event to win America's first gold medal in a Nordic skiing event.
And I know that there is a reason that Bode Miller has won all of his Olympic medals on North American soil where you will surely find a plethora of stars and stripes waving at the bottom of the run.
I always say that no one gets to the top alone. It takes a team. And often a stadium of support. But if you ask most athletes who truly led their rally cry, it's often their parents.
I know that my parents sacrificed as much as I did to get me to those Olympic Games. I know that my gold medal win meant just as much to them, if not more, than it meant to me. And it truly meant a GREAT deal to me.
I love the new commercial out for Olympic sponsor Proctor and Gamble that asks, "Is there anything better than being a U.S. Olympian? There is, actually. Being that U.S. Olympian's mom." The commercial brought me to tears, because now being a mother myself, I know this must be true.