CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As the giant copper petals were ignited and their flames ascended toward London's skies, the 2012 Summer Olympics opened. For 17 days, the eyes and ears of the world will be tuned in to an elite group of competitive champions determined to stretch limits, break records and most of all -- win.
Everything about these young men and women fascinates us, from their superhero figures complete with Herculean abilities to their fearless attitudes and hyper-developed mental prowess.
Watching these games, it's impossible not to compare our technology-addicted, sedentary bodies to those who are swimming, running, twisting, flipping and diving into Olympic history. I mean, I'm fairly sure they don't recognize the word mediocrity; it doesn't compute and for them, perfection isn't a dream, it's an expectation.
Where's the remote?
A few days into witnessing one phenomenal performance after another is enough to make anyone feel like descendents of an inferior species. So, we search back trying to pinpoint our most recent personal best, only to come up empty-handed and depressed. Self-preservation kicks in and we explore reasons other than our ancestors to justify our lack of superpowers. We need something to keep us from throwing in the towel and giving up. And by now, we're all aware how big a difference even a 10th of a point can make on the medal stand. In any case, we long to feel medal-worthy.
Are they from another planet?
The voices in our head say, "OK, who are these people, and how did they get this far no longer than they've been on this planet? How in the world do they defy gravity and have extra-bendable bodies that also seem to be made of solid steel? They have no problem adhering to the Olympic motto -- 'Citius, Altius, Fortius' -- faster, higher, stronger. Plus the fact they never seem to get tired. It's definitely suspicious." We rationalize these super men and wonder women must be aliens instead of mere mortals like the rest of us.
I can live with that