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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Not quite an Olympics junkie

  • Courier-Post columnist Danny Henley reveals who the "Olympics junkie" is in his household.


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  • Have you been following the Olympics in your household?
    In the Henley home, the TV has pretty much been tuned non-stop to NBC’s coverage of the Games in London. But the person controlling the television remote is not necessarily the one you might suspect.
    While I don’t know that viewer demographics would bear out my assumption that most diehard sports viewers are males, when it comes to watching the Olympics it’s not me who is hogging the TV remote.
    Call me unpatriotic, but I’d rather listen to the Cardinals on the radio as they try to keep the Cincinnati Reds within sight in the National League Central Division than watch an evening of gymnastics and swimming. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for U.S. gold medal winners such as Michael Phelps, Gabby Douglas, Serena Williams, Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte and Kimberly Rhode, to name just a few, but it’s just not something that inspires me to jump out of my recliner while screeching, “U-S-A,” at the top of my lungs.
    Even though my wife, Nancy, was at one time a gymnast and still enjoys watching that event, she is not the driving force behind our regular viewing of Olympic events this past week.
    To my surprise, our family’s Olympic fan has been my 16-year-old daughter, Anna, who will literally spend hours during the day and night sprawled in the recliner watching the different sports, pausing only long enough to fire off texts to friends and family on her iPod.
    Anna not only has been watching, she has in some instances gotten emotionally charged by different situations that have arisen. For instance, she was highly annoyed when the Japanese men’s gymnastics team filed a protest over the scoring of a controversial dismount. Because the protest was ultimately upheld it cost Great Britain’s men a silver medal and pushed the Ukrainians off the medal podium. After that Anna was openly rooting against any athlete  representing the land of the rising sun.
    Where did my daughter’s taste for all things Olympic come from? Four years ago, when the Games were staged in Beijing, Anna had only a casual interest.
    My theory is it has to do with her older brother, Jacob, and his wife, Whitney. The day after the opening ceremonies, Jacob and his bride stopped by our house for lunch en route from Wisconsin to Kansas City. During the course of our conversation, Whitney remarked that she and Jacob are “Olympic junkies.” That comment may have planted the seed in Anna that the Games are indeed worth watching.
    As I thought about writing this column, I considered putting my daughter in the “Olympic junkie” category. However, on Friday night she took mercy on me and took a break from her Olympic viewing to watch a couple of movies with me. The only Olympic diversion from the movies was when she switched over to watch Michael Phelps win his last individual gold medal. I didn’t mind the movie interruption, considering I was passed out in the recliner.
    Page 2 of 2 - I found it interesting that the members of the U.S.’s gold-medal-winning “Fab Five” women’s gymnastics team recalled being inspired to take up the sport by watching past Olympics.
    Do I think my daughter has what it takes to one day be an Olympian? Probably not really, based on the sports that are currently offered.
    However, if at some point in the future message texting was to be considered a sport, taking the place of say badminton, canoe slalom or equestrian dressage, there might be hope for my daughter to not only qualify, but be a serious medal contender. The big question then would be how we’d scrape up the money necessary to pay the taxes on the medals she won.
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