Something about watching the Olympics makes me want to put on a sweat suit and work out or play a sport. I often try to imagine myself diving for a hit during beach volleyball or twirling in the air as the elite gymnasts do. It is only a thought though.
When I played volleyball in high school, I was definitely not a superstar. I sprang and twisted my knee and rarely subbed for varsity players. It was worth it. When I graduated, I received the “The Most Improved Player” award. God knows I earned it. Looking back, I can say it was fun. For every serve that made it across the net or serve returned successfully to the other team, those were good times.
It is so inspiring to watch Olympic athletes compete in a way that seems effortless for them. However, the reality is it takes years of dedication and preparation to be an Olympian. I salute them. I also salute their parents. They are the ones who took them to practice after practice, nursed injuries, fueled their dreams with encouragement and cheered from the stands as they traveled across the world to compete.
With a busy schedule, I can only really catch one event here or there. While out to dinner recently, I was able to see the qualifying rounds for gymnastics and some of the swimming events. Those young women and men are absolutely amazing. One gymnast ran so fast toward the balance beam that when she landed she did an extra flip. Good thing this was just a practice run. When she finally went up again, she nailed it and of course was all smiles. We will all be inundated with the Olympics for the next few weeks. but I for one don’t think they will get old. Why? One word. Commercials. They are what keep me watching and frankly what made me want to watch in the first place.
I know the job of advertising is to invite people in and of course, sell something. Well, the advertising during the Olympics has got me. They appealed to what everyone can relate to: the family.
My favorite is the one in which they show the Olympians as children getting ready to compete in events. As they get up on the diving board or suit up for the track, they are young and then you see a glimpse of their mothers smiling with faces full of tears. Every year, big events like the Super Bowl and the Olympics have to think of ways to reinvent themselves. They have to think of new approaches. The motherly approach is a great sell. This approach made me want to watch the Olympics and keep watching. It also makes me want to call my mother and thank her again for her support.
I also wonder what it’s like to share the spotlight that comes from being an Olympian with their parents. Do the athletes like seeing their mothers in commercials? Do the parents like the limelight?
What I appreciate the most is that even though their children are Olympians, they never lose sight of their role as parents. Yes, it’s a competition, but those athletes are someone’s children. When one of the competing gymnasts failed to qualify this week, her mother tweeted that all she wanted to do was give her daughter a hug. At that moment, it didn’t matter that she as an Olympian. She was just what these well-crafted commercials depict: her child.
Every time I see one of the commercials, I think about how the athletes might feel when they see them too. They are probably both humbled and excited that the world gets to see their mothers as they do: their biggest fans. I think that makes the Olympics even more entertaining. But that’s just me.