Olympics gather us all

Every two years, something comes along that captures my attention and enthralls me – the Olympic games.

I know I’m not alone.

Each time the games come around, I have no difficulty finding people who are following along with the different sports. Some are interested in the local angle, such as Vincent Chou, the Palo Alto, California figure skater who fell just outside of medal contention. Some are interested in the superstars of the sports like Chloe Kim, the teenage phenom half-pipe snowboarder. Or her male counterpart Shaun White. Some are interested in the patriotism and watch to see if we, as a country, are better than everyone else.

All of that captivates me, but that’s not all. I need the stories like the two sisters, Hannah and Marissa Brandt, from Minnesota competing for different countries in women’s hockey. Marissa was adopted by the Brandts in infancy from Korea and during the adoption process, Hannah was conceived. Now, both are playing on the national stage on different teams.

They’re not the only family story at play on the national stage. The women’s hockey teams are littered with stories of sisters and wives of NHL players and the brother and sister combo of Alex and Maia Shibutani won the bronze medal in pairs ice skating.

There are so many other things that also draw me in. In the same event the Shibutanis won bronze in, the Canadian pair,  Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir took the gold after taking two years off from competition, besting two younger sets of skaters.

Hockey, figure skating and snowboarding are some of the mainstream sports, but I also get sucked into curling.

It seemed like whenever I’m home, I’d turn on the television and there it would be. And there  it would be: the U.S. brother and sister team of Matt and Becca Hamilton pushing the stones and sweeping the ice. I have no idea what curling is until those three years and 11 months pass, and then I learn all over again.

It doesn’t matter the sport, the style of the event, or whether it’s indoors or outdoors. It all captures my attention, and I spend every non-working, waking moment with one eye on the television, waiting to see that next amazing thing you can only see every two years as these athletes take center stage.