I’m An Olympic Hopeful

Panathenaic amphora, ca. 530 b.c.; Archaic, Attributed to the Euphiletos Painter
Greek, Attic, Terracotta – from the Metropolitan Museum.

I’ve had some minor athletic successes in my life. I once ran a marathon. The pace was less than half of a world class runner, but I finished, and that’s enough to make me an Olympic hopeful.

No, I’m not delusional. I realize that I’m probably not genetically endowed to be great in any Olympic sport, and even if I had the potential, I’m probably past the age where I could qualify, besides which I lack the time and drive to push myself to be my best. Professionally I can reasonably aspire to excellence. When it comes to athletics, however, I’d be happy with very good, and 10-15 lbs less body fat. That’s doable.

That’s where being an Olympic hopeful comes in. Every two years I become a couch potato and view many hours of television watching athletes compete in the Olympics. That in turn inspires me when I later exercise. As I previously noted, you have to find the right motivation. On the treadmill I imaging I’m competing in the 5000 meter run and the cheers of the crowd push me on. While doing bench presses I summon the image of an Olympic weightlifter struggling, and ultimately lifting a 500 lb weight into the air. And that makes me try a little harder.