– by Chief Global Gal Brenda
For me the Olympics are pure magic! Having attended four Olympics, these days so many amazing memories of the events, the athletes, and the host cities, have come flooding back to me. I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to attend the Olympics in Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000), Athens (2004), and London (2012) and I am definitely wishing I was in Rio!
After attending my first Olympics in Atlanta, I was hooked! Attending the Closing Ceremonies was so unbelievable and for once in my life I understood what the words “sensory overload” really meant as I simultaneously watched the fireworks, listened to the opera singer, and cheered the lighting of the torch with the rest of fans. I will be forever grateful to the gal who sold me a single $600 ticket for a mere $75, because she told me she knew that I was a gal traveling solo and wanted to give her ticket to someone who would enjoy and really appreciate it.
While I’ve loved attending the sporting events at the Olympics, by far my favorite memories have been meeting so amazing people from around the globe and celebrating together for one common purpose. I always say that it is truly one of the few times when the world seems to really unite and celebrate together. You can literally feel the excitement and magic in the air!
However, beyond the festivities and the games themselves, for me the Olympics conjure up memories of a very special “love story” – my own! After moving from Iowa to Australia in 2000, I coincidentally met a boy from Iowa on the Closing Ceremony Night of the Olympics in Sydney, while watching the magical firework show over the Sydney Harbor… Four years later, that same boy got down on his knee and proposed to me (on the eve of the Athens Olympics) on a cliff at sunset on the romantic island of Santorini! We celebrated our engagement at the Athens Olympics the next day and the first gal I was able to share my big news with–and show my ring to–was Katie Couric of the Today Show! Eight years later, my husband and I journeyed to London to stay with my friend, who had been one of my bridesmaids, and attend the 2012 Olympic Games together!
While we had planned to attend the Rio Olympics, and weren’t able to due to some family health challenges, we are already looking forward to the next Olympics in Japan. We will soon be setting up a Global Gals group there and, who knows, maybe by the next Olympics they can help welcome and host us Global Gals! Anyone interested in joining us in Tokyo in 2020? I promise it will be a magical once-in-a-lifetime event!