I've attempted to explain my love for the Olympics in at least two conversations this week, and both times I've dropped Cool Runnings into the discussion.
Cool Runnings is the reason I look forward to the Olympics like most kids look forward to Christmas?
Not exactly, but it's a movie that most people are familiar with, and one that displays the best aspects of the Olympics for me: the stories of people tirelessly training for years in unimaginable conditions, only to rise up on the world's stage and prove they are literally the best at some athletic feat. In short, Cool Runnings demonstrates the triumph of the human spirit.
As part of Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics, the city's own Steve James (Hoop Dreams, At the Death House Door) directed this short video:
These are the stories that interest me, and I'll be closely watching for them over the next two weeks. I know the majority of people brush off the Olympics as fixed, boring, superficial, exploitative, or meaningless, but I still believe there are Cool Runnings-like stories that exist in all their purity and innocence. Besides, politics and controversies aside (and there are MANY with the Beijing games), I get pretty patriotic seeing an American win a gold medal.
And medals aside, how awesome is it to see humans run and swim at mindboggling speeds?
P.S. Make sure to see Man on Wire, opening today at the Uptown. It's one of the best documentaries of the year, and though it doesn't necessarily relate to the Olympics, it emotionally hits me in the same soft spot. I'll have a review up next week. In the meantime, check out the praise from Sam Juliano and Craig Kennedy.