Have you been gripped by Olympic Fever? It’s an actual thing – and this house has it. We check the schedule, note results, replay best moments and empathise with misfortunes (#ouch). While we can never forget that the Olympics are notoriously problematic for host countries, the tenacity and determination of individual athletes is both compelling and awe-inspiring.
The absolute best thing about these Rio Olympics is that, for the first time, we have a child who is old enough to enjoy watching them with us! Since we are in the UK (and still on summer holidays) this means many midnight viewing parties cuddled in blankets with some special friends.
I love seeing the Games through her six year old eyes: Her absolute wonder at the strength and commitment required “She must practice a LOT!”, her observations of the joys and sorrows of the athletes “Why is he crying if he won?” and the way she tries to figure out which sport she could one day compete in “I don’t swim that much but I’m good at trampolining – I could maybe win that!”
Together, she and I enjoy supporting the Muslim athletes, especially the women, about whom she wants to know everything: Where are they from? How did they start? Will they win? Do I think they pray before they begin?
I can see her making the connections between herself and these extraordinary women. Elite athletes who look like her, have names like her and pray like her are representing themselves in straightforward, uncomplicated and unapologetic ways and it is exhilarating.
We were crazy happy watching Sara Ahmed win a bronze medal, cheered our hearts out watching Ibtihaj Muhammad do the same with her team and have been following Sifan Hassan through all her gripping races. But, with only four Olympic days left, there is still one Muslim champion we can’t wait to see!
Nur Tatar of Turkey is a Taekwondo Olympian who won a silver medal in 2012 and is scheduled to spar later this week. She is strong and fantastic and a real contender for winning the gold. Are you planning to watch her match? Let’s support her together with #OlympicNur.
Podium or not, these powerhouses are inspiring a generation of fearless young women and girl athletes. And that? We LOVE.
Are there any other athletes or events you are still waiting for? What Olympic moments have moved you?