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Kacy's article

I have to brag and share Kacy's article. She has moved to a different position at the NWI TIMES and is writing a column.

Kacy's article in the The Times Northwest Indiana

Dear China:
Wait -- let me say it again.Wow.The spectacle that was the 2008 Summer Olympics was incredible. The best by a long shot -- or long jump if you're into track and field.An appreciation for the Olympics has always been in my blood. I was born 48 hours before the 1976 Montreal Games. In fact, my first day home from the hospital was spent in my mother's arms watching the opening ceremony.I, of course, have no memory of Romania's 14-year-old Nadia Comaneci scoring seven perfect 10s or her three gold medals. But as soon as I was old enough to understand the significance of it all, my mother filled me in on every detail.

When I was 4 years old, the United States led a 60-country boycott of the Games in Moscow, unhappy with the Russians' 1979 war with Afghanistan. As a child, I couldn't comprehend what a boycott meant, but I do remember bits from the Freedom Games, held in Philadelphia.The red, white and blue stars from the logo of the 1984 Los Angeles Games will forever be emblazoned in my memory, as will the games themselves. Twenty-four years later, I still remember Mary Lou Retton winning the women's all-around title. Los Angeles was where my love affair with track and field began. It was Carl Lewis' first Olympics, and where I learned it was possible to win four gold medals just for running fast. I was 8. It was impressive.The 1988 Seoul Games introduced me to American swimmers Janet Evans and Matt Biondi. I still remember my parents' gasps when Greg Louganis hit his head during the 3M springboard final, then the relief as he went on to win gold.Four years later in Barcelona it was all about the "Dream Team." Now athletes I already knew by name -- Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and the like -- could join together to represent our country. And represent they did. I remember gymnast Shannon Miller being edged out by her Russian counterpart Tatiana Gutsu for the women's all-around gold. On the 20th anniversary of the Munich massacre, Yael Arad became the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal, winning silver in judo -- a symbol of just how far things had come into world.In 1996, the Olympics came close to home. I was still living with my family in Mississippi when the athletes paid a visit to Atlanta. Those Games were special for another reason -- my nephew Daley. Born right before the competition began, it was me who held him during the opening ceremony as Muhaamad Ali lit the torch. Atlanta brought more golds for Lewis, highlighted Michael Johnson's speed and allowed the world to fall in love with Kerri Strug, who vaulted into our hearts with a one-foot landing for gold.I remember the 2000 Sydney Games more for Australian athletes like aboriginal runner Cathy Freeman and 17-year-old swimmer Ian Thorpe. But I won't soon forget the United States' gold medal and world record by the 4x100 medley relay team led by swimmer Dara Torres -- in her "last" Olympics.By 2004 in Athens, my love of the Games -- gasp -- began to wane. I know that Michael Phelps swam, the United States basketball team was beaten by Argentina and China won its first-ever gold medal in track and field. But the excitement I had always felt, the Olympic spirit in my blood, was losing.Fast forward four years, and back to China ...It's weird to want to thank a country that we are so afraid of right now, but the Chinese government, athletes, architects and citizens deserve a big round of applause.Phelps' eight gold medals will always seem more beautiful for me because they came out of Beijing's magnificent Water Cube. Torres' silver medals will forever be sparkling like the building did at night.The Bird's Nest -- with its interesting interworkings of beams -- impressed with both the opening and closing ceremonies and the stunning spectacle of track and field events held there. My shouts of excitement for the come-from-behind win for the American women in the 4x400 relay to the tears that fell after Lolo Jones hit the ninth hurdle and lost the gold will always be tied to the Chinese.Though there was scandal, discontent and discord, the world still came together for two glorious weeks to celebrate hard work, sport and sacrifice.And as far as I'm concerned, my love of the Games is back -- in a big way.
Thank you China.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

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