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Power Take: Retton was inspirational during Los Angeles Olympics

By Amy Moritz

The summer of 1984 was amazing. I was in elementary school and spent most evenings for two weeks glued to the television, watching sports I had never heard of let alone witnessed in theatrical competition.

Most of all, I was taken with gymnastics and newly-minted America’s Sweetheart, Mary Lou Retton. I was mesmerized by her strength, how this short teenager could create such power. I was particularly taken by the power in her legs, something I didn’t realize at the time women could have – strength and speed and grace in a different kind of physical package. As an impressionable pre-teen, that left an indelible, and positive, mark on my psyche.

It didn’t really register that her gold medal may have been “less than” since there was a Soviet Union/Eastern Bloc boycott of the L.A. Games. And to me, it didn’t really matter. Because there is something powerful about seeing men and women doing incredible things with passion that transcends politics, economics and doping.

Call me Pollyannish, but to me there is still some good in the Olympic Games, some hope that we can rise above the muck to be our better selves. That remains my hope as I eagerly anticipate watching Rio.

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