What people ask when they find out I’m an Olympic athlete: The Olympian conversation
It turns out that most people who haven’t done sports all connect in the same ways to the Olympics. It turns out that I always end up having the same conversation. At first I got sick of the conversation and just never really told anyone that I’d been an Olympic Team member. But some people said, “Oh, no, that’s the first things I’d tell someone when I me them.” So later when I started getting a little more into self-promoting and marketing and building my own job, I would work my Olympic experience into the discussion. So I got back to having The Olympian conversation, and it hadn’t changed in the intervening years.
What’s funny is that I didn’t notice the pattern until my first date with the man I’m now engaged to. He saw the Olympic rings tattooed on my ankle and it went exactly like this. Except at the end he realized, “Oh, I bet I just asked you the same things that everyone else does.” Then he told me about meeting a woman who was almost seven feet tall and realizing that almost everyone had to to her how tall she was. Later he told me about the six months he had a coffee mug glued to the roof of his car as a practical joke until he finally got tired of people “saving” him from spilling his coffee.
Do any other Olympians have the same thing? I hope I’m not coming off like I’m complaining because I know the being an Olympian is an honor and achievement. But hopefully, you’ll also find this kind of funny. So this is how the Olympian conversation goes.
“Oh, you were in the Olympics? You’re the first person I’ve ever met who competed in the Olympics. What sport?”
Judo. It’s kinda like wrestling except you grab the clothes.
“Really, where was that held?”
“Oh, was that that the one with the bombing”
This was so old to me by the time I wrote my Olympic poem that I put a line in the poem about it, “Where more happened than a single bombing.”
“Did you place?”
No. I got 13th, ut really “13th in the world” is also a slightly inaccurate response since my placing depended on the draw and also that in 1996 Olympic Qualifiers were held for the first time in Judo which excluded many tough athletes.
“Do you still do Judo?”
Yes, there are tons of great Judo clubs in Kansas City and I try to work out with them once in a while. In, fact, now I’m working with many of them to create a program called Combat Arts for Recovery to promote all the combat sports clubs in Kansas and have doctors prescribe exercise instead of medication for emotional distress. I’m still working on getting it funded. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GslgEYhU2YE
Here’s a video of the Olympian conversation from Northland Judo Club.
Actually, they only repeated part of it since many of them were experienced athletes and could ask some better questions. It turns out that other athletes always do the best sports interviews since they know something about how sports feel.