With the same swiftness they arrived, the London Olympic Games are now gone. The seven years of planning came to fruition, and now I know how parents feel when their children go from newborns to college grads.
Although summer Olympic competition will pause for four long years, there are ample ways for us to follow our favorite Olympic stars in the meantime.
If you fell in love with the infectious smile of Gabby Douglas, the bountiful tears of Aly Raisman, and the unrivaled sass of McKayla Maroney, you don’t have to say goodbye just yet. The gymnasts will be going on a national tour this fall to cities including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Broomfield, Colo., Chicago and Boston.
If your fascination was fixed on the pool, you can see Missy Franklin swim in exciting high school meets in Colorado that match Olympic races in the sense that people swim. Or you could see what Ryan Lochte is up to in Gainesville, Fla., before he gets swept up in a whirlwind of post-Olympic appearances.
Perhaps it was platform diving that simultaneously took your breath away and captured your attention. American diver Nick McCrory will compete another season as an NCAA athlete for Duke, all the while staying at the top of his game so maybe he, too, can reach the Olympic heights like those of compatriot David Boudia.
Ashton Eaton, the best decathlete in the world, claims he will continue to train for Rio 2016 at his alma mater, U of Oregon. (Fun note: Eugene, Ore., home of the University of Oregon, is nicknamed “TrackTown, USA,” probably because the city seemingly pumps out champions like Eaton as frequently as Tweeters used the hashtag #NBCfail last week.)
And if the brutal play of water polo captured a spot in your memory, incoming Stanford freshmen and 2012 Olympian Maggie Steffens is likely to dominate the college scene. Now join me in the collective asking of the question, “Stanford athletes, what can’t you do?!”
It may be hard at first saying goodbye to the Olympics, but seeing our athletes around the country post-Games can make it a little less hard. And using MapQuest to get to them can make it even easier.
Hey, only 1,450 days until Rio!