Watch Olympic Glory Unfold Live

Exactly one year from today, the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will begin.

Once every four years, for just 16 days, the entire world comes together.  For this brief moment in time, everyone across the globe is glued to the edge of their seats, captivated by valiant and seemingly impossible feats, crushing losses and triumphant victories. We collectively hold our breath waiting in anticipation.  We laugh and we taste tears together.  And when it’s over, we are left… inspired.  This is the Olympic Games.

There is just something about sports that has the ability to bring the world together.  I think it’s because sports is often the perfect analogy for life, we can all relate to it.  Elite athletes face challenges and struggles throughout their journey to the top of the podium.  They must have the determination, perseverance and faith to push through, overcome, and live out their lifelong dream.

While these athletes have amazing stories, they are only seen and told every quadrennium. But with technology today we have a unique opportunity to see it in real time straight from the athlete. You have the chance to travel that road to Rio with them, all the ups and downs and bumps and bruises.

Now is the time to start watching the athletes. Yes watching the Olympics is exciting and you get some back story there, but if you start discovering athletes to watch now and follow their journey through to Rio, you will be hooked, intrigued and invested in how their attempt turns out.

When you become part of their journey, begin to cheer them on along the way, and you build a connection with that athlete. And you get the unique opportunity to watch it all unfold.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympic from l-r: Me, Michael Phelps, Dara Torres and Thomas Finchum

Professional sports have their big game or event every year. But the Olympics is once every four years, which for a lot of athletes means once in a lifetime. A few get multiple opportunities but not many. So many crucial details like age, ability, no major injuries, and qualification have to line up all at the exact right moment just to get to the Olympic Games. Then only one will come out on top.

And these athletes often put “normal lives” on hold to pursue this grand dream of Olympic glory. Some put off college or careers and others choose to wait to start families. Each athlete has invested blood, sweat, tears, time, money and their whole heart to this singular moment which sometimes boils down to mere seconds on the clock.

A great way to start discovering athletes and stories to watch is to visit TEAMUSA.org. This is the homepage of the US Olympic Committee who oversees all of the sports governing bodies. They have all of the latest sporting news and stories.

When you find athletes you like, follow them on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Make sure you turn on notifications on Facebook so that their updates show up in your newsfeed. Make a list on Twitter of your favorite athletes so you can make sure not to miss anything. I have an “Athletes to Follow” list on twitter and will be continually adding to it if you want to start there.

But I highly recommend you start today. The inspiration you’ll get from following these athletes will amaze you. And I can guarantee you, as inspiring as the Olympic Games is, some of the most amazing moments happen leading up to it and off camera.

Me with Ronda at the pool at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

And you never know who the people you meet along the way will go on to become. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, one of my diving teammates and I lived in a suite in the athlete’s village with some judo girls. We all became friends and cheered each other on. One of these roomies, became the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic medal in judo. And since then Ronda Rousey has become an actress and is undefeated in the MMA.

Let me know who your favorite athletes to follow are because I’m always looking for more!

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