“It Won’t Be Easy, But I Gotta Be Strong”

If I wanna cry, I don’t need your shoulder.” – Vixen

I love the Olympics. Always have, and this year I am greatly enjoying the momentary distractions it is providing me amongst the chaos that is currently surrounding my life.

My earliest recollections of the Olympics were L.A. in 1984. I don’t really remember the 1980 winter Olympics and the U.S. boycotted the summer Olympics that year, so ’84 is really the first time I recall being really enthralled with it. I love uniting and cheering for a common cause and U.S. athletes, and that’s what the Olympics tends to do. In 1984, we had Carl Lewis, Mary Lou Retton, Greg Louganis, Edwin Moses, Bart Connor, Rowdy Gaines, and the U.S. amateur men’s basketball team featuring Michael Jordan, Steve Alford, Patrick Ewing, and my new favorite collegiate player at the time – OU’s Wayman Tisdale. Russia returned the favor and boycotted the L.A. Olympics that year, but it didn’t really matter that much to me.

A lot has changed about the Olympics since 1984, but one constant has remained for me – if it’s called a sport and it’s in the Olympics, I’ll give anything a chance. Want to check out Olympic surfing? Ok. How about mixed archery? Sure. Badminton? You bet. Those shuttlecocks fly 200 mph! Three on three basketball? Of course! Skateboarding? Why not! I made mention the other night to my wife that it seems like if you just stay on your skateboard that you’re going to be in the medal hunt. It was crash after crash after crash, but somehow a lot of those participants were “still in the hunt” at the very end. Shout out Horigome Yuto on your gold medal! Your board-sliding flip flap cross-footed halfcab 180 was soooo sick! That’s just a totally nonsensical smattering of skateboarding terms, and not an actual maneuver, but you didn’t know, did you?

“It isn’t like you never had the chance to change your tune.

Did you think that I’m a dime a dance, well the dance is through.”

I do love watching many of the events, but swimming and the track events are my favorites. There’s just something about the competition where it’s you against the clock. There are no random judges awarding you points on style or content or difficulty. It’s just who can get from point A to point B the fastest. The first week of the summer Olympics features swimming while the second week moves to track and field, and it’s fascinating that tenths and hundredths of a second can separate the best competitors in the world. And it was no different for the women’s 100m breaststroke the other night.

The event was to come down between the world record holder, the confident American Lilly King and the South African, Tatjana Schoenmaker– who had set an Olympic record in qualifying and beat King in their semi-final. King hadn’t lost a race since 2015. It looked like it was going to be one of those two until a high school senior from Seward, Alaska out-raced the two favorites down the stretch in a thrilling win, and in turn set off a party in our underappreciated 49th state. Check it out in case you missed it…

Jacoby became the very first Olympic swimmer and Olympic gold medal winner from the state of Alaska. Good on you, Lydia.

“I’ve been living on the edge of a broken heart.

Don’t you wonder why I gotta say goodbye.”

Couple of things I had forgotten about today’s featured song and video was that Richard Marx makes a cameo in the video (he was responsible for producing the band’s debut album and co-writing today’s featured song) as does Poison drummer Rikki Rockett. Between Poison and Vixen, that was a lot of big, blonde hair back in 1988. Also, why are there only three females at the beginning of the video? There were four members in the band at this time, and in the rest of the video as well. Just seemed odd.

Anyway there are a lot of athletes on the edge of a broken heart who may have just missed out on their Olympics dream, so even though this song is about love, you can also think of it for any such heart-breaking disappointment including the Olympic type. Led by lead singer Janet Gardner, who was born in Juneau, Alaska (Alaska connection!), here is the all-female hair metal group, Vixen with their top 40 U.S. hit from ’88 called “Edge of a Broken Heart”

Thanks for reading.

USA! USA! USA!

sincerely,

the 80’s

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