The price of an Olympic moment

There is something at the Olympics greater than gold

Kerri Strug is carried by her coach, Bela Karolyi, during the 1996 Olympics.
(Image credit: AP Photo/John Gaps III)

What is the price of an Olympic moment? When the Rio Games' opening ceremonies began, we all understood the contract we were entering into: hours of boredom and gobs of mind-melting advertising in exchange for a few seconds, here and there, of shock and joy. The Olympics, in this way, are a lot like life. We have to take in the banal, the pointless, and the painful in order to savor a few moments of triumph.

This is the contract we abide by, and the price we pay. Host cities pay an even higher price, and athletes the highest of all. The deal they make, in theory, is a lifetime of sacrifice and dedication in exchange for a bright charm. Worth wondering is how many athletes arrive at the Games hoping to win not a medal, but a moment.

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