The year was 1996. Although it would be another 14 years before we would meet each other in Lausanne, without knowing it, we were already sharing an unforgettable experience.
From our respective homes in Dallas, Texas and Pasadena, California, our preteen eyes were locked on the television screen. The US Women’s Gymnastic Team was head to head with Russia for the gold medal and the competition had come down to one final vault by an American gymnast named Kerri Strug. She was the size of a peanut but had the mental focus to rival a Buddhist monk. We idolized her.
As she took off for a running start for her first vault attempt, we held our breath. But then! (oh, the drama!) She landed awkwardly and her left ankle buckled as she fell to the ground. Now injured, the whole weight of the competition came down on her second attempt and weakened ankle. Every little girl in America shared in her agony.
Channeling all of the discipline and preparation and determination that she could, Kerri’s second attempt became a salient picture of endurance and courage for a whole generation of American girls. She set off down the track with the power of a steam engine, vaulting gracefully into the air and sticking the landing on her ONE GOOD FOOT. When she threw her arms up in the final pose before the judges, we all threw our arms up with her. Confession: we still might cry when watching the video…
The Olympics are remarkable. They have a way of accessing our common humanity by celebrating the values that we all hope to possess. After the dark news of recent weeks, we are particularly looking forward to this year’s Games, kicking off in Rio next week (August 5).
Since Lausanne is THE Olympic Capital, we decided that this was a perfect time for a visit to the Olympic Museum to get us in the spirit!
As many of you will recall, the museum was closed for a couple of years for a complete renovation. The exhibits today are interactive, engaging and so creative. The permanent exhibit covers the origin of both the ancient and modern games and boasts an impressive collection of memorabilia.
We loved how playful the experience felt. We learned and were inspired, but mostly we just had a lot of fun. That said, it is a fantastic outing with kids!
Challenge your friends to biathlon Wii style
In honor of the Rio Games, the museum is hosting a temporary exhibit – “Cap sur Rio” – about Brazil and featuring Olympic-themed art from Brazilian artists. It’s a great excuse to stop by for a visit, even if you’ve already visited the permanent collection. And better yet, the temporary exhibit is free!
With the Olympic Games 2016 kicking off next week, there are tons of fantastic events taking place at the museum that you won’t want to miss.
On August 5, the museum is hosting an all-night party with a concert from famous Brazilian Artist Carlinhos Brown, athletic workshops, Brazilian food and drinks and a live stream of the Opening Ceremonies on a giant screen – and all of this until 4:00am! Who said Lausanne was a sleepy, small town?!
Then throughout the two weeks of the Games, the museum will continue with live stream and replays from Brazil every day. It will be as close as you can get to being there without crossing the ocean…
Thanks to the Olympic Museum for a fun and educational afternoon!
The Olympic Museum
Quai d’Ouchy 1
+41 21 621 65 11