Rings Around The Rosie

They came to collect silver and gold”

U2

If you’ve visited here before you know I am an insatiable sports fan. I am also a proud American and a huge fan of the Olympic Games. Summer. Winter. Para.

I was lucky enough to attend one, the 1960 Winter Games at Squaw Valley. We lived in Reno, Nevada at the time. My Dad, who was GM at a TV station there, was head of the broadcasting committee. A guy named Jean Vuarnet won the downhill (years later I would buy a pair of sunglasses named for him). The USA beat Canada for hockey gold and Americans won gold in men’s and women’s figure skating. In all Team USA finished third in the medal count with 10.

I don’t remember any of it. I was 5.

Fast forward fifty-eight years and my wife got a job with the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. A pretty big job. A job that meant I was about to attend Olympic Games that I’d be able to remember starting with The Tokyo Summer Games in 2020.

Well, you know what happened.

Thanks to Covid-19 she went to Tokyo with Team USA. Without me. For three weeks my schedule was turned upside down staying up until all hours of the night staring at one, two, or three tv’s AND my phone. After all there was a lot going on. Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of Mountain Time in the USA so I’d get to talk to my bride twice a day. Once when she got up (late afternoon for me) and once when she went to bed (usually just before my morning dog walk). It wasn’t anywhere near enough but it had to do. We’d talk about her day and the amazing accomplishments and bitter disappointments of Team USA on the field of play. We’d talk about her plans for the next day, which events she’d attend, with whom she’d meet. It was my daily job to give her updates on results via a phone app. It was a job I took extremely seriously. So I watched. Night and day. Living and dying with every event, checking the medal count, dozing off and awakening before the alarm, which I had set at 3 AM to watch wrestling, went off. It was exhilarating and exhausting. In the end it was all more than worth it.

I was glued to my devices, as incredible men and women from all over the globe, competed. I watched with pride whenever someone from Team USA took the field. Through it all, Covid sidelining our men’s pole vault medal hopeful, Simone Biles shocking withdrawal, protests, extreme conditions, and no fans, these Games were not found wanting. They thrilled and they inspired. They introduced us to “new sports” and made us remember what we love about the “old ones”. They showcased the best athletes in the world who impressed us with their athleticism AND their sportsmanship.

And as I write this these Games are NOT over. Several events are still to be decided and many medals yet to be hung around athlete’s necks but up to now these are, in no particular order, my favorite Team USA Olympic moments.

Lydia Jacoby and Seward, Alaska

Navin Harrison

Caleb Dressel

The A-Team

Katie Ledecky

Xander

Sport Climbing

Sydney Mclaughlin

Surfing

Bobby Finke

Women’s 3 x 3 hoops

Krysta Palmer

USA Wrestling

Ryan Crouser

Tamyra Mensah Stock

USA Boxing

Valarie Allman

Athing Mu

Nelly

USA Baseball

Katie Nageotte

Lee Kiefer

Women’s Water Polo

Sam Mikulak, Allyson Felix, Kara Winger, and Brittany Reese

I realize that’s a lot of “favorite moments” but MAN there was a lot to like. If some of the names are unfamiliar I humby suggest you look them up. You won’t be sorry you did.

If you were one of the folks who claimed you “didn’t watch” I feel sorry for you because you missed a hell of a show.

Team USA will come home with their heads held high, and they should. Then they’ll turn around and head to Beijing for the XXIV Winter Games. As of now it looks like I’ll be watching those from the good old U S of A too. I know it’s not about me but damn I want to go. Maybe Paris.

About Keith Hirshland

My name is Keith Hirshland and I am a four decades television veteran who has spent time both in front of and behind the camera. During nearly forty years in broadcasting my path has crossed in front of, behind and alongside some of the best in the business... And some of the worst. Many of those people I count as friends while others wouldn't make the effort to spit on me if I was on fire. This television life started early watching my Mom and Dad found, fund and run a local affiliate TV station in Reno, Nevada. As a teenager approaching adulthood I worked for them, first as an on-air sports reporter/anchor and later as a director and producer. Jobs in the industry took me across the country and then to many places around the world. Sports is my passion and putting it on TV has been my business. Production credits include auto racing, baseball, basketball, bowling, college football, field hockey, soccer, volleyball and water polo but the majority of my time "in the chair" since 1990 has been invested in the game of golf with both ESPN and The Golf. Channel ( I was one of the first forty people hired by TGC in 1994 ). I am a fan and I watch TV sports as a fan but I also have hundreds of thousands of hours watching from inside a production truck. I think that makes me qualified to comment, my hope is you agree. I have written four books, Cover Me Boys, I'm Going In (Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat), a memoir that is a tribute to my parents, the hard working, creative people who started ESPN2 and The Golf Channel and a look back at my life in television. Cover Me Boys was awarded the “Memoir of the Year” in 2017 by Book Talk Radio Club. In February of 2019 it was released anew by Beacon Publishing Group. My second book is a novel, Big Flies, and is a mystery that tells the story of a father and a son with four of the world's most notorious unsolved robberies as a backdrop. Big Flies was named “Solo Medalist” in the True Crime category by New Apple Awards. My third book, another mystery titled The Flower Girl Murder, was published in 2018. Book number four might be the most fun I ever had on a writing project. Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis is a mystery, a love story, and an homage to good grammar. It is both the Book Talk Radio Club BOOK OF THE YEAR for 202 and a TopShelf Awards first prize winner in the mystery category. All four are available at Amazon. Book five is in the capable hands of the good people at Beacon Publishing Group and should be available soon. I look forward to sharing new thoughts about golf, golf television, sports in general and the broadcast industry with you. The views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They are not connected to nor endorsed by any other person, association, company or organization.
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