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DAY BY DAY: Mistakes at home and on the world stage are hard lessons

Despite what some may have us believe, mistakes are a part of life for all of us, even the all-knowing bloggers of this world. I know this only too well. I've had my share of gaffes over the last 20-some years with the Star-Observer. I have always tried to take responsibility for them, it always smacks to do it in front of 6,000 readers. But as my older sister says, "it's a personal growth opportunity" and who can't use those from time to time.

My mistakes are bad enough but are on a very small scale compared to what goes on at the Olympics. But considering what these athletes have to achieve just to be there, and how young, babies really, so many of them are, I'm thinking we need to come up with some other word than mistake. The thesaurus mentioned these: aberration, blooper, blunder, boo-boo, bungle, confusion, delusion, erratum, false move, false step, fault, faux pas, flub, fluff, gaffe, illusion, inaccuracy, inadvertence, lapse, misapplication, misapprehension, miscalculation, misconception, misinterpretation, misjudgment, misprint, misstatement, misstep, muddle, neglect, omission, overestimation, oversight, slight, slip, slip of tongue, slipup, snafu, solecism, and underestimation.

Personally I like faux pas. It's French, the official language of the games, and it sounds classy - something closer to what athletes have earned after the years they've worked to get to the world stage.

And is it really a mistake when a 16-year-old McKayla Maroney flies higher on that vault thing than her male counterpart but lands on her bum. I mean how they can breathe at that altitude let alone get their feet back under them and "stick" their landing?

The gymnasts all get it "stuck" to them in my opinion. I mean really, a hop here or a step there after they cross this huge mat all the while doing amazing acrobatics that appear to most of us to be just about impossible.

I think you should get a medal just for walking around on television in a leotard. And let's not talk about the punishment these young bodies endure. The question is will they be in better or worse shape when they hit 60 for all that exercise and pounding they endured when they were teens?

Some of the weirdest moments of excess come from the commentators but then without them I wouldn't have known how they use their toes to hold onto the balance beam or that the Russians are all divas and a pain for their coach. While I admit I know little or nothing about gymnastics, I find I prefer to hit the mute button and just enjoy what appears to me to be completely awesome.

As for the swimmers, I'm sort of glad it's over. I find myself smelling chlorine wherever I go and expecting my fingers to be all pruney. It was an amazing run for the U.S. and it is nice to see people as "old" as 27 considered to still be in their prime. Apparently swimming isn't as hard as gymnastics considering how many of them come back for numerous games and the gymnasts just go onto "Dancing with the Stars" and playing "Peter Pan." I heard Phelps mom wants him to go onto Rio in 2016. I think she might be a little worried about Mike's post-game activities based on what happened after Bejing. Why should she be any different than the rest of us with 20-something kids out of college and out of work?

And these people don't just win their races, they win by a hundredth of a second. I am grateful to Morgan Freeman and his VISA ads for pointing out just how fast that it - faster than the blink of an eye. Is that my couch potato eye or Ryan Lochte's? Do they do it faster than the rest of us?

It's on to track and field this week, even less clothes than swimming and gymnastics but with a lot more muscles. And after 10 days of hearing the national anthem so often, it is good to see so many succeed from countries who don't enjoy all we do here.

So the bottom line is I will miss the Olympics when they are over with the exception of the inane segments featuring social media and Ryan Secrest. They have been a welcome respite in a very hot summer. And as for those athletes who made their mistakes in front of millions, it might be the only experience I will ever have in common with an Olympian.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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