Each time an Olympic Games rolls around, I get quite excited. I love to watch the different sports, I love to hear the stories of the athletes and I don't care if Australia wins 100 gold medals or none (well, maybe not none). There are just so many things to get excited about.
But one of the things I get most excited about is indulging in my favourite Olympic pastime - delusions of personal Olympic glory.
I subscribe wholeheartedly to comedian and broadcaster Richard Stubbs' theory - which I like to call the Theory of Olympic Self Delusion - that there is really only several months of pretty intensive training between him and an Olympic berth. I'm pretty sure the theory holds true for me too. My main concern is to pick just one sport in which to excel.
The ageing process has only heightened my delusion. The older I get, the more convinced I am that it's nearly my turn for Olympic glory. So it makes sense for me to look to older Olympic athletes for inspiration.
One of my favourites of London 2012 is the 37 year old gymnast Oksana Chusovitina who was competing in her sixth Olympics. That's right, her sixth. Six times she's represented her country in a sport traditionally dominated by pre-pubescent girls, some of whom may or may not have been hormonally enhanced to ensure they remained that way.
Now I admit that Oksana didn't rise from the couch six months ago declaring boldly that she'd like to have a crack at artistic gymnastics and would her hubby mind holding the fort while she did a spot of training. She's obviously been at it for years. But the fact that she's there at all at her age gives me great comfort that if I did feel like becoming a gymnast, I could. In fact, I would probably be excellent at it and it is highly likely that I would even win a medal for Australia.
Australian rower Drew Ginn is also 37 years old and rowing in his 4th Olympics. He's already got a couple of gold medals and won a silver this time. In rowing. In a boat. With other people to help him row the boat. I've used a rowing machine at the gym. I'm sure it's not much different in a boat. How hard can it really be? You get to sit down the whole time and there's your teammates taking some of the load off. All that puffing they go on with at the end of the race? Must be some sort of gamesmanship.
Then there is American swimmer, Dara Torres, who competed in Beijing at the age of 42. Now, I can swim. I've been doing it for ever, so I'm pretty sure I'd be handy in the pool if I chose to step up for Olympic selection.
But I must admit that my age leaves 37 and even 42 behind. I'm now looking to older and older Olympians to emulate. Topping the list of my all time favourite older athletes is sprinter Merlene Ottey who competed in seven Olympics between 1980 and 2004. She is now 52 years old, and this year was still sprinting competitively, anchoring the Slovenian 4x100M relay team in the European Athletics Championships.
I've also noticed that older Olympians seem to congregate in the following disciplines:
- equestrian, and
The marathon, now there's an event for ageing athletes. Endurance over raw strength and speed. Could just be my finest chance for the glory I feel will inevitably be mine. So I'm off to fire up the Couch to 5km app so I'll be ready for Rio. If hope springs eternal, so too, it appears, does delusion.