Jenna Kim Jones: Lapped by greatness: Learning to appreciate the Olympics

Published: Friday, Aug. 10 2012 2:34 p.m. MDT

I've been watching the 2012 Summer Olympics for the last two weeks, and it's been awesome. I sit on my couch and eat anything I can find — Goober peanut butter and jam, potato chips, M&M's, these new Oreos called the “Triple Double” (which are incredible, by the way).

While I win the gold for snacking, I watch and imagine what it would be like to have American gymnast Aly Raisman’s body.

As if!

These people work out every day, all day long. I do 25 crunches and half an "Insanity" workout on DVD, then think I’m pretty great and reward myself with a pizza.

Based on what I can tell, what it takes to be an Olympic athlete — besides God-given natural talent — is a fierce competitive edge and the strength to face more disappointment and pain on a worldwide scale than I will ever know.

Last week, I was trying to figure how to use the deep fryer my husband and I got for our wedding when he yelled to me, “You’d better get in here because the fastest man in the world is about to run.”

Watching Usain Bolt run is beautiful. The form, the muscles.

I stood there and watched him run, went back to my deep fryer and thought about what it would be like to be that fast.

Bolt, a sprinter from Jamaica, ran 100 meters in 9.63 seconds. That’s about 34 feet per second. He is the fastest man in the world — but with even a second of hesitation, there are several other men who would have beat him.

These Olympic athletes are all the best. They race within seconds, sometimes half a second of each other. Sometimes one toe is all that separates the gold and silver medals.

So that got me thinking. Compared to these Olympians, how fast am I?

I can remember playing capture the flag at recess as a kid. It’s fair to say that I’ve always been a little overconfident. When I wasn’t picked first by the team captains, I was always surprised. After the game started I’d run for that flag thinking “I’m unstoppable!” as the wind blew through my hair. I’d throw my legs into high gear and then, suddenly, as if I wasn’t even trying, someone would tag me and I’d be thrown into jail until I’d been there for so long that the guard would just let me go knowing he’d see me right back there in minutes, sometimes seconds.

How slow am I? You’re about to find out.

First, let’s look at some stats:

Usain Bolt:

Birthday: 8/21/86

Height: 6-5

Weight: 205

Net worth: $6 million

Jenna Kim Jones:

Birthday: 6/8/86

Height: 5-6

Weight: ?

Net worth: $1 million smile and a pack of Oreos

My husband and I snuck onto the nearby high school’s track in between football practice this week to record my slow-lympic run. He insisted that I give myself a one-second grace because I didn’t use the blocks that the Olympic runners push off of at the start of their races. I assured him it wouldn’t make much of a difference.

See for yourself in the video. I ran 100 meters in 20.4 seconds. That’s about 16 feet a second. Bolt is more than twice as fast as me.

At first I thought that was pretty pathetic, but then I decided that my sluggish pace proved that the Olympic athletes are totally worthy of all the hype.

These Olympians are amazing. More amazing than we can even understand.

And for all of their hard work, I think it’s important that every four years I get to appreciate them on television with my favorite snack.

Jenna Kim Jones is a writer and comedian in the Los Angeles area. Contact her at jkj@jennakimjones.com.

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