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I was three years old in 1984 when Mary Lou Retton scored perfect 10’s on the vault and floor exercise and went on to win the Olympic gold medal for the women’s all around title in gymnastics. From that moment on I was hooked – the Olympics were in my blood. I lived in my Mary Lou Retton leotard for years. Literally. I think I got it for Christmas the day this picture was taken, and I virtually never took it off.
I don’t remember the 1988 Olympics as vividly, but I very much remember being eleven years old and watching the 1992 Olympics gymnastics team with Shannon Miller, Kerri Strug, Kim Zmeskal, Dominique Dawes, etc… I remember cutting out all of their pictures from the newspaper and magazines in order to make posters that covered the walls in my bedroom. I recorded their performances on TV and watched them until the tape went bad. I practiced back handsprings and flips on the trampoline for hours because of them. I even put a piece of wood in the backyard and pretended it was my balance beam. In fact, one of the first trips I was heavily involved with planning with my family was to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. A year or so before the ’96 Olympics, I remember seeing a brochure to send away for tickets in a Coke display at the grocery store. I brought it home and lobbied hard for my dad to sent it away and see if we could get tickets. He did, and we went to the Olympics. That whole trip is a story for another post, but the point is that I love the Olympics – especially the summer Olympics.
Truthfully, I have been ignoring much of the coverage leading up to the events this year as I have just been too darn busy, but that won’t stop me from watching when the opening ceremonies begin at the end of July. Yesterday I researched hotel reward availability in London during the Olympics for a project I was working on. I was a little surprised to see that there are still many standard reward night options with virtually all major hotel chains. Naturally, that got my wheels turning a little. Then today, I receive an email from British Airways announcing a business class fare sale to London for $2012 (all in) during the Olympics.
Clearly that is a lot of money, but for Europe in the summer, in business class, during the Olympics, it actually doesn’t sound that bad. You can knock 10% off if you have the Chase British Airways card, and presumably you can also go through TopCashBack to get a couple percent back. I can’t say for sure that all these discounts work in harmony, as I have never tried them, but in theory they exist. That brings the tickets to around $1800 each. They would earn me just shy of 15,000 Avios points (at 150% for I class tickets), so assuming you value Avios points at around 1.25 cents each (and I actually usually redeem them for much more than that) that is $187 in value from the points I would earn. That drops the real cost even a bit lower. However, at the end of the day, that is still more money than I have lying around in my change drawer. Actually, I don’t even have a change drawer – darn.
Getting there also wouldn’t solve the problem of not having tickets to the events. I am sure that some tickets could be obtained for a price, but that price would be quite substantial. However, that doesn’t stop me from thinking back to the days when I was a kid and watching the women’s gymnastics team compete. Miles, points, and travel dollars can be used for lots of great things, but using them to fulfill childhood dreams is a pretty fantastic use in my book. I would love to go see the events in person, so I will just sit with this daydream for a bit longer……….
Anyone else daydreaming about a trip they know they won’t be able to take? Better yet, anyone have the “spare change” laying around to jump in on this sale?