Why We’re Jealous of Olympic Athletes

by GoAbroad Writing Team

Olympians are strong, athletic, and adored by millions. Icons such as Prince Harry and Kate Middleton cheer for them. Stars like Justin Bieber tweet them. Influencers like Grumpy Cat turn their frowns upside down at them. They are glorified. They are honored. They are Tivoed. In short, they are like sports Gods.

Soccer game at night
Catch a soccer game this summer in Rio!

But, here at GoAbroad, we aren’t envious of any of that. We’d actually prefer not to be broadcast in slow motion while pushing our bodies to the max.

Do you know what we are jealous of? Their travel.

Olympians and elite athletes get to compete across the globe. Not only do Olympians get to see the world, but they get to have the world brought to them, too. They get to compete side by side with athletes from all corners of the globe, making connections, growing, and being exposed to foreign cultures in truly unique ways. While not all of these athletes can communicate with one another, they all have a shared understanding of sport and what it means to compete. And what it means to love the push.

That’s why we’re jealous.

But we aren’t going to sit and sulk in a green puddle of envy, and neither should you. Anyone can travel, and GoAbroad.com can help. We’ve complied a list of all of the summer Olympics locations; the countries that are chosen by a fancy-schmancy Olympics committee, so you know they’re worth the visit.

Runners lining up for a track race
Olympic athletes do more traveling than running around the track.

What’s even better? Unlike Olympic athletes, who are limited to a hotel room, a training facility, and the big stage, you’ll be free to explore the entirety of each location! You won’t even have to worry about paparazzi. Time to exercise that freedom (even if you’re not technically exercising in other ways).

1896 – Athens, Greece 

1900 – Paris, France

1904 – St. Louis, Missouri, United States

1906 – Athens, Greece (Perfect for history nuts or volunteers!)

1908 – London, England

1912 – Stockholm, Sweden

1920 – Antwerp, Belgium

1924 – Paris, France (A hotspot for international internships!)

1928 – Amsterdam, Holland

1932 – Los Angeles, California, United States

1936 – Berlin, Germany

1948 – London, England

1952 – Helsinki, Finland (A highly underrated place to study abroad)

1956 – Melbourne, Australia

1960 – Rome, Italy (Care to brush up on your Italiano?)

1964 – Tokyo, Japan

1968 – Mexico City, Mexico

1972 – Munich, Germany

1976 – Montreal, Canada (Did someone say French?)

1980 – Moscow, Russia

1984 – Los Angeles, California, United States

1988 – Seoul, South Korea (Join the masses, make millions of won, and teach English abroad in Korea!)

1992 – Barcelona, Spain

1996 – Atlanta, Georgia, United States

2000 – Sydney, Australia (An adventure travel destination unlike any other)

2004 – Athens, Greece (again!? It must be a sign)

2008 – Beijing, China 

2012 – London, England

2016 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (It’s not too late! Sign up for a short-term volunteer project)

Football game on a sunny day
Catch some rays (and some games!) in this former Olympic destination

So while you may shy away from Olympic sized pools or time trials that don’t allow for 12 minute miles, you can still let your inner Olympian shine by following in their well-traveled footsteps. If you’re lucky enough to score a ticket to an actual summer Olympics, take advantage of the mini-world microcosm that surrounds you. Chat with other international visitors like yourself, high five someone from somewhere you can’t even pronounce, commit to squeezing every last ounce of global love possible from your adventures abroad.

After all, you never know when you’ll accidentally strike up a conversation with a bonafide Olympic athlete, your ticket to future travels (and lost races).