BANGOR, Maine — If you were blessed with Olympic-level talent, what sport would you want to pursue in the Olympics?
That was the question posed to people at the Bangor Y on Tuesday.
“Swimming,” said Phil Joliat of Holden. “I just enjoy it. It’s a good, total-body workout. I love it. I come and swim five days a week, at least. I work on the Bangor school system and I’ll swim before I go to school as well.”
“Rowing,” said Mike Ceile of Glenburn. “I tried it one time in Austin, Texas. It’s pretty amazing to see everybody [rowing] at the same time.”
Ceile would like to row in the eight-man boat, he added.
Bangor’s Marco Almodovar said it would be distance running.
“I was a long-distance runner in high school and had a five-minute mile in ninth grade,” said Almodovar.
Bangor’s Melissa Brooks and Brewer’s Marie Stewart said they would have liked to try their hand at gymnastics because they enjoy watching it on television.
Dedham’s Erika Payson loves to wakeboard but it isn’t an Olympic sport so she chose gymnastics.
“[The gymnasts] are amazing. They can do things I would never dream of doing. I guess, maybe, if I were in the Olympics, I could dream of doing it,” said Payson.
Christine Lally-Kendall of Bangor said “It should be running or weightlifting.
“But I would really want it to be gymnastics because I always wanted to be a gymnast. I was always intrigued by it but never had an opportunity to participate in it.”
She later explained that she was going to take a gymnastics class when she was a youngster but she broke her leg right before her first lesson.
Bangor’s Kathy Rice was another one who chose gymnastics.
“I was watching the men on the rings and they were pretty amazing. That you can hold your body up on those rings for two seconds and still be perfectly still seems inhuman to me. It just amazes me.”
Bangor’s Jeffrey McClarie would want to play table tennis.
“Just because I’d like to be able to beat one of those people from China. They’re really fast and ninjalike and it would be cool to finally beat one of them,” said McClarie.
Justin Rogers and John Leture of Bangor said weightlifting would be their sport of choice.
“I’ve always liked it since I was a kid,” said Leture.
“I’m not a runner,” said Rogers.
Marcell Taylor of Bangor picked gymnastics because she was impressed with their flexibility.
“It looks really cool,” said Taylor, who was with her 9½-month-old daughter, Julia.
Veazie’s Beverly Nadeau would want to be an Olympic swimmer and Arianna Irwin of Bangor chose the shot put.
“I did pretty well in it in middle school and high school,” said Irwin.
Bangor’s Matt Daigle would want to be a decathlete.
“Why just have one thing you’re good at? Do a little bit of everything rather than just one thing,” said Daigle.
What has stood out for them so far while watching the London Games?
Several of them mentioned swimmer Michael Phelps becoming the most decorated Olympian in history with 22 medals during his career, including 18 golds.
“It’s just amazing what he has done. It appears as though he has a wonderful work ethic and personal ethic as well,” said Joliat.
“He’s a great guy,” said Almodovar.
“He was fun to watch although it was tough to watch him [finish fourth] in his first event,” said Daigle.
Rogers said he liked watching Phelps become the most decorated Olympian “but I also really enjoyed the volleyball, the indoor a little more than the outdoor [beach].”
Stewart said Phelps shared top honors with the U.S. women’s team’s gold medal in the team competition while Lally-Kendall said Phelps shared it in her opinion with 17-year-old swimmer Missy Franklin, who went home with four gold medals.
Gymnast Gabby Douglas earned a vote. Douglas won the all-around competition and helped the U.S. win the team title.
“It’s pretty amazing what she can do when she lands,” said Payson.
McClarie enjoyed the opening ceremonies and said his favorite part was the “pyrotechnics.”
Rice, Seile and Daigle enjoyed watching the swimming the most.
“It’s very exciting. Of any sport I’ve done, and I’ve done every sport here, I hate the pool the most. I hate it with a passion. But for those swimmers to be so fast and actually like it amazes me,” said Rice.
Nadeau liked the synchronized divers and Taylor found the men’s trampoline competition interesting.
“It was cool watching how high they could get just from jumping on a trampoline,” said Taylor.
Leture said the girls gymnastics competition has been “pretty interesting” and Irwin said “just to be able to see athletes like that perform at that level is pretty inspiring. It makes you want to get in there and sweat.”