Regner: Let the Games never end

The Sochi Games open at Fisht Olympic Stadium on Friday.

Robert Hanashiro/Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

My love of the Olympic Games, especially the Winter Games, can be traced to my childhood addiction to "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle."

I spent every Saturday afternoon as a kid watching Rocky and Bullwinkle. It’s a great program, and as I get older, it only gets better. I’m still a big fan.

Following Rocky and Bullwinkle was another great show, one that opened my eyes to the world of athletic competition. ABC’s "Wide World of Sports" was a show like no other.

They traveled the globe presenting every sport imaginable — from international cliff diving, to barrel jumping, to the demolition derby, to surfing.

But it was their coverage of the Olympic sports that captivated me. I learned so much about the Olympics and the athletes that by the time the Games rolled around, I was primed and ready to watch.

While I was growing up, ABC televised the Olympic Games, and through 1992, the Summer and Winter Games were held in the same year. So ABC’s Wide World of Sports was an Olympic cornucopia leading up to the Games.

Honestly, the winter sports were as esoteric as they get. Even skiing was foreign to me.

Sochi 2014

Watching ski jumping, the bobsleigh, the alpine-skiing events, the luge, and in later years, skeleton and snowboarding is a rush. Beyond the speed and the competition, what’s really appealing is the risk the athletes take. One mistake could cost them their lives.

Without trying to sound like a ambulance chaser or a gawker, there’s something exhilarating about watching somebody put their life on the line. It was difficult for me to turn away from it as kid, and it continues to be tough for me today.

Let me be clear, I don’t watch hoping to see an athlete seriously injured or killed while competing — although that’s a possibility. My driving force is to witness the triumph of the human spirit.

For years, I’ve been asked why I chose covering sports as my occupation, and I always say the same thing: "It’s the only thing I can think of where mind can conquer matter. Athletes can will themselves to do the impossible."

Whenever an athlete pulls off a feat that defies logic, they’re asked how they did it. And often they reply, "I don’t know."

That’s what makes sports great. That’s why I won’t be able to tear myself away from these Winter Olympic Games.

And I owe it all to a flying squirrel and a dim-witted but lovable moose.