BEIJING (NEXSTAR) — Like fireworks on the Fourth of July, the Olympics brings out the patriotic side in people.

It doesn’t matter which sport, where they’re from, or what the name is on the back of the jersey. When they compete in the Olympics, it’s all about the colors and the name on the front.

“My career has been filled with so many highs and lows,” says American speedskater Brittany Bowe. “That unwavering pride of wearing red, white and blue is something you can’t explain. It’s the honor of my lifetime.”

Bowe carried the American flag in the opening ceremonies. She says when she entered the stadium, the sense of patriotism was off the charts.

“An enormous amount.”

A similar feeling applies to Andy Miele who wore the Captain C jersey for the U.S. hockey team.

Miele hung the flag from his grandfather’s memorial in the U.S. locker room. His grandfather fought in World War II and the Korean War. When the U.S. was knocked out in the quarterfinals, Miele held it together, until he was asked about the flag.

“I just hope we made our country proud,” says Miele through tears.

Win or lose, tears often flow when the competition ends.

For athletes like Jessie Diggins who push their bodies to limits few would dare and train in relative obscurity, the Olympic stage is their one chance to connect with fans who pay attention to their sport

Every four years it’s the whole nation pulling together, and that’s a special feeling because you don’t feel like you’re racing for yourself. You’re racing for everyone back home,” says Diggins. An honor few get the privilege of experiencing.