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Lindsey Vonn, Shaun White made me appreciate the Olympics

I have never really gotten into the Olympics. I suspect some of it is the hype and me just wanting to be contrary. I figured it was no big deal -- sports is not exactly something I have to write about -- until the other night when a colleague who gave me a ride home was simply aghast at my apathy, if not outright antipathy. “You have to watch tonight….It’s the men’s figure skating short program.”

I took up the challenge but frankly wasn’t entranced. For one, many of the men’s costumes were so ridiculously distracting; I found it hard to pay attention to the skating. Mostly, though, I felt sorry and anxious for the competitors when they took a tumble. Imagine spending four hard years of your life getting ready for something and then seeing it blown with a momentary misstep. With no do over! With the whole world watching! So instead of being elated by the competition, I was depressed when Lindsey Jacobellis lost her chance for redemption and was disqualified in the snowboard cross or when Jeremy Abbott blew his skating routine.

That, though, all changed last night. First came Lindsey Vonn. I actually knew before watching her ski that she had won the gold medal, but I still felt the suspense of her gutsy run down that mountain. Even better was the remarkable good will and warmth displayed by the woman she beat out for the gold. But the clincher came with Shaun White’s performance on the halfpipe. It was clear after the first run that White had won; all he had to do was collect his gold medal and then go out and party. I loved that he soaked in the moment, conferred with his coaches and decided on an encore because, as the Associated Press reported, this should be fun. It’s a pretty good lesson, even for those of us who don’t snowboard.

By Jo-Ann Armao  | February 18, 2010; 10:48 AM ET
Categories:  Armao  | Tags:  Jo-Ann Armao  
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Comments

Nicely put. Though I do enjoy the Olympics, I've been an old fuddy-duddy on the x game newcomers. Partly because to the great lengths they go to disguise their athleticism in the raiment of slackerness, I've not really appreciated them. The nonchalant veneer is really grating.

That is, until watching White last night (I didn't see Vonn). Watching him at the tail end of a group of the sport's elite--all doing the usual, frankly dull flips and spins--immediately put me in mind of Usain Bolt. What he did was so exponentially beyond the capabilities of the next best made it look as though he were an adult among children.

Sure, I grimaced during his interview, but that's my problem as an older viewer. Man, did I ever appreciate his performance. That's a real athlete there, friends.

Posted by: abqcleve | February 18, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Ahem. What about Shani Davis?

Posted by: misterhand | February 18, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Funny world isn't it? Shaun White gets a gold medal for a half-pipe, and Marion Barry goes to prison for the same thing.

Posted by: Jessel1 | February 18, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Vonn on winning the gold, but she really did not need to play up her injury beforehand. It's like she felt the pressure of being the women's top skiier, and didn't want to get trashed if she failed, like Bode Miller did 4 years ago, so she had her excuse ready. I mean, come on, NBC last night was saying she frequently gets injured and still never misses a race, so did anyone really believe her when she said last week that she might miss these Games? GMAFB.

Posted by: slwapo | February 18, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

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