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.
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