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Monday
Mar012010

Olympics Wrap-up

The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver could not have ended with a more rousing competition than Sunday's USA - Canada gold medal hockey match.  Team USA pushed the game to overtime on an unbelievable goal with 24 seconds left, but Canadian Sidney Crosby came through as the hometown hero everyone expected him to be, giving the host nation exactly what it had been waiting for these past four years.  Congratulations also to USA goalie Ryan Miller, who was amazing throughout the tournament, and rightfully earned the MVP.  Both teams left everything they had out on the ice. 

As the closing ceremonies wrapped up last night, I thought back on the spectacular achievements I've witnessed over the past two weeks. Lindsey Vonn overcoming injury, Bode Miller finding redemption, Shaun White excelling under pressure, Shani Davis and Apolo Ohno extending their legacies all were true Olympic moments, and they are just the tip of the amazing storylines that permeated these winter games.

For me, the Olympics are the purest form of sports, where high drama is invited and answered as individual athletes rise to the highest pinnacle of competition.  It doesn't matter that many of the sports I only watch every four years, because it's all about the individual athletes rising to their highest ability, and the palpable emotional outpouring of everyone who has stood on a podium with a medal around their neck. 

True, the Olympics may not have the air of fervent nationalism that existed during the Cold War and characterized the essence of the games for many people.  We can not act out our international conflicts on the track or the ice anymore, even though Stephen Colbert still wants to "Defeat the World." But patriotism is not absent from the Olympics, and I am proud of the American athletes who sacrifice so much to share their talents with the world.  They don't compete for fame or sponsorships; they compete for their families and for their country.  It's refreshing to see how much of their own self an athlete can infuse into the performance of a lifetime, which chance may never come again. 

So I hope you had at least one moment during the 2010 Winter Olympics that left you breathless or well up with pride.  I was lucky to have at least ten.  Please feel free to share your personal highlights in the comments section.

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Reader Comments (4)

I fully agree w/all of your views about the winter Olympics and would also like to commend the sacrifice and patriotism every athlete has displayed for his or her country. However, you neglected to mention anything about the sobering death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. It's amazing how this only happened two weeks ago, yet you don't hear the media or too many people talking about it anymore (myself included). Had this happened to an American athlete, the media coverage would have completely engulfed and overshadowed everything about these Olympics. The media would have covered the funeral in the athlete's hometown and interviewed family members and friends and would eventually put the sport on trial questioning its overall safety. I'm very curious about how Georgian citizens reflect on these Olympics and the death of one of their athletes.

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJello

Thanks for the great comment, Jello. I certainly meant no slight in the omission of Kumaritashvili in this post. It was a tragic accident that cast a pall over the opening ceremonies. The coverage would certainly have been different had it been an American athlete, way more than the one or two days it received here. After his death, they did lower the track to reduce top speeds and built additional safety walls, but ultimately concluded that it was "human error." The track was said to be the fastest ever, but Canada did not allow other countries to train much at all on this track or other facilities, so that probably contributed as well. The Olympics had to move on, but now you have me thinking about the unsettling question: could the media have played down the accident for fear of losing ratings?

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Sadly, Georgia is probably more concerned about being dismembered one province at a time by the Russians. The 2014 games in Sochi, Russia are about 30 km from the border of one of Georgia's former provinces, Abkhazia. Russian troops have been there since August 2008, ever since Russia "rescued" the inhabitants from Georgian persecution. This is similar to the justification Hitler used to begin dismembering Czechoslovakia in the 1938 Munich Agreement, ironically also an Olympic site for the 1972 Summer Olympics - and massacre.

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteroscar

Thanks for the comment, Oscar. I do remember that during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing that Russia invaded South Ossetia and the Georgian athletes chose to stay and compete. How awful to have such horrific distractions after having worked so hard for something. Here's hoping that the upcoming Sochi games will allow some international light to shine on that strained region.

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

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