Sochi 2014: Some American Favorites Didn't Medal But Hurrah To All Olympians
Twenty eight U.S. medals later the Winter Olympics 2014 has come to an end. It is probably fitting that the host country, Russia, led the medals race with 33.
I’m sure for every athlete that didn’t place and every race we didn’t win, disappointment may be on the minds of many. But not me.
Although I would be exaggerating, okay outright lying, if I said I’ve been glued to the television over the last two weeks….planning afternoons and evenings around Olympic events. But I can honestly say that for every event I did see, I was, in fact glued to the television for that period of time…fixated even.
Why? Well, for two big reasons. First up, it is nothing short of marvelous to me to watch my fellow Americans…and competitors from other countries as well…do all kinds of tricks within their respective trades as if it is second nature to them. I suppose most of the athletes would, if asked, say just that….it is second nature to them!
But for someone who has dabbled in ice skating….I can attest to it taking years to glide across the ice with the type of skill and confidence that has a person only focused on the next task at hand….whether that be a double axel in a sequined leotard or chasing down a puck while donning a uniform with pounds of pads underneath. I can say the same for skiing. It is a fun, relaxing sport especially on a clear, sunny but cold day.
However, nothing in my skiing experience has me prepared for descending a mountain at speeds that a person should only be able to do when added by a motor vehicle….80+ miles per hour---are you kidding me?? I am by a very, very small margin beyond the bunny slope....yet something tells me the speeds I’ve witnessed in Sochi can’t be slowed down by the “pizza slice” (nod to my skiing brethren).
Full disclosure….even curling had my undivided attention. I’ve watched enough to learn the basics of the game but as easy as it may look to set that big disc on its way to scoring…setting that disc, period, is quite the task—much less within some designed offensive or defensive scheme. Plus who can resist the outlandish outfits and envying participants who drink beer while anxiously waiting their turn. Now that’s a sport worth looking into….hmmm, wonder if my neighborhood rink offers happy hour inspired curling lessons?
Secondly, the amount of dedication one must have to train day in and day out, year in and year out….for, depending on the sport, a few minutes of time whereby it really counts is admirable in itself. Imagine practicing for three years or so with plenty of training days you’d like to forget under your belt…but you always had the next practice to give it your best shot. Then there you are….judges, coaches, parents, competitors, captive audience…both in the stands and a mere millions from the comfort of their homes…are all in place. It is in this moment that you must jump in unison with your bobsled teammates into the bobsled…there is absolutely no take two!
The losses and yes disappointment, is not lost on me. My television was met with a couple of “dang its” during the Games….not having any of our figure skaters, speedskaters or Shaun White medal, and the heartbreaking loss of both hockey teams are right at the top of the list. But there’s no need to wallow….all of these Olympians are champions in some form or another, be it having earned medals from previous Games or having won competitions that put them on the path to Sochi in the first place.
Besides, disappointment quickly gives way to elation when thoughts of the dynamic figure skating duo of Meryl Davis and Charlie White winning gold---the first time ever for an American pair…..snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg simply deciding to try a jump for the first time & winning gold in the process….and my oh my the women going out and showing the world that their rightful place is atop a slope or a half pipe!
Congratulations to our Olympians!!! Now off to surf the web for a late winter session of curling lessons!