The Olympic Motto: Faster, Higher, Stronger.
I love watching the Olympics, winter and summer, but I think the Winter Olympics are my favorite. That is mainly because I was a competitive figure skater while growing up. When I first started lessons I had those Olympic dreams that so many young girls have when the start skating. Obviously, that wasn't in my future, but skating was a great experience anyway.
I feel bad for Michelle Kwan. She had to withdraw from this Olympics due to a groin injury. This was her last chance to get the one title that she lacks, that of Olympic Champion. But apparently, that was not in the Plan for her. I think she'll be just fine with all the other accolades she's earned over the last decade. Perhaps her lesson in this is to be happy with the achievements she has had and not to mourn too much for what has eluded her. That's a good lesson for all of us. And that's one reason why the Olympics are important for more than just the athletes who compete. We all can learn lessons in sharing these experiences with these athletes.
Another reason I love watching the Olympics is because I am amazed at the extremes to which people can push their physical abilities. And it's interesting how each sport's athletes are built for those sports. Look at the light, thin bird-men of the high jump. These guys are all tallish and very thin which makes it easier for them to glide longer and farther through the air. Some of these guys have the height and weight of supermodels, i.e. 5'10" and 135 lbs. I do wonder if they starve themselves to stay light and keep that advantage for their sport. This athlete anorexia isn't uncommon, but I hope that it's less common now than it was in the past. Then you have the downhill skiers who are bigger and heavier which helps them gain more speed. Some of them are 5'10" and weight nearly 100 pounds more than those bird-men. But they have to be that big and strong and sturdy to be able to go 80 mph on just their legs and slabs of fiberglass, metal, and whatever else skis are made of. Can you imagine? I don't usually drive that fast. I just can't imagine skiing down a huge, steep mountain going faster than a car. With only my legs. Wow!
And many of the Winter Olympic sports have evolved from the apparatus that people developed to move through cold, snowy environments. The bobsled and luge might seem purely recreational now, but they come from practical sleds that people used to get around. Who was the first person to decide that it would be fun to start racing their sleds down icy tracks? Most of these sports involve an element of dare-devilishness. Maybe they should add 'Fearless' (Impavidus?) to the Olympic motto?
And I'm a fan of the newer events too. The snowboarding events are fun to watch, and I'm glad that the Olympics are evolving with the times to include these newer sports. But there are also events that are no longer part of the games. One is the figures portion of the figure skating competitions. I kind of hate the demise of this event because it requires such precise control of your body and skates to make these circles and turns and to be able to retrace them exactly. But in these days of flash and daring and TV ratings the triple jumps and freestyle skating have taken over.
I wish good luck to all the competitors in Torino. I'll be watching!
And here's a question: If you were a Winter Olympian which sport would you choose?
EDIT: The kids are home today because the roads were icy this morning. Their being here has upset my ability to concentrate (hey, it sounds like a good excuse to me!), and I've decided that I did not express myself well enough in this post. I meant to better explain that one of the cool things about the Winter Olympics is that it illustrates as much people's ingenuity in improving their apparatus as it showcases their physical abilities. I meant to give examples of the ways in which the equipment various sports use have been improved over the years to help improve the athletes' performances. It is truly an exhibition of the collaboration between man and his implements. Okay, not that I'm expressing myself any better now, but I just wanted to add that little bit.