Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Saluting the Winter Athletes

By Maggie

Like most of you, I was fascinated by the Olympic Winter Games. I didn't get to watch all of the events, but I did see several. First of all, I have to acknowledge the progress that the United States has made in mastering winter sporting events. Years ago, the U.S. barely had a presence on the podium. This year. . .wow! Our winter athletes were awesome, truly awesome. We're even medaling in Nordic Alpine skiing and startling the daylights out of the Scandinavian countries who have always owned these sports. Kudos. . .United States athletes. Way to go.

That being said. . .my hat is off to our neighbor to the North, Canada, and the marvelous Canadian athletes. They were a joy to watch---especially in the figure skating events and ice dancing. This was the first time that I found myself more enthralled by the ice dancing than the female figure skating. And the male figure skaters' performances were outstanding--especially our American Gold Medalist who was magnificent.

Still---I absolutely loved watching all of the ice dancers skate to the same tango with the same movements. You could really see the subtle differences in performances---the more fluid movements of one pair, the grace of another, the delicate line of the bodies. And the two pairs who trained together, the Americans and the Canadians, took Silver and Gold. Their performances were outstanding.

As always, the short track speed skating events were riveting. It's fascinating to see them sail around those curves, bodies at 45 degree angles or closer to the ice, fingertips grazing the surface. They're so graceful, yet are ready to break formation in an eyeblink in order to take the lead. And skiing---once there was enough snow on Whistler Mountain---was breathtaking, especially the ski jumping and the slaloms and those mad free-for-all ski races. Plus, the drama. What would Olympic alpine skiing events be with The Drama of the day. Ho, hum.

And then, there were the class clowns, The Kids, the Riders, aka Snowboarders. Here in Colorado, we're used to seeing boarders/riders all over the slopes. They outnumber skiers some days. But it's such fun to watch them at the Olympics. They don't have any "dramas" going on. They're too busy riding and pushing themselves to execute those fantastic routines that I find mesmerizing. Watching them work their boards higher and higher until they're airborne and then maneuver themselves through intricate twists and flips before returning to earth once again. They looked just like all the other snowboarders I've seen---in jeans and shirts, bandannas---and even though they were at the Olympics, they still took the time at the top of the chute to pop in the ear buds, then pull out cell phones from their jeans pockets and text someone, before heading down the chute----ready to ride. Gotta love it.

What was your favorite Olympic event?