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?

20 comments:

Shel said...

Definitely the figure skating. I didn't get to watch as much of it as I wanted to, though.

Katie said...

I always enjoy the men's figure skating more than the women's. I loved the pairs skating this year, just gorgeous.

The snowboard and ski cross just wowed me. Talk about crazy!!

I love all the sports, no real favorites. Okay, just LOVE the Olympics in general.

Anonymous said...

I didn't end up seeing any of the Olympics, but I did watch Blades of Glory, about the first male/male pairs skating team. What a hoot!

Jeanne C. said...

I'm usually a figure skating fan, but this time around, I really got into the snowboarding...especially the women's.
Blades of Glory was hilarious!
Jeanne

Lover of Books said...

I wish I could get back the time I watched Blades of Glory but that's just me. :) I didn't watch much but caught the down hill sking and it was fascinating.

Krista

Maggie Sefton said...

Shel--I know, I had to miss a lot because I was out at night. But I was out having fun with friends, so that's even better.

Katie--Wasn't our Gold Medalist in men's figure skating fantastic? Not only was he a fabulous skater and athlete, but since he was really tall, the long line of his body and legs added even more to the beauty of the routine. Wasn't he even taller than the Russian?

Lorraine--I remember seeing the previews for that movie with Owen Wilson and Will Farrell. What a hoot is right. It looked hilarious. Missed the flic when it came out though.

Maggie Sefton said...

Jeanne--I know--those girls are as fantastic as those guys. Nerves of steel, too. Shooting up the sides of the half-pipe, way up into the sky until they're upside down and then they start their tricks. Wow.

Lover of Books--I think all those skiiers deserve medals for risking themselves on that horrible ski run that was Whistler Mtn. Icy, icy runs. It looked wretched. Too many injuries for this Olympics, too.

Katie said...

Evan definitely was a joy to watch and he's going to be on Dancing with the Stars! Too bad I have class on Mondays, that's one I might have to catch online, just to watch him though :)

signlady217 said...

Go, Evan!! He was exquisite. My absolute favorite in everything this time. He's going to be touring with Stars on Ice, too. (Although my heart belongs to Scott Hamilton) I definitely will be watching Evan Lysacek any chance I get. The girl from South Korea, Kim Yu-na, was really good, too.

Sarah said...

The ice dancing was my favorite this year although it was amazing to see Shaun White hit that double McD thing he was aiming for :-)

Sarah

Andrea C. said...

I love so many of them, but my ultimate favorites are the ice skating/dancing competitions - so graceful and powerful at the same time. I also really enjoyed the snowboarding (half pipe and downhill) and those ski arials? amazing!!!

Sheery said...

My favorite is always the ice skating - especially the women's event. It was particularly wonderful to watch with my five year old this year. She is all about 'The Princess costumes'.

Dru said...

I enjoyed the short track events, in particular the relay race only because it made no sense to me. I also enjoyed the snowboarding event and glad I'm not likely to try that sport.

Helen Kiker said...

My favorite was ice skating - both figure skating and speed skating. I also liked watching curling. I grew up in Wisconsin & saw live curling matches.

Maggie Sefton said...

Katie---Wasn't he mrvelous? I just loved watching him. Wow, he's going to be on Dancing wiht the Stars? I may actually tune in and watch. Nobody else has tempted me, but he could do it.

signlady---Okay, looks like Evan's going to make sure everyone gets a chance to see him move. :) Stars on ice. Love it.

Maggie Sefton said...

Sarah---Oh, that double McTwist thing, I think it was. Super. Just super. I've heard that Shaun has a place in the Colorado High Country where he's built his own super half-pipe to practice tricks on. Can't you picture Shaun and bunches of his friends getting together to work out routines and tricks and dare each other to greater heights---literally.

Andrea---Oh, those aerials were unreal. At least the downhill is earthbound. Way too fast on those dangerous icy slopes. But those aerials----Yikes!! They're sailing up, up, and over the slopes then have to land. At top speed. Those folks have to be thrill junkies.

Maggie Sefton said...

Sherry---I love that image. I had four girls, as I've said repeatedly, and boy-oh-boy do I remember Princess costumes and Star Wars costumes and pirate costumes. Lots of fun. And lots of hard work, right, Mom?

Dru---Laughing at your comment about the short track relay. Got to admit it did look like a whole bunch of people swarmed on the ice at the same time and you were supposed to find someone wearing the same color costume as yours and stick a baton between their legs---all while skating at top speed. Okaaaaaaaay.

Maggie Sefton said...

Helen Kiker---Oh my gosh, Helen, that curling just makes me stare in wonderment. Everyone's getting so excited by this rock moving slowly across the ice while a couple of people are sweeping like mad the ice in front of said rock. One of the commentators said curling combined the best of bowling and housekeeping all in one. :)

Whalehugger said...

Though I watched some of the skiing and figure skating, I was glued to the TV when the hockey games came on. I loves me my hockey and seeing some of my fave NHL guys on the ice was wonderful. Tore Vikingstad from Norway was stupendous, and sadly they didn't make it deep into the games. The US v Canada game, however, was stupendous!!!

Maggie Sefton said...

Whalehugger---Wasn't that US/Canada hockey game fantastic!! Wow! It was so exciting. Those guys both sides played their hearts out. But I was okay with Canada winning. It was a fitting way to end the Olympics in their country. Host country wins national sport.