I dig The Olympics. There, I said it.
I dig the Olympics. I really dig the Winter Olympics. It all started for me back in 1980 when I got to watch the US Hockey team beat those rotten Russians (remember the Cold War?). I’ll never forget that moment when I watched all those hockey players pile on top of each other celebrating the impossible. I’ll never forget how proud we all felt and how happy we all were. Best of all was that Mike Eruzione, the captain of the 1980 US Olympic hockey team played for the Toledo Goaldiggers, my home team.
I’ve got to admit that I enjoy all of the Winter Olympics, even the figure skating and the curling. The strength, precision and timing blows me away. I cannot even fathom the dedication and love of the sport it must take to compete at that level.
Now-a-days what I really enjoy watching the most during the Winter Olympics are the women. The women snowboarders are my current favorites. Why? Because it looks like they are having so much god damn fun, that’s why. They cheer each other on, they celebrate even the small victories with one another and they look out for each other. It doesn’t even matter what team they are on or what country they are there representing. I think that they have not forgotten why they picked up a snowboard and rode it into a half pipe or down a mountain in the first place. I don’t think it was to always beat someone else’s score or best time, I think it was to have fun. If you’ve watched any of the women’s snowboarding events you can plainly see that they are having a great time competing with one another. I’m not in any way saying that these women athletes are not seriously competing against each other, what I’m saying is that they are really enjoying the competition on every level. They revel in each other’s success and they comfort each other when they fail. They are exciting to watch and they are easy to cheer for. I think some of the male Olympic athletes could learn a thing or two about sportsmanship and competition if they bothered to watch these outstanding young ladies accomplish things thought impossible not too long ago.
And then there was this moment: During the finals of the men’s cross country skiing sprint, a Russian athlete by the name of Anton Gafarov crashed and tried to finish the race with a broken ski. Well, he then crashed again and this time his ski broke in two. Watching this all take place was the Canadian cross country skiing coach Justin Wadsworth. Justin decided to act like a human being, he ran out onto the course and replaced Anton’s busted ski with a ski from his own team. Anton finished the race, almost three minutes behind the leaders, to a crowd giving him a standing ovation. Later, during an interview with the Toronto Star, Justin said "It was like watching an animal stuck in a trap. You can’t just sit there and do nothing about it. ... I wanted him to have dignity as he crossed the finish line."
These are the things that I’ll remember about the 2014 Winter Olympics. These and hopefully a lot more because as of the writing of this, the Olympics are not even half over yet. If you’re not watching any of this then I’m sorry because you are really missing something that's pretty cool. It’s very easy to forget or ignore the athletes and events when all you’re seeing and hearing about are the conditions of the hotels, stray dogs, gay rights, etc. Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s pretty fucked up that a country as large and powerful as Russia fears giving gays the same respect and rights as all of its citizens.
One more thing: Who hasn’t thought it would be kick ass to see fat bikes bombing down the freestyle course or racing down the slalom course?
Am I right?
Damn right I’m right.
PS. Racing still sucks.