Olympic Reflections

I’ve loved the unexpectedness in the Olympics for many years, relishing “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” I have a love of ski jumping for its sheer beauty and of snowboarding for its risk that is spectacularly odd since I can mount a good bit of fear on a step stool putting books on the high shelf in the bookcase.

I have a big problem with commentators who insist on pushing the microphone and the questions at people like Nathan Chen and Marai Nagasu who have just failed in some way to deliver on their overpromised hype from the media. In their final long programs, Nathan’s skating was sheer beauty along with the six quads that he nailed. Marai, who could have yelled “foul” and gone home after being left off the last Olympic team, instead kept working and performed a near perfect program with a first triple axel. I love when athletes don’t take failure as the final answer but get back up and nail their challenges.

I may need to take back some words I said about curling being less entertaining that watching the dandelions push themselves up in my front yard. Evidently many people were glued to the TV for curling matches that seemed to be ever-present. I did watch the gold medal match and enjoyed seeing all the USA team members actually singing at the Gold Medal Ceremony. When they got the mikes to do a bit of karaoke afterwards, it made me glad I had only seen and not heard them. The ladies’ hockey team also sang the anthem with great joy, but no mikes so I won’t critique their musicality.

I think Red Gerard was my favorite character to come out of this Olympics with his “Aw, shucks!” kind of attitude. It was hard to believe that someone who made it to the Olympics would almost oversleep and have to borrow a too-big jacket. At seventeen, being the youngest male snowboarder ever to win gold didn’t seem to impress him. Answering questions about winning the gold medal and about what’s ahead for him, he majored on having fun on the snowboard and just wanting to get a good run every time. In fact, he advised other ambitious athletes to enjoy their sport rather than obsessing over coaches and such. I’m guessing he’s not going to want or need a sports psychologist.

So now I wait two years for the thrills and agonies of the summer Olympics with sports I enjoy even more than winter ones. I can only hope that somebody will teach the commentators some empathy and courtesy in the meantime.