Monday, February 10, 2014

Early Olympic Reflections

Are you watching the Olympics? I am keeping an eye on them for sure although I am not exactly glued to the set.

As I begin to write this, not being quite sure what I what to say yet, Canada is tied for the medal lead.

Permit me to feel good about our medal haul because times have sure changed. Canada hosted the summer Olympics in 1976 and the winter Olympics in 1988, but did not win even one gold medal at either. That's never been done before -- not exactly the kind of record one revels in.

Times have changed. We won the most golds at Vancouver in 2010 and have three in these early days.

This is not to brag because it's not as though I have had anything to do with the improvement, but it's sure is better to see my country doing well rather than poorly. It continues to be surprising, as I still almost expect our guys and gals to stumble at every opportunity. The change in performance takes some getting used to.

We are used to seeing stories like this: gold medal hopeful and very deserving skater, Brian Orser, loses to Brian Boitano over a slight misstep, not even really a stumble. The fact that Orser won the world championship over Boitano a month or two later, did not exactly take away the sting. In the same games, Elizabeth Manley outskated Katerina Witt in the free skate but could not make up the difference in points from earlier rounds. C'est la vie, as they say in the province to the east of us.

Both Kurt Browning and Elvis Stojko were the best skaters of their times, but neither were able to win at the Olympics. Kurt had 4 world championships and one second place at worlds but his best finish at the O's was 5th. Basically he was just emerging in '88 and simply didn't do well in '92. By '94 it was too late, for he was in decline. Ah well.

Elvis Stojko won three world championships and came second twice, but only scored two silvers at the O's. Basically, he was robbed in '94 (by politically influenced judging -- in my opinion) and was injured in '98, despite still managing to win the silver medal.

I know there's more to the Olympics than skating, but this seems to be what I remember most, perhaps because during those times, figure skating represented our best medal hopes. However, I am pleased for our Canadian athletes and am happy that all sorts of our athletes in other disciplines are doing so well. And not just Canadians either. The skill that I see as snowboarders do flips in the air or as speed skaters go around corners at 45° angles is awe inspiring. No matter where they come from.


TexWisGirl said...

i hope canada does well. :)

Hilary said...

I watch a wee bit here and there. It was sweet seeing the Dufour-Lapointe sisters win their gold and silver.

Mara said...

I was so happy yesterday when I saw JP LeGuellec (biathlete) all the way up front doing a great job. And then he fell and never got back into it. Such a shame for biathlon and for Canada, since I was rooting for him more than I was rooting for the Norwegians!

Tabor said...

I used to be an addict and watched all the popular ones, but lately with all the new money and technology being thrown into it I tend to only watch in bits and pieces.

Jimmie Earl said...

The Olympics have become so "political" anymore that I refuse to watch. I don't enjoy the summer ones, but I have always watched the winter ones up until now. I just can't get into it anymore. I am still miffed about the whole Tanya Harding/ Nancy Kerrigan thing. It upset me to think that someone wanted to win so badly that they resorted to violence. Certainly poor sportsmanship. And I fear for our people over in the East. It's such a volatile time! Better to just leave the telly off!

Jackie said...

I'm loving the Olympics.
And...I'm so proud of the Canadians' medals. Much deserved.
Sending hugs,

Dale said...

I read that Russia spent $50 billion to stage the games. 50 BILLION. I'm shaking my head here, J.R. Is that what it's become? An opportunity to show the world how much money we have? Harper spent $2 billion to host the G20 fiasco here in Toronto. I'm still reeling from that one.
I admire the skill and dedication of the Olympic athletes, but it seems to be more about money and political glitter today than about athleticism. I haven't bothered myself much about these games. And I hear our hockey players are all professionals. That seems wrong as well.

Gail Dixon said...

I have never been into the olympics, but I hope your country has a good showing!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Not watching tyne Olympics as we don't watch TV at all, but I have been following the news accounts online.