Tuesday, March 2, 2010

With Glowing Hearts

I am, without a doubt, a winter Olympics kind of girl. Could be because of where I grew up. Could be because skiing, skating and hockey were the types of sports I was exposed to as a little girl. Whatever the reason, the summer games don't even hold a candle to the winter ones in my book.

Let's just take a look at the athletes involved in each, shall we? In the winter games, the athletes slap two planks on their feet and proceed to race down a steep and foreboding mountain, complete with crazy turns and jumps; doing nothing to slow themselves down.

In the summer games, they run in a straight line for 100 meters.

In the winter games, athletes lay themselves on a sled, headfirst, and hurl themselves down an icy track. Reaching speeds upwards of 140 km/h, wearing nothing for protection but a helmet (or as Seinfeld likes to put it, the helmet is wearing THEM as protection), and maybe a cup for the guys.

In the summer games, they jump in the pool and swim a few laps.

Don't get me wrong, I think athletes in both games are phenomenal. To have the ability, passion and drive to do what they do, is admirable. It's just the winter guys have a little something extra. I love their fearlessness. And that wee bit o' crazy you see dancing in their eyes.

This was the first time I have ever watched an opening ceremony, and I was astounded by the wonderful artistry of it all. Some of the images left me breathless and wondering, "how did they do that?" (the whales? Anyone remember the whales?)

From there I was hooked, watching proudly as Canada won its first gold medal on home soil (Alexandre Bilodeau - men's mogul skiing), and then went on to set the record for most gold medals won by a country in a winter Olympics. I was inspired by the courage of Joannie Rochette; winning a bronze medal in the wake of her personal tragedy.

And of course, I watched every gut-wrenching, heart-attack inducing moment of the Canada/U.S.A. gold medal hockey game; leaping from my sofa and screaming as Sid the Kid deposited the winning goal for the gold into the net. Does it get any better than that?

I know there were many critics of the games, but I am proud of how my home city was put on display for everyone to see. It's about time that the world found out how truly amazing Vancouver is.

But now that the games are over, I'm going through quite a withdrawal. I turn on my TV and there is no snow. No mountains. No crazy athletes.

What am I going to do for four years?


emily said...

did you tape any of it?
we have the olympics from the late '80's on tape, if you want me to send them out. :-)

David and April Vinson said...

I was wondering when the Olympics post would come! I checked your blog just after the ice hockey game just in case. :) I've been waiting! :)

Liz Sobolik said...

AUUUUGHH, the whales were my favorite too!!!!!

HeyJade said...

Seriously, I realized this year that every single Winter sport (except curling maybe) is pretty much a death wish. I mean, geez, doing things on ice/snow is DANGEROUS PEOPLE, and doing them at 90-mph... yeah, DEAATHHHH! I think that's why it's so exciting... I loved every second of it and definitely already miss the Olympics!!!!

Diane said...

Hi Joanne:
Just read your blog on the Olympics. That was the most inspiring article! This should go in the Vancouver newspaper. I have seen a few of them but this was the best and brought tears to my eyes.
The Olympics were awesome. I am proud of our city and being a Canadian (but I did feel sorry for Ryan Kesler). The hockey game was heart stopping and I stood outside of our pub when the overtime came on and waited to either hear a roar from our crowd or moans and groans. When I heard the roar I ran back in. All of our atheletes were awesome as were the Americans. How can anyone forget Sean White - what a cutie!