Sunday, February 14, 2010

I Love the Winter Olympics

I love the Winter Olympics, and while the Summer Olympics have their interesting moments, I'm a Winter Olympics girl - 100%.

These next two weeks will find me planted in front of my TV watching the 2010 Winter Olympics. It might be natural that I'm more of Winter than Summer person because of my heavy involvement with figure skating, but almost all of the winter sports athletes are risk takers and their performances will keep me on the edge of my seat *okay, sofa*. 

There are 22 Minnesotans participating in these Olympics. Granted, we are have a couple of athletes who are being claimed by more than one state. Lindsey Vonn lives and trains in Colorado, but we're still claiming her. Pairs skater Mark Ladwig is being claimed by three states - Minnesota, North Dakota and Florida. He grew up in Fargo/Moorhead, graduated from Moorhead High School and now lives and trains in Florida. (Frankly, I don't think North Dakota has a real claim.)

I guess I feel more of a connection with these athletes because I understand their sports (as much as anyone can understand Luge). I think it is so cool that Lindsey Vonn started skiing at the often mocked Buck Hill. The greatest female skier at the Olympics started at Buck Hill!

Skating is a huge part of my life and I'm so blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know many of the skaters competing this year. I'm excited to watch tonight's pairs short program because one of the teams that I've gotten to know will be skating tonight. When the aforementioned Mark Ladwig and his partner Amanda Evora, qualified for the Olympics last month, you would have thought that I won the lottery. 

Two years ago, when the U.S. Figure Skating Championships were at the Xcel Center, many of the volunteers received hand-written notes from Mark, Amanda and the other Florida skaters thanking them for all their work on behalf of the skaters. I was blown away and extremely impressed.  What should also impress you is that they write these notes at every competition they participate in, not just the "big ones."

U.S. Figure Skating selects two International-level judges to serve as Team Managers at the Olympics. It is a huge honor, but also a big responsibility and time commitment. The U.S. Figure Skating Olympic Team Managers for these Olympics are Lorie Parker and Richard Dailey. One of these two will be standing at the boards with the skaters and their coaches during the competition. I know that I'll be one of many figure skating judges watching at home getting excited to see our friends on TV.

The Vancouver Olympics have been impressive so far so don't be surprised if I write several posts on these games. 

But for now, Go Mark & Amanda!


Liz Strand said...

I'm with you on loving the Winter Olympics. I also love the Summer games, but it usually has more to do with the stars that emerge, like Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Mary Lou Retton, Greg Louganis, etc. With winter, the names mean much less to me than the fact that most of the events are things I couldn't dream of doing at any level! Most of us can swim & have had to run on occasion. Hopping in a bobsled & skiing on a mountain are things I've never attempted (1 visit to Afton Alps and about 10 days at Buck Hill as a kid is the extent of my history on skis)! The speeds fascinate me in so many of these events. Plus, my great-great grandfather & his brother, were the first ski jumping champions in the US, bringing their skills over from Norway. I think they must've been insane, but it's still in my family history. Figure Skating has always been my mom's favorite to watch. For some reason, the sight of figure skaters falling makes me feel awful for them, more than in other sports, so I have a hard time watching. Rather odd, I know. But there is just something magical & different about the Winter Olympics!

happygal said...

This is such a great, proud post. I totally agree. (Sitting here on the couch, watching wholeheartedly.)

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