The 2010 Winter Olympics wrapped up yesterday in Vancouver, BC, after a fortnight of athletics, celebration, and shallow attempts at putting aside international politics for some greater good. (Or at least that’s how I’d imagine the residents of “Korea” and “Chinese Taipei” would put it.)
Actually any bitterness I show here is misguided, since I love the Olympics. I’m actually sort of glad that the games are over, so now I can get back to doing things other than watching television every night.
My top five Olympic moments:
(5) Apolo Ohno. A great skater, both physically and mentally. He got a couple favors from other skaters in Vancouver, most notably South Korean skaters, but those happenings are part of the insane sport of short-track speed skating. Congrats to Ohno for becoming the most decorated American winter Olympian.
(4) I don’t pay much attention to figure skating, but I did watch the performance of Yu Na Kim of South Korea. And even I, with no clue as to the difference between a toe-loop and a salchow, knew that her performance in the free skate was something special. She virtuallyas lapped the field with her performance, crushing the record for highest score ever in the event.
(3) As I get more into endurance athletics, I really appreciate what pain cross-country skiers go through. I’ve never cross-country skied myself, but watching the athletes push themselves as hard as they can is really inspiring. Add the insane sport of ski jumping to that mix and you realize what a combination of skills it must take to excel in both. Congratulations to American Johnny Spillane for earning three silver medals in Vancouver; his first was the first American medal in the sport of Nordic combined (contested in the Olympics since 1924). The 10 km sprint was a fun race to watch, and being able to watch Spillane’s joy and pain was exhilarating for me.
(2) Curling. I loves me some curling. The United States had a terrible showing in this year’s Games, but the enthusiasm of everyone watching (both live and on television, as reported in the media) proved that curling continues to be that dorky thing that everyone loves. Kind of like the Canadian people, now that I think about it.
(1) Hockey. My first love in sport, it was great to watch a well-fought hockey tournament. Receiving their silver medals, the US team had their heads down, but they had no reason to. They played very well, beating gold-medalists Canada in group play in what many people said was the best hockey game they’ve ever seen. (Regrettably, I missed that US win.) Congratulations to Ryan Miller, Team USA (and Buffalo Sabres) goaltender, for earning the title of tournament MVP. Hockey fans throughout the world won by getting to watch the world’s best players fight it out for national pride.
Thanks to team USA for making us proud, and to the IOC and Vancouver organizing committee for putting on a great Games. I’m looking forward to seeing what treats we can expect in Sochi.