Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Race For Gold

by Beth


Though I live in a Northwestern Pennsylvania, I don't like cold weather. Or snow. Or most activities taking place outside (in the cold *g*) or having to do with snow.


The one time I went downhill skiing many, MANY years ago, I had such a horrible time, I swore I'd never go again (a promise I've gladly kept). I enjoy sled-riding but only to a point - that point usually being the same time all that cold snow blows into my face, down my coat collar and soaks through my mittens. Then I'm more than happy to head back inside and wait another year before getting back on a sled.


Another thing I've never cared for is watching the Olympics. I know, it sounds sort of...well...un-American to say it out loud like that, but it's true. I've always found the Olympics boring.


So, you can imagine my surprise when I realized last night that I've quickly become addicted to watching the Winter Olympics. Heck, Sunday night I was even yelling at the T.V. while an American battled it out for first place in the cross country ski race. (He ended up with the silver medal. Do you think he could hear me cheering him on?)


I haven't caught all the events but I've watched speed skating, the luge, cross country skiing, downhill skiing and snowboarding. I'm not sure what has me hooked this year. The speed? The danger? (I've seen quite a few crashes on the slopes). Or maybe it's the realization that these athletes have trained their entire lives for the chance to win a medal. How heartbreaking it must be when they get so close only to lose their chance on a last second spill. Maybe that's why I always feel so glad for all the winners and bad when an athlete performs badly, no matter what country they're from.


Anyone else watching the winter games? What's your favorite event? Who are your favorite Olympic athletes? Which event do you wish you could participate in? Want to ride down the luge track? Or maybe catch some air on the halfpipe?

57 comments:

mariska said...

morning :)

PinkPeony said...

Hi Beth!

I watched speed skating and ice dancing...made me want to strap on my roller blades and go for a run!

I love the Olympics. I always get weepy during the medal ceremonies.

congrats, Mariska!

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Beth!

I love the winter Olympics but I don't watch much of the summer games. I've been watching every night since the opening ceremonies. My favorites are the figure skating, speed skating and the half-pipe.

Margay said...

I really like the skating - any kind of skating, whether it's figure skating or speed skating, there's just something about people on ice that I like. I'm also liking the half pipe, thanks to Shaun White. That guy is incredible. One of my favorite athletes, though, is Apollo Ohno. Good looking, athletic, humble - and the guy can dance! What more could you want in a guy - or a hero?

Margay

Susan Sey said...

Congrats, Mariska! Take the GR to Vancouver--I'll bet he's a crazy luger. :-)

Beth, I ADORE the Olympics. If all sports were covered this way--with such heavy emphasis on the human interest angle--I'd watch them all.

But somehow athletes being paid mega-millions (which funds a great deal of bad behavior) just isn't the same as rooting for the figure skater from Fargo who worked three jobs to fund this trip to Vancouver to finish 10th or something. And to be out of his mind with joy over the personal best.

Now THAT'S good television.

Joan said...

Figure skating! Especially the pairs and ice dancing. There's just something about a strong guy tossing a spinning girl into the air!

I actually was entranced by the women's snowboarding the other night and yes...I'll say it out loud here first. I like curling

Gillian Layne said...

We have so much fun watching curling. It's such a strange sport--but addictive.

Minna said...

This time I pretty much have to skip the Olympics due to time difference. Otherwise I would watch figure skating and some hockey. At least our atheletes don't have to come home completely empty-handed, since Peetu Piironen won silver in men's halfpipe competition. I heard he broke some of his bones during the competition.

Woohoo! I got one more book swapped. But it hasn't done much of a dent to my book mountain. *sigh*

Due South - The Mountie Song Revisited
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQkql4dHniE&feature=related

Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart & Sting - All For Love
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-AB7RJpOjY&feature=PlayList&p=11E6AFE87AD2827A&index=10

Bryan Adams - (Everything I Do) I Do It For You
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGoWtY_h4xo&feature=related

Crash Test Dummies - Afternoons & Coffeespoons
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j53VGZnW4fU

Deb said...

We are liking the Winter Games at the Hin House, too. We like the ice skating best, but the other sports have been exciting, too. Whew! The Skeleton races make me a little nervous when watching.
@Joan---Shary saw curling and said, "This is actually a sport? Looks boring to me." That's the neat thing about the WO...there's something for everyone, I think.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Congrats on the GR Mariska, hope he is good for you today.

I will say it out loud, I dont watch sports, not even the Olympics, I am not a sports person. I like to watch the figure skating but competition is just not my bag, I want to give everyone 10's and call it a draw. I know someone has to win and someone has to lose but my soft heart just can't handle it.

Barbara Monajem said...

Every time I see those mountains I get homesick for the beautiful city where I grew up. Sigh.

Pretty much all I watch is skiing. Skiing is such an exhilarating sport. Just watching it gets my heart rate up. Does that count as aerobic exercise?

Donna MacMeans said...

I've watched some of the Olympics. Like Susan, I really enjoy the personal interest side. It really gets me rooting for specific athletes - ones I've never heard of until now - to win. I love the figure skating and ice dancing. This year I watched the half pipe. Thought that Shaun White (the flying tomato) might go into orbit, his jumps were so high.

Beth said...

Good morning, Mariska! Perhaps you and the GR can watch the games together :-)

Beth said...

Hi, Pink! I get weepy during the commercials *g* That one about Dan Jansen makes me cry every time.

And I have to admit, when I look out my window and see the snow covered hills, I start to rethink my anti-skiing stance - luckily, I snap out of it pretty quickly :-)

Kirsten said...

hi Beth! I am a devoted Olympics fan. They make all those human-interest stories just for me, I swear! I love all the individual stories of sacrifice and devotion, and I love the commercials dedicating it all to the moms! :-)

Unfortunately, I'm also a morning person (i.e., go to bed VERY EARLY) and we don't have any kind of TIVO thing, so I don't get to watch very much. I even missed watching the men's figure skating long program, which I was dying to see. But midnight is two hours past my bedtime!

Beth said...

Christie, I never watch the summer games either. Maybe because during the summer my T.V. time is limited?

We missed the men's half-pipe competition but caught the women's event. So exciting!

Beth said...

LOL, Margay! I loved Apolo on Dancing with the Stars *g* Last night they interviewed him and his dad. What an interesting history they have and what a close bond!

Margay said...

I saw that, Beth! it was a great interview. And what a dad he has! We should all be so lucky.
Margay

Beth said...

Susan, you're so right about the human interest angle having such a huge impact on the games. I love hearing the athletes' stories as much as seeing them compete.

Last night they had the story of Aksel Svindal, gold medal winner in the Men's Super G. It showed how he overcame a horrific crash a few years back and the support he's gotten from his father over the years. It was really inspiring :-)

Beth said...

There's just something about a strong guy tossing a spinning girl into the air!

LOL, so true, Joan! I'm always awed by the skaters' grace and strength.

And I would watch curling. I just wish I understood it better *g*

Beth said...

We have so much fun watching curling. It's such a strange sport--but addictive.

Gillian, I'll have to come watch it with you so you can explain it to me *g*

Beth said...

Minna, too bad about the time difference. I'm so bummed I missed the men's halfpipe competition! But I did get to see Shaun White's interview. Love him!

Beth said...

there's something for everyone, I think.

Well said, Deb *g* I used to enjoy the skating events but now I'm all about the skiing. It must be a speed/danger thing :-)

Beth said...

I know someone has to win and someone has to lose but my soft heart just can't handle it.

Dianna, it is hard to watch when an athlete doesn't perform well. But then there are times when an underdog comes out on top that is just so exciting and inspiring *g*

Beth said...

Skiing is such an exhilarating sport. Just watching it gets my heart rate up. Does that count as aerobic exercise?

LOL, Barbara! I wish it did count *g* We watched the Men's Super G last night and it was so great! I can't imagine going down a curving, bump-filled hill at over 60 mph!

Beth said...

Thought that Shaun White (the flying tomato) might go into orbit, his jumps were so high.

LOL, Donna! You know, while I'm amazed by the athletes, I can't help but wonder what their parents are thinking and feeling when they watch the competition. I'd be a wreck if that was one of my kids racing downhill or competing in the halfpipe :-)

Jane said...

I'm usually more excited by the Summer Olympics, but I've been hooked to the Vancouver games. I'm loved the snowboarding events. Shaun White is amazing. I've even started watching the various biathlons. Those athletes are incredibly strong. I saw Aksel's story, too. It was nice to see him win the gold last night.

catslady said...

I love all olympics and get totally addicted. I'm getting nothing done and missing favorite shows like Suvivor and Idol lol. I love it when they give you background on the athletes - makes you really care. I'm even watching curling this year lol. I play bocce and can see some similarity in it. I would love to do any sport well but alas I was never a risk taker lol.

Janga said...

I'm an Olympics junkie. I've been staying up way too late this past week. What makes it really strange is that I'm not a TV person usually. I sometimes go aweek or more without even turning on a set.

I too love the stories as much as the competition. Beth, did you see the bit about Evan Lysacek's mom, who was too nervous to watch her son skate live? She watched on TV but made it to the venue for the medal ceremony. The commentators were gently mocking, but I sympathized.

flchen1 said...

LOL! I love the Olympics, Beth! I can pretty much get sucked into watching almost anything! My absolute favorite is pairs skating, and the other figure skating events. Loved them as a kid, and still love watching them. (I've got no illusions that I could actually DO them!)

Anyway, I'm glad I don't have these on continuously running on the TV--I'd pretty much be glued to the tube all day, watching one event after another! "Hey, it's curling!" "Now it's 2 person bobsled!" "Whoa, it's men's biathlon pursuit!" :)

Congrats on the GR, Mariska!

Joan said...

And I would watch curling. I just wish I understood it better *g*

I understand now why they call it curling. My brother told me these stones are made in such a way that after sliding along, they CURL around in direction!

Ohhhhhh....

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

FUN post, Beth!

And CONGRATS on getting the GR, Mariska. I guess he's a gold medal, of sorts! ;-)

I'm not much of a TV watcher and haven't seen any of the Olympics this year except the medalist they show on the news. I did watch avidly when I was a kid and remember the ski jump was my fave... 'the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat!'

I prefer events where the winner is obvious, races, competitive teams scoring points, time or distance you can measure. Not that I don't enjoy stuff like figure skating, but like somebody else said, I want them ALL to win. :-P

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Oh, and Beth, I'm TOTALLY WITH YOU!

I don't really want to participate in any of those cold weather events. Unless there's an event involving sitting near a fireplace drinking hot toddies. Now that one, I'd be a contender for the GOLD! ;-)

AC

Helen said...

Congrats Mariska enjoy your day with him

Beth

I normally love watching the olympics and I love the speed skating and the figure skating but this year I haven't watched much of them at all I just have been really busy I watch highlights on the news and I got to say it was exciting when Australia got a gold medal the other day Torah did really well in the snowbarding.

Have Fun
Helen

Beth said...

Kirsten, I'm the same way. I hit the sack at 10 so I've only caught bits and pieces of the events. I'm hoping to catch some today after getting a bit of work done :-)

Beth said...

Jane, isn't it funny how quickly one can become addicted to watching the Olympics? I never would've imagined myself watching night after night and now I get upset when I realize I've missed an event or two :-)

Beth said...

Catslady, I'm not big on taking risks either but it's fun to imagine the rush of flying down the luge at over 80 mph :-)

Beth said...

Beth, did you see the bit about Evan Lysacek's mom, who was too nervous to watch her son skate live?

Janga, I missed that but I can so relate to what she must have been feeling. Plus, maybe it was better for him to know she wasn't there and nervous for him *g*

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Mariska, be kind to the chook. He's been all round the world lately.

Beth, I have to say I'm NOT watching the Olympics either. I find once I start, I can't stop. So it's kinda cold (in this case VERY cold) turkey or nothing.

Tawny said...

My family is seriously addicted to the summer games (must be a CA -no snow thing *g*) but are definitely slacking on the winter watching. I did try to record the figure skating to watch when we had time, but my dvr and I had a slight disagreement over who was in control. Since it won, I haven't watched any of the Olympics at all.

I am, however, imagining you yelling at the TV, Beth. And I'm giggling ;-)

Beth said...

Anyway, I'm glad I don't have these on continuously running on the TV--I'd pretty much be glued to the tube all day, watching one event after another!

LOL, Fedora! We're getting to be the same way. We just finished watching the men's 30 km pursuit. Wow! I'm tired just thinking about skiing 8 miles let alone 18 :-)

Beth said...

I understand now why they call it curling. My brother told me these stones are made in such a way that after sliding along, they CURL around in direction!

Joan, that is very cool! Thanks for sharing *g*

Beth said...

Unless there's an event involving sitting near a fireplace drinking hot toddies. Now that one, I'd be a contender for the GOLD! ;-)

AC, I'd be your biggest competition ;-)

And I like the events where there's a clear winner, too. Especially since I have no idea how they judge things like figure skating or even the half-pipe.

Beth said...

Torah did really well in the snowbarding.

Helen, I saw when she competed! It was so much fun to watch her and to see how excited she and her brother were about getting that gold medal :-)

Beth said...

Beth, I have to say I'm NOT watching the Olympics either. I find once I start, I can't stop.

That is a problem, Anna. Luckily, I've managed not to even turn the TV on during the day or else I wouldn't get any writing done this month :-)

Beth said...

Since it won, I haven't watched any of the Olympics at all.

LOL, Tawny! Want me to come over and yell at it for you?

Sorry you couldn't watch the event you wanted. And believe me, I'm sick of snow but it's fun to see other people out there who actually ENJOY being out in the cold stuff ;-)

Virginia said...

I haven't watched any of the Olympics. I have been doing more reading lately! I do enjoy the skating but have not watched any this year!

Louisa Cornell said...

Mariska !! You won the race for the GOLD !! Hey, it may just be the Golden Rooster, but HE thinks he's a big prize!

Since the switch I don't receive television at all out here in the Hinderland !! One day I'll break down and get satellite.

I've always enjoyed the Olympics. Winter sports I love to watch are ice dancing, ice skating, hockey and the one where the ski and shoot (can't remember the name.)

I am NOT overly fond of snow or the cold weather. Spent a large portion of my early life in snowy, cold places. BRRR!

I have been snow skiing in the Austrian Alps and I really had a ball. Of course my favorite parts were riding the ski lift and warming up in the ski chalet with a plate full of paprika chicken, au gratin potatoes, fresh black bread and green peas followed by a big piece of Black Forest cake and hot chocolate until I can't hold any more. All in front of a roaring fire with some cute ski instructors and my opera company buddies.

I will tell you that a tiny, short Southern woman on skis makes a BIG SNOWBALL if she falls down and goes halfway down the mountain before she stops. And her German and Austrian friends are NO HELP AT ALL because they are laughing too hard! Oh, and snow in your bra is UNCOMFORTABLE !!! And WET !!! And COLD !!!

Right now the only gold I'm pursuing is a Golden Heart necklace and a publishing contract !!

limecello said...

Beth! Not love the Olympics before now?! [Teasing.]
I do admit I like the summer olympics more than the winter olympics. I haven't been able to watch them as much this year... but do hope to catch up with online replays once they're all posted. For winter olympics... The various skiing events are a lot of fun, as is figure skating.
One of my favorite Olympic athletes ever is Michelle Kwan, and I'm still sad she never got a gold.
The one I most wish I could do though? Yeah - the half pipe. I've never even been skiing or snowboarding before. Not that there isn't tons of snow here. But if I tried now, I'd probably just hurt myself. The luge could be interesting, but... scary! (And especially on this year's track...)

limecello said...

I also love the Olympics because of all the human interest stories, really. The athletes that have overcome adversity to win the gold... or the ones who have never seen snow before but yet are competing as one of a very small handful of delegates from their country. It's just a great time.

Pissenlit said...

I've been glued to the tv for the Olympics. Favourite event? Hockey!! And Curling is great to watch too. Snowboarding looks fun to participate in...the Parallel Giant Slalom,though...definitely no Cross or Half-Pipe for me. :D

Pat Cochran said...

We began watching the Olympic TV
coverage in the 1960s. I was also
watching the 1972 Munich coverage when the world learned that some
members of the Israeli team had
been taken hostage and then were killed.

We watch each and every Olympiad
presented, feeling that if the
athletes can strive to represent
our country, we can watch.

My favorite competitors are Apolo
Ohno in speed skating, Lindsay
Vonn and Bode Miller in downhill
skiing,and Evan Lysacek in ice
skating.

One of my favorite possessions is
a pictorial presentation from the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.
It is autographed by then LA Mayor Tom Bradley.

Pat Cochran

Beth said...

Virginia, I often read while I watch TV - drives my husband nuts *g* Hope you've read some great books!

Beth said...

Right now the only gold I'm pursuing is a Golden Heart necklace and a publishing contract !!

Louisa, those are great goals to pursue and you know we're all cheering you on :-)

Beth said...

Hey, Lime! Who knows, maybe now that I'm an Olympic convert, I'll be glued to the Summer Games a few years from now *g*

We watched the women's Super G today and I am just so amazed by these athletes!

Beth said...

Pissenlit, I was so happy to hear there are still more skiing events to come. I've become quite fond of them *g* I wonder if there are any other snowboarding ones as well?

Tomorrow my daughters want to watch the figure skating and bobsleigh events. Maybe I'll catch a curling event as well :-)

Pissenlit said...

Beth, I believe the Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom is still to come.

I'd be interested in watching the Ice Dancing tomorrow if it wasn't on at the same time as the Canada vs. USA Men's Hockey game. Maybe I'll channel surf during commercials. :)