The Vancouver Winter Olympics of 2010 are now history. From what I've been able to tell from various reports they were well watched in this country. I'd like to see the TV ratings down here in the New Orleans market since this is not winter sports territory.
I for one enjoy the games. I would never sit and watch a ski competition, or figure skating, or snowboarding unless they are associated with the Olympic Games. Never having been an athelete of any type, I love being a fan so I may be one who watches the Olympics from the wrong point of view. Olympics is supposed to be about the individual accomplishments of the atheletes. That's all good, but I do like to cheer on the good old U.S.A.
So with that said, let me do my very amateur and probably opinionated review. I thought the games were kind of a mess. The weather was horrible and did not seem winter like. The day time high temperture in New Orleans was colder than Vancouver on several days. The place was foggy, almost San Francisco like. And that proved problematic for many of the sports venues. Then you had the constant hang ups with various officials making wrong calls like starting the wrong skiers in one important event. Maybe we should have known based simply off the opening day. The unfortunate death of the Georgian athelete was inexcusable on several fronts. How could they have an unprotected metal post near the track? And then the opening ceremonies were a disaster, including a mess up with the torch lighting ceremony.
Our American team has lots to be proud of. The Americans broke a Winter Olympic record with 37 total medals. That is quite an accomplishment. No other country has ever done this. But we should mention here that the American team secured 9 gold medals. That is less than we took home in Salt Lake and the same as Turino. In other words, we increased total medals with no increase in gold. There were some amazing firsts for America; gold medals in nordic sports and a gold in the 4-man bobsled. Overall, it was a great American performance that still has room to improve.
Canada has lots to be proud of too. They won 14 gold medals, 5 more than us, and this too is a new record. And they have lots of national pride since both their mens and womens hockey teams beat the U.S.A. teams. Ouch.
For me the most moving and meaningful moment came in figure skating. Canadian star Joannie Rochette, a possible gold medal favorite, suffers the sudden and unexpected death of her mother in Vancouver just days before she must skate. Facing grief and pain we can only imagine, she persevered, skated lights out, fought back tears and managed to win a bronze medal. And now she faces a new life without her mom and whatever is in store. But her performance, dignity and grace were the inspiration of these games.
So we say goodbye to Vancouver and await the 2012 summer games in London. I wonder what the inspirational story of those games will be.
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