Monday, February 27, 2006

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What the 2006 Winter Olympics Taught Me

These are a few of the lessons I learned from the Winter Olympic Games: 1) If you’re female and you snowboard, you’re hot. There’s just something about it. 2) Speeds near 90 m.p.h. are typical in bobsled, luge, and skeleton races. Amazing. 3) Olympic ski teams have incredibly large support crews that manage and support the athletes, ranging from engineers that prepare and test the equipment to meteorologists who predict the racing conditions. 4) To “boot out” is a speed skating term meaning to lean so far into a turn that the side of the boot of your skate touches the ice, lifting the blade from the ice, and sending you sliding into the wall. 5) Bob Costas is still the man. 6) The Olympic Games are about pure competition, in a form that we don’t get to see too often in modern sports. They are experienced in seeing a person fall off the face of a mountain, lay injured and motionless, and then the next day appear back at the top of that same mountain; or a speed skater crying at the start line because her grandfather, who had traveled to see her compete, had died just hours earlier; or a favored biathlete who had fallen in the first seconds of his race be given a chance to win as his countrymen move to the front of the pack to slow down the race until he recovers. Despite some of the media criticism, I think the Olympic Games are fantastic, and I hope they endure and continue to provide a venue for great competition and for “struggles.” I think the first fantasy games were a complete success. Congratulations to Bryan and Dustin who showed us what it takes to win the game. Good job on pulling ahead for the bronze, Jeremy. I was glad to participate. See you back here again for the summer games in ’08.

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