I have been watching the Olympics with awe. I think these athletes should receive all the admiration and accolades we can give, whether or not they walk off with a medal.
That being said, does anyone besides me realize how insane these people are? Look at the halfpipe competition. The snowboarders are going up a wall of ice that is 22 feet straight up, and they’re trying to go as high into the air ABOVE that as they can, AND do flips and twists while they’re up there, then come back down and land on that same sheer wall. Shaun White went 18 feet above the wall to win the gold medal. They kept showing a video of him at an earlier competition coming down and smashing his face against the lip of the wall. His helmet flew off, his head snapped back, and it looked like it wouldn’t be an injury anyone would walk away from, but he did.
I’ve skied in a halfpipe. It’s scary just going straight down the middle. You’re in a tunnel, and we’d make a little ripple over the base of the wall; just enough to go up in the air slightly and then come back down. Scared the crap out of me. I heap an avalanche of praise on all the snowboarders who compete on the halfpipe.
Then there’s downhill skiing. These lunatics go 80 mph and more on ice and in fog as thick as gravy. I’m afraid to go that fast in an automobile.
The people doing luge, bobsled, and skeleton are certifiable. My view of these sports is obscured by my fingers. I watch them like I watch a horror movie – with my hands in front of my face so I won’t see something too awful for too long. I just saw a women’s team doing bobsled where the back teammate was flung out of the sled and went the rest of the course sliding down the track on her back going 35 mph. What possesses people to want to do this?
The ice skating stresses me out when the athletes jump into the air and do triple turns and then land on a blade that looks thinner than a fingernail file. These people must have bruises all over them, because they fall even in competition, so you can imagine what they do in practice. Ice racing is frightening to watch, too, because when a racer goes down, (s)he takes everyone else with them, with those razor blades on their feet going in all directions as they skid across the ice on their backs.
Freestyle skiing, snowboard cross, ski jumping – all of these are so dangerous looking. You’ve got to wonder, who are these athletes’ parents? When that little five year old came up and said they wanted to ski and win the a medal in the Olympics, why didn’t their parents lock them in the closet for a few years until they grew out of it? If my child were one of these crazies, I don’t know how I could sleep. Of course I’d be proud, but I would wear out my welcome with the good Lord praying for my child’s safety night and day.
The only winter sport I’d ever want any child of mine to aspire to would be curling. It is both a safe Olympic sport and an entertaining one – and by entertaining I mean hilarious. Those sweepers with their frenetic brooms intently swishing in front of the stone as it works it’s way toward the target – in a covered building with no hills in sight – are the perfect demonstration of athletic prowess. So what if they are such a powerful contrast to Lindsey Vonn and Shaun White. At the end of the day, they all stand on the podium as equals. As a mother I could brag just as much about my curling athlete going to the Olympics.
I’m so proud of all these athletes, and they are an inspiration to all of us to not spend so much time in front of the TV and get out there and live – after the Olympics are over, of course.