My article below appeared in the April issue of Hill Country Happenings..
The 2014 Winter Olympics is now behind us. To add to the complexity of the viewing, Russia was six hours ahead of us and some of the venues started as early as 3 AM my time! As some of you know, I am a passionate sports fanatic. For the weeks of the Olympics, my routine was to start with live events on NBCSN in the morning, squeeze in lunch, General Hospital, Dr. Oz and then switch over to the regular NBC channel for the afternoon and evening.
One of my favorite events was the Ice Dancing. Meryl Davis and Charlie White were way ahead of the competition and I had not seen such greatness and precision on the ice since Torvill and Dean thirty years ago. It was hard to believe that Charlie had a girlfriend as when the duo skated they appeared so much in love. One thing that didn’t thrill me was Johnny Weir’s addition to the skating commentators. Johnny appeared in makeup styles any woman would envy along with a wardrobe a little girl playing dress-up would wear. Was it just me that thought his get-ups were distracting from the ice skating? Fortunately, Weir only covered the live daytime NBCSN coverage while my favorite, Scott Hamilton, replaced him in Primetime replays. As far as the men’s and women’s figure skating, I was disappointed that the skaters added way too many complicated jumps. The result was many of them falling during the routines and I almost wanted to rename the competition “figure crashing.” I would much rather have watched a smooth, flawless routine than gymnastics on ice. The much anticipated Hockey rematch of the 1980 Miracle on Ice found the Russians losing to the Men’s Team USA in a 3-2 overtime shootout in pre-medal competition. However, that was the end of the excitement as the US team was shut out 5-0 by Finland for the medal round. The Women’s Team USA made it to the Gold Medal round, however they wasted a 2-0 lead going well into the 3rd period and lost to the Canadians in overtime play. I haven’t seen that many tears since my soap was cancelled.
I used to ski and I could only imagine the frustrations the skiers faced on the majority of the courses. At times, the runs were so slushy, skis got caught in the snow and speeds were much slower in competition. It was definitely an advantage to be one of the first down the course as the run deteriorated with each skier. I was jubilant when one of my favorites, Bode Miller, captured the Bronze medal for the Men’s Super-G, but the celebration was short-lived. He reinjured his knee in the Giant Slalom and the realization hit that might have been his last Olympics. Also disappointing was the lackluster performance by Shaun White in the Snowboarding Halfpipe leaving me to wonder if all the pre-competition media hype served as a distraction to some of the participants.
Towards the end of the Olympics was the Bobsled competition or as the British-sounding announcer referred to it, as Bobsleigh. This year, we were excited as Rick’s cousin’s son-in-law (Dallas Robinson) was on the USA Bobsled team. As if I didn’t already have enough vested time in ice skating, skiing and hockey, here was one more event to squeeze into my viewing. It was fascinating to watch as the athletes ran pushing the sled, and then quickly crammed in. There was neither rhyme nor reason as to how they loaded. Some teams loaded in order of the seating in the sled and some with the middle ones last. The sport showed its dangerous side when the Canada 3 sled turned over and did some of the course on its top and side. Thankfully, the sled finished and the riders all walked away from the damaged vehicle. It was then I wondered about Dallas’s sanity in partaking in this perilous sport. Despite that, I was so hooked on the event, I found myself setting my alarm for 325AM to watch Heat 3 and the Medal run of the 4-Man Bobsled. I know…. The replay was on later that day, but there’s something about seeing it live … at least that’s what I tried to convince myself. When the alarm went off, it was just like my old flight attendant days with the crazy get-ups. As Rick and my oldest Boxer snored at the other end of the house, poor Rex was a trooper and kept me company. Actually it worked where I was able to watch both USA sleds and nap for an hour before the medal run. It was exciting to see the other US sled capture the Bronze medal in both the 2-Man and 4-Man. Dallas was disappointed that his sled placed just out of the top 10. The competition is always tough with so many talented teams, I feel just being chosen to represent the US is a huge accomplishment. Because of the plausible threats, numerous families and friends of the athletes opted to forego the trip to Russia, including Dallas’s. How sad that so many missed being there sharing the experience with the Olympians. Thankfully, there were no terrorist activities during the Games.