Some final Olympic thoughts

Posted: Wednesday, March 03, 2010 by Travis Cody in

Curling is cool. And a sport.

Kim Yu-Na of South Korea skated one of the all time best long programs when it counted most on the way to dominating the ladies' figure skating competition. I was mesmerized by her athleticism, her control, and her artistry. And she did it all with the knowledge that anything less than gold would have been considered a failure in her country.

The American men scored the USA's first ever medals in Nordic combined, which consists of ski jumping and cross country skiing. Billy Demong (gold and silver), Johnny Spillane (3 silver), Todd Lodwick (silver), and Brett Camerota (silver) collected a total of 4 medals (the team event counts as one) to lead the medal standings in Nordic combined. From never winning a medal in the sport, to winning more medals than any other country.

The US and Canada men's hockey teams played two of the all time great Olympic hockey games. They split, each team winning once. But Canada won the game that counted for the gold medal. Congratulations to the Canadians for winning the gold medal that meant the most to them, and congratulations to the Americans for making them earn it. The US tied the game in the final 25 seconds to force overtime. Sidney Crosby got the winning goal in the extra period. It's a worthy silver medal.

The American team had a very successful Olympiad, scoring 37 total medals. Canada took home the most gold medals with 14, and had 26 total medals. Germany finished second in the overall medal standings with 30 medals. The IOC doesn't recognize a "winner" of the Olympics. I keep score, so the medal count is something I watch. I value all of the medals won by my country's athletes.

I only get a chance to watch most of these sports every four years. The winter sports just don't get the national television exposure, unless we're talking about extreme sports featured on the X Games. I enjoyed snowboard cross and ski cross, and the half pipe snowboarding events, and side by side slalom snowboarding, and freestyle ski jumping, and mogul skiing. Those were all cool.

I've read some commentary that implies that Americans were more interested in the events in Vancouver because our athletes did well. I raise my hand and voice to say that while I always cheer loudest for our athletes, I also appreciate the striving of all athletes.

In 1972, I watched my first Olympic games. I was 8 years old. I was sad when it was over. Four years seemed like such a long time to wait. Back then, both the winter and summer games were held during the same calendar year. So it was a lapalooza of new and exciting sports for me, but then it was over for 4 years. I wondered to my mom whether I'd still be interested when the Olympics came back. After all, I'd be 12 by then and maybe the games wouldn't be so exciting.

I needn't have worried. I've been a life long fan of the Olympics. I love the games, both winter and summer. And you can call me corny if you want, but I love the Olympic ideal.

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well." The Olympic Creed

Citius, Altius, Fortius...Faster, Higher, Stronger

Thank you Vancouver!

Next up, London in the UK for the summer games in 2012.

Then it's on to Sochi, Russia for the next winter games in 2014.

Then we go to Rio for the summer games in 2016!

I pulled the Olympic logo images from the Wikipedia pages. I make no money from this blog.


  1. Akelamalu says:

    I'm looking forward to the 2012 in London! :)

  1. Jeni says:

    I agree whole-heartedly with your statements about the Olympics! And like you, I got interested in the winter sports way, WAY back when I was a child and viewing them on the tv here at that time was much like what it may have been like for some of the skiers this year -with the fog, snow, mist, etc. Our reception then primarily consisted of SNOW! I don't know why this year's events hooked me in to try to watch every broadcast but it did and for that, I'm very happy too!

  1. Bond says:

    I really got into curling...The strategy intrigues me.

    I also count medals and anyone who says they do not is not telling the truth. heck, the Russians fired everyone after their showing...They count medals!

    The hockey was fantastic...

    NBC did an OK job covering the sports, but hurt it's rep with the Closing Ceremony disaster.

  1. I've always thought that Curling looks like it would be fun to play, although not quite as much fun to watch

  1. I love the Olympics. I always have.

    But in '84 I lived in the Los Angeles area. My friends and family were able to attend many events. They were experiences we will never forget.

    I also think (for me) having kids the age of many of the participants brings home the poignant excitement.

    I am now an Olympic fanatic.

  1. Travis says:

    Akelamalu: I'll bet you are? Do you plan to attend any events, or just take in the whole atmosphere?

    Jeni: I remember the sports news telling you at the top of the broadcast that if you didn't want to know any results, you should turn your head. Then they would put the results on screen but not announce them, and they would tell you when the coast was clear.

    V: We have a curling club in Seattle and I'm thinking about checking it out first hand.

    Charles: It actually was fun to watch.

    Katherine: I really wanted to go to these games because they were so close. But in the end, I'm sure I got to see more of it on TV. At some point I do want to go to an Olympics for the experience.

  1. I love the Olympics, too, Travis! I love everything about it. I love looking at all the different faces from around the world, listening to the different languages. I especially love watching the athletes themselves, all of them the best in their field.

    For us here in Canada, we've made a huge stride forward with these games. To be third in the medal count is freaky! To be ahead of Russia by three is really freaky. Though Russia's showing at these games shows me just how important the support network is to the athletes.

    In the US, competition is a part of the American psyche, as well as generous support both federally and corporately. In Russia, their athletes were formerly the social elite and were financially and socially supported - but now their country is in disaray and their athletes floundered somewhat at these Olympics.

    In Canada, we are famously polite to the extent that we don't have such a competitive culture, nor did we have the dollars to back our athletes. But two things shifted for us here in Canada over the past few decades. We stopped identifying ourselves as who we weren't (we weren't Brits and we weren't Americans) and we started to identify ourselves as who we were (Canadian, eh?)

    Americans have always known who they were and have rejoiced in competition. Team USA truly Owned the Podium!

  1. I love the Olympics. I really got into the curling this year. But the ice skating is still my favorite.