From a world point of view, the Olympics were great
Posted: Monday February 27, 2006 11:46AM; Updated: Monday February 27, 2006 11:46AM
In case you missed it, the Olympics are over. (In case you missed it, the Olympics took place over the past fortnight.) The Games apparently didn't go over so well back home, what with U.S. athletes finding new and exciting ways of failing to live up to their expectations (or at least their hopes) and NBC hardly showing any events live. (In the peacock's defense, the games were being held in a different hemisphere.)
Turns out you missed a pretty good show.
Granted, if you viewed the Games strictly in a red-white-and-blue context, they might have been a bit of a downer. Bode Miller, the most hyped athlete heading into Turin, absolutely bombed, going medal-less in five events -- and failing to finish three of them. Even some athletes who won medals saw their performances cast in a negative light because their hardware wasn't the color they would have liked; Sasha Cohen and Lindsey Jacobellis didn't win silvers, we were told, they lost golds.
But when taken from a non-Yankee-centric point of view, these Games were, as Olympic Games tend to be, full of remarkable moments.
The finish of the women's 30K freestyle cross country race (three skiers crossing the finish line within a few feet of each other and then collapsing, leaving the fourth-place finisher to cross the line 15 seconds later looking like she had stumbled upon a slaughter scene from Friday the 13th Part XI, Jason Goes Skiing) did something that sporting events rarely do: made me cry out "Holy crap" in a loud voice, even though I was watching it by myself.
In the finish of the men's slalom, Benjamin Raich won the gold on the final run, then was lifted into the air by teammates Reinfried Herbst and Rainer Schoenfelder (the silver and bronze medalists) to punctuate Austria's remarkable 14-medal alpine haul.
And how about Canadian bobsledder Lascelles Brown, a Jamaican who became a citizen of Canada a month ago, pushing his way to silver in the two-man bob? The list goes on.
We -- fans, journalists, TV networks -- love it when our guys and girls show the grit, moxie and determination necessary to go swifter, higher and stronger than the rest on what is still a grand stage. Those traits we hail in our Olympic heroes when they bring home the gold were on display in Turin. Sometimes you just had to be willing to look to find them.