The colt would
never complete another revolution of a racing oval in competition, and even
today he continues to fight for his life. Yet for a little more than two
minutes on one of the grandest stages in all of sport, Barbaro was brilliant
and memorable. There is joy in embracing what was and not lamenting what might
have been. -- Tim Layden
On the third
Wednesday in February, Alpine skiers Carole Montillet-Carles of France and
Lindsey Kildow of the U.S. prepared to race in the Olympic women's downhill.
They rode the chairlift up above the tiny Italian village of San Sicario, and
when their bib numbers were called, they skied down as swiftly as possible.
Kildow finished eighth, while Montillet-Carles, who won the Olympic downhill at
Salt Lake City in 2002, was 28th.
Where was the
glory in this? It was in simply embracing the privilege of competition. Sports
have long dismissed the value of a game well played or a race well run. A noisy
public requires spectacular feats, great fantasy stats and gaudy
The glory that
winter day was in the face of Montillet-Carles, who two days earlier had
crashed spectacularly in a training run. She had bruised her ribs, and her
racing goggles had been smashed against her skull, leaving her face grotesquely
bruised and swollen, with jagged cuts on her forehead and along the bridge of
her nose. Her eyes were pressed nearly shut. "I could not have stayed in my
room and watched the race," Montillet-Carles said of the Olympic downhill.
"I knew that I would be able to clench my teeth and bear it."
The glory was
also in the aching body of Kildow, who had come to Italy with medal dreams but
had also fallen disastrously in the same training run as Montillet-Carles.
Kildow's back and hip were so tender that it hurt just to walk. However, she
said, "I never considered not racing because of the pain."
is dangerous to the point of foolhardiness. Yet these two wounded skiers willed
themselves to compete--simply because they belonged. Because they were