Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Winter Olympics Hold a Special Place in My Heart

Thirty years ago the Winter Olympics were held in Sarajevo, I was ten years old.  I can remember the look of the country the feel of the games and the great feeling I had watching with my father.  There was a lot going on and a ten year old can only take in so much.  Through the glory of the Internet I can relive who won what and where, but those Olympics mark my first real attempt at liking athletics.

Three decades later I am saddened by what has become of former Olympic venues in Sarajevo, but that is not the only former Olympic host to have a ton of issues laying around venues no longer in use.  There was also that bloody civil war thing, but I’m getting off track.

The Winter Olympics hold a special place in my lousy attention span, because they have fond memories attached to them.  Fast forward to 2014 in Sochi and I am eager to share the Winter Games with my own ten year old, hoping that he will find someone to root for.

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Yes, the Sochi Games are having their interesting issues with getting ready for the games, and after spending that much money you would think things would be better.  Still, the games are the games.  Set aside the hype of Shaun White withdrawing from a competition, the glitz surrounding Lolo Jones making the bobsled team, and any other bit of controversy you can dream up.

At the heart of the Winter Olympics is the fluid grace of the figure skaters, the rugged power of the speed skater, the fearlessness of the downhill skier, and the outright insanity of the ski jumper.  It’s about getting together once every so often and saying lets have some fun.

Yes, careers are made and millions of dollars are probably at stake.  But through it all, I’ll be the same ten year old kid watching the skater jump into the air with awe.  Because that’s what the Olympics taught me, and I can only hope that my son feels the same.

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