Friday, February 19, 2010


www.loisgreiman.com



I don’t watch much television, but I’m CRAZY about the Olympics! It combines so many magical elements: Drive, courage, athleticism, personality…

I think the USA is currently in the lead for metals in the 2010 games, but I love to see other countries win--the host country, the tiny countries, the underdogs. I’m ashamed to admit it, but there are nations competing that I’ve never even heard of. I believe there are 83 countries in the line up. 83!! How many of those can YOU name. If I could think of 30 it would be a miracle of biblical proportions. Try to find Montenegro on a map. How about Herzegovina? I have a vague idea where Latvia is located. It has a population of a little over 2 million. That’s less than we have in Minneapolis, but the Latvians won silver medals in the men’s double luge.

And let’s talk about the luge (and the skeleton, where they go down HEAD first) How do they even think of these sports? Who says to their little girls, hey, you know what you’d be really good at? Lying perfectly still on a sled and shooting downhill at 90 plus miles an hour.

Skiers hit approximately the same speeds. Did you see Lindsey Vonn’s alpine race last night? Four women crashed before her. They hit that course like a train wreck. Can you imagine standing at the top of that killer mountain waiting for your turn and knowing your friends are sliding down on their faces? How does one get up the nerve for that? Especially when you’re already injured! Serious head trauma would be the only thing that could convince me to give it a try. Luckily, serious head trauma is a definite possibility in most of the winter sports.

And yet 250 otherwise intelligent athletes will be competing. Jamaica has a one man ski team. San Marino, a country completely surrounded by Italy and possessing a population of 29,973 citizens, is sacrificing a skier . The Reed family of Connecticut has three Olympian contenders; Cathy and Chris, who are siblings, will compete for Japan. And sister Allison is on the roster for Georgia.

It’s all mesmerizing for a person as ridiculously competitive as myself, but the ice skating is my favorite. Everything about it captivates me: The costumes, the grace, the personalities, the spins, the lifts, the choreography, the tears…the men. :) I’m blown away by it all.

But what about you? What’s your favorite part of the games?

29 comments:

Betina Krahn said...

I adore the figure skating. If I miss my deadline by a week, they can blame the International Olympic Committee. . . who scheduled their games at the same time as MY deadline!

Also, am I endangering my mortal soul by being so gleeful that that arrogant Russian jerk (Plushenko or something) didn't take the gold in the men's program?

Deb said...

I like the figure skating, too; pairs' and women's moreso than the men's. I'm in agreement with Betina---the arrogant Russian, who thinks he's sexy and isn't, skated well, but I'm glad he didn't win the gold.

I feel badly when skaters fall or mess up. Last night, one of the Japanese men fell and I felt so badly for him. I think he's only 16 and he was skating so well. My 9-year-old daughter said, "Mama, he's not from the U.S. Why are you worried about him?" I tried to convey the "Olympic spirit" to her, but she just rolled her eyes at me. :)

Keri Ford said...

Lois--I've always enjoyed the figure skating (count me among the ones happy the Russian didn't get it!). I like the women's and pairs moreso than the mens. But I think that's really becasue I like the women's costumes better. *g*

This year I've gotten big into watching the Snowboarding(did you see the men's halfpipe? omg White had some HUGE air. his skill was miles above the other athletes). It's something I'm wanting to try now.

lois greiman said...

Betina, my book's due today, but I can't stop watching.

Michele Hauf said...

I adore watching for the personalities and the strutting. The Russian skater, Plushenko was the cock of the walk--until last night. Too bad the dude who won had that ugly snake thingie around his neck. :-)

Skating is my fav to watch,but I am getting into the skiing, too. But oh, so hard to watch when someone falls. They are like a ragdoll going down that hill. If I fell like that I'd be in twenty pieces. Those athletes are tough!

lois greiman said...

Deb, I know, when the skaters fall it breaks my heart. But they pop up like they're on springs. Amazing.

Cindy Gerard said...

I'm in love with Apollo Ono! Just love watching the short track speed skating! After that, it's probably the pairs figure skating and ice dancing then the women's figure skating. No offense to the men, but they all act like a bunch of little kids. They bicker and whine off the ice so much. I admire their work ethic but the drama is just too much. It's just so ... teenage girl :o)

Cindy Gerard said...

PS - I hope that didn't come across as homophobic - because I'm so not! And maybe I'm not being fair to the other male skaters and it's just the Russian, Plushenco, who turns me off. He's very 'grade school' with his threats and taunts and pouting. Kind of taints the entire men's competition for me.

lois greiman said...

I know a little less than nothing about snow boarding, but even to me White's superiority was obvious. Holllly Cow. The boy can fly.

Playground Monitor said...

Count me among those whose immortal soul is in danger because I don't like Plushenko's attitude. The whole sword thing after he skated was a bit too much. Having athletes in the family, I totally understand the psychology behind sports. And at that level, it's all about psychology.

I'm just an Olympics junkie. I even watch curling. I went to a website with an explanation so I'd understand it better. Interesting how they pebble the ice so the stone will turn or curl and that's why they sweep -- to warm up the ice and make the stone go straight. Lots of strategy needed to get your stones where they need to be.

Ice dancing tonight!

Marilyn

lois greiman said...

Curling--that might even be odder than the luge!!

Playground Monitor said...

Odder, but way safer. No helmets required and it's slooooooooooow.

lois greiman said...

Cindy, Weir himself says he's princessey so what can we expect. He also said he rocked his tassel. (That he wears on the shoulder of his costume. Possibly not how one would take that if she hadn't seen his outfit.)

Debra Dixon said...

Who doesn't love figure skating? Especially last night? What a great moment for U.S. Men's Figure Skating when out two best shots at a medal skating absolutely the best they were capable of skating? I love them both and Weir is a hoot. I love his attitude because he is unapologetic.

I've been a fan of White and snowboarding as a sport for quite a while.

And Apollo? Much yummy goodness.

Yes, I know there are women too.

lois greiman said...

You make me laugh, Deb.

As much as I love the guys, I acccctually prefer to watch the women. For me it's all about the grace. Power is...well...once you've seen a quad do you really have to see it again?

And the couples. All that steamy emotion. I kind of wonder if it's like Michele's last post. I love you, I'm going to kill you. Don't you suppose you'd kind of want to kill your partner? I mean, what if he's arrogant? What if he goofs up? Or, possibly even worse...what if he's better than you are???

Has anyone seen the movie Cutting Edge. It's one of my oldie favorites about a hockey player turned figure skater. Talk about wanting to kill each other.

Michele Hauf said...

Loved the Cutting Edge! And wasn't Lys-what'shisname originally a hockey player whose parents coaxed him to try figure skating?

I thought the American couple who skated in different pairs was interesting. Boyfriend skating with some other chick? And vice versa? What if one won and the other did not? That would have made for an uncomfortable date night.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Sounds we're all facing deadlines, guys!

I loved the opening ceremony this year. Liked it better than the big extravaganza the last time around. Loved the First Nation welcome and the whole winter fantasy feel. Fire and ice.

What do you think of the argument that figure skating is not a sport? There was an opinion piece on it in the paper recently. The idea is that if you win by doing it the fastest, outdistancing, scoring goals, etc it's a sport, but that when the scoring becomes subjective and the merit is artistic, it's not. The writer pointed out that ballet is much like figure skating (and he says it's not even "figure" skating anymore) and ballet is not a sport.

lois greiman said...

Lysacek, yes, he played hockey, then had his mother make him a super hero costume for figure skating. Not that I think all figure skaters are gay or anything... but it's said he has a girlfriend. :)

Michele Hauf said...

If figure skating is not a sport, then why is curling a sport?

Just sayin' :-)

Debra Dixon said...

Lois- I love THE CUTTING EDGE. One of my faves and a perfect example of the right kind of conflict in the "I love you. I must kill you" variety.

I cannot imagine the tension in new skating pairs for real. And you think of how young many of them are to have that pressure.

lois greiman said...

Ridiculous. If skating's not a sport what is it? It'd be hard to find athletes more fit.

Helen Brenna said...

The Cutting Edge was a great movie. "Toe ... pick ..."

I love the Olympics. All of it. Really getting into the skiing and boarding this year. I'll take me some Bode Miller any day of the week!

lois greiman said...

Toe Pick! So good!

Betina Krahn said...

Hey, guys-- I meant to mention that the two American couples in pairs are from Bradenton. . . my town. And they train at the Ellenton ice rink which is right beside my outlet mall!!! These kids are so sweet and work sooooo hard. I was cheering them along. . . and got so angry that all the europeans who FELL got ten times the scores of the
Americans who kept their feet. Seemed to me that there was some snooty Euro-prejudice there.

Playground Monitor said...

Glad someone mentioned the toe pick line in Cutting Edge. If you've ever skated with rental skates, they file off the bottom pick or two because a recreational skater rarely uses them. Then when you switch to your own skates, you have to contend with that darned bottom pick and learn to skate all over again. Or at least I did. And hockey skates have NO pick. It's been AGES ago that I took some skating lessons. Never progressed too far because I was too afraid of falling. :-( But I also took some ice dancing lessons and appreciate what goes into that.

I read where Lysacek used to date Tanith Belbin (1/2 of the US's best ice dancers). Oddly, Belbin is rooming with Johnny Weir in Vancouver. She tweeted that Johnny was very into aromatherapy so they have the best smelling room in the Olympic village. LOL! Yeah, you have to love the guy because he is who he is and he doesn't apologize for it.

Been reading the "it's not a sport" crap. Someone commented it wasn't even really "figure" skating anymore. I remember watching them do those school figures and also remember the year a German skater got such a huge lead in the figures that she could skate a program with no technical merit and still won the Gold. When women began to incorporate the more difficult jumps into their routines, they phased the school figures out.

Dina said...

I love mens hockey and speed skating the most.

Cindy Gerard said...

Okay. I have to add something. I confess i didn't watch the men's figure skating finals until last night 9I had DVR'd) them and then I watched the interview with Evan Lysacek after he'd won the gold and after the Russian had done his foot stomping act. Evan was one class act. I'm so proud of him for being so gracious and so poised and humble and sane about the outcome and the subsequent put down from the Russian. Evan deserves extra points for not letting the Russian ruffle him. He's my new hero!!

Kathleen O said...

I have been glued to the TV since the opennng night!! And I must say that I am very proud of of how we started things off.. Even with that poor young man loosing his life at the start.. I think we handled the situation right on the mark. Honoured him and his country right from the start and went on as we started..

I love most of the sports, but Skating, Hockey and curling have been what I have watched the most. I catch different events from time to time.
I hope everyone is enjoying the games as much as I am.. I never miss the Olympics, because it shows the world that is is not the vast universe we think it is and for two weeks every four years the world comes together as one and respects each other ablilites for a show of great sportsmanship. Makes me proud to be in the human race for once.. I think healthy competion is good for the soul, but not as a regular diet. My heart hurts if one of the competitors from what ever country gets hurt. And I cheer for the winner if he or she has done a good job in going for a medal.

And it bothers me when people like the Russian skater, does not accept with grace his loss over another.. Evan deserved to win that medal hands down.. He is a true gentleman of the sport.

So hats off to all the best in the world for a great job of being the best at what they comepete in and for making the Vancouver Olympics the best ever....

Even though I have many friends through out the US, some family too..My heart belongs to Canada and I will be waving my flad and cheering loud for our Canadian Men's Hockey team... May the best team win!!!!!

catslady said...

I love it all - I'm totally addicted. Getting nothing done so I can watch as much as I can.

As to skating - there are a lot of sports that are subjective. You'd have to get rid of gymnastics for one and I bet that's one of people's favorites.