Homage to Vancouver 2010

Well, it’s been an emotional two weeks. And a fun two weeks. I don’t remember ever having been so consumed by a Winter Olympic Games. Then again, I don’t know if I’ve ever tuned in as much as I did these past 16 days. My sister asked the other night while we were texting commentaries back and forth over Ice Dancing, “What are we gonna do when this is over?” I’ll be missing them for sure, but at least I’ll have no more reason to stay up ‘til 3am watching reruns of ‘great moments of the day’.

Before that nail-biter hockey game yesterday, I caught Cris Collinsworth sharing his list of Top Five Highlights from Vancouver 2010. First of all, how does one come up with only five? He managed, and I agreed… (but, I have a list of my own as well).

 CC’s Top Five:

#5. The opening ceremony. Beautiful.

#4. Shaun White. Wow. This kid is something.

#3. Men’s Nordic Combined. An awesome display of guts and human power.

#2. Apolo Ohno. Another awesome display.

#1. Joannie Rochette. This woman, absolute grace.

My Top Five + a few:

 #5. Small countries doing well. It was awesome, even though they didn’t win it, to see my dad’s home country, Slovakia make it to the Bronze medal game in Men’s Hockey. It truly made me smile seeing so many athletes from far away places put up such good fights against the big guys.

#4. The Humility. I know, I know—never judge a book by its cover. It’s hard not to, especially when we’re talking about athletes who for most of us have little part in our regular lives but around the Olympic Games splash magazine covers, air and radio waves, cereal boxes and billboards. They’re used to fame and they know they’re good, so how far-fetched is it that they might not be a little full of themselves. What a sweet surprise to witness Lindsey Vonn’s gold medal run in Women’s Downhill and the aftermath of her great performance. The screams of utter joy, her nearly choking on tears in the post race interview and the embrace with her coach and husband. Then there’s Shaun White, the adorable flying tomato. The hair, the smile, his love for his country, and a great spirit—all just added bonuses on top of his unbelievable talent. And then who could forget Johnny Weir, with his frilly costumes, his love of all things Russian, his program entitled, “I Love You, I Hate You”, the personalized pillow and the red rose crown. He’s not only a unique individual but one with class to stand up to so many unkind words.

#3. US v Canada Hockey. So it didn’t end with a gold for USA but… we got the silver! And it was an awesome effort. First to get to the final round, then with 24.4 seconds left, to tie it 2-2. We didn’t give up without a fight…and it was nice for the Canadians to end on such a high note.

#2. Our Neighbors. How touching to witness the pride of the Canadians, every mouth singing at each of their gold medal ceremonies. The broadcasts showed such great hospitality the people of Canada showed not only to us, but to the world.

#1. The inspiration. Certainly we remember the sadness with which the games began, when it was announced that the Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed in practice. As heartbreaking as it is such a tragedy took place, I think of the young man following his dream and making it to the Olympics. To me that in itself makes him a winner. Like all of the athletes at the games, whether gold or last place, they made it there. All throughout the games, as sappy as it sounds, I was reminded that that is what life is about. To find what it is that makes you tick and go for it. Whether it’s wanting to be a Olympic bobsledder or, like me, a writer of novels (though that will never land me on a Wheaties box), it’s a dream, and dreams are meant to be followed.

As for the rest of my favorites…

  – Kim Yu-Na’s elegance

  – Tessa and Scott’s gold

  – Mary Carillo’s late show

  – Evgeni Plushenko’s attitude (so entertaining!)

  – Biathlon’s skill

  – Alexandre Bilodeau’s win

  – Julia Mancuso’s Visa commercials

  – Joannie Rochette’s grace

     and yes,

  – all those beautiful, healthy bodies!

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