Another Olympics in the books. It was my favorite in years, for so many reasons.
- US Men’s and Women’s Hockey Silver Medals. OK, so they both lost to the Canadians, but both gold medal games were great. Seeing Jenny Potter with her kids on the ice and Angela Ruggiero tearing up but still hugging her teammates defined the American effort. Teamwork and motherhood – as American as apple pie.
- Shaun White. He’s as down to earth as a person as he’s high in the sky doing tricks. What a role model for our kids.
- Evan Lysacek out-skating Plushenko. Yes, Plushenko did quad jumps, but Lysacek skated his heart out. It’s not a home run derby; it’s about interpretation.
- US gold medals in Nordic combined and 4-man bobsled. First and first in half a century.
- Apolo Ohno being himself, picking up two more medals, with humility and good sportsmanship
Along with the sad moments, and the completely confounding moments, like the Iranian delegation refused to compete in the same events as the Israelis, the entire two-week event seemed relatively conflict and scandal free. Maybe I’m the only one who thought it was funny that the Canadian women had cigars and beer on the ice after winning the gold medal, because that’s what my teammates in the beer league would do. Seeing the human, everyday side of athletes makes them seem more like the entire country they are proud to represent.
The Olympics is a house guest that comes every four years and stays for two weeks. We hope that it doesn’t break anything, that it makes us proud, and provides small moments for family bonding and stories to be told. Over the course of a year, I make as many references to the Miracle On Ice as I do to Franz Klammer and his intense 1976 downhill run. Here’s what I hope my kids learned this year: never boast, play to the final whistle, hard work pays off, and there is grace in losing.
Au revior et a bien tot, Canada. It was a fun two weeks while you were here.