Each story was different. Norway and Sweden battling in Cross Country. Relevant to that struggle somehow was the struggle of the US players like Hannah Teter, Shaun White, Seth Westcott, Kelly Clark and others to defend snowboarding dominance against emerging teams like China, Australia and Japan. The struggle took some casualties — especially Lindsay Jacobellis. Curling was entertaining but not glorious for US fans.
The Opening ceremonies were less than those of Beijing. Nonetheless, they were fully engrossing . Yes they had flaws of mechanical and other kinds. They were wonderful however. I was really moved by the French and English which was moderately well done in the land of British Columbia. I was very impressed with the beauty of the blending of the Amerind Aborginal cutlures with those of Euro-Canadian culture which was was very beautifully done. We face a future in which these ceremonies are valuable reflections on what is possible for humanity and civilization.
I look forward also to see what the Brits will do with the next Summer games in London. I honor the Night Train bobsled team led by Steve Holcombe, the Nordic Combined athletes and others who carved out new realms of excellence. I honor the work of Shaun White and others who have held off ever more expert competitors in the X-Games and Gravity Games traditions which the US (including me) sometimes like to feel we own. Julia Mancuso skied for two silvers to add to her Gold from Turino’s 2006 games.
We Americans had a lot to be happy about in Alpine Skiing in this country. Julia and Lindsay were a great story. However, we also have seen Bode Miller go from an Olympic bust to an Olympic power player. We have seen our national team become something to be taken seriously in those events. This eases the sting of watching our hockey teams come up silver to Canada’s gold. It was after all a worldwide games. I was happy for the Chinese success in pairs figure skating, the success of Kim Yu Na from South Korea could not be more deserved even if it helped break a long streak in the USA’s medals. While our girls did not join their predecessors such as Kerrigan, Lipinski, Yamaguchi, Cohen and others they acquitted themselves well anyway — really. Mao Asada won for Japan another medal and the emotional triumph of Joannie Rochette was also splendid. I felt for what we did not get but rejoiced in what was. The Brits who host the next Olympics had a gold medal in sliding from Amy Williams and they really need to remind the world they are contenders fit to host an Olympics –so I salute her. Did the Olympics rate much attention compared to the six nations Rugby tourney?
Every Olympic games ends with questions for those paying attention. But I must tear myself away and know it is over. I just wish to say farewell to the games and leave it behind. However, I do bring the Olympics with me through the years.