Olympic Attitude

Peggy Fleming
One of my first Winter Olympics memories was watching a graceful and gracious Peggy Fleming glide across the ice to win the gold medal for the USA in the women's single event. Here is an excerpt from the wiki on her:
Her unusual style led to five U.S. titles, three World titles and the gold medal in the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble, France. Her award in Grenoble was singularly important for the American athletes and the nation as a whole, for this was the only gold medal that the U.S. Olympic team won in the 1968 Winter Games. It signaled a return to American dominance in the sport of women's figure skating following the unprecedented tragedy of the 1961 plane crash.
The crash they reference was the one that killed the entire United States Figure Skating team, who were en route to the 1961 World Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

Thinking about that tragedy in 1961 causes me to think about Nodar Kumaritashvili's death last Friday on the luge run in Vancouver. It is a sad and sobering thought to think about what happened to this young man. I feel for his family and teammates.

As I watched the Olympics this weekend I was struck by my partisan Team USA attitude.. I was happy to see Team USA march in the opening ceremony on Friday night..guess some of us are just wired to root for the "home" team.

But as I watched Chinese Pairs Skaters Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo skate a wonderful routine last night I began to experience something different. I listened to their story.. I started rooting for their success.. I began to see that the Olympics are so much more than the number of medals won for our country.. it is celebrating with young athletes.. even if they are not from your land.

Maybe that is what the Olympics are all about.. mourning losses and celebrating successes.. and cheering on young athletes.. regardless of the country that they represent.


  1. Yes that's what the theme of the Olympics is suppose to be, the celebration of excellence.
    I love hearing the personal stories and what people have to overcome to be the best in their field.
    Our family went to the Montreal summer Games in 1976 and to the World Championships in Finland in 1983. We were going to go to the Olympics in Russia but that was boycotted and we couldn't go. To meet the athletes personally with the tours we were on was so special. Our boys were young and impressionable. Talking to winners and holding their Gold medals were once in a life time experiences.
    There can be such wholesome experiences and memories if only politics could stay out of the way.

  2. @photo - what a great story! Ditto what you said about politics staying out of the way!

  3. Bob, I felt the same way as I watched the story of the Chinese couple. THEN when I saw them skate - it was perfect, amazing, mesmerizing. I hope they win. I have had the fun of meeting a big Olympic star, I was 8 years old at the time: Mark Spitz. He wasn't famous yet but he stopped and posed for a pic with my family. Of course I can't find it for the life of me. We were in Mexico at the time and visited the site for the upcoming Olympics (it was a few months before) and there were some US Swimmers and we got to watch them in the pool. I was only 8 but had a huge crush on Mark the second I saw him...LOL. Thank for letting me share my little story here.

  4. What a cool story Barbara! I can still see Mark Spitz with all of those medals.. was it really that long ago?


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