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So What Do You Think About the Olympics...

Yukina Ota at the 2003 NHK Trophy.Image via Wikipedia

I have a daughter who is crazy about figure skating. She actually has memorized the standings for every figure skater in the top 20 in the world for the last 10 years. She knows who won the Olympics in each figure skating category for at least the last 20. She skates herself, and she loves watching it.

So we've let her stay up late and watch the men's figure skating so far, and the ice dancing. She found the men's mildly disturbing, since I think she misses dear Canadian Elvis Stojko, who definitely was a "man's" figure skater.

But as excited as she is about the Olympics, I always have mixed feelings. I absolutely HATE watching skating because I'm so afraid they might fall. Imagine, you've worked your entire life for this one three minute program, and then you fall. I feel so badly for them! Perhaps they're mature about it and they're just happy to be there, but I find it absolutely nerve-wracking!

Olympics bother me in other ways, too. In the 100 m dash, for instance, it seems as if Canada's Jamaican is going up against America's Jamaican and Britain's Jamaican and maybe, at times, Jamaica's Jamaican. They're all of Jamaican origin, and it seems like Jamaica should just win. But it's always Canada or the States because they've trained here and grew up here. I'm not saying they're not Canadian--of course they are, since we are all a nation of immigrants. But somehow I always feel badly for Jamaica, because they just don't have as much money to pour into training and infrastructure and tracks, etc. It's obviously genetics that makes people fast, or it wouldn't always be the same genetic make-up that wins the 100 m dash or all the relays. So why should we win just because he moved to Canada?

It's amazing to see what the human body can do, and that's what the Olympics are marvelous for. I just find it difficult to get behind the whole thing because to make it to that level of competition, you've had to devote your whole life to it. It's so intense. And then what if you don't win?

I suppose I'm just a sourpuss. I really do believe that all the athletes are impressive. It's just that you can't really win anymore without major training, and that costs money. It's not just pure athletic skill anymore; it's what infrastructure is behind you.

Olympic_JohnsonLiukinImage by Bludgeoner86 via Flickr

At least in winter sports, though, most competitors are adults. In summer sports, the gymnasts always bother me. They're just so young, and it seems almost exploitative. Where is their childhood? At least the female skaters seem slightly older this year. I was always somewhat put off by Tara Lipinsky's win years ago. She was what--14? How can a girl win a woman's event? I think you should at least have to look like a woman to win.

And gymnasts never look like women. They look like little girls. If it's a sport you can no longer do once you're mature and past puberty, then there's something wrong with that sport.

Okay, so maybe I am a fuddy-duddy. But I do let my daughter watch the Olympics! I just can't bear to watch it with her!

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At 7:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

my husband and I jokingly call the winter Olympics, 101 ways to get seriously hurt in the snow. It seems like in almost every winter sport you have the potential to be seriously hurt if something goes wrong.


At 8:08 AM , Blogger Lisa said…

Your daughter must have been so thrilled last night to see Canada win the gold medal in inc dance!

Good point about the gymnasts. If you can't do it past puberty, then something is wrong.


At 8:09 AM , Blogger Lisa said…

I meant "ice dance"


At 8:11 AM , Blogger Sheila said…

We won the gold?!? That's great! Katie stayed up to watch it, but I went to bed, and because she stayed up late, she's not up yet, so I didn't know!

She will be excited. I'll have to watch the replay today. At least I know they didn't fall!


At 8:16 AM , Blogger Lisa said…

They were perfect. No falls at all. They are the first N Americans to win the gold in ice dancing, youngest pair to ever win ice dancing (20 & 22) and first team to win gold on Cdn soil.

It was so uplifting to see everyone from their small town packed into a community centre to watch and support them! They have been skating together for 13 years!


At 2:19 PM , Blogger Tessa said…

I don't really watch Olympics. I feel that it doesn't really affect me and we're not really big into sports. We will watch the gold medal hockey games most likely because my husband grew up playing hockey.

I have a friend who said "If your an Olympic athelete, great. I'm sure you've trained exceptionally hard to be as good as you are. But I'm tired of hearing how much it's going to cost everyone else so the select few can do what they want in life. I'd much rather see my portion of the cost of the olympics going towards sports for my children or under priviliged children etc. If your and adult and have a dream of being a gold medalist, support yourself and the snow/venues you want to compete at."

Him saying that definitely gave me smoething to think about! In the meantime, I'll just be ignorant about the whole thing until my son decides to grow up to be an athelete.


At 2:57 PM , Blogger **** April **** said…

Wow, I'm so thankful to find someone else that kind of feels like I do about the Olympics in general. When I was a youth, I, too, wanted to be a figure skater -- have the Dorothy Hammill haircut, etc. With all the money (MONEY$$$$) and time spent into that ...and for what? I don't know, don't get me wrong, I feel like everyone has gifts but... do I really care if you can polish ice so that a puck makes it to a specific location on the ice? Heck no -- what have you contributed toward human kind by something like that?

To live and breathe this stuff to me is a waste of time. I can understand having hobbies you enjoy and maybe even being good at them...but... to devote your life... seriously... your life to something like that?? it's just weird to me. So you swim fast -- ??? so you run fast? ok... good for you! LOL. Ya know? I just don't really care I guess.


At 5:41 PM , Blogger Michael and Annalea said…

I definitely prefer the summer olympics over the winter ones and I SOOOO don't get curling. Sorry to those of you who are fans but I seriously don't get how this is a sport. My husband says it's mental skill but....

We were just wondering why dog sledding isn't in the line up. I mean, the Iditarod is a big deal and there's some skill in that; time, terrain, strength, stamina...I'm just sayin'.


At 2:36 PM , Blogger e-Mom said…

Go Canada! It's been fun to watch the Canadians win a few golds... (speaking as an Canadian expat.)

I love watching the figure skating and the half-pipe boarding. All the sports make me want to get outside and move! (Can't watch the luge tho... makes my feet hurt!)

I've found it inspiring to see these young athletes compete against all the odds. I try to extrapolate their tenacity to my own life. With all its complexity, it's so easy to give up. These young people all deserve medals for pushing through every obstacle.


e-Mom @ Chrysalis


At 7:51 AM , Anonymous Tasha said…

I just want to point out that you are on a slippery slope.

By the logic I see you using, it is not worth a girl training ballet if she can't be the prima ballerina for the Moscow Ballet. Or your daughter shouldn't do something unless she is the best. Why try if someone else might be better?

Not a healthy or correct message.

Athletes compete because they love it. Musicians play because they love it. Winning, well everyone likes to. But people who do it for the honor of winning will not last past elementary school. Winning is pursued because it means you are the best in the sport you enjoy so much.

The reason Olympic gymnasts look so boyish is because of the large amount of upper body and abdominal strength required. Handstands= holding body weight, approx. 95-110 lbs, on your hands and shoulders. The current champion won when she was 3 months short of 19 and is training for the 2012 Olympics as is most of U.S. Olympic team.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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