The 2014 Olympics are finally under way, and Sochi has put on a show ranging from Bob Costas’ extreme pink eye to surprise medal winners popping up daily.
I love the Olympics, not only because the United States have seemed to dominate them in a way other countries can only imagine, but because they bring the best athletes together and have them compete against one another for what countries would consider immortal glory.
With that immortal glory comes despair and disappointment for many athletes, some who see their dreams of winning a medal dashed in minutes, if not seconds. Other athletes are just happy to be there, as one of the announcers of the opening ceremonies said. A lot of athletes don’t have a chance to win, but are just happy to be representing their country.
Even the fans have disappointment, and those moments of seeing a fellow American fall or succeed touch one’s heart. I have caught myself checking the live feed during class, as I was during the men’s halfpipe final. We get so caught up in the games because we all want to have our athletes succeed.
What’s happened to the favorites so far? Well, I guess I could say it better with what has happened to the American favorites who were touted as the locks for a gold medal. Bode Miller, J.R. Celski and Shawn White were all household names to bring back a sweet-looking medal.
That hasn’t happened for any of them so far. White pulled out of the slopestyle trying to avoid injury and focus on his three-peat in the half pipe. He missed the podium in that event, maybe one of the biggest shocks of the Olympics.
Miller was killing the downhill during practice, but in the one run he needed to perform, something happened. He ended his run putting his hands over his head in disappointment, as he wasn’t able to get on the podium either.
Celski, the second coming of Apolo Anton Ohno, found himself in the mix during the final 1,500-meter short-track event, but another skater falling may have cost him a medal. That left three of the top men without medals, something that probably no one in the world foresaw happening.
Now let’s talk about some of the heroes that only die-hard fans of winter sports would have even heard of some of these people. Let’s start with Sage Kostenburg, the newly anointed gold medal winner from Park City, Utah. Reading from Kostenburg’s Twitter feed, you can tell he was having the time of his life in Sochi and during the competition. His style set him apart from the other participants and landed a trick he had never tried before in the Olympic final.
Another person who is catching headlines now is Julie Mancuso, a downhill skier who had been struggling throughout the whole World Cup season. But she was able to regain that Olympic mojo. Many athletes are able to find that magic during these two weeks every four years. She took bronze in the Super Combined after leading after the downhill, a great story and accomplishment for an unsung hero.
As we watch the Olympics, don’t lose that patriotic feeling. The USA will show its supremacy — at least I hope so, because I hate to lose, especially in the front of the whole world.