What a weekend at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics! I had such a hard time tearing myself away from the coverage. One thing I noticed this time is that the coverage from CTV seems to be much better than the coverage we’ve had in previous years from CBC. Now, I am loyal to both our Canadian stations, but it must have something to do with the fact that the games are at home that means that is all Olympics, all of the time on CTV. We still don’t have cable, so I rely on all the internet for all of my Olympic viewing (same for 2008 in Beijing).
I’m going to admit something: I have a serious obsession with the Olympics and have a very hard time doing anything else while the Games are on. Did we have plans together during the Games? I just might have canceled on you, using another excuse. Or maybe our plans involved watching the Games together. The best excuse I had for watching the games was in 2000, when the Summer Olympics were in Sydney, Australia. I conveniently had surgery the day after the opening ceremonies! I even remember watching CBC in my hospital room later that evening. And of course, with two weeks off work – I got to watch as much as I wanted. There, the secret is out!
There are two interesting points I’d like to share about my Olympic viewing experiences over the past few years. First, I watch ANY Olympic sport. I have ZERO interest in curling, and I don’t even really understand how it works beyond getting the rock as close to the pin as possible. Yet I have watched at least 4 full matches. It doesn’t really matter what is on, or who is playing, I will watch it. Over the past week, I have viewed (live) speed skating (both long and short track), figure skating, curling, bobsledding, skeleton, luge, alpine skiing (snow-cross, downhill, super G), ski jumping, cross-country skiing, snowboarding and of course, hockey. It would be completely Un-Canadian of me not to watch Olympic hockey. Actually, I really enjoy Olympic hockey, I prefer the style of the game compared to NHL hockey. Does anyone else find that they will watch whatever sport is on, just because it’s the Olympics?
The second point is about the emotional part of the games, from my own perspective. Even though I am not participating in the games, I find that I am very emotionally involved. Last night, during the hockey game between Canada and U.S.A., I found myself yelling at the screen several times – my husband reminding me that my screams probably weren’t going to make a difference. Or during the last few heats of the Ladies 1,500 m long track yesterday, when we had 3 Canadians in the last 3 heats. My heart was pounding! I wanted them to win and be on the podium!! I’m sure that we all want this for our athletes. And I started thinking, doesn’t even country want it for their athletes? When our Canadians are on the podium, Olympic fans in other countries are wishing it was their athlete, like we often do when a Canadian is 4th or 5th.
I think back to the emotional challenges I faced when completing Ironman, yet although this was a very mentally challenging race, it is nothing compared to what some of these athletes have been going through. Through the support of initiatives like Own the Podium, many of them have been groomed for 4, 6 or 8 years for this one event. Imagine their personal disappoint and feeling of failure when they don’t make it to the podium. It was heart-wrenching when I saw a tearful Mellisa Hollingsworth after falling from 2nd to 5th in her last skeleton run. She was the favorite for the gold and she was noticeable crushed. Or the interview with Chris Del Bosco after he fell, just 1 jump short of the bronze medal in ski-cross. And to top it all off, the massive disappointment felt around the country when the Men’s hockey team lost to U.S.A. , final score 5 -3.
Of course, the flip side of this is that there are many wonderful events to celebrate at the Olympics – including Alex Bilodeau receiving the first Olympic Gold medal for a Canadian on Canadian soil. Or how about Jon Montgomery, who decided in 2003 that his goal was to represent Canada at the Olympics, and why not try Skeleton?
The Olympics is all about emotions – what is disappointing to one country is cause for celebration in another. That is why I love the Olympics so much! For the rest of this week, I will continue to watch sports I love, sports I don’t much care for and scream and cry at the screen!
Question of the day: What has been the best Olympic moment for you so far?