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Favorite Olympic Moments

I’m feeling sad right now because the Olympics are officially over.

How I do love them and look forward to the celebration of athletic achievements every two years.

This Olympic season was, once again, full of so many memorable stories.  I consider myself a study of people, so I’m naturally drawn to the personal stories that accompany the games.  Boy, some of them were heart-wrenching too!

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite.

First off, Meryl Davis and Charlie White…

Doesn’t she remind you of Jasmine, from Aladdin?  I love how they were constantly there for each other.  The smallest gestures…never letting go of each others’ hands, his tender care of her through every movement…these bespoke the trust that they spent years nurturing.  I could have watched them skate for hours.

Noelle Pikus-Pace…mom of two who won the silver medal for skeleton…

She struck the perfect balance between wife, mother, and athlete.  What an inspiration to women who want it all!

Our men’s bobsled team, led by Steve Holcomb who tried to end his life a few short years ago but overcame that despondency to earn two more medals!

Mikaela Shiffrin, teenage downhill skier who is absolutely brilliant.  I was impressed when I saw a story about how she has studied various skiers’ nuances and blended them into her own unique style.  She was a joy to watch!

My admiration isn’t just for American athletes.

I was so touched by Canada’s Alexandre Bilodeau.  His repeat gold medal win was especially touching because of his brother, who has Cystic Fibrosis, who cheers him on at every competition.

Julia Lipnitskaia stole my heart with her youthful and spot-on skating during her short program and team competition.  Although she made some mistakes in the long program, she’ll be back, I’m sure of that.

Stories that broke my heart…

Bode Miller…

I’ve watched his Olympic career from the beginning and have seen his ups and downs.  He’s definitely struggled but seems to have finally matured because of a supportive wife and, unfortunately, through the death of his brother.  He had a difficult Olympics, but despite this, he handled himself with grace.

Russian skater, Yevgeni Plushenko, had a most glorious swan song, so to speak, during his team event.  My heart broke for him when he had to pull out of the individual competition minutes before he was to perform.  He has overcome so many physical difficulties and truly will remain a legend in this sport.

One of the things that struck me about this particular Olympics was the resilience of the Russian people.  They live tough lives.  Their environment, physically and politically, is harsh.  They’ve weathered many, many storms.

One such storm was the loss of the Russian hockey team, Lokomotiv, in a plane crash in 2011.  The special that NBC did on this team made me cry.

To hear of the player who donated many thousands of dollars to the young woman undergoing cancer treatment made me weep harder.  His donation went undiscovered until after his death.

The way this team’s deaths affected the Russian people broke my heart, and I hurt for the friends, family, and hockey teammates left behind.

I think I am getting more sentimental the older I get.  Maybe it’s just that I have a greater appreciation for life…for its struggles…for its high points.

I so admire those who rise above their circumstances to achieve greatness.

I admire those who, though falling short of the mark, still give it their all, like the snowboarders who get up and finish the race or the skater who finishes a program when he/she has made a mistake that will take him/her out of medal contention.

I appreciate how, for two weeks, politics are set aside and humanity is celebrated.

Isn’t that what we’re here for?  To help one another…to celebrate with one another?

I’m sad but happy…all at the same time…for once again, my faith in humanity was restored a little bit, and I believe that was the purpose back when the Olympics originally began.

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