I wish the Olympics were on 52 weeks a year!! Best stories (and backstories) on television. I just finished putting in about 30 hours on the couch watching skaters and skiers jump around on TV this week. ONE MORE WEEK TO GO!!
There are some great human interest stories, along with the athletic stories that go with them. My favorites:
Alex Bilodeau, the Canadian freestyle mogul skier, who raced in honor of his older brother Frederic, who has cerebral palsy. He won the gold medal for the second Olympics in a row, with his brother cheering him on from the bottom of the hill. He has translated this success into a charity in Canada which raises money for medical research.
Noelle Pikus-Pace, the mother of two from Utah, who throws herself face first down an icy mountain at 90 miles an hour on what looks like a lunch tray with runners (called a skeleton). She retired with a fourth place finish at the last Olympics, but came out of retirement only under the condition that she could bring her family along for the journey. She won a silver medal and went charging into the stands to hug her family as the crowd went crazy
Then there is Katie Uhlaender, the daughter of former major league baseball player Ted Uhlaender. Her father died before the last Olympics, and she finished 11th. This year, after running her father’s farm in Kansas, she raced in the skeleton competition and finished 4th, losing a medal by 4/100th of a second! Hopefully she will be back in 4 years to get a medal.
These stories are great for many reasons, but especially because for the most part, these people are spending four years of their lives to perfect a skill that they probably can’t make any money from when they are done. They do it for the love of the game.