From time to time I like to blog about sports, if I have been overly inspired by something. Presently, the Olympics would have to qualify. Putting aside the sinister side of the olympic games, which I have read about long ago, I want to concentrate on the positives.
Every four years I love to sit and absorb myself in the Winter Olympics. To me, they are superior to the summer Olympics. They are more gritty and daring and death-defying. They lead me to gasp or close my eyes.
This can be caused by just about any athlete on the track. It could be an athlete making their way down the ski jump and launching into the open air, soaring effortlessly and fearlessly as they are brought down by gravity only to land on two strips of wood. Then there is the alpine skier carving their way downhill on the icy slopes.
Freestyle skiers and snowboarders take their lives into their hands, too. I marvel at their skill. Just how does someone practice the 1440 Curly Twist Switchfoot Back Grab (No, this isn’t a proper name, but something like it. I will never be able to keep track of all the different spins and tricks and which ones are better than others. They all look amazing to me.)?
I won’t forget to mention the bobsleigh, the luge, and the skeleton. Which brings me to a point, how is going down an icy pipe on a little sled head first at 80 miles an hour a good idea? The athletes make it look easy!
The short track is a brutal sport. While it might not be as daring and death defying as freestyle sports, it is fierce and not for the sensitive athlete. There are absolutely no guarantees for the skaters and almost no room for error.
We can highlight those special athletes of the games.
Who doesn’t love Ester Ledecka for making history? She is the first athlete ever to win a a gold in two different sports in the Olympics since 1928. Norways’ Marit Bjoergen has been a household name for decades with her many Nordic successes. She is now the most decorated Winter Olympian. Shaun White backed up his two golds in the snowboard halfpipe, grabbing a third. In fact, in the first four events in snowboard, America swept the gold!
America’s other darlings, alpine superstars Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin, kind-of failed to deliver. With the two favored to take gold in all five alpine events between the two of them, Mikaela was lonely at the top. She brought home a gold and silver while Lindsey secured a bronze. For the average Olympian, who would be happy with any medal, the two were quiet deflated.
It seems there is too much pressure at the top and those with no one looking at them seem to fare better, just like Mikaela did in Sochi when all eyes were on Lindsey. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir got a little lucky from an outfit malfunction with the French ice dancers in the short competition, or they would have never gotten gold. They did spin an elegant dance and you couldn’t help but realize they skated for one another one last time and did so with such confidence that resonated across the ice.
Jamaica, for the first time, had women competing in the bobsleigh. They almost had to withdraw. This was because they had an incompatible German coach who walked out on them threatening to carry away their sled. In the end, a Jamaican beer company provided a bobsled and the women competed bringing up a boatload of fans on YouTube. England’s two-man (woman) bobsleigh team of Mica and Mica (Yes, that’s right!) had a similar story with a fairytale ending. Just before the Olympics, they lost their funding. But power to the people! Crowdfunding saved them and not only did they make it to the games to compete, they had the best finish ever for British women!
Britain owns skeleton,
too, and made history. It was the first time a man won a medal for Britain with Dom Parsons bringing home the bronze. Lizzy Yarnold b
ecame the first British Olympian to backup a gold medal. And it was the first time two people took medals in the same event in the Winter Olympics.
But Britain wasn’t the only one breaking records.
Canada had a lot to cheer about. I
t seems while they used to have okay success at the Winter Olympics, once the games came to their country in Vancouver in 2010, they have just pounded out the metal! Huge funding game in and now they are up there with Norway and Germany! Canada broke their record of medals won at a Winter Olympics. Norway did too, in fact. They won more medals in Pyeongchang than any other nation in Winter Olympic history with a whopping 38, breaking the record America set in Vancouver in 2010.
If you watched the US compete this year, you would never guess we ever held the record until now. It was the first time in Olympic figure skating history that the US didn’t have a female skater on the podium. The girls couldn’t stay up on their feet. Bitter disappointment. The US men’s ice hockey team failed to make it to the medal round. The US women’s team, however, secured gold for the first time since the events’ inaugural year.
America had some overnight heroes in curling, too. I am talking about the US men’s curling team, taking the first gold in men’s curling in US history. They pulled off some unbelievable shots to dominate Sweden. US made history with its cross country pairs team, Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall, winning gold.
Canada had some real heartbreakers. It was the first time in history they failed to make it into the gold medal round in both men’s ice hockey and curling. Until this year, it was just a given they would take gold in these two events. Germany made history by making it to the men’s gold medal round for the first time and then suffered a heartbreaking loss losing in sudden death to Russia (Excuse me, I meant the OAR) after they had the medal in their grasp with two minutes to go and then just stopped defending, leading Russia to put the biscuit in the basket, tying the game with seconds to go.
A lot of the Pyeongchang Olympics were inconvenient for me. In order to watch my favorite events live, I had to get up stupid early or stay up stupid late. Sometimes, I even scheduled my mornings around it. I did manage to feel absorbed and get enthusiastic about some events. Snowboard Cross and Ski Cross, for example. And short track. And freestyle skiing and snowboarding and the half pipe.
I love the exuberance of the British commentators and the hype of the opening and closing ceremonies. I marvel watching all of the Olympians gathering together. It boggles my mind how hard they train and the risks they take and the heartbreaks they suffer. And still they endure. Very few will take away a medal, but they give it their all in the name of sport and fulfilling their dreams of being an Olympian.
That just gives me hope, drive and courage to stay disciplined, focused and determined to be the very best with my own talents. I need to take risks and put myself out there. I need to know God is watching and He is my very excellent coach, calling me on, cheering and clapping for me.
I don’t believe the olympic games will ever bring about global peace. I don’t think North and South Korea will be united under one flag because of the olympic games in Pyeongchang. I don’t think corrupt world leaders will suddenly become nice guys or change their policies overnight because they got the warm fuzzies watching the Olympics in Pyeongchang. But I have been inspired by the olympic athletes to aim to achieve my full potential in life, not for the glory of sport, but for the glory of God.
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…