February 13, 2006

Olympic Inspiration

Tonight was a night full of the true Olympic spirit. The kind of stuff that feels me with so much emotion that I almost want to cry. I know a bit about this kind of athletic perseverance, having competed twice on a national level, and winning gold one of those times.

The figure skating pair finals were today. The pair expected to win, Totmiyanina & Marinin, have been recovering, psychologically, from a fall that left Totmiyanina unconscious and with a severe concussion.Tonight, they overcame their tentativeness to win Olympic gold!

Even more inspiring were Zhang and Zhang, the Chinese pair who came into the Free Skate in second place. Attempting to land the first ever quadruple Salchow throw, Zhang Dan fell, hurting her knee. Their program was stopped as she was checked by her trainer to see if she could go on. Not only did they finish their program, but the finished well enough for a silver medal!

It's moments like these that make you marvel the human body and the human mind. Not only the physical aspect of overcoming falls, but mentally as well. I know first hand that getting hurt doing something makes it that much harder to try again. It's hard to shake that fear that it will happen the same way. What if it's worse?

So, I applaud these skaters and their well-deserved Olympic glory.

Of course, along with this is a recognition of your limits. Zhang checked in with her trainer before continuing her performance. And today, Michelle Kwan withdrew from competition after falling in practice the day before. I love Kwan, and have followed her throughout her career. It's sad to know that she's forgoing her last opportunity to win gold, but I respect her ability to step back and be honest about her physical state. It's one thing to persevere, another to damage yourself permanently.

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After watching the Leno, I've discovered that I'm at least as good at snowboarding as Tom Green. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Probably, it's bad.

1 comment:

Monica said...

The Chinese team impressed the hell out of me after that fall. She was so stoic and to come back and get silver just blew my mind.