As I write this I am in the midst of finalizing plans for the Sussex Corner Winter Carnival and thousands of volunteers in Vancouver are prepping for the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics, both less than 3 days away. I thought for some time about how to celebrate the Olympics in my column and even still as I write this I am not entirely certain how it will end up. If you think about it though, uncertainty and suspense is what keeps people's attention at the Olympics. True competition often results in drama and bizarre story lines that are either heart breaking, or inspiring and the best stories are the unexpected ones.
There are 15 different sports represented at the Winter Olympics in
It might have to do with being Canadian. It might be that I could be considered a bit odd. Whatever the reason, I prefer the Winter Olympics over the Summer Games. I can simplify the Winter Olympics easier and thus I can more easily put myself in the athlete's shoes. Tell me you don't watch the luge and move your body back and forth as the driver takes a turn at over 130km/h. Maybe you lift your chest higher as the ski jumper lifts off and then you relax as he touches back down. It is likely the most active an armchair athlete will be for sometime.
No matter how close we might feel to the athlete there is nothing like truly being there and competing. Watching the inspirational musical montages, no matter how moving, just doesn't show how much hard work and dedication the Olympic athletes put into getting to the world stage. Hours of training, injury, financial hardship, family sacrifices, all simply to have a chance at competing. What drives someone so fiercely? Is it as simple as the pride in representing your country? If someone were to offer you a million dollars or the chance to compete in the snowboard half-pipe in the Olympics which would you choose? My answer is without a doubt "Can you teach me how to snowboard?" Unfortunately for me no one is going to make that offer, and even if they did I still wouldn't have the true feeling of getting there. Likely the only feeling I would have is embarrassment.
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