Winter Olympics

I look forward to watching the Olympics, Summer or Winter. I wonder how many people feel the same way? No doubt NBC, who broadcasts them, hopes their ratings will be excellent. The 2018 Winter Olympics will take place from February 8 to 25. There will be 102 events in 15 sports, from Alpine Skiing to Luge, plus Figure and Speed Skating, not to mention Curling and Skeleton. Oh, and there will be Ice Hockey. (Not to be confused with Boxing-on-Skates which occurs in the NHL.) For me, the Olympics are a source of entertainment, amazement (Are people really going to ski cross country how many miles?), and appreciation of human athletic achievement.

To help you prepare for the Olympics’ arrival, here are some highlights I remember enjoying from previous Winter Olympics. How many do you remember? And what new memories will be created for us this year?

 

Killy

Jean-Claude Killy; 1968; Alpine skiing; He entered 3 events: Downhill, Slalom, Giant Slalom and earned Gold in all of them.

 

Fleming

Peggy Fleming; 1968; Won Gold in Ladies Figure Skating; It was the only Gold medal the United States won at 1968’s Olympics. The country’s entire Figure Skating Team had been killed in an airplane crash in 1961.

 

Heiden-young

 

Heiden-old

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Heiden; 1980; Speed Skating; He entered 5 events: 500, 1,000, 1,500, 5,000, and 10,000 meters …winning them all; He won more Gold medals than all but 2 nations; In 1991, he completed his education as a Doctor.

 

T = D

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean; 1984; Ice Dancing; In their long program, they skated to Ravel’s Bolero; Their scores were the highest figure skating marks of all-time, including 12 perfect 6.0s.

 

Blair

Bonnie Blair; Speed Skating; She competed in 4 Olympics for the United States; 1984, 1988 (winning Gold and Bronze medals), 1992 (winning Gold medals in 500 and 1,000 meters), and 1994 (winning Gold medals in 500 and 1,000 meters again); She became the first American woman to win 5 Gold medals.  

 

 

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About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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