Friday, February 19, 2010

The Ultimate Story

All week long I have been a bit distracted. I haven't read as much, gotten as much work done on my edits...

I would venture to guess you might have been too. You see, just like most romance readers, writers love anything that has to do with strong characters, driven motivations, passion, and those stories behind the stories that make you care more about people. By now I bet you know what has captured my attention. If not, let me put you out of your misery. lol

Almost nothing has as much ceremony as the Olympics and it is easy to understand. These athletes, their families and coaches have all given a lot of time and energy towards one goal: coming here and competing against the best of the best. The represent their nation, their hometown, their family, their coach, and a ton of other people who have invested in them when they stand up there.

There are also the "stars" of the show. We have a few of them on Team USA. One of the most colorful is Shaun White. Some sports figures do become well known like Shaun and have money, houses and the whole bit. He also is widely seen to be a trendsetter. I have to admit I thought he would be arrogant and self absorbed. What I found when I learned more about him was a very good ambassador for his sport, a person who just loves what he does and gets a thrill out of the challenge and continually trying to better himself, plus someone who is involved in relief efforts in places like Africa.

There is something else I think makes a person unique, how they handle winning (& losing). One of the most disputed medals awarded was men's figure skating. I'm a big fan of figure skating so I was on the edge of my seat. Evan Lysacek won. He was a humble winner and dedicated the win to the people who supported him. He was overwhelmed and emotional. He also praised Plushenko and talked about how well he had skated and congratulated him on not just this silver medal but all his accomplishments.

In the meantime... Plushenko starts talk about how with the old scoring system there's no way he wouldn't be the gold medal winner. He jumped up on the gold platform before taking his rightful place, and later said there should be no way that Evan won without doing a quad - (even if he did everything else better). The Russians "awarded" him a platinum medal, told him his silver was really gold and are making comments about how Evan may have won this but he will soon be forgotten and Plushenko will be remembered forever. Sour grapes anyone?

Even with all the whining, Evan has refused to talk badly about Plushenko. I think he's got a lot of class and I commend him and think he truly deserves that gold medal. Congrats, Evan.

Not all the stories that touched my heart were from Team USA. I couldn't help but be moved by this pair. Zhao Hongbo and his wife Shen Xue from China were married in 2007. They were supposed to retire but her husband talked her into coming back for one more chance to compete for the gold. So they have been living in a dormitory ( in different rooms) and eating cafeteria food so they could continue train and come to the Olympics. Now at 36 and 31, and having obtained their dream for themselves and their country, they said they want to go home and start a family. I know all the athletes sacrifice so much, but I can't imagine a husband and wife choosing to live apart.

Almost done. :o) I saved the story of Lindsey Vonn for last because she exemplifies what a lot of these athletes do and stand for. Lindsey trains and works hard to be the very best that she can be. She is willing to compete through the pain. She won gold skiing on one leg practically! I find that kind of skill, courage and determination so admirable ~ and many of the Olympians have it (though maybe not quite to the degree she does. lol)

We listened to the stories of not just this injury but her prior ones, and I confess it would be enough to talk me out of skiing. Not her. She just continues on, sometimes just hours after an incident.

I also saw compassion for others in her. This is a determined competitor, but not a cutthroat person. She's the kind of person who shows her every emotion on her face and when that skier started to fall, she was worried. Then she hit again and Lindsey became overwhelmed and hid her face like she couldn't bear to watch her get hurt.

In this picture you can also see that despite the fact that she had to favor one leg, she was exhausted at the finish. These athletes don't leave anything on the table. Many of them collapse after they're done because they give it everything they have. It's the only way to accomplish their goals.

Yes, I've been a little distracted by the Olympics. I've also been inspired and challenged. Have any of the athletes or their stories touched you especially?


  1. You nailed most of them, Lee. We've definitely been watching the Olympics here too (luckily nice and warm too!!).

    Hannah Kearney is from my hometown, so we're tremendously proud here! It was so exciting when she won the gold. It kind of proves that your background really doesn't matter. These really are people coming from all over the globe together to compete. It's really cool!

    Great post, Lee!!

  2. Lovely post! The pictures are great especially the one of Evan Lysacek. I completely agree with all you said about that whole situation.

  3. Hannah ~ How cool that she is from your hometown and won Gold! I love the little stories they share too. She says she weaves flowers into her braided hair. She started it because she didn't want to look like a boy. :o) She is really excellent at Moguls.

    Muse ~ Thank you for coming by. I only wish I could have shared more. There are so many dramatic moments, it was hard to choose.

  4. Yes, definitely. All the stories are so inspirational. I was watching the Skeleton races the other night. They were telling the story of Noelle Pikus-Pace, it was amazing. I couldn't believe that she was actually competing! I was so sad that she got 4th : (

    Keep up the great work with your blog!!