As January ended its last days and we are now into February, the world comes together on a worldly stage to show everyone willing to watch athletic greatness of people who train year round. There are no breaks for Olympic athletes who give their dedication to the various summer and winter sports. They are the best not only because of their athletic talents, but because of their determination to push forward when most want to quit. These are the people who will stop at nothing to get their dream of winning gold fulfilled.
We all got the reminder of the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding incident, which caught fire again with the movie, I, Tonya, and with the revival of Harding being interviewed recently. While Kerrigan went on to win silver, Harding was one of the gifted athletes that could have been part of ice-skating history as one of the best figure skaters in the world. Life is more challenging for some, thus her career ended on a failed triple jump where she crashed hard. She has moved on with her life, now Tonya Price, who looks forward as much as possible.
The NBC Olympic Preview on Netflix only got me more excited for February 9th. The Winter Olympics serves again as a nice diversion away from the political circus currently happening in the United States. PyeongChang will hold 102 events in 7 sports with 15 disciplines, making it the first Winter Olympics to surpass 100 medal events. South Korea added four new disciplines guaranteed to lead to heartbreaking crashes, heightened excitement, and distance achieved thought unimaginable. Figure skating, ski jumping, snowboarding, and speed skating are my favorites, but the endurance and skill needed for biathlon and cross-country skiing is not lost on me. I’m still trying to figure out the appeal of curling.
There will be some countries not participating this year, and most notable is Russia because of their doping scandal. However, Russian athletes will be competing under the Olympic flag, but only after they met the standards by the IOC. In addition, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Tajikistan, Virgin Islands, Nepal, Paraguay, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe will not be seen. There’s also a handful of countries participating in 2018 that were not in 2014. They include North Korea as well as Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Kosovo, Madagascar, Malaysia, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and South Africa. There will be 94 countries competing in total.
To answer the question above, it does matter who wins the Gold, Silver, and Bronze. It matters to the athletes competing and their coaches and families. It matters to those willing to pay to watch athletes compete. It matters to those who metaphorically glue their eyeballs to television monitors. One’s meaning in life shouldn’t be stuffed into a medal, but at that moment, it’s often the only thing that matters. It doesn’t make an athlete lesser for not making to the podium, but damn, it’s good to see your respective country represent. Let the best be the best and see who wins.