"I Can't Let The Olympics Go"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, February 28, 2014

It only happens every four years and only lasts for 17 days.

I hated to let go of this year’s Winter Olympics. I’m sure anyone who tuned in agreed we enjoyed some of the most spectacular accomplishments ever seen in sports. Although the Olympics draw many of the best athletes from around the world, many of the events are only seen during Olympic competition. They are odd sports, often limited to particular countries’ athletic abilities.

Only at these games can you find skiers going through the woods, stopping to remove a long gun from their back, and then shooting at targets. Each stop they make they shoot from a different position. Where else have you ever witnessed this type of activity? If you were caught going through the woods on skies with a gun on your back, you would be sure to wind up in the slammer.

How about the speed skaters? Some only go a few yards and cross the finish line falling to the ice exhausted. Others skate long distances, as long as 10,000 meters yet have enough energy left to sprint to the finish line. The long distance winners hug their teammates, the king and queen and half the audience before realizing they are tired.

Another sport you don’t see every day involves men and women jumping on a board, sliding into a big ditch only to come up the other side, flip several times and give a wave to the crowd before heading back to do it again: and that is half-pipe. Many of the competitors just keep at it until they get injured and can hardly move. After they race through the course, they are greeted by teammates if they can determine who they are. They all look alike, bundled up with scarves covering their faces. Numbers pinned on their backs distinguish them.

Some dare devils, who did not break themselves in the half-pipe, competed in an event aptly named slopestyle. Competitors began by sliding down a rail, jumping as high as they could, doing three different flips without breaking anything — from their heads to appendages. An engaging young man named “Sage” took the gold in great style. He was unlike any of the other athletes. It’s amazing what young folks can do and call it sport — the twisting and turning like they were made of rubber.

Hockey seemed to draw the most attention but, truthfully, you can see those competitors any time during the season by turning to the sports channels. In the Olympics, they play on different teams, representing various countries, some they may have never seen. Just like in pro action, they slam, trip, slash and even punch their opponents just to get a few minutes rest in the penalty box. T.J. Oshie’s shootout goal was to be the highlight of the U.S. games.

I thought the event that seemed to gain the most attention was curling. Perhaps this game was designed for older hockey players tired of getting beat up. All the equipment required is an old broom and a stone plus the ability to bend way over or sweep real hard. Although entertaining, the game is really odd. The player that can bend over the furthest gets to slide the stone down the ice yelling at the other players with the brooms as they clean off the ice. By the end of competition, the team with the cleanest ice wins.

All joking aside, the skill, tenacity and will to win representing their country demonstrated proof of the pride of athletes around the world. Perhaps the shining moment of the 22nd Winter Olympics was when Vladimir Putin, leader of host country Russia, shook the hands of U.S. ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White on the podium as they earned gold.

I thought the 17 days of Olympic event viewing was outstanding even though NBC tried their best to hide some of the action on various odd channels.

Well done to all the teams who competed!

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