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February 13, 2006: Ice flying

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I love the Olympics. I really do. I might get annoyed by the prima donna attitude of some of the contestants and I might want to reach through the television screen and smack a few of the announcers upside the head with large, heavy objects from time to time, but overall, the whole thing is just lots of fun. This is likely due in large part to the fact that the Olympics is the only time when I get to see my favorite sports on prime time television, but also because it is two weeks, every two years, of pretty, pretty people doing amazing things that normal human beings can only dream of doing.

I have to admit that I can only watch one or two runs of luge or bobsled or downhill skiing before I start nodding off, because once you have seen one person go down a hill or slide around a ring very fast, you have seen them all. But there are other things to watch, like the snowboarding, where they strap themselves to boards and zip around in a half open tube and jump really high into the air and try to kill themselves, and the mogul thing where they do big jumps in the air and try to kill themselves, and the pairs skating, where they fly around the ice and occasionally the guy picks up the girl and throws her into the air and they try to kill themselves. You know, I think I see a pattern hereā€¦.but anyway. We have been watching them on and off the past few nights and this year it feels as if there have been some really amazing highlights so far. First of all, kudos to Michelle Kwan for being so gracious and classy and knowing when to walk away, even though it must be killing her inside. She shows a level of maturity that is sorely lacking in most of our major league sports associations these days. There have been the women skiers who crashed so horrifically that if the announcer had not preceded the clips of their spectacular wipe-outs with a reassurance that they were all okay, I would have been convinced at least one if not more of them had done serious damage. And then there were the medal winners in pairs skating - all three teams recovering from something dramatic and powerful and showing the courage and determination to get over the fear and the pain and all the obstacles, physical and emotional, and keep on going right into performances that had every right to deserve to win.

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