Were you sorry to see the Olympics go? Or were you ready for it to be over?
There seem to be two camps. First, there’s those who obsessively watched the Olympics coverage.
Ski jumping? Great! Big air? Even better!
Figure skating? Couldn’t wait (and stayed up too late)! Curling? Seriously? (More about that later.)
And then there are those who forgot the Olympics were even happening, or just didn’t care.
True confessions: I love the Winter Olympics. I looked forward to the television recap every night. I never went so far as to turn it on during the day. But each night, there I sat, on the couch, tuned in.
I am not an athlete. I do not ski. I’m afraid of heights. When I lived in the mountains of Utah years ago, the ski lifts terrified me. Cross-country skiing did not work out well for me.
But I love watching a good ski race. And I’m fascinated by the twists and turns of the snowboarding competitions. How do you learn to do those tricks without breaking your neck? I can’t even walk on a sidewalk without breaking my kneecap!
I don’t ice skate either. I couldn’t learn as a child. Obviously, balance is not a strength of mine. But I love and appreci- ate figure skating – the beauty, the difficulty, the athleticism.
Did you watch the Israeli team? They did pretty well compared to past performanc- es, and certainly made a good showing.
Airing figure skating on TV almost every night could be looked at as a brilliant marketing move – the sport’s huge fan base tuned in night after night.
But the surprise favorite this Olympics was the men’s curling team. The American
curling team won? Wow! A gold medal in a sport that had many people scratching their heads, that saw a bunch of seemingly everyday guys from Minnesota and Wisconsin sweep their way to the podium. Unlike most of the athletes, somehow you can’t imagine them training for hours every day. Or dreaming of curling at the Olympics since they were toddlers. How did they ever get started?
But curling takes teamwork, skill and athleticism, as those of us on our couches in the U.S. have been learning these past few weeks.
Curling originated in 16th-century Scotland and made its first appearance in the Olympics in 1924. It has an international organization and clubs around the globe.
Maybe curling will catch on across the U.S. The members of the U.S. curling team certainly hope so. And it just might.
It’s great when a new activity comes along that anyone can participate in, even those of us who aren’t particularly athletic. After all, who really knew what pickleball was a couple of years ago? And now the JCC’s league has a waiting list!