Winter Games 2014: Failure And Triumph In Sochi

If you watched last night, you saw that Shaun White didn’t make it. As temperatures reached 60 degrees in Sochi, snow got slushy and the Flying Tomato went splat a couple times (sorry, I had to). Maybe he would’ve anyway, but that variable of molten ice makes you wonder. It’s shit like that that makes people like the Summer Games so much more. What if when Usain Bolt went for a run and there were a bunch of banana peels on the track?

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Even so, Shaun was gracious in defeat.  He embraced the young Iouri Podladtchikov, who in addition to winning a gold medal is also the possessor of a name that could be the final question in an American spelling bee, but is basically “Smith” in Russia. The spirit of good will in these sports is always tremendous to see, there’s a kind of forward thinking drive to make the form evolve that I find compelling. These athletes that most of us only care about every four years seem to thrive on being a part of something greater than themselves.

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Let’s consider 2 time freestyle ski gold medalist Alex Bilodeau, who strives to do his thing due to the inspiration of his older brother Frederic, who suffers from cerebral palsy. Alex made what’s been called a “perfect run” this year and dedicated it to Frederic. When Frederic asked his brother if he would’ve been an Olympian had he not had this disease, Alex told him that he would’ve been a 3 time gold medalist by now.

Take a good look. That’s what character looks like.

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