As with any Olympics, there’s always some great athlete stories and the Vancouver Games is no exception.
There was an impressive editorial column by Rick Reilly on John Napier, an American bobsledder (the driver), who is from Vermont, one of the more liberal state (it tried to put former President George Bush on trial for the Iraq War and the lost young lives) in the country, and a member of the Vermont National Guard. I think it struck me more because lately I’ve been reading more about the Korean War and the feelings that the U.S. soldiers had about not really wanting to go and not feeling appreciated and here’s a young man who wants to go, who wants to represent his country in any and every way possible, even if it isn’t the most popular way. And each member of the U.S. men’s hockey team has been adopted by a wounded warrior from their hometown, college town, or pro team town.
Here’s another story about a young athlete, Kirsten Holum, stepping away from a monetarily rewarding athletic career in speedskating and instead choosing religious life. Or remember Shani Davis and Chad Hendrick not getting along at the last Winter Games and representing the U.S. very poorly while winning big, this time they lost but were great ambassadors for their country and their sport.
Or Kris Freeman, who was/is considered to be the U.S.’s best chance at a medaling in cross-country skiing, almost didn’t finish the race because of his diabetes crashing. But thanks to a coach with the German team, who noticed that he was on the ground, gave him some gatorade and an energy gel, he was able to finish the race.
Two American skeleton athletes, Zach Lund and Noelle Pikus-Pace, trying to make up for missing the 2006 Games. Lund was told to leave the Turino Olympic Village immediately because he had tested positive for a banned substance, Propencia, the hair-loss treatment drug. Pikus-Pace was considered the best female skeleton athlete in the world was hit by a runaway bobsled at the U.S. Olympic trials, which broke her leg in two places, causing her to be unable to compete.
I don’t know much about curling other than you are not allowed to touch the “puck” with your broom, but this story of the (some what biased hometown) Canadian crowd singing their national anthem to give some motivation to their curling team was great.