14 February 2006

Ahh, sweet Olympics

That's right. I'm officially addicted to the Olympics. And so I give you: my favorite Olympic athletes (most are from the Winter games because I don't get into the Summer ones as much, and you'll probably notice something of a skating motif):

1.) Paul Wylie (Albertville, 1992)--I sigh just thinking about him. His JFK routine and Miss Saigon routines still set my heart a twitter. Silver medalist, but always gold in my heart.

2.) Ekaterina Gordeyeva and Sergei Grinkov (Calgary-Lillehammer)--Followed them from her being a flirtatious little teen through their marriage and his death. I have no other words for their final Olympic performance other than "breathtaking."

3.) Dan Jansen (Calgary, 1988; Albertville, 1992; Lillehammer, 1994)--From underdog to triumph, I followed him the whole way. I remember hearing his story: his sister died the day he was to compete in Calgary and he was obviously overcome with grief when he was skating, then he had a slight bobble in Albertville costing him the podium, in Lillehammer, he had a small mistake in his best event and thought that he was out. But he went on to win in his next event where he was a long shot, setting a new world record at the same time! Wow. And apparently, he's a nice guy to boot.

4.) Midori Ito (Calgary, 1988; Albertville, 1992)--Who? Ah, my sweet little Midori. I actually don't remember her from Calgary, but what drama in Albertville! Here are the juicy details:
At the Olympics, during final practice at the Olympic rink, Surya Bonaly peformed an illegal back-flip right beside a startled Midori, disrupting her practice and possibly causing her to miss her next jump. This drew the wrath of Katarina Witt who accused Bonaly of "almost cheating." ISU officials forbade Bonaly from doing anymore back-flips during practice. Midori and her coach decided to replace the triple Axel combination with an easier triple Lutz combination. Her coach said she had never seen Midori fall on this jump. However, during the short program, she did fall on the Lutz, placing her in fourth. In the long program she fell on her first triple Axel, landed her second (the first landed by a woman at an Olympics). She ended up winning the Silver Medal. Even though she won the Silver and the team coach, Noriko Shirota, told her she didn't have to be sorry, she publicly apologized to her country for not winning the Gold.

And she's just the sweetest little thing you ever saw. I remember in her exhibitions, she put together this montage of "rain" songs (singin' in the rain, somewhere over the rainbow, etc.) and was just so...SWEET about it. Contrast that with Michelle Kwan's tearful little fit in '98 and skating to Fields of Gold (stealing Sarah Hughes limelight) at the '02 exhibitions. Oh, and Surya Bonaly is mean and her back-flips were ugly anyway.

5.) Torville & Dean (Sarajevo, 1984; Lillehammer, 1994)--I love their Bolero routine, and that is some kind of moxie returning to the Olympics after 10 years. Plus, let's face it, Great Britain isn't exactly swimming in skating glory through anybody else. Hip Hip Huzzah for them.


anne said...

I love that you remember all of that...I remember watching them and cheering, but the details are beyond me.

Thanks for bringing out the great memories!

Karen said...

yeah, i'm a total olympics nerd.

Shelli said...


Oh my goodness Karen, I had no idea that you shared my dorkiness for the olympics. I'm so happy you're my friend.

I know what we'll be watching on Saturday!!!!!