Gold Medal Memories

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tonight is the night women around the globe look forward to every four years - a night their husbands loath - tonight is the final round of the women's Olympic figure skating! Why do we love this sport so much? The rest of the year I honestly never watch, never keep up with, and never even think about figure skating...until the Winter Olympics arrive. Just like the "gymnastics fever" we get when the Summer Olympics come around - there is just something about figure skating that women love.
Is it the grace and beauty of the skater gliding across the ice? Is it the terrifying-yet-amazing feat of a human pointing her toe over her head while spinning? Or is it just the fact that deep down inside each female, there is a secret and quiet voice saying "I could've done that if..."?
Maybe a little of everything.
For me there is just something totally nostalgic about watching it. One of my earliest memories is visiting my grandparents in Texas and watching the 1984 Winter Olympics. I remember eating Rocky Road ice cream in my jammies and being totally captivated by the skaters. Scott Hamilton was shocking us with each back flip he would make. It was also the "year of the Brians" as Brian Orser and Brian Boitano competed. And, who could forget Katarina Witt? I can still picture her bright red lips and red and black outfit she wore when she took gold - back when there was an "East" Germany to be represented. I remember that the commentators would criticize her size - that she wasn't as lithe and tiny as the usual ice princesses that skated - but I didn't care. She was like a Barbie doll to me (well, a very brunette, German-speaking Barbie doll).
Through the years we have watched with amazement - cheering on the world's best - and for one week every four years, everyone you talk to knows who your talking about when you say names like "Oksana" or bring up the long-forgotten drama of "Nancy and Tonya". Remember that?
So - who do you think will get the gold tonight? Will America keep a spot on the medal platform - or will we have to bow to another country and wait four more years?
I honestly don't even have a favorite. I think that's one of the more beautiful things about the sport. As a spectator, it is lovely and entertaining just to watch. We wait for the scores and hope for the best - but it is easy to forget it is a competition when you're untrained eye can't tell the difference between a triple axle and a triple flip. And really, unless they fall flat on their rears I can hardly ever tell if one of them makes a mistake. Of course - Scott Hamilton's overbearing and enthusiastic commentary will be sure you don't miss a beat ("OH! She settled for the double instead of the triple! That'll cost her!")
Either way - it will be an enjoyable night.
I might even have to get out the Rocky Road just for the occasion.

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