{ Missourians at Sochi Olympics }

February 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

Missouri sent two Olympians to Sochi this year — three if you count figure skater Gracie Gold, who trained in Springfield.

It ain’t easy being a winter athlete in the fickle-weather Midwest. The Columbia Missourian told a touching story of Emily Scott, who competes in speedskating, and her father’s commitment. Her dad raised her and her twin sister while their mom was in prison. When it looked like finances were getting tight, she raised nearly $50,000 online to get to the Olympics. Amazing woman, already a five-time world champion for inline skating and former gymnast.

The other Missourian in this Winter Olympics is St. Louis’s Paul Stastny, who is a “hot commodity,” but apparently not hot enough—yet.

And, fun fact: Missouri has had a speedskater on every U.S. Winter Olympics team since 1968, according to the Missouri Speedskating Association website, according to another Missourian article about the speedskating coach here in Jefferson City.

But it’s not about Missouri, right? It’s about Team U.S.A. And it’s not about Team U.S.A., it’s about people of the Earth celebrating accomplishments together, hooray, hurrah, brotherhood, let’s give the world a high five.

In all seriousness, I love the Olympics. My favorite memory was in my residence hall’s lounge four years ago, watching speedskating with a Korean student and a Chinese student. And if I were alone, I would have been piiiiissed at the Koreans for beating J.R. Celski out of gold and silver. But oh my gosh, these two girls were on their feet and cheering and how can you not get happy about that?

So instead, I said, “good job,” and meant it, and she said how cool it was that Apollo Ohno broke the medal record. It was a beautiful moment.

Honestly. I felt connected to them on a different level. In my writing, I want to relay those high points of excitement, the kind that makes even rivals get to their feet and cheer. While criticism has its place, so does celebration. Both can bring positive change.

Is this just what happens when you watch sports? Maybe I should try more than once every two years.

{ Also }

Longform Podcast #2: Janet Reitman

Riverbluff Cave, Springfield, MO


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