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Sunday, February 12, 2006

I'm Going for Gold!!


Well, I'll be the first to admit. I totally buy into all the Olympic drama. Athletes in peak condition, at the top of their game, pouring out their blood, sweat, and tears for years for just one chance to stand at the top of the podium, a gold medal around their neck, and their national anthem being played. I've got goose bumps just thinking about it. I'll admit that I have cried, or at least shed a few tears, after I've seen the face of an athlete who's just completed a flawless performance, and their face just lights up with the knowledge that so many years of hard work just paid off. I've also shed some tears as I've watched an athlete's dream of a gold medal just crumble. So much drama. Such excitement!

I think it has do to with the fact that the Olympics comes only once every four years. For some athletes, they've been chasing their dream for a life-time, and they only have 2 or 3 opportunities to accomplish their goals. For example, today American figure skater, Michelle Kwan announced her retirement, after she was forced to withdraw from the games with an injured groin. (Yes, girls have groins) I cried for her. It's not that I'm some big cry baby, but here's a genuinely nice person, who has spent a life-time working for gold, always to see her dreams to fall short to some 12 year old pisher who some how finds a way to beat her. I'm sad that she's never won a gold. If she was a base-ball or basket-ball or even a hockey player, she would have about 15 more years to try to win the ultimate prize. But, such is the life of an Olympic athlete. You have only so many years, and you have to be ready to accept that you might never win that top prize.

For me, watching the Olympic games, more so than other sports, is like watching mere humans rise above their mortality, if only for a few seconds, and become the gods of their profession. Every time you watch it, you know you're watching something really special, whether it's skiers soaring through the sky, defying gravity, or ice skaters shooting a puck through a net. I will never know what it feels like to represent your country on an international stage, but I can, and these athletes give you permission, to live the experience vicariously through them. Ask yourselves one question. When Gal Friedman won Israel's first gold medal in the 2004 Olympics, how many Israelis cried and cheered with him? Can you honestly tell me that you didn't feel elation or shed a small tear when he wrapped himself in the Israeli flag and sang Hatikvah in front of the entire world? Who cares if it was only wind surfing? Maybe not that many people watched the event or even knew it was an Olypic sport, but when he won, Israel and the entire Jewish world won with him. And, that's precisely what I'm talking about.

These athletes lift their entire country up, put it on their shoulders, and carry her with them to victory. They're winning for themselves, but they're victorious to their entire country. Man, that has to be one hell of a feeling! For myself, I enjoy most, if not all, of the winter sports. I like a lot of the news sports they've added. It means the Olympics are progressing and keeping up with the times of the more "extreme" sports. However, yesterday I saw the weirdest thing. It was a nordic skying combined with shooting. I totally didn't get it. Who does that? Well, the German won. That was all I knew. My favortite winter sports, though, are hockey, luge, bob sled, skeleton (which, they only let back in in 2002), figure skating, speed skating, and most of the down hill skying events. Hmmm... that makes up most of the sports. Well, I told you I liked them all.

One of the biggest surprises for Israel will come somewhere between 2-4 Olympics from now. The Israeli hockey team has been progressing faster than any new European/Asian hockey team. I predict that they will, eventually, be good enough to sport a team at the Olympics. They might not be able to win or be able to contend for a medal any time soon, but they'll make a strong showing. I look forward to seeing the first Israeli player in the NHL some day soon.

GO USA!! GO ISRAEL!!!

1 Comments:

At 3:55 AM, Blogger menachem said...

oh, come on. winter games are so lame. they're all variants of the same thing- ice/snow is slippery. lets see who can slide the farthest/longest/highest! booooring

 

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