Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Winter Olympics Wrap-up

We have been somewhat glued to the TV watching seventeen days of Winter Olympics.
The coverage we received from our four dedicated satellite channels was outstanding. We got every event 'live' during our day from early in the morning and replays during our evening, all commercial free. They even gave us the option of watching the four channels at once on a split screen. This was, even for us, a little OTT.
The co driver really enjoyed all forms of figure skating although I think at the end she had bit of blade indigestion. But then again she was almost immovable for the final "Gala Event". I liked some of it although I found the ice dancing a bit repetitive. Lots of arm waving.
We also liked the downhill, ski jumping, ski cross, board cross, aerials and half pipe. Despite the tragic beginning to the luge/bobsleigh events this was probably the most exciting for me. The skeleton riders must be some of the bravest athletes in the world.
I struggled with the hockey but guess you have to grow up with it to be a real fan. I got a very distraught e-mail from a Canadian friend after the USA beat them in the initial round.
Luckily the Canadians eventually won the gold medal so I didn't have to put him on suicide watch!

Now an admission. I was enthralled by curling! Loved every moment. High drama in slow motion. To some it's like watching paint dry or grass grow but not to me.
How did Australia do?
Two golds, Torah Bright in the half pipe and Lydia Lassila in the aerials, and a silver for Dale Begg-Smith (an ex Canadian) in the moguls.
There were also nine top-10 performances in what will go down as Australia's most successful Winter Olympics.
Not too bad a result.
The Australian Institute of Sport is an Australian Government sponsored body set up to train elite athletes. It offers 38 sport programs in 29 sports, with a varying number of scholarships offered annually to Australia’s finest sportsmen and sportswomen. In 1998 it set up a winter sports program which has resulted in the country having some success, albeit small, in the Winter Olympics and associated Winter World Cup events.
Vancouver did a wonderful job and the mountain areas looked stunning most days before the weather closed in.
Now we can’t wait until 2012 for the London Summer Olympics but first, there is the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011.

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