Friday, February 17

A little flurry for Gold

I haven't been following much of the Winter Olympics. Hockey just bores the hell out of me, plus who cares, isn't Canada going to win it anyway? And didn't Bode whats his face get DQ'd five events in a row? Michelle Kwan on the other hand aggravated a groin injury waiting to parade on opening ceremonies... i mean what the hell is that??

Sean White however who just recently won a 4-peat in the Winter-X games did not disappoint, dominating the field, as expected. I saw him compete in the 2006 Winter-X Games on TV, he landed 2 consecutive 980's while the rest of the field, all of over 10 competitors, couldn't even land a clean 720.He is simply in a class of his own, i was completely awe struck at the things this kid can do... The Olympics was all but a gimme.

20 year old Lindsay Jacobellis, the very-cute-in-a-snowboarding-kind-of-way defending Snowboard-Cross World Champion (the Girl in that Visa commercial, remember?) was very poised to win her first Gold. She is young, brass, talented and destined to win the Olympics. She finished 2nd place in the first Snowboard-Cross qualifying run and won her second one by a hair, but more importantly qualified in the 4 man field final event for the podium. But i wasn't convinced i'd seen the best of Lindsay, i really thought that she was saving her best for last... ala Dale Earnhart in NASCAR'S Super Speedways.

And so to the event. I gave the race my undivided attention, i had an inkling it was going to be a memorable race, the same feeling i get when red lights light up in Monaco for F1 (three solid red lights means Go Go Go in F1). Right out of the gate Lindsay came out strong and was able get the inside position taking the lead into turn one, which is perhaps the single most important maneuver in snowboard-cross. Leading into turn one means a clear path, avoiding the grind and a chance to pull away from the field, and pull away she did. A 50 yard absolute dream lead, so far ahead in fact that if in some metaphysical way i were to finish the race for her, i could have won it, really... The trouble i thought was she kept looking over her shoulder to check on the other riders. And then 3 quarters of the way down she looked again, i kept thinking to myself "shit this spells trouble". Look ahead Lindsey, don't worry about the others i kept telling her. Then on the approach to the last jump she took one last look as if to take a deep breath before a plunge.. or some sort of a premature celebratory dance . Then in an inexplicable flurry of a move she did a board grab, something a snowboarder would do in a downhill jump competition, causing her to lose balance in midair landing on her back-heel sending her sliding on her back basically handing the Gold to the Canadian rider trailing 50 yards behind as she clambered up. Perhaps as mundane a mistake an inexperienced snowboarder is likely to make... but a world class snowboarder making the error is just dumbfounding, and to squander a Gold Medal no less. All she had to do was cruise to the finish. If you had seen her face and her family's reaction then you must share my melancholy, i was sad for Lindsay, i was rooting for her as an American and as a true devoted snowboarder.

In her post event interview she disavowed the idea of showboating only to reprove herself during her NBC interview with Bob Costas... i'm sure after realizing it was as blatant and stupid a display of showboating as Leon Lett's in the 1993 Thanksgiving Day game between the Broncos and the Cowboys. However i salute her grace as she did not, not even once, attempt to dodge questions that i'm sure were not very easy to answer. She came out without pause and faced the music. And she is still cute...

Sometimes the most valuable of lessons are the hardest to learn...


At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first grab is the deepest


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