A Historic Olympic Moment

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Joannie Rochette moments after she finished her bronze medal winning free skate at Vancouver’s Pacific Colliseum.

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From left: Mao Asada (Japan), Kim Yu-Na (Korea), Joannie Rochette (Canada)
More pics published soon!

Feels goofy applauding at the TV screen by myself, but it’s for a special occasion: not only does Joannie Rochette well deserve her Bronze medal on it’s own merit—under the circumstances her exploit seems almost superhuman— that makes her my new heroine (as in female hero obviously). Then there’s Mao Asada for Japan—completely deserving of her Silver medal—which she performed for like a true champion. And of course there reigns Queen Yu-Na with the gold. As Dick Button said, “she was lyrical on the ice”. And I say that all three were at the top of their form and delivered excellent performances, but Kim Yu-Na single-handedly elevated figure skating to a whole other level. I

It’s the greatest podium I’ve ever seen and had the excitement about it of a Nadia Comanecci Montreal Olympic moment all over again (the first Olympics I was old enough to watch!). Only this time not only are all three women on the podium exceptional athletes on many levels, but and all three also held up to unimaginable pressure and showed incredible fortitude and determination while delivering exceptional performances, even by Olympic standards. I’m not saying any of this because I’m necessarily partial to figure skating, which I often find contrived and just kind of silly. But it’s the fact that it’s a discipline that requires these women to put themselves out there on that hard ice and jump around half naked in ways that would leave most of us wearing body casts—if not paralyzed for life—all the while smiling and charming the crowd while trying to deliver an artistic experience as well (though most of them leave that behind with their visible, though understandable concern about making their jumps). Whith Kim Yu-Na, all of the athleticism and artistry is seamlessly integrated. It felt like watching an actual ballerina on skates dancing to a George Balanchine choeography. Ok, maybe George Balanchine is pushing it a little, but the spirit was there to be sure. Though here I also agree with Dick Button that Mao Asada is stronger than Yu-Na in many ways. Her flexibility is such that she can create sublime lines with her body in a way that (in Button’s own words) doesn’t make her look like a turkey leg being pulled off the carcass. Live pics coming up of the live medal ceremony and all three winning women’s performance! Press refresh for new moment-by-moment additions/edits to this post as I’ll be catching the late night rebroadcasting to catch and pixelize all the best moments!

Can’t leave out the Canadian Women’s Hockey Gold win today too of course! This makes it the third consecutive Gold win for Canada’s Women’s Hockey team. So very cool. And as it should be obviously.  ;:’)

These guys are so inspired—and inspiring!

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4 thoughts on “A Historic Olympic Moment

  1. I agree with your assessment that the women skaters at these Olympics were superb. The depth of the field was extraordinary.Joannie Rochette brought an element of humanity that I'll never forget, just as I have not forgotten Dan Jansen's tragedy years ago when his sister died the morning he was to compete. Two skaters took to the ice. Dan crashed repeatedly, unable to find balance. My heart bled for him. Joannie skated brilliantly. My heart bled for her, too. These two human beings personified the ways and mysteries of grief. Dan went on to win his gold at the following Olympics. And Joannie? She is fated to remember forever the weight of pain that came with that gold. Two human hearts. Two different outcomes. Both memorable and admirable…and utterly human.

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