The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Z_CNHI News Service

February 13, 2014

Winter Olympics mystify American sports fans

I was slow to warm up to the Winter Games.

There was all that talk about Russia hosting the most expensive Olympics ever. The hotel rooms weren’t finished, and it appeared toilets were optional.

Packs of dogs were running loose until they were picked up and taken to who-knows-where. Visitors were warned about terrorist plots, and U.S. fans were discouraged from wearing red, white and blue.

Then there were incessant photos of Russian President Vladimir Putin  parading around without a shirt. Talk about a strange marketing image to get fans excited about Sochi, a resort nestled along the Black Sea.

Of course, getting excited about the Winter Games is difficult in this country, as it is, except maybe for people who live near ski resorts.

We don’t know much about some of these sports – what’s a halfpipe? – and even less about the star performers. This isn’t like watching the Super Bowl, where everyone knows the quarterbacks and opinions are plentiful.

The Winter Olympics sell pageantry and performance. They blend art with athleticism in a way that transcends sports. The opening ceremonies, thankfully, changed the narrative from political posturing to a celebration of achievement and expression.

The Olympics are a series of stories – joy from victory, agony from defeat.

I recall watching a skater take to the ice in advance of his 4 minute, 30 second routine. He was a picture of concentration. As he twisted and turned through a well-scripted routine, he failed to nail a spinning move then fell to the ice. It had to be crushing for him, and difficult for those in attendance to watch.

Moments later, he fell again, but then jumped up and proceeded on, offering a brief grin. If it wasn’t a victorious moment, it was a courageous one. He didn’t quit.

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • An oncologist uses scorpion venom to locate cancer cells

    Olson, a pediatric oncologist and research scientist in Seattle, has developed a compound he calls Tumor Paint. When injected into a cancer patient, it seems to light up all the malignant cells so surgeons can easily locate and excise them.

    July 22, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Sparring justices find little disagreement at the opera

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed a different view of U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday when she described about her passion for opera, one she shares with Justice Antonin Scalia.

    July 21, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014