Post-podium panic

The Olympics are over. Now what? I cannot remember what we did before them and I haven’t a clue what I’ll watch on TV now. There is nothing to get excited about. After days of international competition, I got to feeling the world was a better place. Nation to nation, we were united in human triumph and tragedy. Don’t say it’s my imagination.

I am left with a void. No more late nights flipping channels to catch the aerial ski replays or figure skating. You know, I watched curling. I almost understand it now. Then there was incredible hockey. I don’t think I’ve seen the Carpenter that animated before. You learn a lot about a spouse when you watch him watch hockey. That’s all I can say; well that and “Sidney Crosby for Prime Minister.”

I don’t know what I liked more, insane snowboarding or those crazy people who ski in groups of four, where a body check includes a pole, two wooden sticks, and a steep hill. Every sport to me was an extreme sport and I’ve decided those athletes are crazy. I like crazy.

But do you know what I’m going to miss most? Spandex. Those outfits for bobsledders and speed skaters were awesome. There wasn’t an ounce of body fat on any of them. I couldn’t find a ripple from a belly roll or back fat on a single competitor. It made me fantasize about feeding one of them a bowl of puffed rice with a chaser of cold water, just to see if they’d bloat up. Maybe that only happens to me. I heard some of those women are mothers. Should a bearer of children look that good in full-body Spandex? (If you said yes, you are male and clearly do not get the question).

Finally, I could watch the evening news with both eyes open. Instead of gory details of murder and crime that the media love to focus on, the anchors were having as much fun reporting on the games as I was watching them. Oh sure, the bad news slipped in there, but it was surrounded with great human interest stories about athletes who were inspired to overcome illness, injury and even addiction to become Olympians. Geez, sometimes I needed a tissue to wipe my eyes. Now that was good television. Maybe there is something to this good news stuff. Maybe all that focus on positive news made us a more positive culture. Could it be that simple?

My children will remember all the family rules we broke for the Olympics. Late night hockey games meant extended bedtimes. Dinner in front of the television happened more than once. We dressed in Canada jerseys for hockey games. We sat together as a family and cheered our athletes on. I’m okay with that.

Vancouver 2010 started out with tragedy, but it became proof of the human spirit to watch athletes triumph over loses, injuries, even the loss of a parent, to make their dreams come true. We watched them focus the mind and connect with the heart to do the impossible. It was authentic reality television with a multi-cultural cast who all looked really good in Spandex.

Olympic spirit reminds us that there is hope for the world, dreams are worth sacrifice and real celebrities should be actual heroes. Good news makes for good headlines. And I vote for Sidney Crosby for Prime Minister (in Spandex). What?


Kelly Waterhouse