Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Figure Skating

I confess--I'm obsessed by the Olympics. I was ready to drift off to sleep last night when I heard the spectacular crash of China's Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao attempting a quadruple salchow at the start of their long program. What courage to pick up the program and finish it out! And, to be rewarded with the silver medal! Unbelievable. It reminds me of Kerry Strug's brave vault after injurying her ankle in the 1996 Games, winning the US team a gold medal.

Still, is it SO important to win, that a serious injury should be ignored? These athletes, some of them not quite adults, are under extreme pressure from their sponsors and from their countries. It makes you wonder about our societal priorities.

Michele Kwan's gracious withdrawal after her injury to make room for teammate Emily Hughes impressed me a great deal more than Hughes' subsquent NBC interview. She was palpably excited about the chance to compete in the Olympics (and who could blame her after her years of sacrifice and training?), but would it have killed her to express sympathy and gratitude for Kwan's situation and decision?

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