Tuesday, February 14, 2006

figure skaters set the standard

I was watching the Olympic figure skating today. Now I’ve been watching skating religiously since I was about 6 years old. I thought I’ve seen it all. But the feat accomplished by Zhang Dan is a true testament to the human will power. After taking a nasty spill to a point where she couldn’t even walk at first, in a span of mere two minutes she composed herself to go on and complete the program. She and her partner, Zhang Hao, won the silver medal.

I have no idea how she did it. Anybody else would’ve walked off the ice. In fact, the commentators were expecting her to. But she soldiered on.

The gold went to Russians (Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin). It is a pair that less than two years ago had a life-threatening fall, with Tatiana falling head first during a difficult lift. She is still suffering the ill-effects from that concussion.

The bronze went to another Chinese pair (Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo). It was their first competition this season. They’ve battled incredible odds to come back from his turn Achilles tendon roughly six months ago. It is an injury from which it would normally take at least a year to recover.

Every time there is a championship, somebody performs below par. And very often the athletes or the commentators go and on and on about the injuries, the flue, the wrong altitude, poor ice conditions, shaky nerves, etc…

The results of this competition should serve as a lesson to them and to everybody in general. It is not the conditions that matter. The winners are not the once who have no troubles on the way. It’s the once who overcome them. Even when the odds are one to infinity, and everyone thinks you are coming off the ice.


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