Sunday, February 12, 2006

Let The Games Begin!

A view from behind the Olympic Moguls venue in Sauze D'Oulx, don't ask me how to pronounce that. I witnessed the ladies moguls event from the base of the course, in the pit with the rest of the media. Awesome.

Inverted aerials, introduced into international competition in 2004, have proliferated. Flips, 720s, crosses, grabs, they did it all. I am currently writing from the media center at the base of the snowboard halfpipe where we're covering the men's snowboard halfpipe final. Shaun White, 19, is the favorite to take gold, and most likely he will run away with the medal. He starts 8th today, in about 10 minutes...

The atmosphere here is electric, the spirit of friendly international competition abounds. Seeing the Canadian (Heil) win the gold last night, it was a beautiful sight to behold. Family, friends, fellow patriots, all are invited to bask in the glory of success. And on the other end, the bitter taste of failure. I observed as Hannah Kearney (USA) broke down in front of her trainer, and said she couldn't continue skiing anymore, after finishing 22nd after qualifying. Being here in person, you really get a sense of how fleeting the competition is. You get a qualifying run (30 seconds) and then the top 20 go to the finals for one more 30 second run, and that's it. Go big or go home. Lay it all on the line, you've worked all your life towards this, and all you're gonna get is about a minute at most. Pressure doesn't even begin to describe...

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