Thursday, February 23, 2006

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The emotions of the games are what makes the performance special. It's that moment when the scoreboard flashes the winning score, the fastest time and the first place marker. All the hard work, all the tireless efforts, the practice, the work-outs have finally paid off. As fans we can bask in their glory with them.

But after the dust settles and we've all gone home, the win is not our own. No matter how bad we want it, for our country, for our hometowns, for ourselves, the victory is the athlete's, and the athlete's alone.

The women's 3000m speed skating relay final was last night. Korea, China, Canada, and Italy competed against each other and finished in that order. The Italian team was beside itself at the finish, waving their fingers in the air in a pronounced show of dissaproval at the way the race had gone down. After careful review by the judges the Chinese team was disqualified for impeding another skater during the race, and Italy was bumped in the bronze medal position. The crowd went wild, the Italian ladies team instantly burst into tears and an Italian fan ran down from the stands and hurled the flag into the waiting hands of the final Italian skater. Tears poured from the eyes of the Italians for joy and from the eyes of the Chinese for sorrow, and the Koreans hugged them both.

It was a controversial decision on the part of the judges, but it was a beautiful sight to behold, and a beautiful moment to take in.

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