Archive for February, 2022

Posted Feb. 2018 . An Oldie but Goodie. It’s Olympics Time!

Polished Blades (Heavy Medal)

On this month of Valentines and Presidents
Waxed snow skis and sleds and polished blades,
Men and women with clear rose cheeks
take gasps of sharp cold air and fogging breaths.
Racing on frozen lanes cut by flexing smooth legs
and taut chiseled thighs.
Beneath the soft stretched fabrics
are the hard bodies of youth’s firm human frame,
Judged by fast changing clocks
and watchers and lovers of perfect style and form.
They win or lose by hundredths of seconds
or fractions of subjective points.
On podiums they bow their heads with broad white smiles and joyful tears
To begin wearing medals as heavy as the egos of their national anthems.
And win or lose, to be known forever as having the heart of an Olympian.

DSS

I Should Have Been A Ski Jumper

Posted: January 5, 2014 (Since I wrote this in 2014, A movie was made on this subject)

Funny how you see something and you try to remember back so many years to the ’88 Games and how little you remember.
A while back I spent a week on business in Calgary, Alberta. What a beautiful place it is. The Canadian Rockies I saw are what you imagine as sheer cliffs of rock with much less vegetation than the Rockies of the US. The Banff area is a great place to spend a few hours or a few days if you have the chance. Traveling back into Calgary you can still see the sites of the 1988 Winter Olympics. The Luge, Bob Sled runs and the 70 and 90 meter Ski Jumps are still there and still used today. Amateurs (I should say Newbies) can go down the Luge but must start only half way from the top or bottom depending on how you look at things. If you instinctively say “from the bottom” you probably shouldn’t try it.

But even I, the usually disinterested sport spectator, can bring to mind the most famous athlete of those Games. I only know of one. Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards, ski jumper. He really didn’t soar like an eagle. Eddy was a former wall plasterer from England who had never ski jumped in his life. But he had always wanted to ski jump and seized on the opportunity to become the only ski jump entry from England. Eddie did not have a sleek physique, he wore Coke bottle glasses and had been dubbed “Mr Magoo”. But he had somehow met all of the requirements and was accepted on the team.

The pre-jump press hype was great, some thought Eddie would be the next opening scene of the ABCs “Wide World of Sports”. Most believed he was going to really be hurt taking those jumps, if not killed. Some were just making fun of him for the way he looked and doing such a stunt. Some thought he was crazy for trying. Me? I was really rooting for him. I always go with the underdog. And I really think Eddy was doing something that he felt he really had to do. I couldn’t wait to see him compete.

I’m not going to say Eddie finished last, he finished 58th in the 70 meter and 55th in the 90 m. Not bad 55th and 58th in the world of a few billion people, most of whom didn’t even try. He landed OK and wasn’t hurt too much. And Eddie made the Games exciting for me. Eddie, Mr. Magoo, the Eagle for a few brief days inspired.

And you know what? I have no idea who won the medals for those events so many years ago. But I remember Eddy. I’m not much for saying there is a moral to any story but there must be a lesson to be learned from this somewhere.

Such is the life of John