I finally got to see the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi this last weekend. Sir had gallantly taped it for me, but seemed staunchly obstinate in not wanting to actually watch it.
I will confess I have developed TVDD – Television Deficit Disorder, and my attention span, at a push – with the commercials removed – lasts about 50-60 minutes, so I suppose it was fair enough that Sir thought the chances of my watching four hours of Opening Ceremony were about on par with my being able to complete even an iota of any of the feats competed for in the actual Games.
He has, being a man, naturally bemoaned the fact – ad nauseum I believe – that prime time TV insists on showing the girly aspect of the games – the figure skating and the ice dancing – where he actually has to wait up till 2 a.m. to see anything vaguely macho like the eight-man team tug-o-war on ice, or the blindfolded backward ski jump.
Believe it or not, I remember getting our first TV video recorder for the 1984 Games when Madam was just a wee babe, and I loved to sit and watch the recording while Madam had her nap. Torvill and Dean that year captured the hearts of the world with their magnificent skating to Ravel’s “Bolero,” and I’m sure every woman had a bit of a fantasy about the ex-Bobby turned romantic skater.
Every athlete makes it all look so easy, which I suppose is as it should be. They’ve trained for years, after all, and if they’re not good at it by now, they really shouldn’t show up. I mean, even Eddie the Eagle – that fabulous Englishman who by comparison with his peers was an appalling ski jumper, but when compared to we lesser mortals, was indeed a brave, big-hearted sportsman.
If you’ve ever strapped one or two planks of wood on your feet, or a couple of razor blades under your shoes, you know that the introduction of white slippery stuff underneath you does not equal graceful not extremely speedy accomplishments.
Think of the falls you ignominiously endured while trying to ski or skate, no doubt at the snail’s pace expected of a beginner, and remember the pain that engendered. Now think of how it must feel to take a bit of a spill at 85 miles an hour. My bottom tightens and my teeth clench in complete sympathy.
And so I suppose as we tottered off to bed the other night having watched The Skeleton, that it really wasn’t terribly charitable of me. Here is a guy hurtling on ice at a million miles an hour on a tea tray, downhill with twists and turns and all of it head first – and Sir asked, “Do you think he wears a cup?”
Page 2 of 2 - “A cup?” I replied. “He’d need the whole bloody tea service.”
Congratulations to all of the fabulous athletes who competed. Win or lose, you’re the best in the biz.
Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at email@example.com.