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Thread: The Olympic Games

  1. #911
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    Re: The Olympic Games

    Quote Originally Posted by Bearcata View Post
    What was most disappointing about Debbi Thomas is that it looked as if she totally gave up and didn't even try.
    I've read what Debi Thomas had to say about her free skate. Her coach had decided that she had to stay in Colorado to train, so she didn't get to Calgary until shortly before the competition. He also ramped up the training, and she was being pushed not only to win for the United States but also to set herself up as an example of what African-Americans could do in figure skating, a sport in which few of them had ever excelled (or even participated at an elite level). She was also studying at Stanford at the same time, and it all just became too much. Right before she went out for her free skate, her coach told her to "do it for America," and according to Thomas, instead of encouraging her, it made her feel as if she had the responsibility of winning for the entire country and the idea overwhelmed her. Even as she skated out to the middle of the rink, she felt like she just didn't have it in her to meet those expectations on that day, and once she started missing elements, shock just kind of took over.

    She really did care--it's not like she wanted to screw up or didn't mind screwing up. She just freaked out at a particularly inopportune moment, which she readily admits, and it did sour her on her own skating for a while. But she did go on to become a successful orthopedic surgeon, so it's not as if it destroyed her entire life.

  2. #912
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    Re: The Olympic Games

    Quote Originally Posted by Tilden View Post
    I've read what Debi Thomas had to say about her free skate. Her coach had decided that she had to stay in Colorado to train, so she didn't get to Calgary until shortly before the competition. He also ramped up the training, and she was being pushed not only to win for the United States but also to set herself up as an example of what African-Americans could do in figure skating, a sport in which few of them had ever excelled (or even participated at an elite level). She was also studying at Stanford at the same time, and it all just became too much. Right before she went out for her free skate, her coach told her to "do it for America," and according to Thomas, instead of encouraging her, it made her feel as if she had the responsibility of winning for the entire country and the idea overwhelmed her. Even as she skated out to the middle of the rink, she felt like she just didn't have it in her to meet those expectations on that day, and once she started missing elements, shock just kind of took over.

    She really did care--it's not like she wanted to screw up or didn't mind screwing up. She just freaked out at a particularly inopportune moment, which she readily admits, and it did sour her on her own skating for a while. But she did go on to become a successful orthopedic surgeon, so it's not as if it destroyed her entire life.
    Thanks. I enjoyed reading that about her.
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    Re: The Olympic Games

    No problem. I know a lot of arcane figure skating facts, because I read a lot of skating books, in addition to watching a lot of skating. My mother started me out on the old Wide World of Sports coverage, and it just sort of exponentially progressed from there.

    I think it's also important to remember that she was only 21 in Calgary and was supposed to bring back the gold after Linda Fratianne was unable to do so against Witt in 1984--and on top of that she was supposed to bring in great grades in pre-med at Stanford and be a shining example to African-American youth. That's a lot to expect of someone that young, and for some people, it just becomes too much. Just last year, I believe, as part of a special champions show, she came back and skated publicly for the first time in decades, and she worked her butt off to make sure she didn't embarrass herself. She didn't either. I mean, it's not like she was back to her Olympic form--none of the stars from her era were nor were they expected to be--but she looked darn good for someone who hadn't skated for a long time. I think you can find that performance on youtube.

    Midori Ito, by the way, has started skating in the amateur adult competitions again and has said she's doing it just because she wanted to skate for the sheer love of the sport again. People who've seen her say she seems to be enjoying herself immensely. She didn't win her first adult competition, didn't expect to, and was fine with second place, because she really just wanted to have the fun of skating competitively again, even if she didn't ever expect to have her trade mark triple axel again. She was a revelation at the 1988 Olympics, but by 1992, there was sooooo much pressure on her to win that she just wasn't having fun anymore.


    Slight correction: I just went to youtube, and Debi Thomas skated again in 2010, not 2011. You can indeed find her skate on youtube--Caesar's Tribute 2010--and she only jumps once, but it is a clean double, and she never stops smiling.
    Last edited by Tilden; 08-06-2012 at 07:28 PM.

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    Re: The Olympic Games

    OMG...when did Mick Jagger turn 112? Now I know why they were playing "Moves Like Jagger" in the physical therapy room the other day. He must be about due for a new hip....


    And did anyone else see Greg Louganis' imitation of a blow fish during men's springboard prelims? I best he didn't know the camera was on him.

    My sleeping dog is now flexing his right front paw over the top of my keyboard...wonder what that's about...

  5. #915
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    Re: The Olympic Games

    Luv'ed it when Grenada won its first Olympic medal, by Kirani James in the mens 400m. That is what the Olympics is about.

    Another great Olympic moment was watching Brazil win the gold in Men's Rings and then to watch Sam Mikulak's wonderful sportsmanlike behavior and absolute pure pleasure in watching other competitors in the Men's Vault. Take that McKayla Maroney.
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    Re: The Olympic Games

    Quote Originally Posted by cantstopwatchin View Post
    I spent a bit catching up and noticed comments about the gymnasts' hairstyle - while I know it looks sloppy and I was surprised they wore it like that, I can't blame them. I used to do the same while playing volleyball b/c your ponytail can whip your face and it hurts and buns are so tight they can give you a headache. So you pull it back in a ponytail but then don't pull it all the way out so it's not whipping you as you play. Sloppy-looking yes but probably much more comfortable for them.
    I don't care about the messiness of the hair in pretty much any other sport but gymnastics, like figure skating, is also about artistry and presentation. Otherwise, the girls would all wear black leotards and no makeup! I thought Gabby, Aly and McKayla all had messy hair. Jordyn's wasn't in a bun, but her ponytail looked neat and secure. Having spent YEARS with my hair in a bun, I know they can be uncomfortable (although you get used to it) but I'd prefer that to having my hair come loose or look bad. That messy bun look is how I wear my hair when I'm home in my pjs. I wouldn't dream of going out in public like that much less doing a bunch of handsprings (assuming that I could do them, of course!). I know lots of people think it's petty to focus on that, but I feel if there's any occasion where you should really make an effort with your appearance, it's the Olympics! I've seen so many people shot down online for voicing that opinion, like it's unpatriotic and really, whatever.

    Critical - you mentioned meeting Karch Kiraly. I met him and Kent Steffes in 1990 when my team played at the Volleyball Festival and he remains one of my biggest athletic crushes. I hate seeing him sitting on the sidelines, though - I want to see him actively coaching!
    I want to see him actively playing! God, he was beautiful back in the day. Heck, he looks pretty darned good NOW!

    Kirani James is adorable. I loved the story of him signing an autograph for someone's daughter and he signed it "Dear Sidney [sp?], your mother is incredibly proud of you, Kirani James." He's the one who traded nametags with Oscar Pistorius after the race yesterday. I loved the video of all the Grenadians watching his race today. It's obvious that it means SO much to that country.
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    Re: The Olympic Games

    Feliz Sanchez sobbing during the medal ceremony as his national anthem played = me Those moments are why I love the Olympics.
    libgirl2 and cantstopwatchin like this.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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    Re: The Olympic Games

    CCL, this one's for you!
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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    Re: The Olympic Games

    Quote Originally Posted by Critical View Post

    Kirani James is adorable. I loved the story of him signing an autograph for someone's daughter and he signed it "Dear Sidney [sp?], your mother is incredibly proud of you, Kirani James." He's the one who traded nametags with Oscar Pistorius after the race yesterday. I loved the video of all the Grenadians watching his race today. It's obvious that it means SO much to that country.
    Loved this!

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    Re: The Olympic Games

    Quote Originally Posted by Critical View Post
    I understand runners (and swimmers) slowing up a bit as they reach the finish line in a preliminary heat, but not when it's going to be a close race. Aren't the lane assignments based on the times from those preliminaries? I would think that they'd make darn sure they got a great time, especially if the race was close.
    (Sorry to be replying so late...)

    Lane assignments for the finals are assigned based on the qualifying times (4 is for the fastest, then 5, 3, 6, 2, 7, 1, 8). In smaller pools, this matters because 4 and 5 are considered to be the "fastest" lanes (the "wash" spreads out from the center). But this pool has 10 lanes, and the outer two (which aren't even numbered) are empty. Plus the lane lines have been improved to help disperse the "wash".

    So lane assignments weren't as important as just making it to the finals.

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