GOING FOR THE GOLD

GOING FOR THE GOLD

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Hello Everyone –

Well I guess everyone, including yours truly, is happy that as a team, it looks like the United States is sending a very strong Olympic team to Sochi, Russia.  The folks that are really happy are at the suites at NBC, because it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that when the red, white and blue is on the podium, ratings (advertising) remain strong.

While watching some of the Snowboarding Slopestyle competition I realized I didn’t care if Shawn White competed in the event or not, just as long as all of the competitors made safe runs. I was a little taken back that White waited as long as he did to pull out of the event as that kept an alternate from making the trip.  None the less, a USA rider Sage Kotsenburg took home the gold for the red, white and blue, pulling off a near perfect run in the finals.  His creativity on the run was the difference for the judges and he didn’t come up with some of the moves until right before his run.  

I tried to remember what first drew me to the winter games as a sports fan.  I believe my first memory of a winter games is in 1968 when Jean-Claude Killy won three skiing gold medals and Peggy Fleming won the USA’s only gold medal that year in figure skating.

Actually there is a West Virginia ski connection to the 1968 winter games and one of the greatest Olympians of all-time.  You see Killy later became a spokesman for Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Pocahontas County and actually helped the resort’s mountain operations design Cupp Run, a 1,500 vertical foot trail that is still hailed as one of the best expert slopes in the southeast region. I have actually seen footage of the Olympic great making turns on the West Virginia trail.  The 1968 games saw the United States win seven medals, besides Fleming’s gold, five silvers and one bronze were also won. The good old red, white and blue just wasn’t looked upon as a true winter games threat, back then but boy have things changed in recent years.  

That was not the case at the 2010 games in Vancouver, British Columbia, which saw athletes from the United States shine across the board. When the final medal count came in, the United States actually finished on top with 37 total medals, nine gold, 15 silver and 13 bronze.  We can’t forget there are now a whole bunch more events, considering the closest thing to snowboarding was still being done in the water and the US continues to dominate that winter sport.  Norway led the way in 1968 winning a total of 14 medals, six gold, six silver and two bronze. We have come a long way and I am getting older with each and every Olympic Games. I look forward to watching some of the best athletes in the world compete against each other the next couple of weeks, while representing their respective countries.

Now to my not so favorite part of the Olympics and the coverage of the various events by a lot of the reporting outlets.  I truly don’t believe that some of the reporters on-site or even some of the ones showing highlights back here in the states totally understand what it takes to make it to the Olympics and have the opportunity to represent your country. In many cases they have been training all their lives just for this one chance.  So where am I going with this thought, well I have a real hard time for that out-of-shape reporter criticizing an athlete for a disappointing, say for instance, seventh-place finish.  I just don’t think they realize they are going up against the world’s finest athletes in each sport.  They have practiced 365 days a year, given up in most cases a personal life and you have someone who doesn’t get it criticizing them; they wouldn’t know the difference between a snowboard or the broom they use for curling. I just don’t understand why credit can’t be given where it is due and that credit is for the dedication and sacrifice each athlete has given to just be able to participate in the games.  Here’s hoping that some reporters step up this year and just say job well done to every athlete that was able to make the trip to Sochi.  

Finally this week, have you checked the conditions lately at all of the ski resorts in the southeast region? Well if you have been under a rock, I am here to tell you that everything is awesome out there from Tennessee to Maryland so go out there and have some fun on the slopes or tubing hill.  

That’s it for this week, just remember whether it be cold or whether it be hot, we’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather will be.  Think about it! See you on the slopes.  

 

Joe is well known around the southeastern ski circles. Stevens was Director of Communications at Snowshoe Mountain Resort for 16 seasons with another 15 years prior to that in Richmond, Virginia newsrooms. Joe serves on numerous boards and committees and currently is a spokesperson for the West Virginia ski areas. Joe has been a featured columnist on SkiSoutheast since 2005 and has written numerous articles for us, as well as for others promoting all of the southeastern ski resorts. Joe resides in Charleston, West Virginia, with his wife, Angie, and son, Christian. He is an avid snowboarder and marathon runner.

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