42 – YEARS LATER
Hello Everyone –
Well I guess everyone, including yours truly, is happy that as a team, the United States Olympic competitors are doing very, very well this year across the border in Vancouver, British Columbia. 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 cross-country action I realized "hey I am hooked".
Saturday morning on MSNBC, I tried to remember what first drew me to the winter games as a sports fan. My first memory of a summer games event was Bob Hayes winning the 100 meters in Tokyo in 1964, while my first memory of a winter games is four-years later 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 as Killy later became a spokesman for Snowshoe Mountain and helped design Cupp Run, a trail that is still hailed as one of the best in the 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.
This is no longer the case as this year’s games in Vancouver have seen the athletes from the United States shine across the board. With a week to go as I write this column Sunday afternoon, the medal count for the United States team stands at 23. Let us not forget there are now a whole bunch more events, considering the closest thing to snowboarding was still being done in the water. 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 have enjoyed watching some of the best athletes in the world compete, while representing their country.
Finally this week, two things happened over the weekend that made me smile. First off, what was that big yellow dot in the sky, my goodness it was nice to see the sun for a change, wasn’t it? With the sun came some radiant heat and off went my heat pump and that was happy thing – number two.
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 Stevens, a member of the southeast ski industry since 1990 is a regular columnist for skisoutheast.com and serves as the Communications Director for the West Virginia Ski Areas