It’s in the history books, the Beijing Olympics, and the beauty is probably in the eye of the beholder.
Norway goes home with the most medals, 16-golds and 37-in all, something that is so special to that tiny country. Germany closed fast with 12-goals. Despite its slow start, Team USA wound up with 8-golds and 25-medals in all, deficient however in a wide variety of events.
it was special to see what Erica Jackson did in speed skating. What our Carlsbad hero, Shaun White, accomplished in his half pipe career leading to Beijing. And the joy of Oceanside’s Elana Meyers-Taylor’s medal in the mono-bob competition.
But if you close your eyes at Beijing, you see flashbacks. Falls, crashes, crying, critical comments, credibility crisis.
You see guys in Hazmat suits eveyrwhere you turn. You see heartbreak from those who worked hard for 4-years to get there, only to be sidelined by positive Covid tests.
You see the tears and the failures, followed by the condemnation towards the IOC, the Court of Justice Appeals, and the Russian figure skating coaches.
This was the positive drug test of Kamila Valieva, the six weeks of lies by Russia, the withholding of the medal ceremony for those who won those skating events but were barred from getting the medals till the final appeals on the positive drug tests are heard.
Not winning is part of the Olympiad. A very tough Olympics for Mikaela Shiffrin, who did not finish in 3-ski events, crashed out, hit gates and never got close to a medal.
The global headlines have been cruel, especially those directed at the 15-year old Valieva. who comes home without a medal, a stained reputation, and something that she will have to wear like the ‘Scarlet A in her career.’.
As she cried after falling in the longform event, all I could think of was Simone Biles and mental health. The pressure, the fall, the tears for the Russian were out there for the entire globe to see. She was crushed by it all, from the routine to the Olympic reaction.
The cold hearted coach’s reaction to the failure were deplorable, from the same people who oversaw what meds she took that led to the positive stimulant drug test. The failure was on those coaches, not this gifted child.
Beijing seems like a joyless triumph. It was the games, the scandals, the relentless politics. There was tension and intimidating oppression. There was isolation, relentless testing, and there were minefields everywhere.
The whole atmosphere seemed so unwelcoming.
And as they extinguished the Olympic flame in Beijing, it capped off two weeks of joy that was also extinguished by everything surrounding all the things that China is. What a sad couple of weeks it was.
Is there anyone, aside from the medal winners, that experienced any joy in what we saw in China?
Beijing, all about tainted Gold and black stories.