Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Downhill, hockey golds wins for the ages

A real downhill run

The Winter Olympics kicks off Friday.

Ever since 1976, its been all downhill as far as me watching the competition.

That “downhill” reference was relating to probably the greatest downhill skiing run ever — and that was by Franz Klammer in those games when Innsbruck, Austria was the host city. I remember watching the event on TV and then watching it repeatedly as time went by.

Even since then, it seems the downhill competition hasn’t been quite as interesting. I can’t remember what year it was, but it seemed that the racers were just in a tuck mode for the last half of the race. There didn’t appear to be that much of maneuvering by the skiers — as if the run was just a straight line to the bottom.

How things have changed over the years.

The big news concerning the current olympics is about terrorism threats and security. Such threats have been part of the olympics  in the past. 

In 1972, 11 members of the Israeli team were killed by terrorists in the summer games in Munich. 

And then there was the Centennial Park bombing in Atlanta, Ga., in the summer of 1996 which took the life of one.

But I digress.

My wife and I have been at the site of a winter olympics.

And that was in the fall of 1977 when on an adventurous trip, we happened to pass through Lake Placid, NY., the location of the 1980 winter games.

We arrived in town in the early afternoon to witness several venues of competition under construction. 

Before we left town that afternoon, the snow began to fall. Wifey and I along with our only son at the time, got out in the snow and romped around and threw snowballs at each other. We didn’t know what to expect or how deep it would end up being, so we headed down the mountain and found a campsite.

The farther away we got from Lake Placid, the less snow we had to contend with until it quit altogether.

US beats Soviets in 1980 ice hockey

The remembrances came rushing back some two years later when watching on TV the "Miracle on Ice" at Lake Placid.

We had the “feel good” experience of most all Americans when the US hockey team beat the Soviet team against exceptional odds. That was followed up by a victory over Finland which clinched the gold medal.

Next post: February 11, 2014

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