By Ken DeLaat
The Winter Olympics can elude me at times. Hockey aside, once I’m past the events involving clocks and finish lines there are so many sports that far exceed my grasp when it comes to the judging and scoring.
By the time snowboarding began to become part of the Oly’s (‘98) I had already witnessed around 10 sets of the quadrennial (except ‘94) event and had yet to even wrap my head around the advent of curling (‘88) in the games.
But sometimes you don’t have to understand in order to appreciate. There are much favored pieces of art I may not be able to explain but never tire of looking at. And there is a multitude of music I’ve enjoyed over the years but couldn’t begin to describe it with any level of expertise beyond what was gleaned from a long ago music appreciation class that landed me a C- after being marked down for what was described as ‘excessive socializing’.
Such was the case last night when witnessing the magic performed in the Women’s Slopestyle Event.
Beyond the raw courage of the competitors, they were able transcend any concept I may have previously held regarding snowboarding. Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, Tess Coady, and Julia Marino landed in the top three and the gold medal run of Ms. S-S was particularly captivating for the gravity defying moves that absolutely defined precision.
But the real magic was watching how these three 20-something athletes from three different countries related to each other as exemplified by the group hug in the snow after the winning run. They seemed to be truly excited as they celebrated the success of their co-competitors and expressed such appreciation for each other's skills. It was almost as if they were actually members of a team and not competing against each other but competing with the run and perhaps with the sport itself.
An interesting concept within the often uber-competitive world of top level athletics.
Interesting and incredibly refreshing, particularly given the divisiveness that permeates our lives these days.
So while I don’t always understand scoring, I understand excellence.
And these young women, while excelling at their sport without question...
Also put on display a near perfect ten when it comes to class.
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