Olympic memories

When you live in the country and cannot get away the coverage on the Olympics provides a window on the world for you. In the days that my husband was farming we did not often leave this area. The coverage of the Olympics gave us a chance to see the world.

Venues were located all over the world. We watched more of the winter games than we did the summer games I guess because of the weather. During the summer it was warm and there was outdoor work to be done so we had less time to watch.

Small communities like Lillehammer, Albertville, Nagano, Sarajevo, Innsbruck, Sapporo, Grenoble, Torino, and Lake Placid rolled off our tongues as we watched what the host countries allowed us to see. Through the games we saw a lot of the world on our television screen.

The Winter Olympics is now officially underway. I kept the supplement from the newspaper about what was going to be broadcast. I really enjoy the Winter Olympics. Besides it gives us something good to watch for a while. If you need the instant feedback you can use the internet, but otherwise television coverage is fine.

During the Olympics a few years back I got interested in curling. I watched as many of the matches as I could. I looked up the sport on the internet so that I could understand it better. It was really interesting to watch once I figured out what was really going on.

Occasionally I notice that curling is featured on one of the Canadian channels but I cannot get those channels. I have looked ahead to find what is being offered this season. If I have not made a mistake it seems that I will be able to watch several curling matches early in the evening on one of the alternate stations. I have the first evening auto-tuned so I will see what happens.

It blows my mind to think of the hours that these athletes put into their sport. I like to listen to some of the interviews because they provide more information. I am not sure what to think about some of the new venues being offered. These kids are talented, but they really push the limits. It all looks very dangerous. I watched a gal come down the slope yesterday splitting her helmet in two, but able to walk away. I am glad my grandchildren do not feel the yen to participate in these ultimate sports.

I do enjoy watching the skiing and the ski jumping events. I am fascinated by the distances that they travel. I do not have a big fancy new television set with a picture that fills the room. My screen seems adequate for the size of my living room though. I am glad that they announce the times and distances since they are very hard to read even with my new glasses.

Skating is another favorite venue. The music that each skater chooses and the way the programs are choreographed make them so interesting. If the music is familiar it is easy to get caught up in it.

Yesterday I saw one of the older competitors take a gold medal. I was happy for him. Slow and steady put him ahead of the pack. His accuracy on the shooting portion allowed him to move ahead in spite of having to complete a penalty lap.

I saw a clip of the last speed skating event that was held outdoors. They said that was at Albertville in 1992.

One year I remember watching the events from Japan at about midnight. They were doing direct broadcasts at that time. My children were young, but my husband and I stayed up to watch. Another year we were remodeling the living room so we moved our television upstairs to our bedroom so that we could watch. That year our son joined us in our bedroom to watch since he was moving back to this area. Our bedroom became our living room for a while.

I remember when I remodeled the kitchen and took my old cupboards upstairs to make a craft room. I purchased a small island type of cupboard that my son put together for me. I made cards that year while I watched some of the Olympic events. I believe that was the year that I discovered curling.

Who can forget the exciting finish to the hockey games in Lake Placid thirty years ago? I recall hurrying home from church to be able to watch the medal game.

The Vancouver Olympics were really interesting for me. The year that we took the Canadian rail trip we saw construction of the some of the sites in progress so I was anxious to get a look at them.

I am an armchair athlete at this point of my life, but I participated in some winter sports in my day. I was telling someone at church yesterday that the man who taught me how to do some of the ice skating tricks was in his late eighties or early nineties. Mr. Fors was an avid skater. He lived right across the street from my grandparents. When I got to the pond he took me under his wing.

The place that we skated was just a field flooded to about six inches deep to create a base for us to skate. We divided the rink so that the boys could play hockey and the rest of us could just skate. I remember wrapping my toes in newspaper, as per Mr. Fors’ advice, to keep my feet warm. It worked, too. When I finished skating I threw the newspaper padding into the fire that was always going for us to warm up by.

Our family used to toboggan down the slopes in the back forty. We did not have much time for relaxation, but we took full advantage of what we had. We did not travel to exotic places for our winter sports; we enjoyed the snow at home.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net