Its funny about the Olympics. You end up all excited about things you’d normally care very little about. Such as women’s hockey. I mean, I’m a woman, but women’s hockey and women’s football (soccer, that is) don’t really tend to thrill me. Tonight, however, I found myself more than a little nervous when watching Sweden take on the US in the semi-final of the women’s hockey, and the conclusion of the match was genuinely exciting. It is always great fun when ‘we’ (that being the sports-we, applied when an athlete or a team of athletes representing one’s country does well) manage to secure another Olympic medal. And who knows, maybe the women’s fine performance can rub off on the guys, who really need all the help they can get at the moment. ;)
In other Olympic news, I have of course been watching the figure skating closely. Being Swedish, the Winter Olympics have always been watched with interest in our family, but I recall that the 1988 Olympics in Calgary were the first I followed really closely on my own. I had picked up an interest in figure skating (and in figure skaters) a year or so before when I watched the World Championships, and for the Olympics I was rooting for Canada’s Brian Orser to take it over USA’s Brian Boitano. Which, alas, didn’t happen. Since then, my favourites have tended to be Russian, French or otherwise European, and I was very pleased to see Plushenko take the gold yesterday. I was also quite pleased to see Stéphane Lambiel medal, as I had picked him out as a medal contender for these Olympics while watching the 2002 games. Its too bad, though, that the Russian team behind Plushenko looks rather weak at the moment, and I hope we’re not seeing the end of the long run of brilliant skaters from Russia, because they’re such a driving force behind the continued development of the sport. You get really good skaters from other nations, but even those can never really compare with the best Russians, such as Yagudin (his winning program from 2002 is frightfully perfect) and Plushenko.
I am also hoping we won’t see too many of the best skaters retire after these Olympics. It was really sad to see Yagudin disappear after the 2002 games, he could have stayed at the top for another four years for sure, not to mention Anissina & Peizerat, which really left the ice dancing lacking interesting profiles. I actually haven’t been watching the ice dancing as closely since they quit as I am still waiting for some really interesting couples to show up again. That’s one oddity about figure skating; the skaters make such a difference in whether its interesting or not. I started out watching mostly the men’s and the pair’s, and then I lost interest in the pair’s when some interesting couples quit and found the ice dancing instead. The women’s event, on the other hand, has never really interested me that much. Its all so sweet and girly and dainty for the most part. If the guys can be all girly (and I say this as a compliment), the girls should be able to be a bit more masculine. ;)