Written by Jeff Vorva
The sports fan in me has no use for the Olympics.
If I don’t care about sports such as figure skating, skiing and sports where they shoot guns while they are on skis for three years and 11 months, why should I get all excited about them during the Olympics?
Call me a grump and a grouch but I really don’t feel better about myself as an American because our ice dancers outpointed the ice dancers from Japan. Someone’s triple axel will not solve the unemployment problem or pension crisis going in our country and state.
Don’t even get me started on the politics and the cesspool of corruption over the years from Olympic officials, and word is that the coming Olympics in Sochi could be the most corrupt in history.
The writer/editor in me thinks the Olympics are wonderful. I am a guy who prides himself on trying to tell great stories about people and the Olympics certainly provide more than enough great stories. Emotions run high. The triumphs are great. The disappointments are monumental.Olympics legend Bonnie Blair talks to Stagg students Friday afternoon. Photo by Jeff Vorva.
Just to get to the Olympics, there are plenty of cheers and tears. An athlete has to work hard to reach that elite level. Even the people on snowshoes shooting guns have fascinating tales to tell.
Another drama to getting to the big games is timing. You have to be at your top form at just the right time because this event takes place every four years. If an athlete peaks in 2013 or 2015? Oh well. You are out of luck, pal.
Legendary Olympic speed skater Bonnie Blair was in Palos Hills last Friday to give a motivational talk to students at Stagg High School and it was a very cool assignment. I was able to chat with her afterward and I didn’t feel like I was interviewing an ex-athlete. I felt like I was talking to a historic figure.
The sports fan in me wouldn’t watch speed skating. The reporter in me was honored to be able to spend a few minutes talking to Bonnie Blair, who these days goes by Bonnie Cruikshank.
One of the things she told the Stagg kids was about working as hard as you can and then work a little harder. She talked about the 5 a.m. wakeup calls for practice. She talked about the heartbreak of races she lost.
All good stuff. Great stories abound from Blair and the Olympic athletes in the past and many more are waiting to be written.
So as the 2014 Olympics approach in a couple of weeks, the sports fan in me is ready for another long yawn while the editor/reporter in me has a couple of reasons to pay close attention.
First, there is former Sandburg student and Palos Heights resident Kendall Coyne. She is on the United States women’s hockey team. The fact that she is a local star is great. The fact that her brother, Kevin, is a freelance reporter for us here at Regional Publishing makes it that more special.
We’re hoping that if Kevin gets to make the trip to Sochi, he will be able to write some columns and stories for us. Now, there is a chance that he will have an undying sense of duty to stay home and cover Chicago Ridge and Moraine Valley meetings instead of watching his sister try to win a gold medal…just kidding.
Second, I was able to interview figure skater Jason Brown of Highland Park before he qualified for the Olympics and he couldn’t have been nicer to talk to. If this kid medals, he will be a huge international celebrity. It’s always fun for some writers to brag to anyone who will listen that “I knew so-and-so before he was a big star.’’ So I may, gulp, actually watch some figure skating with interest.
I was hoping Palos Hills’ Katie Eberling would get a shot to be on the U.S. bobsled team. Some speculated that she would be a lock to make the team but this weekend she was passed over in favor of, among others, former track star Lolo Jones.
So I won’t shout from the mountaintops “BRING ON THE GAMES!!!” but when they get here, I’ll give it a couple of looks.