The spectacular Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics just recently concluded last February 23 in Sochi, Russia and the world saw magnificent and sometimes faux pas highlights of the games. Though the Winter Olympics, the biggest competition for winter sports last for more than 2 weeks only it showcases the strengths and weaknesses of Russia, saw the valiant heroism and stories of inspiration, chilly performances in the competition makes the world squirm as well as frigid news that shivers the world.
The most expensive Olympic Games to date with dazzling, elegant Olympic Village has its own fair share of ohhs and ahhs. During the Olympic opening ceremony, the explicitly wonderful presentation and demonstration of Russia's contribution to the world, the visually stunning parade of nations which mark the very exciting and anticipated return of the Philippines in the Winter Games after 20 years (it last participated in 1992 in Albertville, France) and its debut in figure skating courtesy of their lone athlete, Michael Christian Martinez, the return of Jamaica in the bobsled competition after 25 years (it last saw action in Calgary, Alberta in 1988) which was the inspiration of the 1993 film, Cool Runnings and their return in the Games after 12 years, the debut of the small and poor Southeast Asian country of Timor Leste, and most especially the dramatic participation of countries which boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow led by the United States. It was overshadowed only by a technical glitch caused by the malfunctioned snow flake which did not turn into an Olympic ring. It was as unusual as the creepy weird 1980 Olympic mascot bear which extinguish the Olympic flame.
In its two-week run we have seen stunning performances and shocking results. The overwhelming, record shattering ice dance of Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu more than enough to avalanche the performance of the defending champion Patrick Chan of Canada on men's individual figure skating is as chilly as the shocking and controversial win of the billowy Adelina Sotnikova of Russia over Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics gold medalist South Korea's Yuna Kim paper weight program on ice. South Korea even filed an official protest before the IOC on the alleged controversial loopsided result. Their performance is as exciting and as astounding as the promising and impressive debut performance of Michael Christian Martinez in men's individual who finished 19th overall touted and expected by many as the star of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Onto the speed skating arena, the agility and stamina of the competition echoed by the crowd with surprising victory of Netherland's 1-2-3 finish in men's 500 m courtesy of Michel Mulder, Jan Smeekens and Ronald Mulder who took gold, silver and bronze, respectively with Mulder brothers taking a medal each as well as in men's 5000 and 10000 m with Sven Kramer, Jan Blokhuijsen, Jorrit Bergsma, and Bob De Jong is also replicated by Norway, Russia and the United States in skiing. Their victory was also a frustrating performance for United States in speedskating as the team went home empty handied as they successively loss in every event. United States saving grace was only a silver medal in men's 5000 m relay short track. Their star player J.R. Celski failed to deliver and the most heart breaking moment for him is he only ranked 4th in men's 1500 m short track in which he took the bronze in 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver but fortunately, went home with a silver medal in men's 5000 m relay. Gilmore Junio of Canada voluntarily gave up his spot in the men's 1000 m in the speedskating event so that his team mate Denny Morrison could compete. However, the most brilliant story out of speedskating is the victory Viktor An brought to Russia. A Korean who immigrated to Russia, Ahn won 3 golds and a bronze for Korea in 2006Turin games and later move to Russia and winning to 3 golds and a bronze for his adopted country thus, making him Russia's newest speedskating sensation and one of the most accomplished short track speedskaters of all time.
There are also storms and avalanche of great results and stories in my other favorite winter sports of luge, skeleton, skiing and snowboard. One of the biggest story of the games, however, came in my most favorite winter sports - hockey. The most buzzed and worldwide trending semifinals match between Canada and United States and eventually the loss of the latter generate so much heat in debates and discussions and made the two countries bitter rivals that Canada made a slogan "Loser Keeps Bieber" agitating United States a nasty confrontation between the two ensued.
Incredible story of heroism and inspiration and decent amount of sarcasm warm the coldness of Winter Games. Gus Kenworthy extended some days after his silver medal win in slope style skiing to make sure he could bring home some adorable stray puppies Sochi officials plans to euthanize stray animals. His heart melting act made a headlines and captured the hearts of many receiving buzz and tweets from celebs including Miley Cyrus and inspired other athletes to bring home some puppies as well. Jeremy Abbott of United States falls on men's figure skating with excruciating pain and his strength to stand up and finish his program was very inspiring and moving story for others to do the same in real life. Alex Bilodeau of Canada gold medal triumph in men's mogul in both 2010 and 2014 was inspired by his brother who is suffering from cerebral palsy. The poignant reunion and celebration of the brothers captured the hearts of many. Swiss skier Dario Cologna who won the gold medal in the 15 kilometer cross country skiing patiently waiting for Peru's first ever Winter Olympian Roberto Carcelen. Halfpipe skiing pioneer Sarah Burke who died in a training accident in 2012 dream of seeing the sport be part of the Olympic but she did not live to see it two years later in Sochi 2014 Olympic as an official sport discipline. However, Sochi volunteers paid her a tribute in honor for her pioneering the sport in a heart shape before the half pipe finals. But the most inspiring story that defines true Olympism is about Canadian ski coach Justin Wadsworth came to the rescue of the Russian cross country skier Anton Gafarov who broke his skis on his way for the semifinals of men's freestyle sprint. Wadsworth ran from the sidelines to give the Russian a replacement ski allowing him to finish the race.
This is what I love about the Winter Olympics, lots of stories, lots of life amidst the freezing temperature and more inspiration and heroism that I hope will spread among humanity and around the world. This shows that Winter Olympics stories is as cool as the games. See you again in 2018. Bon Voyage!
Anyway, you have some inspiring Winter Games stories to share? Let us know and we can publish it.