The Greatest Competition in the World: 2014 Winter Olympics

2:34 AM

Credit: Richard Heathcote, Getty Images

I had no intention of blogging about the Olympics. It's something I watch every year, but I didn't think I'd feel the need to blog about it. Not to mention the way Sochi seemed unprepared... I thought, "eh, better to just tweet about it." Of course, that was until I started watching the team figure skating competition, which is my favorite winter Olympic sport.

I learned to ice skate not long after I learned to walk. Well, it wasn't that next day or anything too crazy, but I was so young that I don't remember when it was. I was maybe two or three. I've always loved ice skating, but like many things I tried out when I was a kid, I didn't keep with it. I took piano lessons, learned the violin, Oboe, soccer, basketball, ballet, and so much more. Nothing stuck until I got into high school and got into color guard and winter guard... that's a conversation for another post though. Of all of the things I tried, ice skating is the one I regret quitting the most. Every chance I get to get on the ice, it's like a rush. The only time I get a feeling even close, I'm at the beach, swimming, or performing (at least, when I did color guard). Watching is mesmerizing and it's the only thing that really makes me sad and a bit jealous. But enough about me and my habits of quitting. Let's talk about the Ah-May-Zing performances!

Credit: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Of course, everyone is talking about Team Russia! I can't even begin to put the way I felt watching them perform into words! From 31 year old Evgeni Plushenko (who got a vertibre replaced... just, that alone and the fact that he can still execute his jumps so beautifully is amazing) to their incredible couple, Elena Llinykh and Nikita Katslapov -- that I totally think got robbed in the scoring of the final ice dancing competition -- to the 15 year old phenom Yulia Lipnitskaia who... I honestly don't know what to say! She brought me to tears, and while I'm a crybaby about most things, it was from the beauty and emotion in the way she skated. Especially since her final skate in the team competition was to Schindler's List. Just, her final spins were INCREDIBLE! Russia was seriously the team to beat, I guess you could say, but they had gold in the bag. 

A lift like this deserved so much more!
Credit: Richard Mackson, USA Today Sports

I really fell in love with the Russian team... and I feel a little like a traitor, but Team US brought the thunder too! Gracie Gold performed to Sleeping Beauty and looked so incredibly comfortable on Olympic ice. It was almost like it was just another day for her and she killed it! In the couple skate, Meryl Davis and Charlie White (who have been skating together for 17 years!) placed first and even broke the record for the highest score in the competition! The combined score secured the bronze for the US behind Canada's silver and Russia's gold.

Credit: Richard Mackson, USA Today Sports
Credit: Richard Mackson, USA Today

Another favorite skate of mine was Akiko Suzuki of Japan. She wasn't really skating for a medal as Russia, the US, and Canada had those spots on lock, but she did her long program to a Phantom of the Opera medley and well, I am obsessed with PotO, so I loved her! 

Credit: Richard Mackson, USA Today Sports

It's very interesting to see different countries perform in the same sport because little things become so obvious when they are done differently. It seems like the Russian team has little "down time" on the ice. It's move after move and their performances are so full and seem to go by much quicker. The US and Canada seem to have more prep time before jumps, but it's still very pretty and flows very well. But, Japan not only has that dead time on the ice, it's SO obvious when a jump is coming because the prep is very... mechanic? It's something I never noticed before, because in the past I was just so taken by watching the skating.

I can't wait for the ice skating competition later in the week! I enjoyed watching snowboarding as well, but I couldn't really tell you much about it because I wasn't glued to the screen the way I was for the team skating. Curling is on tomorrow, so maybe I'll blog a little about that. It's another of those things I have a strange obsession with. It's just so odd! 

What Winter Olympic sports have you followed or plan to follow? What did you think of the outcome of the team skate competition? I'd love to know!

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