Being Beautiful: And the gold medal goes to…


Since I was a little boy, the spins on the ice mesmerized me. As a child and then as an adult, I was glued to the television as figure skaters took to the ice twirling right into my heart. The Winter Olympics have always been a favorite of mine.

I loved and am still in love with the magic of it all. The costumes are my favorite part as the skaters glide through the air. Whether twinkling with rhinestones or sparkling from sequins, the glamour of their fashions still dazzles. I am a harsh critic in pairs skating when the costumes don’t match or at least blend. It’s hard for me to look past that to the skating.

I can only imagine the years of practice and unwavering determination it takes to develop such elegance. I think of all the falls, the missed jumps, the tears from bruises, scraped knees, and blisters in the quest to land that triple Salchow perfectly. But when they do, wow. We all gasp in amazement, and they exhale in relief. I applaud these athletes for going after their dreams of Olympic medals while my memories of their twirls on the ice are gold to me.

Some of my best memories are watching the jumps, spins and dramatic choreography on our big console television from my bean bag in our living room. Daddy in his swivel rocker, Mama sitting on the stone hearth by a roaring fire, we passed the time together while jazz hands and synchronized jumps entertained us. Daddy kept score while Mama shook her head in amazement saying things like, “How on earth does he catch her? My heavens she is spinning so fast she is going to crack the ice.”

I loved every moment of figure skating from as early as I can remember, trying to make sense of new words such as “Salchow,” “freestyle” and “lutz.”  My adult appreciation only grows when I think of all this being done over freezing ice in a foreign country, all the while landing jumps on nothing but nerves and the thin narrow blade of an ice skate.

Nancy Kerrigan, Katarina Witt, Tara Lipinski and Kristi Yamaguchi are just a few of the greats who made my heart beat faster with every spin. I hope the grandeur of it all never leaves me. And considering the political turmoil of our uncertain world, I hope its nations continue to come together on this international field of sports competition instead of on the field of battle.

Whether figure skating is your passion or you prefer ice hockey, the noble dream that we move past our differences and celebrate or common interests with skates and hockey pucks rather than attack helicopters and machine guns is a sentiment we can all share.

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