It has been more than a month since the spectacular closing ceremony brought the curtains down on the Sochi winter Olympics 2014, but the highlights of it still linger in my memory. It was a unique winter Olympics or for that matter a unique sporting event. Right from the start it was beset with controversies, mostly created by media and politicians who wanted to rob the sports persons of the limelight and put themselves in focus. That such an effort failed singularly, is to my mind the most successful legacy of the games.
The games were conducted in a serene and beautiful geography like Sochi. That all athletes were able to participate, in spite of the worst efforts of the media and politicians is another success of the games. This also ensured that the athletes who worked tirelessly and trained themselves for years, some their lifetime, were able to compete in the premier winter sporting event. Many of the athletes must have breathed a sigh of relief when their ignorant politicians decided not to boycott the winter Olympic event. To participate in such a great event is honour and a lifetime achievement itself, leave alone win a medal. That the athletes could do so is a testimony of the great sporting tradition called Olympics. The winter Olympics are different from summer Olympics in many ways. The athletes don’t run, they skate or slide or glide. The surface is not soil but snow and ice. You require special dress and special equipment to compete in the winter Olympics. This makes it harder on the athletes to afford such Olympics. But many countries that participated in the winter Olympics help their athletes by providing training facilities and equipment. But many have to train themselves and buy their own equipment. But both want to compete in such an enormous event.
I think that many athletes were relieved and happy that they could participate in the winter Olympics and there was no boycott. This was shown by the exuberance and gaiety they showed while competing. For them participation was like winning and winning was a dream come true. This was shown by the happiness shown during the flower ceremony, whether they were 3rd, 2nd, 1st was mostly immaterial. That they were on the podium during flower ceremony was all that mattered. This is sporting spirit at its best. The joy of winning athletes was so palpable that it could be felt and understood by millions of viewers around the globe through their television screens.
During the actual events in these winter Olympics, there were so many spills, chills and thrills that Spiderman would have been a bit drained of color.
In all events, the arena was very well prepared, the crowds were joyous and the athletes and the events were just scintillating.
It is difficult to pick the most dangerous event on ice as all can lead to falls and serious injuries but I found the long jump event the most challenging with both females and males jumping in excess of 100 meters.
Though ice hockey is very popular and liked in many parts of the world but this Olympics ice hockey was very fast and very entertaining. But I believe that just like field hockey, some changes should be made in ice hockey to permit more goals. The goal post in my view should be broadened on either side by one feet and height raised by at least half feet. This will enable more goals to be scored and enable spectators not verse with the rules of ice hockey to enjoy it. Because goal is a goal, whether in ice hockey or field hockey. The language of goals can be understood by all spectators. This can widen the appeal of ice hockey even more, not that it needs one but many more spectators are only going to do more good to the game. This will also pull in more sponsors and surplus money can be used to introduce the game where it’s not played and improve the facilities of other sports played on ice.
Curling was another game, which requires lots of skills. It seems to be a hybrid of carom, bowling and billiards. It is good to watch though a bit slow and slightly difficult to understand.
The final event, male ice cross-country was won by the host country Russia in a spectacular finish, in which all three top positions were taken by the Russians. It gave the Russian audience a lot to cheer during the closing ceremony, which was very well choreographed, with some scintillating fireworks and the stories shown were imaginative and inspiring.
But what I dream most and think most, even after more than a month of closing of the games is the so many snow whites that were simply heart stopping!
For a long time, the girl I saw as snow white in “Snow white and the seven dwarves”, I have considered the most beautiful girl I have seen. But this winter Olympics had not one but so many snow whites that it has left a taste and aroma to savor for a long time to come.
I particularly dream and remember again and again the flower ceremony in which three female athletes stood side by side. When the camera was focused below their belts, it was frontal pelvis perfection.
This Olympics really belonged to the snow whites. May we have such snow whites in many more such games to give us a missed heartbeat and a lot of heartache!