To each his own. To me my own.

True Olympians

I have enjoyed the Winter Olympics so much. This year’s winter games seem to have captured my attention in a way they never have before. Unfortunately the tragedies in this year’s games, starting with the luging death of Olympian Nodar Kumaritashvili – will forever be embedded in our minds. My thoughts and prayers still remain with his family and his grief-stricken mother and father, and many friends, family members and fellow Olympian athletes. He has been described as a real joy to know.

The word perseverance has forever been redefined for me. One hell of a lady, this Joannie Rochette is.

The Canadian figure skater has made the biggest impression on me. Most of us know the story by now. Her parents arrived in Vancouver Saturday night, and her mother had a massive fatal heart attack just hours later. Joannie was forced to make the decision whether to skate or not for her Olympic dream on Tuesday.

She made it well-known from the very beginning that her mother Therese was her inspiration and backbone in figure skating. In a January interview with the Monitor, Mrs. Rochette described the approach she took toward her daughter Joannie’s skating. “I always encouraged her to have confidence in herself, to believe in her dreams, to consider the progress that she has accomplished over many years,” said Mrs. Rochette, who conducted the interview in French, via e-mail. “But in periods of great stress, I also have the necessary distance to remind her of a rule she knows well: above all, skate for herself, for her own pleasure.” Later in the interview she says of her daughter, “The hurdles she faces motivate her to rise above them. Joannie has always been naturally determined and persevering.” In 2008, Joannie wrote of her mother, “Even if it requires quite a big deal of humility at 22 to admit you need more of your mother, I expressed it and she drives from home to St. Leonard once a week to come supervise with her unique eyes my training.”

Knowing her mother would insist on her to, Joannie made the decision to skate –  her father has stood solidly by her. Last night, she gave the performance of her life in the ladies short program, and held all it together right up until the very end. Watching the raw emotion of her and her father in the audience was, well simply agonizing. My heart breaks for both of them – here is an only child who has just lost her precious mother, and a husband and father who has just lost the love of his life.

I shed a lot of tears watching her last night, the very last performance of the female skaters. It must have been torture for her to have to wait that long to perform. I found my tears still abound as I watched her on the news again tonight, as well as when I came across these pictures of her performance that I’m posting the link to here. Please, if you haven’t already seen, click through them.

I would love nothing more than to see this young lady take home the Gold. No, I’m not abandoning my country. Aafter witnessing her performance last night I honestly believe she deserves it. With her determination and perseverance, I honestly will not be surprised if she takes the prized metal home with her.

Determined and persevering. It is with respect and admiration that I use her own Mother’s words.

Update 2-26-10:

Joannie got the Bronze metal. 🙂

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