From the Archives: Swifter, Higher, Stronger

Melissa and the girls and I watched the opening ceremonies for the 2006 Olympics last night, and we’ll no doubt watch quite a bit more over the next two weeks. The spectacle, the drama, the stories of striving and succeeding and failing get to us every time. As I wrote before, as I watch these contests I find myself wondering just what is and isn’t praiseworthy about the drive to excel. That performing at such a high level invites all sorts of temptations, and often generates a mindset towards others that is anything but compassionate and charitable, is obvious….and yet, if God has given us bodies that can do beautiful and graceful and marvelous things, how can the desire felt by those who have such gifts to perfect them, to take them to the very limit, be anything but good?

Back in 2004, there was an Olympic hopeful in our ward, and his example helped me see things in a slightly different light. Read what I wrote and what others commented about him–and the games themselves–here. Or, talk about these Olympics if you prefer. For our part, we’ll be cheering on Matt Savoie, a local Peoria boy and true amateur who has surprised everyone this year. And let’s look forward to figure skating in the celestial kingdom! (Terrestial gets curling.)

4 comments for “From the Archives: Swifter, Higher, Stronger

  1. Dude,
    Curling is so much better than figure skating it ain’t even close. Of course, as you know this may be a perfectly appropriate sentiment for me, all things considered.

  2. My family just finished watching Matt Savoie skate in the Olympics. I dont know about you, but we are tired of NBC ignoring Matt. The last straw for me was at the conclusion of the program, Costas and NBC listed the top 6 skat ers; passed over Matt and mentioned Evan L in 10th. I had to go to a website to find out that Matt finished 8th–ahead of Evan. Matt has a much more family friendly and compelling story to tell than NBC showing Johnny Weir tell his critics on prime time to “eat it.” If you’re tired of this slanted coverage, please email me–I plan on targeting an email campaign at NBC leading up to Thursday’s free skate. My message is simple–quit ignoring Matt; he’s a beautiful skater and he took his own unique path to Torino.

  3. I couldn’t agree more Tony. Of course, every Olympics is loaded with fine stories of great atheletes, and not all of them are going to get their turn in the spotlight. I understand that. But sometimes, the way in which the Powers That Be essentially pick their storylines and heroes well in advance, and design their coverage around them, is terribly annoying. In the case of men’s skating, Matt Savoie just isn’t in their loop, so they don’t know what to do with him except show him skate and then hurry back to their chosen few. (I’m sure this same mentality affects scoring too, though that’s a more complicated claim. Clearly, Matt wasn’t the best skater on the ice yesterday, but then his mistakes were comparable to those practically everyone made; I find it hard to not suspect that, for many judges, with their eyes primed to closely observe their selected stars, the skating of people like Savoie is mainly a matter of waiting for some comparatively minor mistake to confirm their predetermined place in the skating firmament.

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