I cannot ever remember watching a more impressive display of courage, poise and toughness in a sporting event than what I watched last night.
Joanie Rochette is a figure skater representing Canada but she made new fans from all around the world and it had nothing to do with the beautiful technical program she delivered to the packed house in the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.
Under the best of circumstances the Olympic spotlight proves sometimes to be, for some athletes, just too much to handle. The years of medal hopes and dreams and the hours and hours of training culminate at one moment in time.
You can almost see in the competitors faces as they prepare to begin their competition. Some step up and deliver, some don't.
Joanie delivered last night.
The support from family I would think plays a huge part in the outcome of these competitions.
Can you just imagine for a moment what it takes to just get to these games? Imagine how huge a part your mom would play in your hopes and dreams if this was you.
Joanie's mom unexpectedly passed away 3 days ago. I gave this girl ZERO chance of even finishing her routine. She should be given a medal for even trying.
A similar thing happened to Dan Jansen a few Olympics ago. He was the heavily favored United States speed skater whose sister died the day before he was to compete.
He crashed unsurprisingly and was unable to finish his next two races.
So I tuned in last night to watch Joanie's event with my heart in my throat.
Not only did she finish her routine, she was spectacular. Just imagine what was going on in her head as she stepped to the center of the ice awash in silence, alone with her thoughts and waited for the music to start, signaling her to begin.
She is one very impressive athlete.
A notable side note, the announcers of the event, who are usually talking non stop during these routines explaining the intricacies of what we are watching, did not utter one word during her entire routine. Nothing needed to be said.
They handled it perfectly and so did Joanie.