It is beautiful to watch them, of course.
But what is more beautiful even to me, is not just how perfectly they execute what looks to be very difficult, what is amazing to me, esp. on the Olympics, is when they fall.
“Zhang Dan drew gasps from the crowd as her attempt to land the first throw quadruple Salchow in competition ended with her crashing to the ice and slamming into the barriers.
” Zhang landed in the splits and had to stop. Five minutes later the 20-year-old returned to the ice and continued to skate, complete with twists and throws, to the delight of the crowd who cheered her every move.”
One has to imagine that for these people this is an incredibly lifetime opportunity, so one could not be blase about being in the Olympics. It’s never “no biggie”.
I imagine them all to be little hometown heroes, knowing that everyone they know is watching, their one big chance, the day they dreamed of for years, not to mention all the grueling practicing over and over and over. The cameras, the lights, all of it. The promise of money in endorsements…their whole life they’ve put on hold to attain this, this one moment. Just a moment, when they go on the ice.
Everything starts out smoothly and then the false landing, that image of gracefulness hitting the ice, the swarthy bands of muscles dashed against the sideboards–the pain in their body must be almost nothing compared to the pain everywhere else–professionally, emotionally–to do the impossible at that point, get up keep going and pretend it didn’t happen.
I might stare slack jawed at their skating, but when they get up, especially after a drop or a particularly cruel miscalculation, just a moment of distraction is all it takes, when they get up after what had to be obviously physically painful–that’s what brings a tear to my eye almost.
At that moment what they are doing is the really truly hard part.
Striving for perfection is commonplace, it’s almost a cliche. It’s when and how people pick themselves up and dust themselves off after falling on their faces that I find profound.
In fact I could watch a whole Olympics of this alone, to me that’s where the heroics are. It’s in that moment that they so beautifully encapsulate the things that people do daily-failed marraiges, getting canned from their jobs, a dying child–the big stuff. Things that people suffer in silence over, they do it in the middle of stadiums with spot lights, cameras and the whole world watching. Not only does it takes eggs, but the getting up is 100 times harder than the striving for perfection ever dreamed of being.