Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hard to believe....

I've been watching the Olympics sporadically...seen enough curling to whet my stone appetite for, oh, a few decades.  But I did watch what was one of the most jaw-dropping "OOPS!" take place...

No, I can't imagine what it must be like to focus years on training for your specialty in the Olympics, and to be one of if not the best in the world.  Discipline.  Focus.  Dedication.  The 5 winter Olympic rings come around just every four years, and for two weeks the eyes of the world watch for "the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat."

And "the embarrassment of a royal screw-up."

That would be a monumental understatement.  Sven Kramer of the Netherlands was skating to a sure gold medal in the men's 10,000 meter, a blistering pace seconds in front of the leader.  His coach, Gerard Kemkers, was rink-side, doing what coaches do as their stars race, shouting out time splits and other helpful information.

Like pointing to which lane the skater needs to be in, since they go back and forth from the inner to outer lane after each lap.  Can get confusing after a while, just like trying to remember how many laps you've made around a track.

Would have been more helpful if Kemkers had pointed to the correct lane.  A nasty split-second decision sent Kramer following his coach's directive lead...into the wrong lane.

Oops.  Ufda. Uh-oh.  My bad.  The big ol' "DQ", and we're not talking soft ice cream and Mr. Misty slushies, either.

All that training, all those years, all that half-million dollars of lost endorsement bonuses, in Kramer's case.  All because of a coach's finger.  That's gotta hurt.

It's bad enough to see it happen and feel the world crumble in an instant.  But the fallout that will last (and haunt) for a very long time is even harder to imagine. 

This has nothing to do with this story except I remember a teacher scolding students about pointing a finger at someone else.  "Always remember that every time you point a finger at someone else, three fingers point back at YOU!"

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