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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Three New Heroines

Maybe to some it is trite to refer to the Olympic spirit, but I scoff at the scoffers.

Never more was that point made clear to me, than when I beheld the efforts, two nights in a row, of three very different women, who all did the same thing:

In the name of the sport, they sucked it up, and carried on.

Here I have to say, I am not much for my gender -- that is, I don't necessarily cheer for women, just because they are women, like many feminists and others, seem to do.

I find that attitude as bizarre as cheering for someone who had hazel-eyes, or...were white.

People, men or women, have to do something, not just BE something, for me to sit up and take notice of them, let alone to have goo-goo eyed reverence.

But even so, I admit, I was absolutely elated that these three persons, were athletes who just happened to be women, too.

Men are raised to disregard pain, and to tough it out, when they experience it.

But we women are judged to be the weaker sex, in large part, because our bodies are frailer than men, but more than that I think, because we are allowed to express pain by crying.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this makes men believe that women cannot do the same things, sportswise, as they can.

Now I am the type who cries at supermarket openings, and I blub uncontrollably in chick flicks (hello Joy Luck Club), but I am as tough as a ram inside, and take an inordinate pleasure in not showing others when I am hurt, physically and emotionally.

So, it is with this mindset that I beheld three women, and their respective reactions to injury, during the Torino Olympics.

Because of what they did, and how they did it most importantly, they are my three newest heroines.

I'm sure I will have more, by the end of the Olympic fortnight.

1. ZHANG DAN



No one who saw it, real time, will ever forget Zhang Dan's performance during the pair's figure skating programme.

After falling with a sickening thud on the ice, her knee instantly sported large black-and-blue bruises, and surely to goodness, we all thought that it had been fractured...or worse.

I could not believe it, therefore, when I saw her continue despite what must've been overwhelming pain.

Her inspirational, accomplished performance led her and her partner, Zhang Hoi, to an unbelievable, but very merited, silver medal.

After the Sale-Pelletier debacle in Salt Lake City, I thought I had seen it all in pair's figure skating, but this amazing will-to-power by Zhang Dan, will live long in my heart.


2. LINDSEY KILDOW



Lindsey Kildow was the serious girl to teammate Julia Mancuso's wild child antics, so it was thought she had the surest chance for an US gold medal in women's downhill skiing.

But then came her cringe-making tumble during training two days before the Final, that surely had put paid any ideas of further competition in these Olympics.

With a concussion, Lindsey Kildow took to the slopes on that day, and conquered more than just a piste -- she showed what a true Olympian is.

One that gets up, carries on, and finishes what she started, no matter what.

Unlike Zhang Dan, she won no medal, but never mind. She got our collective respect instead.


3. CAROLE MONTILLET-CARLES



Veteran Carole Montillet-Carles had quite possibly a more dramatic spill on the same day, and on the same ski slope, as Lindsey Kildow did.

She was taken to hospital, and treated for severe bruises in her face, whch included a left eye which was totally closed due to swelling.

The pain in her fractured ribs must have been overwhelming.

But like Kildow, there she was, on the day of the Final, skiing down that slope which must've caused her to cringe with every bump in the snow, as she crouched with those aching ribs of hers.

She finished. 4 minutes over the gold medal time, but she finished.

Coincidentally, the Torino Opening ceremonies featured a lot of women carrying their countries' flags, and 8 older ladies, some of whom I growled at cattily, led the Olympic banner, further accentuating this theme.

Whether it was unintended, or coincidental, these Olympics have so far proved themselves an event which women were allowed to show, what women have always been:

Strong, in mind, but also in body.

5 Comments:

  • Now I am the type who cries at supermarket openings, and I blub uncontrollably in chick flicks (hello Joy Luck Club), but I am as tough as a ram inside, and take an inordinate pleasure in not showing others when I am hurt, physically and emotionally.

    Victoria, that is your best self-description yet! It brought a smile to my old kisser...

    I also love the phrase 'put paid!' Not used enough!

    By Blogger Ron, at Thu Feb 16, 10:34:00 am GMT-5  

  • What else can be said but "Amen"

    By Anonymous BrotherDarryl, at Thu Feb 16, 02:31:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Victoria, that is your best self-description yet! It brought a smile to my old kisser...

    You know, Ron, you're right!

    I re-read the line again, and I realised I spoke without sugar-coating my own personality, and yet it was a very positive paragraph.

    I also love the phrase 'put paid!' Not used enough!

    Ah yes? I hadn't realised Americans didn't use that a lot. Cool. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 16, 10:37:00 pm GMT-5  

  • What else can be said but "Amen"

    Hey Darryl. :)

    The only other time I've felt this odd allegiance towards my sex in sport, was during the Annika Sorenstam-playing-at-the-Colonial event.

    That Vijay Singh really got up my nose with his dismissive comments about women in golf.

    But, alas, he wasn't the only one...

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Feb 16, 10:39:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Cool Beans! I like competitors. Real ones. It's only when their egos take over that I want them to go away. Like Johnny Weir - go away, take your massive ego with you.

    The ladies were magnificent!

    Ah yes? I hadn't realised Americans didn't use that a lot. - Nope. Here it's something of an anachronism. But I liked it, too. It's a fine phrase.

    By Blogger benning, at Fri Feb 17, 06:57:00 pm GMT-5  

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