For anyone who has been fortunate enough to have an Olympic experience as an athlete, coach, trainer, parent, or organizer, these past two weeks probably brought a flood of memories back to you. I remember spending 4 to 6 hours a day training as a gymnast for all those years and the intensity, concentration, and commitment it demands of any athlete. Being upside down always felt natural to me. I used to joke that the reason I am so overly excited about everything in figure skating is due to the fact it gives me the same jolt of energy I experienced every day in the gym while upside down twisting and rotating at breakneck speed.
Last night Michelle and I watched Michael Phelp’s documentary, The Weight of Gold. This was powerful. I encourage everyone to watch it to gain a better understanding and compassion for our beloved elite athletes and all they go through.
Simone Biles is struggling right now and deserves our support, not just because she is one of the most decorated gymnasts of all time, but because she is first and foremost a human being. When I was a gymnast being able to execute a full twisting double back or triple twist was a huge accomplishment. That pales in comparison to the incredibly difficult skills Simone excels at today.
Most of us remember when Brian Boitano executed three perfect triple axels in Calgary and just how amazing that was. These days, Nathan Chen is landing 5 quads in his freeskate program. One could say that both of these sports have been turned inside out with the increased importance and focus of these amazing and practically incomprehensible skills. Until we have walked in the shoes of Simone Biles or Nathan Chen, we should all stand firm in support of these phenomenal athletes and remember that being upside down can turn you inside out where you cannot orientate which way is vertical and just hope to land without severely injuring yourself.
The Session is over and the Zamboni is coming out.