No guts no glory
My mind is splitting from all the action today. I stopped by the women’s downhill course in the morning before training began, long before Lindsey Kildow even arrived on scene to unwittingly throw a big monkey wrench squarely into her Olympic experience.
I was on-site for women’s snowboarding all day in Bardonechhia.
The U.S. riders didn’t have much to say after going 1-2-3 in their qualifying run Monday. I’m sure they were deep in nerve struggles and concentration. I caught up with Hannah Teter and
Gretchen Bleiler about an hour before the finals, when the two were getting on the chairlift on their way to what I later discovered was a jaunt of ducking ropes and powder turns before the two went on to win gold and silver.
I didn’t want to disturb them before the big gun blew, but I wished them luck and told them to light the place up. Teter gave me a knowing look and put her hand up for a high five. She’s cool like that. She did the same with Norwegian bronze medalist Kjersti Buaas, in an effort to make her feel like part of the crew on the podium. Pure friendliness, that Hannah.
I was shaking with joy for all three medalists. All three earned their glory. I felt for Kelly Clark, however. One has to wonder how many times she’s gone that big in the halfpipe, landing the same exact run flawlessly, only to have one of the rare mistakes to occur just seconds before she would have otherwise won her second Olympic gold medal.
She’s truly not one to feel sorry for herself, though. When I talked to her afterwards, she stated the details matter-of-factly: She lost balance a little and went over the tail of her board. She always looks you right in the eye when you talk to her, regardless of what you’re asking. I told her that the crowd was going crazier on her run than anyone else’s, and she said, “That’s what I’m here for.”
Trying to be delicate, I asked her if she thought her final run minus the one little slip would have been a gold, and it was obvious that making any sort of sound-related reply would have been too much for her. Looking me dead in the face, her eyes watering,she nodded a fierce,
Also, my mind has been reeling all day with every conversation I’ve had with Kildow this season, all the times she talked about the Olympics as the pot of gold on her career path. Everything was going as planned, and in a split second (as most fateful accidents take place), she caught an edge and now her Olympic dream might be significantly altered. Just imagine how much damage you’d do to your car if you crashed going 50 mph. The girl was protected by nothing but her ski suit and a helmet.
Thankfully, Kildow is really, REALLY tough. Perhaps the ibuprofen can work some magic. There’s still a chance she could race. Maybe if we all hold our breath we can will it to happen …