Of pride, guts and skeletons | VailDaily.com

Of pride, guts and skeletons

Shauna Farnell

I wondered all along if Toby Dawson’s now renounced stance of regarding the Olympics as no big deal was all an act. It’s like he was telling himself that to keep his nerves under control.

It was really great to see him laughing in elation all night after landing his bronze medal. I wish I could say the same for the gold-medalist. At the press conference, the guy acted like he was being interrogated in court rather than sitting there having won an Olympic event.

Granted, people asked him a lot of dumb questions about the internet business that made him a millionaire at the age of 18, but all around, the guy had all the emotions of the inflatable kangaroo that sat next to him. Actually, the kangaroo was much more animated.

Born in Canada but repatriated to Australia, Mr. Blah seemed to take no pride in either country. Dawson on the other hand, was about as proud as any American out there. He answered every question excitedly, even those from all of the drooling media unabashedly seeking the heart-wrenching, orphan-turned Olympic medalist angle. Dawson was thrilled. In my mind, it should have been his gold medal.

And how about Lindsey Kildow? How about a “Yeah, tough girl!” For any of you who saw her crash on TV, you’d feel as awed as I was that she could come out 48 hours later and finish eighth in the women’s downhill. Even though she seemed disappointed and felt that some bionic, inhuman force would have put her on the podium.

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I have to say that the crowds at the ski racing events have been a bit dull. I’ve even had Olympic veteran journalists tell me that the vibe is much less intense than in years past. The atmosphere at moguls is worlds more exciting, with everyone packed closely around the finish area and a loud, “three-two-one” send off for each competitor as he breaks out of the start gate, his run accompanied by some high-energy punk tune making it all look like a live music video.

I’m going to boardercross and skeleton on Thursday. The boardercross will be something else. It will be curious to see how much more popular the sport becomes after its Olympic debut.

Skeleton, on the other hand, seems horribly undervalued. I know it’s not what you would call an accessible sport. It’s not like you can go out with your sled and take a run down a luge track yourself, much less see a competition. When you are standing next to a track and somebody rakes down it defying the laws of sound, however, I guarantee you’ll have a new appreciation.

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