Appreciating the stories of an almost olympian

While I was growing up, every two years when the Winter Olympics would come around, I would get more and more excited. Not only did it mean I would get to stay up past my bedtime to watch the games, but it was more time to spend with my dad cheering for the fastest skiers, bobsledders and snowboarders. And every time downhill ski races started, I was reminded of my dad’s passion for skiing and his successful past races.

For as long as I can remember, my dad’s skis and ski poles have been hung up on our basement wall, along with photos of him participating in downhill ski races. Whenever I see this memorabilia, I’m reminded of my dad’s passion for the sport. And I’ve come to know a lot about it through the stories he’s told.

My dad has been skiing since he was 3 years old. When he was 6, he decided he was going to be in the Olympics and he nearly was.

He participated in the Federation of International Skiing, competing in races across the East and West Coasts. He trained in Italy and France in preparation to try out for the Olympics. He spoke with the owner of a gym and an owner of a ski shop in Washington state who agreed to sponsor him in future events.

Then, my dad tried out for the 1988 winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada. He competed for a spot as a downhill skier. But due to a bad shoulder injury, he could no longer hold his tuck and was not able to continue skiing.

When I was young, my dad took me to the Pocono Mountains to teach me how to ski like him. I wasn’t very good at it, and I never found the determination to try again or further get into the sport.

Despite not being able to share in the intensity of the sport itself with my dad, I get to share in his passion while we watch the Olympics together every four years. I was always fascinated by the Olympics, both winter and summer. But the winter games always held a special place in my heart, especially skiing.

When I first became interested in the Olympics, I had hundreds of questions about competing, trying out and having the dedication to get there. Being able to hear the answers to these questions through my dad’s experiences fascinated me more.

My dad’s able to humbly talk about his past with the sport. But when I was younger, I loved to brag about his success and passion for skiing — I do a little now, too.

I spent the weekend at home around the start of the Winter Olympic games, and I got to watch different skiing competitions with my dad. We were not watching downhill ski races, but as always, it was heartwarming to be able to celebrate successful skiers with him, and I will always hold onto my memories of learning about skiing and the Olympics as a young girl through my dad’s stories.

 

Monica Mellon
can be reached at monica.mellon@temple.edu Or you can follow Monica on Twitter @monica_mellon Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

2 Comments

  1. Perhaps the lack of viewers had something to do with the lack of daytime coverage. I used to be able to watch the Olympics during the day, no later than 11:00 a.m. on weekdays and 12:00 p.m. on weekends. I know that now a lot of people just follow what they want online, but I used to be glued to the tv or the radio during the Olympics, as much of the day as possible. We watched all the medal ceremonies, and shared the pride of the Olympians who represented their countries. I noticed that this Olympics as well as the winter Olympics 4 years ago, there are so few medal ceremonies. I don”t want to watch them online, I want to watch them on the TV with my family. I thoroughly enjoyed the events that I watched this winter. But Perhaps NBC should run more events during the daytime as they have in the past. Everyone can live for 2 weeks without daytime soaps and talk-shows. The Olympics don”t happen that often, just pick up regular programming when the Olympics are finished.

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