My top three Olympic athletes?
Before I start, I have a few confessions to make.
1) I am an Olympic nerd. I hear the music and I get chills. Whenever I see footage of Jim McKay in an oddly colored jacket or a sweater I just want to start chanting U-S-A!!!
2) Even though we are on the eve of the Summer games, I am much more of a Winter guy. I don’t want to rain on the parade (or opening ceremony), but if I am being honest, I have to admit I think the Winter games are more dramatic, interesting and fun. Maybe it is the snow? Maybe it is the Ice Dancing, or maybe…
3) …maybe it is because of the Miracle on Ice in 1980. The U.S. hockey gold in Lake Placid was simply one of the most epic moments of all time. So monumental it needs to be removed from all discussions about top Olympic moments. It’s too obvious, and too big. It’s like asking someone “what is their favorite thing to breathe?”
That said, my three top Olympians:
1) Eric Heiden. The dude won 5 gold medals. Five!!! And his thighs were like 76 inches, I think. The guy single-handedly made me want to become a speed-skater. Sadly I don’t skate well, and am a mess in tight clothing.
2) Bill Johnson. He came from nowhere a month before the Olympics to win his first big race. And then in Sarajevo, he shows up, trash talks the best skiers on the planet and wins. And he skied completely out of control. What’s not to like?
3) Kerri Strug. I loved that she stuck the landing on that bad ankle. However, the indelible memory I have from that was the timing. It was tape delayed!!! She stuck the landing before anyone saw it! This was in 1996. I was already working in news, so I knew that it happened, and couldn’t believe I had to wait hours to see it. It just seems strange. In this day and age, I can’t imagine anyone waiting to broadcast something like that. (oh wait….)