Thursday, 25 February 2010


I am absolutely exhausted.

I'm battered... bruised... aching... stiff... sore... every one of my muscles has been tested beyond bones are only just intact...I've got frost bite and wind chill...and I'm only just beginning to warm up again. The nerves, of course, are still pretty raw and I still have too much adrenalin coursing through my veins.

It's really tough watching the Winter Olympics.

I've been training for months: swimming, exercising, stretching, Pilatesing, walking the dog,and climbing up and down the three flights of stairs to my attic work-room several times a day.

I've even had to overcome my adversity to snow (too cold, too wet, too white).

But, boy, has it been hard work watching the Winter Olymipcs.

The most difficult down-hill course I've had to endure has been the ski and snowboard cross races. In fact, it's been so nail-biting that I'm not able to leave the room until all of the races have been completed in the round. They just hit you one after the other.

There's no time to relax, polish my nails, brush the dog. I have to stay routed to my settee - usually in a prone position because it's too tiring to watch sitting up. And, naturally, it's impossible to eat because I'd just get indigestion. I can't even light up a ciggie because I might miss something in the process of focusing on the flame/searching for a lighter that actually has gas in it.

For those of you who have not watched these races, let me explain:-

You take four total idiots at a time, who seem not to care a jot about health and safety issues, place them behind bars at the top of a mountain, release the bars and watch as all four hurtle downwards along a narrow, well-defined course (blue lines) with loads of bends and jumps, often in misty/snowing conditions, and wait to see who stays upright, who has the balls to make a dangerous/daring/audacious attempt to overtake at the most dangerous parts of the the course, and who reaches the final blue line first.

It's absolutely fantastic.

These races are new to the Olympics and have probably pulled in millions of viewers, like me, who never used to watch the Winter Olympics. So, a big success, I would say.

And don't get me going about the acrobatic snowboarding. It makes me feel giddy just watching it. And I'm someone who had mastered (well, almost) the back-somersault on a trampoline when I was at College (yonks ago - and definitely the best days of my life).

So entranced have I been, that I've even been watching the more sedate courses, too: the short slalom, the long slalom, the short jump and the long jump. I'd always thought that that giant leap through the air was too terrifying to watch. Now, it seems actually tame but still enjoyable in its own way.

I'm glad our Brit girl, Amy Williams, won a gold in the skeleton - and we all know about the skeleton and the lunge (which is the skeleton backwards), don't we? But, personally, I'm relieved that, as a nation, we don't really count in these games. We seem to be having plenty of snow these days but, no doubt, it's the wrong kind of snow, and, anyway, we don't have the facilities, as per usual. In countries like Norway, where they have loads of snow, even toddlers learn how to ski.

I'm relieved because I can watch each race not caring who wins because I don't have to desperately want a Brit to win. I can just enjoy the race and appreciate the skill, strength, grace, athleticsism (have I spelt that right? Sadly, I don't have spell-check on my blog), daring, courage and sheer brilliance of each performer.

What's particularly good, too, is that so many teenagers are now involved in the Winter Olympics. One of my favourites is Fanny some-body (don't mean to be disrespectful, but I can't remember her surname) from France, who so nearly won a bronze in the final but was prepared to take a chance to snatch the gold or silver and fell over in the process (i.e. crashed spectacularly). Must watch out for her and all the other youngsters in four years time. (Is this on the Black Sea? Of course, not actually on the Black Sea but in that region of the world. That should be very interesting.)

And doesn't it make you green with envy when these sports people take off their helmets and they're so good looking, with beautiful teeth. Plus, they've got long, lean, sexy bodies to die for.

I shan't dwell too long on wishing that we i.e. Great Britain and Northern Ireland - had better winter sports facilities in Britain - not because I want MORE MEDALS but because it's such a shame that our kids are missing out on such fun.

However, my Pilates teacher, Veronica Goulder, told me at our last session, that her son was a professional Snowboarder. Absolutely wonderful. I must get more details from her at our next session.

One final word, though, and if you've got some inkling of my thoughts by reading my blog you'll know that I have to say this: my prayers go out to the lunger from Georgia who died in practice. You only have to watch the Winter Olympics to see how dangerous it all is. So hats off to all competitors who dare to do such things. I am in awe of all of you.

A little footnote here. I once went ski-ing in Bergen, Oslo, when I was seventeen. Because my mum and I were last to reach the starting point, we didn't learn how to put our skis on properly because our instructor had already covered that part of the instruction.

In consequence, we found it tres difficult. She, very wisely, quickly gave up and stayed in the hotel lounge happily reading. I, on the other hand, tried my very hardest but could only traverse in one direction.

Ski-ing on the virgin slopes was fine but going on the big ski-lift to the top was an absolute nightame. I could only get off at the top by falling off and I had so little control of my skis that the only way I could get down to the bottom was by deliberately falling down every so often to slow myself down - my desire to survive strongly kicking in.

I was the only one of our group who failed the final test, apart, of course, from my mum. And it was only when I returned my skis, that the very nice guy in the shop, in the process of sympathising with me for not getting a certificate, realised that I hadn't been wearing my skis properly.

Not that I cared. Because I was seventeen, my hair had bleached in the sun so I looked Swedish (what a compliment) and I excelled at the apres-ski life. Plus, I had my first experience of a hard mattress and a duvet. What's this piece of padded cloth? we asked. Wouldn't be without one now. Plus, months later, I found £5 worth of Norwegian currency tucked away in my hand-bag. And in those days, that was a real bonus.

P.S. Supper is ready and I've just read this and seen loads of mistakes but I'll correct then tomorrow. Good Night and Sweet Dreams.

P.P.S. Mistakes now rectified, hopefully.

P.P.P.S. Forgot to mention the harlequin trousers of the Norwegian men's curling team - a big mistake, in my opinion. I became more interested in commenting (acidily) on the brightly patterned colours than the actual curling.

P.P.P.P.S. Has anyone noticed that it's actually luge not lunge? I've kept my mis-spelling in because John and I have been having great fun joking about this mistake. We could be very good lungers and have already been practising.

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