Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympic spirit

I don't know about you, but I miss Eddie the Eagle, the nearsighted British ski jumper who endeared himself to fans who admired his enthusiasm, if not his skill at launching himself into the air at high speed in an attempt to see how far he could fall. His free-spiritedness seems to me to embody what I take to be the true Olympic spirit.

That, however, was not the view of the mandarins of the Olympic establishment, which tightened the rules for ski jumpers so that no one like Eddie can qualify today.

But let us celebrate Robel Teklemariam, a Nordic skier who is the one and only member of Ethiopia's Winter Olympic team. Indeed, to compete, Teklemariam not only had to do well in his sport, he had to create a ski association and a Winter Olympic Committee. Oh, and he trains by roller-blading on the streets of Addis Ababa. And he's a serious competitor, at Turin he finished ahead of 15 other competitors.

Now THAT's the Olympic spirit, or what it should be!

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