USA Sweeps Olympic Halfpipe. Almost.

One of the great things about being stuck in a remote place (in my case, Danby, VT) with nowhere to go is that you can get a lot of TV watching done. That the Olympics have been on is a plus. That men’s and women’s snowboarding halfpipe was one of the featured events during my stay is a major plus.

So we almost swept the medals again. I’m glad to see Shaun White and Hannah Teter win gold medals – I’ve liked them both tons more since their feature in the movie First Descent.

Shaun White is 19. Hannah Teter is 18.

Shaun White has already had arthoscopic knee surgery. Hannah Teter won gold despite suffering from knee pain (suspected meniscus tear). Gretchen Bleiler, who took the silver in women’s halfpipe, was sidelined much of 2003 after enduring ACL repair surgery.

Cost of admission, I guess. In competitive sports, at the elite level, “playing hurt” is almost a given. It is common for Olympic-level athletes to endure training schedules that leave them grossly overtrained; where a “workout” may last for hours, with multiple workouts throughout the course of a day. Even on their recovery days, athletes are actively doing something, whether it’s a light weight workout or yoga. One wonders if their performances could be improved simply by decreasing the volume of work they are asked to do.

At any rate, the Halfpipe events were pretty awesome to watch. Watching Mr. White hit back to back 10s and a 10-9 combo truly emphasizes the gap between the average Joe (or average Eugene) and a pro-level snowboarder. Certainly puts my backside 3s in perspective.

I’m inspired to try 540s now but I can’t even visualize myself successfully pulling one off. Yet.

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