Passion and Fire! — Sgt. Tony Ludlow’s blog post for 2/22/2018
I’m an Olympian. As many of you know.
Well … not really … but sort of.
I was at the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway for the 2 weeks of the 1994 Games. (Translation: I was in Norway freezing my booty off!!) And at the Nagano Games in Japan in 1998.
No, I wasn’t competing in the two-man luge. (How do those teams even come together? How does one man ask another man to lay on top of him on a sled sliding down a mountain at 90 MPH?) I was in Norway as a goodwill ambassador (seriously!!) from Japan — believe it or not — as a hospitality translator for the Japanese Olympic Committee (the next winter games in ’98 were to be in Nagano, Japan). How I was chosen for such a position is a whole ‘nother story!
You might remember those Olympics because of the Tonya Harding / Nancy Kerrigan smack down. (I had my money on Tonya. Those trailer park girls know how to rumble!)
Lillehammer was an awesome experience and I got to meet a lot of the athletes, including Winston, a member of the Jamaican Bobsled Team, and Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, an unlikely British ski jumper who came in dead last at the 1988 Calgary Games. I met General Norman Schwarzkopf, the Allied Commander in the first Gulf War, and Bruce Jenner, when he was still a dude.
I love the Olympics, Winter and Summer, and will watch just about any of the events, especially if an American or an American team has a chance at a medal. Sports that I’d never pay attention to ordinarily, like water polo or downhill skiing for example, get my full attention for 2 weeks every 4 years!
The Olympics are the celebration of years and years of intense hard work, daily sacrifices, and extreme determination.
Then there’s the drama of men and women overcoming obstacles, butterflies in their stomachs, and their own self-doubts in front of a worldwide audience!
It’s so compelling and more than a little addictive. I first got the Olympic bug in February 1972, watching the Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan from my house in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (I added “Go to the Olympics” and “Live in Japan” to my bucket list that February. Check and check!)
And whose heart doesn’t hurt when you see someone’s Olympic dream end, with the whole world watching, because of a misstep, a small mistake, or because their body just refused to cooperate on perhaps the most important day of their lives? It really is the full range of human emotions!
In Korea right now, there are hundreds of athletes who knew before they left their home country that they had no chance whatsoever of winning a medal. They knew it full well. But they went anyway. In Lillehammer and Nagano, I talked to dozens of those kinds of athletes and to a man (and to a woman) they all said the same thing, that they were honored to represent their country and that they were there to do their very best. Even when they knew that their very best would go unnoticed and get no acknowledgement from the press and that they would return home with no Olympic medal.
Not the case with Lindsey Vonn!
What more could be said about Ms. Vonn?
Even if you don’t know much about competitive skiing, you have to marvel at her achievement. She’s been called the greatest downhill skier of all time. And the injuries and setbacks she has faced are incredible:
BROKEN RIGHT ARM
FRACTURES IN LEFT KNEE
BROKEN LEFT ANKLE
TORN LIGAMENTS IN RIGHT KNEE
BROKEN BONE IN RIGHT LEG
BRUISED RIGHT SHIN
BRUISED LEFT FOREARM
CUT RIGHT THUMB
HYPER-EXTENDED RIGHT KNEE
More than once Lindsey Vonn was airlifted from a ski competition when a crash at 80 MPH left her body broken. Let that sink in. More than once … air. lifted.
The list of her injuries, surgeries, and physical maladies would have made a lesser athlete give up. But there she is! The oldest female downhill skier of all time, at the old age of 33 years old, winning an Olympic medal!
Truthfully, there simply aren’t superlatives adequate enough to describe the accomplishments, passion, and drive of Lindsey Vonn!
With tears in her eyes, she intimated that this Olympics will probably be her last. But you could see the fire behind those tears. If she returns to the 2022 Games in Beijing, she would be 37 years old. And I wouldn’t put it past her.
Would that we all had the same fire and passion of athletes like Lindsey Vonn … or even Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards!
INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY
We’ll follow the decision of the Shelby County School System. If the public schools in Memphis close, we’ll stand down. However, if the decision to close school is based strictly on the temperature, as was the case recently, we will be ON!
We’ll be inside from now until after March Madness.
I’ve recently signed up for the messaging app called Remind. Designed with schools in mind, it is easily adaptable for groups and organizations like ours.
Signing up is free and easy. Your privacy is ensured and there will be no group text situations that makes us all crazy! I’m the only one who can reply to everyone. Any messages from you will only go to me, not to the whole group.
I’ll only utilize this messaging service to inform you of any changes to venue or times. Likewise, I’ll use it, in addition to Facebook, to announce any weather related cancellations or changes.
Just copy and paste this link into your browser to sign up: remind.com/join/usmcfi
Our Tuesday workouts have become one of my favorite.
I need help coming up with a good and catchy name for it, like I have for some of the other workouts.
Some of you know that I’m working on a PhD and I’m about to enter into the last area of course work before starting to write my dissertation.
If you have an electronic copy of a qualitative dissertation, I’d love to take a look at it. If it’s really good, I’ll steal it and plagiarize the crap out of it! I’m joking, of course!
If you can help me out, my email address is: TonyLudlow@aol.com
To your good health and fitness,
Sgt. Tony Ludlow