here is a recent blog that may or may not be published:
Thank you, Clara Hughes, for saving the olympics for this Blogger.
You came out of nowhere to win gold in the 5,000 meter speedskating event, a gruelling distance that saw you collapse on the ice at the end, having left every ounce of energy on the oval track that tortured you mightily for just shy of seven minutes. I’ll bet it was the toughest seven minutes of your young life.
The media spotlight never shone on you, and it does not shine on you to this day. You and I can taker perverse pleasure in it, because in avoiding the limelight you ironically outshine all those who are at its center.
Early on that Saturday night, in the minutes before you bested the favorites, Claudia Pechstein and Cindy Klassen, the announcer only mentioned you in passing, the pairs partner for Pechstein. You were introduced before the race as a footnote intended to underscore your competitor’s greatness. And for a while the race proceeded according to that script, with Pechstein pulling steadily ahead while you paced yourself for the long meters ahead.
Then when Pechstein began to fade at the end you put those long hours of training to good use, making up a five-second deficit to defeat the German and claim your first gold medal in olympic speedskating.
You won the race and you won the medal, and when you picked yourself up from the ice, you won my undying admiration, thanks to your ear-to-ear grin, your earthy humbleness, and your gratitude at being given the chance to compete with the best athletes in the world.
You are an example not just to other athletes, but to all the rest of us in the corporate world, too, who work hard to get ahead. For that I want to thank you.
Thank you for devoting the years of hard work and sacrifice to arrive at this level, and thank you for not treating the games with disdain by putting partying ahead of competing.
Thank you for winning with class and dignity, and for radiating so much pure joy and good cheer in the process.
Thank you for congratulating your competitors, and for not whining about what your teammates did or did not do in other events. During the medal ceremony, you physically dragged your teammate from the third step of the podium to the top, so that she could share the moment and the view while they played the Canadian national anthem. Class like that brings a tear to my eye every time.
Thank you for cheering on your teammates when they competed, just as they cheered you on when you were on the ice. You never forgot you are part of a team.
Thank you for being less glamorous than some of the other skaters, with their movie-star looks and commercial contracts. You outshone them all by an order of magnitude with your performance and your marvelous smile.
Thank you for exhibiting sportsmanship and the joy of competing, fairly and honestly.
We could use a few more like you, Clara, in the olympics and everywhere else.
Last edited by KBandit; Feb 27th, 2006 at 1:58 pm.