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The Olympics thread


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I highly recommend watching Shiffrin's interview on the Today Show. She was so great, and really funny, too. It's good to see she had a solid head on her shoulders.


Angel Diva
"I'll be back sooner than you think."
Love her



Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Oh boy, that weather (wind/ice) in the men's halfpipe... glad the injuries seem to be only minor. Didn't make for that great of a competition as a result, but yay USA. Supposedly wasn't called off because the conditions are just supposed to worsen until the end of the games.

Skicross was super-fun to watch, though! Fast course!


Angel Diva
The NYT had an interesting article on how Norway, with just 5 million people, became such a powerhouse. It sounds like they have a very cool philosophy. This year they won 15 golds, 7 more than Russia, which has 144 million people.

For Norway, everything changed after the 1988 Calgary Games, where it won just five medals, none of them gold. That was an unacceptable outcome for a country where children begin to ski and walk around the same age.

Norway, which had quickly transformed from a middling economy built around fishing and farming into a petroleum-rich nation, started plowing money into Olympiatoppen, the organization that oversees elite Olympic sports.

It also doubled down on its commitments under its Children’s Right in Sports document, which guarantees and encourages every child in the country access to high-quality opportunities in athletics, with a focus on participation and socialization rather than hard-core competition.

Norway’s well-funded local sports clubs, which exist in nearly every neighborhood and village, do not hold championships until the children reach age 13.

Its largest national skiing event, the Holmenkollen Ski Festival, which began in 1892, includes a race for elite adult skiers but not youngsters. Children join the course when they want and there is no official time keeping for them. The coaches, both the professionals and parent volunteers, have to undergo formal training. “There just seems to be a lot more emphasis on including everybody,” said Atle McGrath, a 21-year-old Norwegian Alpine skier whose father, Felix, competed in Alpine for the United States at the 1988 Olympics. “Whether or not you are really good or not, it’s pretty much the same experience for everyone.”

Jim Stray-Gundersen, a former surgeon and physiologist who is the sports science adviser to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, lived in Norway, where his father grew up, for five years while working as a scientist with Norway’s Olympic athletes. He said a priority of the country is to build a culture of health and regular exercise, and its competitive prowess flows from that.

“It’s how you produce psychological satisfaction, healthy life habits, and stellar athletes over time, and it’s very much in contrast to how we do it and don’t do it in the U.S.,” he said.

Youngsters who do not exhibit special talent stay involved, and some of them bloom as teenagers, long after children in more competition-driven countries might have moved on to the cello. McGrath, for example, did not excel until he was 17.

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