M&K's smiles froze. Ever so slowly, they turned around to face their grinning challenger.
"Umm, no... umm, thank you."
The captain of the US Women's Wrestling Team laughed and trotted back to the mats. After watching them toss one another about for a bit longer, we all huddled up to share a few pointers on holds & [over]hear the coach's pep talk. It had been a good workout, several of the prospects had done well, but the others shouldn't be too thrown off by this try-out session for the Olympic training squad and better keep at it. Remember, ladies, eliminations next week!
And, to think, just like that, our girls had passed up an open invitation to be Olympians!
Well, ya can lead 'em to the ring, but ya can't pin 'em down for the count, I guess. [Just throwin' in a little
Oh yes! The very place where Apolo Ohno trained before winning gold & silver medals in 2002 and then returned to for its monastic, distraction-free appeal to get ready for the 2006 Olympics, in which he earned another gold & 2 bronzes. (This time around, for Vancouver 2010, Apolo & the other American short track skaters prepped in the newer Olympic facilities at Park City, UT. That's where the other guy who won 5 winter games medals - all golds - has been Heiden out. Now as a Stanford M.D. graduate + orthopedic surgeon + team physician for the US speed skating team. But only after first pursuing a road race cycling career & setting up America's premier pro bike team & competing in the Tour de France. Poor underachieving Eric, if only he could've done something with all that potential. Bet he has a Placid bedside manner, though.)
Our tour of the former military base turned Olympic training facility continued. We strolled through the students' study room, crammed with computers situated next to air hockey tables wedged between vending machines, further confirmation that we homeschoolers are well on our way to attaining Olympic glory (uncanny, for it's exactly the kind of scholar-athlete nurturing environment we'd created in the kids' playroom back home).
We also saw some weightlifters - that took a load off. And then it was on to the men's gymnastics facility where our tour group was warned to NOT step on the specialized springy floor, as demonstrated repeatedly by the enticingly bouncy tour guide. Sure nuff, when he turned his back and we were to file out, two apparently non-English-speaking German tourists leaped in pliés, grand jetés & arabesques across its padded expanse in order to film a short rhythmic gymnastics routine with their camera phone. The guide was not amused. Neither were we. At best, their performance only earned a 6.5.
But before we judges could confer &/or accept bribes under the table from corporations & foreign entities (I know, how gauche, quite passé ... but understand this was before the US Supreme Court ruled that sort of thing is perfectly acceptable... since they're staunchly transparent... about allegiances, you know. Ehh, scruples, who needs 'em?), the escorted portion of our tour abruptly concluded & we were set adrift.
Back outdoors & on our own, we blended right in with the elite athletes & reveled in the Olympic atmosphere. We fogged up the glass wall windows outside of their cafeteria while they ate lunch, coolly nodded when several of the more flexible fellas dexterously avoided our attempts to rub shoulders, and generally intimidated everybody by sprinting new, astounding PRs. Admittedly, we went a little off track by dropping our batons on 50% of the handoffs - as everyone knows, you'll never make the US relay team that way. Not until ya can get that up to at least 70%, right? (Sorry, but c'mon USA Track & Field, what was that in 2008? Time to get it in lane & start splitting seconds again!)
Suddenly, Katrianna exclaimed, "He's here!" She'd spotted the one, the most exciting of all those we'd encountered thus far, decked out in a sleek, breathable, all weather shell, a patriotic red & shimmering designer jersey that even Ralph Lauren would envy. It was the fulfillment of her ultimate dream right there in Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center: she was touched by a ladybug! The festive frenzy was contagious. Finally, spontaneously, the competitive flame ignited in both of our daughters: "Gimme! My turn! N'uh, it's my turn!" Until, inevitably, he flew off as fast as Greeced lightning, promising to reappear 4 years later. And with that ceremonial pomp, our games were brought to a subdued and humbling close.
But it kinda worked. At least the girls agreed to try ice skating after that trip. And, by about the 12th visit to the rink, Katrianna even declared, "Hey, look at me! I'm the next Michael Phelps!!" (OK, so she used a mixed metaphor there... but whaddya expect from a jock, huh?) She zipped around in dizzying laps, blazing quite a trail of thin ice as she visualized victory in Vancouver!
Of course, 2010 won't be her year. They have age minimums, ya know, so the old folks don't get humiliated by some junior phenom... so she's adjusted & set her sights on eventual Olympic gold. And it seems she very well might have a shot! 'Cuz I did a little research. They have absolutely no rules disqualifying the use of those -- excuse the technical term -- "pushy things." And, not to brag, but she really is a speed demon behind them! Meanwhile, I'm passing the time by working on nicknames... how d'ya like the sound of 'Ice Scorcher'?
Just so you know, by the 17th visit, Katrianna did successfully circumnavigate the ice rink solo, without aid of any pushy things (well, except Mom's urging). Yet, in a demonstration strangely counter to Newtonian physical laws of motion, the absence of its resistance actually slowed her down considerably... Currently, she is awaiting patent approval on her more aerodynamic pushy thing redesign. Coming at cha in 2014, Apolo Ohno!
Before approving this blog post on mom's Olympian efforts to tap into the girls' innate athleticism, my proofreader-editor-daughter Mikaela suggested, "You know, Mom, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 'In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.' Don't you think it would help a lot if you fit that in here somewhere?" Gee, how very sporting of her. See, she is a proven