For the second time in a month we have had an honest to goodness can't-get-the-back-door-open-because-of-the-snow-drifts blizzard. We haven't had many significant snowfalls the past few years so it was a reminder of what winter weather can do that we had two major storms dumping snow within a few weeks of each other making February a busy month of clean up. Recently, a school age boy offered his perspective of the winter season before the first big storm roared in and closed the schools. At that time he pointed out that we had only had what he decreed as 'week-end snow.' 'Week-end snow' does not bring the magical day of reprieve from all duties related to reading, writing and arithmetic so the storm shouldn't bother to blow through at all according to this second grade meteorologist. As long as I don't need to be anywhere I like a good snowfall as it slowly transforms the landscape outside. Sometimes, it is just the restorative break that you didn't know you needed until you got it.
The mountains of snow also provided the perfect backdrop for the Winter Olympics. I can't sit back and relax and watch Olympic athletes on display in their respective sports. It makes me very tense knowing how much time and dedication comes down to a fraction of a second or the slightest wobble of a step. I know that is the very essence of the Olympic intensity but it simply rattles me too much to be entertaining. There are always tales of insurmountable obstacles that have been overcome and heartbreaking near misses that stun the athlete and the supporters in the crowd. The images of skiers crashing into banks of snow or the figure skater who lands a jump seated on the ice. How do you shake that off? The thought of carrying that through the years emotionally after all the dedication and work that was invested is mentally numbing.
At the Calgary Olympics in 1998 Gerard Kemkers, a speed skater in the 10,000 meter race, fell on the fifth lap of his race but he made what he considers himself to be the biggest mistake of his career in the 2010 games. Last week, Kemkers, who now coaches a Dutch skater who has dominated the sport since the 2006 Olympics, Sven Kramer, mistakenly yelled for Kramer to take the inside lane which ended with Kramer being disqualified from the race. The call was made in an instant and Gerard Kemkers had to deliver the news during Kramer's cool down lap, unaware that his coach had made such an error. Kramer had finished the race with his fists pumped in the air thinking that he had his second Olympic record and gold medal of the Vancouver games and now his coach is breaking the news that his call of poor judgement has cost Kramer a victory in his 10,000 meter race.
Kramer's time of twelve minutes 54.50 seconds was stricken from the records. A South Korean whose time was 12:58.55 was awarded the Gold medal earning him an Olympic record, a Russian who trailed Kramer by 7.57 seconds got the silver and a fellow countryman took home the Bronze.
Now, Kemkers has two bungled Olympic mishaps to haunt him. One that happened to him and one he was the cause of for someone else. I felt bad enough for Kemkers, the coach, as his mistake came to light, only to find out about his own personal speed skating Waterloo back in Calgary. I wish I had never heard about that now.