Out of the Closet At Last!

The Olympic Rings Fireworks Display from the Opening Ceremonies Friday night.

The secret is finally out. I admit it. I'm a man, and I like to watch Olympic Figure Skating. There! I've said it. What a relief! To finally get this off my chest and out in the public is liberating beyond belief. But I gotta tell you, it's all my parents' fault.

That's right, another thing to blame ole Mom and Dad for. You see, one of my earliest memories was watching Peggy Fleming win the Gold Medal in the 1968 Olympics. Yes, I remember that. I was three years old. No, I don't really remember Peggy's long program, and I certainly can't recall if there was a French Judge on the panel; but I do remember the impression of my Mom and Dad being really excited watching Peggy Fleming skate, and the cheering and the loud words exclaiming: "Peggy Fleming won it!"

As a three year-old, I had no idea what this meant, but it was a cause for celebration and chocolate chip cookies. And that was it right there. If you can equate figure skating and chocolate chip cookies in the mind of a three year-old, that three year old will grow up loving figure skating. Just like I grew up loving the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings, the Green Bay Packers and the Wisconsin Badgers (before I got older and realized I lived in Michigan and that I should be supporting the Wolverines like every other sane individual.) Thanks to my parents, I learned to appreciate all sports, and art, and theatre, and music, and literature, and then.....the Summer Olympics. My next really big Olympic memory was Olga Korbut in the 1972 Munich Games. Of course, those Olympics were also the Olympics of Mark Spitz and 7 gold medals, and the assasination of the Israeli Team, which is the topic of the current Oscar Nominee "Munich", but I digress.

In any case, I was hooked on the Olympics, and I am a Winter and Summer Olympic junkie, but I really love the Winter Games. So now, here we are again, all the excitement, pageantry, and hoopla--which is all encapsulated in Olympic Figure Skating.

Marcy Hinzmann and Aaron Parchem, U.S. Silver Medalists, Ready to Skate Tonight in the Pairs Short Program.

The Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan is one of the nation's premier Skating Clubs. Olympians come out of Detroit as they do other legendary skating clubs, like the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, and Lake Arrowhead in California. Detroit's most recent Olympic Champion was Tara Lipinski. But the Detroit Skating Club has never had an entry in the Pairs event until now. Marcy Hinzmann and Aaron Parchem, the current U.S. silver medalists begin their quest for Olympic glory tonight in the Pairs Short Program. Hinzmann and Parchem will have plenty of family support during the competition. Hinzmann, whose family lives in Columbus, Ohio, has about 10 relatives in Torino to cheer her on, while Parchem, from Chicago, will have close to 20.

Though the odds against them to even crack the Top 10 are steep, they are thrilled with the opportunity of competing. Aaron Parchem also holds the distinction of being the first African-American male to participate in the Winter Olympics in figure skating.

I'll be reporting on figure skating and some of my other favorites through the next two weeks, but the Pairs Short Program is just the tip of the iceberg. Bigger stories will be emerging just a few days from now, culminating with Belbin and Agosto's chance to win the first American Ice Dancing medal in thirty years and the classic showdown between Sasha Cohen, Irina Slutskaya, and the redoubtable Michelle Kwan in what is sure to be the most spectacular ladies event of all time.

Thanks for reading!


utenzi said...

That's funny, Matthew. I'm more into summer sports than winter, but I can see how Peggy Flemming could make a person into an Olympic Sports junkie.

February 11, 2006 1:26 PM
prying1 said...

After reading the list of things you appreciate I have to wonder how many chocolate chip cookies it adds up to? I lost count.

Good post! This bit of praise is from a transplanted Michigander so maybe I'm prejudiced...

February 11, 2006 6:25 PM

Post a Comment

Thank you very much for commenting on this post! I appreciate my readers very much and value their feedback. Please leave your email address and URL so I can respond to you personally. Thanks and have an awesome day!