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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins


Saturday, February 25, 2006

One Reason Why I Like The Olympics

You hear it often: Athletes are just like you and me. Were it not for their 95-mph fastball, or their 4.2 40, or their seven-foot height, they'd be leading the same lives as we do. They'd drive around town in a Camry, grab lunch at Subway, and drink Bud Light because it's on special at the bar. Well, that's not the case. Because of their physical gifts, a handful are able to command millions in salary and lead lifestyles that end up inspiring shows like ESPN Hollywood.

The Olympics are different. Excepting athletes like Bode Miller and Sasha Cohen, who are acutely aware of their celebrity, the athletes who go the the games really are, for the most part, like you and me. They work jobs at Home Depot so they can train in their event. You wouldn't recognize them if you walked by them on the street.

And, like a lot of other people in their demographic, they do things like put up MySpace pages.

Meet skier Ted Ligety. As you can see from his page, this guy is exactly like someone you knew in college. He would like you to know this about him:
well im a virgo...i like long walks on the beach and sunsets while holding a lover. hahaha i enjoy being extremely sarcartic, while making fun of myself and myspace. but really... I ski 90% of of all waking hours of my life yet only think of it 10% (cuz my mind is always in the gutter!!).
Like most any straight guy, he digs Maria Sharapova and Daniela Hantuchova. And hey, the guy drinks Keystone Light:That's him in the Nike shirt. I feel like I was at that party, probably because I've been to dozens just like it.

But you know what happens when you send that guy with his arms around his boys with the 'Stones to Turin and put him on top of a mountain? He proves that he is the best skier in the world in the men's combined slalom.How cool is that? I happened to catch this particular medal ceremony on TV, and it was awesome to watch. When the U.S. anthem played, his face was a picture of awe and emotion, and you could just tell that here was a guy who probably worked his ass off to do exactly what he had just done, and now he had the satisfaction of a mind-blowing sense of accomplishment, backed by the pride of a nation.

Tomorrow, there will be 6.5 billion people on this planet. I wonder what it's like to know that not a single one of them is better than you at something. It must be a staggering feeling. I mean, there are a lot of things that I'm good at, but to be the best? In the entire world?

Wow.

And the coolest part is that this guy, who is better than 6,499,999,999 people at what he does, is really just like a lot of them.UPDATE: Deadspin has linked to Ted's MySpace page (I confess, it was I who tipped them to it), so I suggest checking it out before he notices an unusual spike in people requesting to add him as a friend and cleans it up. Then again, he may not give a crap and keep it the way it is, which is probably more likely.

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