From the moment he came into the spotlighted arena at the Olympics, Bode Miller exuded one thing: arrogance. Walking at the back of the pack, jacket open and no beret, I remember thinking that maybe the beret wouldn't fit his big head.
Bode Miller totally blew the Olympics. Miller can act like it just wasn't to be but the fact is he came into the Olympics with an ego as big as the Alps and then didn't back it up. He was the true epitome of everything bad that foreigners think about Americans-egotistical, condescending, and lazy. I felt ashamed that Miller was from our country.
Perhaps I need to get a clue, but isn't the whole idea of competing in the Olympics to win for yourself and your country? This isn't a country club it's an "every four years" international competition of the best in the world. If you don't want to give it your best than give your spot to someone else who does.
This brings us to Michelle Kwan. She is the beloved Olympian who seems to never be able to get that gold medal. 1998 was supposed to be her year, but she settled for silver when Tara Lipinski, up and outskated her. In 2002 Kwan was back, and this time it was Sarah Hughes who took the gold.
In 2005 Kwan withdrew from the 2006 qualifiers to go to Torino because of injuries. Ironically, Sarah Hughes' little sister Emily won the coveted spot on the team. Michelle Kwan then filed a petition to be given the spot. The "powers that be" granted her wish and Emily, who had earned the spot, was put aside.
Kwan went to the Opening Ceremonies and Emily sat home watching them. Michelle Kwan then re-injured herself in what could be considered justice or a cruel twist of fate. The reality though is she should never have been there in the first place. Kwan withdrew and Emily, now stuck in a major snowstorm just made it to Italy. Although Emily didn't medal, her future looks bright.
Now we look at an Olympian who is the polar opposite of all of the above-Apolo Anton Ohno. Ohno is known for several things, his graciousness, his remarkable work ethic and his team loyalty. After the 2002 Olympics where he won a silver and gold medal, Ohno became a rich celebrity and could have slacked off. Instead, after a short time of enjoying the moment, he made the decision to return to the Olympic Village in Colorado (he is its longest resident) where he lives austerely. Other Olympians who have come to the village, say that he is a true inspiration. The hard working Ohno came into these games already an Olympic superstar. Still he left his ego at the door.
Ohno suffered a major upset when the Koreans beat him in the 1000m an event he was expected to win gold. Many tried to turn it into a negative but Ohno, who took the bronze, said he was really happy with that and hugged the winners.
Apolo Ohno did get his gold but in an event he was not expected to win. His excitement was a thing of beauty. He cried without shame as he stood on the podium as our national anthem played, and accepted his gold.
At that moment I felt proud to be an American.
Shelley Castetter lives in Bart Township. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.