The 2010 Winter Olympics has some heart-wrenching stories. The games started off on a tragic note when the 21-year-old Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili, died on impact during a training run, hours before the opening ceremony. Kumaritashvili’s death cast somewhat of a dark cloud over the Olympics, but there is a silver lining. As Morgan Freeman’s soothing voice will tell you in the numerous Visa ads playing during the games, there are also plenty of Olympic happy endings as well. One of the most recent inspirational tearjerkers is the story of Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette, whose mother passed away suddenly from a heart attack two days before Joannie’s first skate. But yesterday, Joannie delivered an almost flawless short program that left her in third place going into Thursday night’s long performance. Joannie said that she had “no regrets” about her short program performance and while “words cannot describe” what she is going through, she appreciates everyone’s support. Kleenex, please! [Huffington Post, CNN]
After the jump, read some more inspiring tales from the Winter Olympics.
- American short track skater J.R. Celski was centimeters away from dying, and has the picture to prove it. During his training, Celski fell and cut his leg with own skate blade just short of a major artery, causing him to lose a dangerous amount of blood. The 19-year-old was rushed to a hospital where he asked one of the doctors to take a picture of the wound. Now, that photo serves as a reminder of the difficult five months he went through to heal and prepare for the 2010 Olympics. The work paid off because now Celski not only has his first Olympic experience but a bronze medal as well. [NBC]
- Cross-country skier Brain McKeever already won two gold medals as a paralympian in the 2006 Torin Winter Paralympics. Now the Canadian is going to be the first man to ski in both the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. McKeever is partially sighted due to Stargardt’s disease, a degenerative disorder that creates a blind spot in the center of your vision. The 30-year-old has yet to let his disability get in the way, qualifying for the 50km cross-country race that will be held on the last day of the Olympics. McKeever said, “I hope people realize through my story the gap is not that big” between disabled and able-bodied athletes. [NBC]
- Slovenian cross-country skier Petra Majdic thought she had lost her chance to compete, let alone medal, in the Winter Olympics when she crashed during a training session. Instead Majdic made it to the finals suffering and screaming from the pain of her bruised ribs through three heats of skiing. At the finals, she stayed on top of the leader but in the end was unable to find a way to pass her. Majdic finished in third, collapsing in pain when the race was through. She said that, to her, the bronze medal she fought for is “a gold medal with little diamonds in it.” I like the way this woman thinks. [NBC]
- Canadian curling fans provided the Olympics with a tender moment. At the Great Britain vs. Canada curling match, the home team was down a point against the world-champion U.K. team. The Canadian crowd must have sensed the tension because they broke out into a spontaneous singing of “O, Canada.” Uplifted and astounded by the crowd’s sincerity, the Canadian team went on to scores two points in the final round winning 7 to 6. It was a great day for Canada. And for broom-related sports. [Yahoo]
- Many Americans were afraid that golden girl Lindsey Vonn would be unable to capture a medal or even compete after she announced her shin injury. But with a little luck from the weather and a lot of determination, Vonn won gold in her first event, the downhill. After reaching the bottom with an astonishing time, Vonn collapsed in celebration and tears. I think a few of us might have been right there with her. [NBC]
Did any of these Olympic moments tug on your heartstrings or tear ducts?