The Emotional Olympics

Taryn Mantta
Taryn Mantta

In addition to being a huge sports fan, I am also an Olympics nut. I love to watch people achieve their goals, and hate to see when things don’t add up and someone sees their hard work slip away. All in all, that’s just the nature of the beast — three people get to stand on the podium, and the others don’t.

When I was little, I used to figure skate. When I was around 7 years old and a budding figure skating prodigy (totally joking), I had a figure skating idol. A 15-year-old American woman named Tara Lipinski was in Nagano, Japan in 1998 trying to win a gold medal in the women’s single figure skating competition. Now if you’ve ever seen the Winter Olympics, you may have noticed that figure skating is usually at night during prime time. As a 7-year-old girl, my parents may have let me stay up to watch it, but I fell asleep on the couch anyway. I woke up to find out that she had won and had become the youngest individual gold medalist ever. In that moment, Tara Lipinski was the coolest person ever.

People achieving their goals is great to watch, but when they’ve got some amazing story, it tugs me in even further.

Some of my favorite/least favorite parts (aka things that have made me cry) from this Olympics are as follows.

1. Three Canadian sisters who competed in the women’s moguls competition came in first, second and twelfth. The youngest of the sisters, Justine, ended up in first place with only her middle sister, Chloe, and the American reigning Olympic gold medalist to go. Chloe took her place at the starting gate knowing that if she was successful and got into first place she was going to take her sister’s place. The emotions running through her must have been crazy. By that time I was already crying (on a Greyhound bus going from Pennsylvania to New York, to put the icing on the cake). Chloe ended up in second place after her run, and after the mistakes by the reigning champ, the youngest sister took the gold medal. 

2. The Olympics bring together people from all over the world to compete in the sports they love. Unfortunately, as much as the games are about brotherhood/sisterhood among elite athletes, sometimes the politics of the world can cause difficulties for these athletes as they try to achieve their goal of competing. India, due to corruption in their athletic programs, was not able to participate in these Winter Games in Sochi, but what does that mean for their athletes? Shiva Keshavan competed in men’s luge without the Indian flag on his arm and participated in the opening ceremonies, not as a member of the Indian delegation, but as an Independent Olympic Participant. Although not able to participate under his flag, he brought a little bit of home to Sochi on his suit, which is adorned with names of people who donated to the cause of sending him to Sochi. He has unbelievable dedication to the country that has caused him difficulties in not only Sochi, but also in Torino during the 2010 Olympics.

3. In men’s skeleton (which may be the most terrifying sport to watch in the entire world) it was amazing to watch Russian Alexander Tretjyakov win gold as the Russian fans cheered him on. It was also great to see American Matthew Antoine win the bronze medal in an event where he had not been the American favorite. The real American favorite was a man named John Daly who had come into his final run of the competition in a race for third. At the beginning of his starting run, his chances of third were dashed when his sled slipped out of the grooves before he assumed the headfirst position for the race. His after race interview showed the devastation that he felt as a rare occurrence for skeleton sliders happened to occur during his Olympics.  

There are many more amazing stories that have happened during these Olympic Games, but if you’ve missed any and you have a television subscription, you may be able to watch full replays on the NBC Olympics website (thanks, Mom).

Although not everyone can be Olympic athletes, some of the emotions can be felt (to an extent) during our time in Sigma Kappa. Sometimes your sister gets that job, test grade or opportunity that you were going for, and you have to fight your emotions between being happy for your sister and upset for yourself. Your chapter may do something that causes your chapter pride to decrease, and it’s up to you to keep your head held high and prove that Sigma Kappa is awesome. Maybe something you have practiced a million times happens to go wrong during the situation that you’ve ultimately been practicing for.

All in all, you just have to remember that you aren’t alone and your sisters have your back. They are there to share in your excitement, console you through your difficult times, and overall, be the best Sigma Kappa you can be.

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