Winter Olympic Viewing Not for the Faint of Heart

Mary Jo BuchananSenior Writer IFebruary 24, 2010

WHISTLER, BC - FEBRUARY 19:  Peter Fill of Italy crashes at the last gate in the men's alpine skiing Super-G on day 8 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Whistler Creekside on February 19, 2010 in Whistler, Canada.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

This Winter Olympics has indeed had some wonderful moments, with athletes from all nations who have excelled in their sport and won one of those coveted medals. But watching this year has most certainly not been for the faint of heart.

There is no greater example of this than the horrible accident at the beginning of the games that killed the young luge athlete on a training run.  His body catapulting off the track and hitting the metal barrier was too brutal to watch, and many media outlets decided against airing it at all or at least prefacing it with a warning prior to running the clip.

While this incident was probably the most traumatizing in the Olympic games so far, there have been many other equally horrible crashes, particularly for the male and female skiers. As they hurtled down the hill at great speeds, several not only crashed spectacularly but one was even knocked unconscious, leaving many viewers to wonder if he was even alive.

The coverage of these events did not help as the interviewers went immediately from that skier's lifeless body on the slopes to the medal winners gushing with excitement. But what a juxtaposition of a most horrible mistake with a crowning accomplishment.

The difficult to watch crashing was not just limited to the ski slopes. Several speed skaters, as well as ice skaters, took their share of falls and tumbles that were dramatic and a bit tough to view.

For the speed skaters, the good news is that their crashes, although spectacular, did not result in serious injury. Yet, viewing them careening horribly off the course and tangling with one another seemed again to be a disaster in the making.

Even the ice skaters, known for their grace and beauty, also suffered some hard to watch crashes. One particular young female skater took a terrible tumble, falling out of a jump, bouncing off the ice and hitting the wall.

This practice crash was shown over and over, with the poor skater left sitting there on the ice after her fall, totally dazed and literally looking like she had no idea where she was or what hit her.

There was another story that aired about a male skater who had a terrible crash, leaving him bleeding on the ice. He had apparently cut himself with his very sharp skate, severing several tendons.

The media seems fixated this year in sharing with us every aspect of the Olympics, the good, the bad, and the really hard to watch. Perhaps they think that makes watching those that triumph even sweeter?

While the media have chronicled some of the most brutally physical "agony of defeat" moments, they have also covered in great detail some of the most emotionally brutal moments.

The best example of this is the heart-wrenching performance of Canada's Joannie Rochette, who took the ice in the women's short program just days after her mother suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack.

Who viewing that performance was not absolutely sobbing for this young woman throughout practice? And who was not overcome with emotion as she took the ice, performed well, and melted into tears in the arms of her coach?

Yes, indeed, the Winter Olympics this year are most certainly not for the faint of heart.