A little more than two weeks ago, I posted a line on my Facebook page that read, simply, “Does anybody else get the feeling that these are going to be the worst Olympic games in the history of the event? Or, in other words, will Sochi sucki?”
Of course, I was quickly put in my place by somebody reminding me of the 1972 Munich games, but you certainly had the potential to top that if that tinder box of a region you call home had erupted in a fashion it potentially could have.
Instead, you gave us an Olympics to remember.
I’ve had a number of people opine that they weren’t drawn into these Olympic Games the way they had been in the past. Most of them, I found out, simply didn’t watch.
You got off to a very slow start, that’s for sure.
Media members arriving on scene started Tweeting about the conditions of their hotel room and the color of their water. Then, of course, one of our American athletes found himself locked in his bathroom and later stuck in an elevator. And, the dogs? Oh, by the start of these Olympics the whole world knew about the stray dogs who called your city home.
And, of course, there was the time at your Opening Ceremonies when your fifth Olympic ring failed to open, giving a world-wide audience the view of four rings and an asterisk — which is what your 2014 Olympic Games were about to become if somebody didn’t right the ship in a hurry.
Some Sage wisdom and a group of American women’s hockey players started to change that.
Sage Kotsenburg won a gold medal in the Snowboard Men’s Slopestyle and suddenly these Olympic games began to blossom.
And, just like every Olympic games before, and all those slated to come after, you and your athletes gave us moments to remember.
Team USA and Canada hooked up on the frozen ponds of your arenas and gave us instant classics to remember — even if these good ol’ United States of America came up short every single time.
The sound of the puck clanging off the pipes of an empty net — a moment that would have sewn up America’s greatest moment of these games — still reverberates across the country.
Oh, what could have been.
And, oh, what was.
Shaun White’s failure touched us all because the unbeatable had become human. Ditto for speedskater Shani Davis.
But for every big name who failed to live up to the hype, there were the athletes whose names we did not know on Feb. 7, who are now burned into our memories thanks to their golden moments.
Jamie Anderson, Maddie Bowman, Joss Christensen, Meryl Davis, Kaitlyn Farrington, Ted Ligety, Mikaela Shifrin and David Wise all won gold medals.
Sage and Wise?
Those were the two things I was not when I dissed your games before they even started.
The trouble that appeared to be threatening your Olympic games proved to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing — much like the real wolf that appeared to be roaming your athletes’ quarters in the Olympic Village, yet in the end that proved to be yet another Jimmy Kimmel-induced viral video gag.
And, just like Bob Costas’ pink eyes, your Olympic games were quite contagious. (Of course there was a black eye to go with that pink eye. Next time, don’t let your Cossacks beat up Pussy Riot. That was your low point without a doubt.)
But I was into you. Why else was I up at seven o’clock each morning to watch live coverage of events I only watch every four years?
Luge? Curling? Ski-jumping? Just like the Wide World of Sports once told us, the thrill of victory and agony of defeat was too much of a draw not to tune in.
No, Sochi, you did not disappoint and I’m more than willing to eat crow — which, I’m guessing, tastes far more like chicken — and admit I was wrong about you.
And the fact you even poked fun at yourself and your “asterisk” in the closing ceremonies proved to be one last memorable moment from an Olympic games that slipped under the radar of many.
Those who missed it, though, were the ones losing out.
Your Olympic games were pretty darn good.
Congratulations. If I drank vodka I would raise my glass to you.
Instead, these words will have to do.