Monday, February 17, 2014

Olympic Alpine Skier Bode Miller Wins Gold For Spirit, Bronze In Super G

    Today February 17, 2014, is World Human Spirit Day and after watching Bode Miller at 36 become the oldest Alpine skier to win a medal at Sochi in the Super-G, it seemed fitting to post this. Athletic competition at a professional level is primarily the province of young men and women. There are exceptions to the rule in sports like golf, bowling, sailing, curling, horseback racing, darts, lawn bowling, shooting, dressage (noted because even mature horses can excel) or NASCAR where experience gained by maturity has a chance to trump the strength, speed and reflexes of youth.
    In most sports it's the other way around and the adage that 60 is the new 40 does not apply, 30 is the new 50 does. Look only to gymnastics, track, hockey, basketball, football and alpine skiing to see proof of that. 36 year olds competing at the elite status are the exceptions with most of the same age having retired because of injury, burn out or refusal to collect a paycheck or endorsement and not be able to win. Alpine Skiing where skiers race down a slope at speeds reaching 80-90 miles an hour, go airborne, and put g forces on their knees similar to a fighter pilot in a dogfight is certainly a sport where youth's speed, strength and reflexes are at a premium. But yesterday at 36, Bode Miller, knee surgeries and all, proved that with training, conditioning, desire and dedication coupled with a relentless and fearless will to win, the human spirit we honor today, no matter the chronological age of the body in which it resides, can prevail. Congratulations Bode Miller on your 6th Olympic medal winning a Bronze in the Super G and missing the Gold by a mere half second and a Silver by only three tenths of a second. He became the oldest man in history to win a medal at the Olympics in Alpine Skiing.

Will To Win Bodes Well Bode Miller
60 for mere mortals may be the new 40, as we do not seem to age
Living longer as the aging genes hibernate and from the body disengages
With diet, stem cells, new joints, or a surgeon’s skill
We do not seem to empty the currency from in the youthful till
Even at 70 one’s face is so hard to do the chrono read
Even as the golden year eggs become less than we need
There are Masters runners, swimmers, bikers and iron men
Entering their bodies into the race again and again
But for many the goal is just to finish or a personal chrono age best to achieve
No longer glories of winning against all others, all ages to retrieve
You can win against members of your own chrono age clan
But against the youth often your winning chances will not stand
In many sports the aging is just the reverse
Age and experience not a blessing but now a curse
20 is the new 30 and 30 the late 40’s or worse
Experience can no longer to the platform the body coerce
Alpine skiing may be for the fearless and young at heart
But after mid 20s those decimal second edges begin to blunt and depart
Imagine an Alpine skier at 36 with knees still able to even get the down the hill
Imagine harder a man of 36 in the hunt for an elusive Olympic Gold Medal kill,
Burdened by knee surgery in 2012 that took him in 2013 off the slopes
While in the same year, losing a brother but somehow not losing hope
We all know that we enjoy this life on a short term lease on unknown terms
Try as we might the expiration can come with no warning signs to discern
The athletic talent lease in an injury second can end, but the aging part seems in a slow drift
One moment you’re on the podium, the next year you’re barely on the hill with winning talent off the cliff
At Sochi in the Super G, Bode Miller at an age of 36 when most had hung up the skis
Once again racing down the hill, oldest body, but a young spirit that still believed
When the last skier had flown down the Super G hill, the oldest skier would win another medal for his neck
A mere half second from Gold, a closer .3 from Silver, leaving him tied for a Bronze to collect
His record as the oldest Olympic Alpine medal winner may stand but most likely naught
For one absolute rule, the Olympic creed has, without exception, always taught
The spirit no matter the age of the body in which it resides
Its will to win despite that age will not be denied
At 36 two more Olympic Alpine events to go
Two more times to push young spirit old body through the mushy snow
If that was your last medal, Bode, you go out on the proverbial mountain top
An icon for the mere mortals that the will to excel with age does not need to stop.
© February 17, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet


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