Okay, okay, I know everyone's been a-moanin' and complainin' and gripin' about the Winter Olympics. Not enough snow blah blah death of an athlete blah blah, yeah, we heard all about it. Move on. Now, it may surprise some of you that even though I abhor, in fact I shun, most mainstream sports, football (the English kind), football (the American kind), baseball, ice hockey, field hockey, horse racing, etc., I find the Olympic Games to be fascinating. Perhaps it's the international competition that stirs something patriotic in me. It must be for this reason that I find myself absently watching downhill skiing, the men's 1500 metres, or the Third Test against Pakistan for no apparent reason sometimes.
So when I hear the news that Great Britain today won its first solo gold medal in about 30 years, I feel a swell of patriotic pride. Yes, you heard me right. We won a gold. Not a team gold. An individual gold. The first solo gold for the Brits since figure skater Robin Cousins twirled and triple-Axeled his way to glory at Lake Placid in 1980, and the first by a woman since 1952, again by a skater, Jeannette Altwegg, who won Britain's only gold at Oslo.
Amy Williams from Bath took the gold in the women's skeleton-bobsled event. Here's the amazing thing... it was her first time on a course that long. Her training track apparently is only half the length. The track is a full 1450 metres long, and is the track upon which the fastest speed in luge was recorded -95.68 mph.
Skeleton is a crazy event. I though luge was bad enough... lying on your back, steering with little movements of the foot, at over 85mph. But in skeleton the sled is what amounts to a tea-tray upon which you lay on your stomach and go face first. At the end of the course is laid a mat of foam rubber, to slow your sled to a halt.
If you missed it and want to see for yourself what gold medal speed is like, here's a video.
Congratulations Amy. You make me proud to be a Brit.