Winter Olympics in Review

044By Ginger Solomon

If I’m anything, I’m practical. Most of my posts here will show that in one way or another. This post is no different.

The Olympics ended last week. For two weeks they dominated the news and were the thing to talk about.

Did you see the US Hockey team beat Russia?

What about when Ted Legity became the first US male to ever win gold in the giant slalom? 

Okay, let’s try the US women’s bobsled team of Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams who won silver. Did you know that Lauryn Williams is only the fifth Olympian to medal in both the summer and winter Olympics? Her other medal is in track.

One more. Did you watch Meryl Davis and Charlie White win the first-ever gold in Ice Dancing?

In four years will we remember any of these events? The people? The heartaches or the joys? Will we even remember them next month?

We might not, but I’m sure every single participant will either bask in the glory of the win, or wonder what he/she could have done differently. Some may even be working on a plan for the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.

Christina started the month off with a look back at the very beginnings of the games. But how much of what has happened between that time and now can we name?

Do you know what year the Summer and Winter Olympics became separate events? The last year they were held together was 1992.

What memorable events happened in 1980 — there were several? First, the US hockey team beat the Soviet Union, who dominated the amateur division of the sport. They went on to win the gold. Also in 1980, Eric Heiden won FIVE gold medals in speed skating.

This one you might remember. In 1988, Jamaica sent a bobsled team to the Olympics. They didn’t medal because they crashed, but the team inspired the movie “Cool Runnings.” By the way, there was also a Jamaican bobsled team this year for the first time in twelve years.

I didn’t watch many of the Olympic events this year. It seemed too many other things required my time. I caught glimpses of snowboarding and ice-skating, and the tear-filled interview with Bode Miller. I’m sure there were many thrilling moments, and probably more heart-breaking stories. The participants will not likely forget them. Just getting to the Olympics is a big deal and I applaud them for their dedication and perseverance. 

So I leave you with this thought: These Olympic hopefuls gave it their all, plus some, to achieve the goal they had set for themselves. What goal — writing or otherwise — have you set for yourself? Are you striving for it or are you waiting for the reward to just fall in your lap?


Ice Dancing’s Meryl/Charlie and Writing

sochiWhen my daughter was about eight years old a gymnastic school opened in our tiny town. All the girls she knew quickly joined, and of course she had to as well. After three months she became bored and didn’t want to go to practice anymore. With some prompting she confessed that she wanted to be able to do all the flips and jumps like the girls on television do, and her teachers weren’t teaching her that. They were more concerned with the baby stuff, like learning to balance on a beam 12 inches instead of four feet from the ground.

I tried to explain that you have to learn the little stuff before you can do the big stuff, otherwise you could hurt yourself. I also tried to explain that it was like building blocks, once you have mastered one tiny step you can go on to the next. She didn’t buy into it and quit.

I recently watched Meryl Davis and Charlie White on Youtube. We don’t have cable, so I wanted to see who was being sent to the Olympics for the U.S. Figure Skating team. I found this couple who will compete in the Ice Dancing portion. If you have not seen these two competitors, I highly recommend you search for them on Youtube. They were awesome! What really stuck me about this couple is that they have been skating together since they were young children, and a commentator mentioned that one of the lifts they were doing in the routine had been practiced for three years before they added it into a skating program.

Three Years! On one small lift.

I have read that when you first start out in skating you must find your balance as the blades are very thin. Sort of like a balance beam. Skaters start out doing figure eights on the ice to warm up and get their balance. The jumps and all the fancy moves come later. But everyone starts out with figure eights, learning the little stuff.

That’s what I have been doing myself when I decided I wanted to get all these stories in my head down on paper. I am learning the little stuff now, so hopefully one day I can make it through to the big stuff.

I am trying to be more disciplined with writing something every day. I have to confess I have hit a dry spell lately. I am afraid I will have to force myself to get back to it. Just as an athlete forces themselves to practice every day whether they feel like it or not.

I want to read at least one book a month on the craft of writing. Again, I do fall short of this goal. I let too many distractions weigh me down and I get caught up in the drama on the home front.

When I decided to start writing I knew I would need help and I researched conferences via the internet. I found one that was not too far away that I could easily drive to with no problems. I have gone to this conference for the past several years now, and I always come away with learning something new. Not to mention getting to spend the weekend with a bunch of characters; other writers I mean.writing450

The writing life can be like an Olympic sport, you have to start out with the little steps before you can make the big ones. Hopefully, I can medal with a published book as my prize some day.

But first, I have to write.


Tammy Trail

Ancient Olympics

So, are you all ready for the Olympics? I know I am. I’ll be glued, as much as possible, to the television.

About a year ago I had to research the ancient games for the current story I’m working on. There were a few things I found surprising.

The first recorded game happened in 776 B.C.
The games were a religious festival in honor of Zeus.
Only free male, citizens of Greece were allowed to compete.
Married women were barred from the arena and put to death when found guilty.
However, for a short period of time, there was a separate set of games for unmarried women in honor of Hera.
The winner of the Hera games served as priestess at Hera’s temple.
It seems there may have been a period of time where the Olympics were performed naked.

This video seems to sum up the ancient games.

This next one, please click the link, reveals some famous people who participated in some of those games. The video is in the upper right hand corner. It’s a little long but worth the viewing.

It’s a Wrap

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By Betty Thomason Owens

January’s been fun here at Writing Prompts. Before I sat down to write this, I tucked some dark-leaf lettuce and lean roasted pork into a whole wheat tortilla, sprinkled it with sunflower seeds and grated cheese then rolled it into a wrap. It’s delicious. I’m scrolling through the various posts we’ve uploaded for January’s Healthy Eating theme and reading while I eat.

I especially loved John’s and Dicky To’s posts, because both confessed a love of eating. There’s nothing wrong with that. The key so often is what I led off with: Listen to your body. Know when to quit. Lay down your fork. Push away from the table. Stuff half your dinner in a take-home box. Have I championed this key? No. But I’m better at it than I used to be.

When there are health problems involved, you have to be more diligent. Christina’s post addresses several important health issues like gluten, GMOs, and sugar. The key here: do your homework. Find out what’s available and many times, as Ginger’s family does, grow your own. Last year, I planted tomatoes and peppers in my flower beds. They did very well. We even had extra to can. But if you can’t grow your own, and funds are limited, learn what your choices are, and be smart about it. Do the best you can with what you’ve got.

Jennifer’s helpful post asked some very important questions, including: Is chocolate bad for you? Need to check that out, with February’s approach. Another important reminder from her article: “Over the centuries, the answer has changed.” We all know this to be true. Someone’s always doing a new study, supplying new answers to old questions. Again, be smart. Prayerfully consider any changes you need to make.

Perhaps my favorite among the posts is our guest, Janalyn Voigt’s encouraging us to eat healthy, even in our rush-rush world. Advance planning, smart shopping, providing healthy snacks, and drinking more water. These belong on everyone’s to-do list. Pass along good eating habits to your children and grandchildren.

Exercise. Hit the gym. Don’t neglect this, it’s too important. Especially if you tend to be sedentary during the day. If you’re a writer, this can be a problem. Get outside whenever possible, even in winter. Not only does this promote good health, when you feel better, you tend to make smarter food choices. And sunshine, even through cloud cover, really does boost vitamin D3. So if you can’t get to a gym, put on a good pair of shoes and go for a walk.

The armchair athlete – With the Winter Olympics and the Superbowl just days away, we need to plan ahead. Heading out to a Superbowl party, or hosting your own? Jennifer’s latest post provides one good alternative food–Chicken Burgers!  Of course, you can always take a veggie platter and include a lower fat version of the usual dips. Just don’t tell anyone it’s lower fat. If it tastes yummy, who’ll know?

Thanks for joining us this month. I can hardly believe February is almost here. Where I live, it’s been a frigid, snowy winter so far, but probably not as cold as Sochi, Russia, where the Winter Olympics are due to start on February 7th. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to some of these events. The skaters are among my favorites and not just the sometimes jaw-dropping antics of the figure skaters, but the high speed skaters get my heart pumping. We’ll be talking Winter Olympics here at Writing Prompts throughout February. We’ll drop a few writing prompts into the mix and hopefully stir up some great ideas in those talented minds of yours.

Today’s writing prompt: Tamara scanned the competition as she settled into her position. Only time for one deep, cleansing breath before the starting gun’s blast. Then the air around her sparkled with energy and ice crystals.