Opinion: Broadcaster Steve Allen looks at the issues of today
PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 February 2018
They say never meet your heroes. So I am at liberty to think of any of the winter Olympians as heroes – as I can’t afford a skiing holiday, our paths won’t cross.
Lizzy Yarnold could be my hero, technically Britain’s greatest Winter Olympian.
She took gold in the skeleton event, which is basically fighting the natural urge to not be gravity’s plaything.
She said she won’t chase celebrity now, which is so rare these days.
I nearly had a party when I found I now have an IMDB entry.
So for her to resist the pull of the chat shows, the book, Strictly, Sunday newspaper scandals and the eating of a crocodile’s bits in a jungle, is to be commended.
She also said that after these Olympics she won’t be “putting her feet up”.
I read that and thought, that’s kind of how your skeleton event works.
She isn’t my favourite hero. That honour goes to Elizabeth Swaney, the Hungarian skier who’s from the US.
She entered tournaments across the world with fewer than 30 competitors so she was always in the top 30, which is all she had to be to qualify for this year’s Winter Olympics.
When she represented the country one of her grandparents was from, or at least visited, she came last skiing in a style that looked like me trying to walk to the car on an icy day.
She may not be an athlete in the correct definition of that word but she has shown that if you want to be up there with the best it takes hard work and dedication.
Or money, a spreadsheet and a willingness to play the system.
She may not have done any tricks in the half-pipe but the way she jumped through those loopholes was a sight to behold.
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