Olympics bring back skiing memories

The TV has been dominated by sports lately, with Super Bowl XLVIII the most watched TV program in United States history, and the start of the Winter Olympics in Russia.

I skipped the Super Bowl, with the blowout of Seattle over Denver making it one of the most disappointing games in history according to news commentary on both “Morning Joe” and local news programs Monday.

But with my past history of skiing and skating, I am looking forward to the Winter Olympics. I have a tradition of watching it that dates back to when I used to watch with my adoptive dad, Joe Spira.

I include a photo of my sister Debbie and I on skis from my early teen years around 1973. We used to travel to Peek’n Peak Ski Resort in western New York almost every weekend in the winter.

Dad and I used to watch the winter games, starting from when I was really young. I remember loving to watch the giant downhill slalom races and figure skating competition. I still watch any figure skating that I find on T.V. today.

I especially remember an Austrian alpine downhill skier named Franz Klammer. I remember him going downhill so fast in between the gates. He wasn’t the most graceful skier on the slopes, but he was the fastest, taking home the gold medal in 1976.

I also remember, when I was learning how to ski myself, having such a hard time with planting the poles doing a “Stem Christie.” I had a difficult time traversing around the poles because it took control and technique, but I was just learning from my ski instructor.

When we would take a break we would lie down on the snow on our backs with our feet straight in front of us and our skis planted in the snow high in the air. I wish I had pictures of this to share with you guys as well, but unfortunately I don’t have any. I have to admit we looked pretty silly.

I still love watching Olympic ice skating competitions – both figure and speed skating. But the figure skating is my favorite. This is where my mom came in the picture, as she also loved to watch figure skating and as far as I know still does to this day.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website www.kathrynskorner.com.