Service of Pick Yourself Up & Dust Yourself Off: Olympic Figure Skaters Rule

February 19th, 2018

Categories: Competition, Encouragement, Hope, Perseverance, Sports

Photo: twitter

Facebook and our email boxes are filled with posters, famous sayings and real life examples to encourage us, foment hope and inspire us with a spirit of never giving up. One of my favorite sayings, attributed to Winston Churchill, is “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”


There are few more vivid instances of “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” than the Olympic figure skaters. With the world watching, if they fall in the middle of a routine, after thousands if not millions of hours of practice, whether alone or with a partner, they pick themselves up and keep going as though nothing happened—or so it seems on the outside. They are marvels.

My father, for years an avid Olympics watcher and supporter, reminded us during each winter and summer game that even the “worst” of the participants are outstanding athletes. It’s easy to forget sometimes when listening to the coverage of the announcers, often past athletes themselves, criticizing a tiny twitch of a knee or microscopic landing quiver.


Erica Martell described a nail-biting competition for gold during the Olympic Pairs Figure Skating finale that I’d missed. It involved many falls and a juggling for the three spots on the podium. Going into the competition in fourth place were the eventual gold winners, Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot. It was Savchenko’s fifth Olympics and first gold medal. She’d previously won two bronze. Born in the Ukraine and competing for that country until, with her German partner, in 2003, they competed under his native flag, the 34 year old won for Germany. Her partner is from France.

In the men’s figure skating competition a few days later, Shoma Uno, who received the silver medal for Japan, fell right out of the box in the final round. He picked himself up and proceeded to astonish with the rest of his performance.

Do you watch the Olympics? Do the commentators add or detract from the coverage? What other vivid examples of pick yourself up and keep going, athletic or otherwise, can you share? Are there more athletes than before who compete for one country when they are citizens of another or has this always been the case?


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6 Responses to “Service of Pick Yourself Up & Dust Yourself Off: Olympic Figure Skaters Rule”

  1. EAM Said:

    I think also Nathan Chen set a good example. He was in 17th place going into the long program at the Olympics. He really hit rock bottom and had nothing to lose, the only way he could medal is if one of the top competitors crumbled. That said, he landed 6 quad jumps and got one of his personal best scores in the long program. Also, as of note, Bruno Massot obtained his citizenship from Germany just prior to the Olympics so he could compete.

  2. Lucan Said:

    I’m not an avid fan, but the Olympics go way back for me. My grandfather played tennis for the U.S. in 1906 in Athens– pairs; they lost. Several boys from my school swam and won gold in London in 1948 and at Helsinki in 1952. The gold medal crew at Melbourne in 1956 had several of my college classmates and friends on it. In 1960, I was living in Italy and attended several Olympic events in Rome, and in 1968, in Mexico City, where, assisting the Libyan Olympian committee representative, a customer, I was instrumental in making sure that the one Libyan athlete was able to compete. He didn’t win. Since then, it has just been the games on TV, less and less of them each passing Olympics.

    Generally, I like the TV commentators, but some are better than others. However, the whole slick production/time shifting/false enthusiasm business is a little too much. KISS!

    I loved “Chariots of Fire” and admit yearning for “the good old days” when the Olympics were for amateurs, money was less involved and athletes didn’t switch countries. I understand why all the changes,but I don’t care.

    Incidentally, I fully agree with you about “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,”

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Thank goodness for Youtube! All this sounds like a must-watch. And thanks for the clarification re. Bruno M.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Chariots of Fire is one of my favorite movies.

    I can’t explain why some of the Olympic competitions transfix me when in 99.9 percent of all cases I find watching sports on TV an excruciating bore.

    I’d be thrilled to see some of the action in person: How lucky you are! And in Rome? Sigh.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    Who doesn’t watch the Olympics? Yes, smug and patronizing announcers are a nuisance and sometimes political to the point of stupidity. Who wants to learn of the herculean trials of someone from Podunk USA doing no better than 7th place, when there’s a thriller involving top ranked contestants from elsewhere?

    My favorite, so far, is the Spanish skater — (who ever heard of a Spaniard on ice?) — coming out of nowhere and winning a Silver? He should have won gold out of general principle, for a magnificent performance.

    Sympathies to those who fall, and worse, injure themselves, but that’s the cost of competing.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The sad thing is that TV ratings go way down if no American is in contention and yet watching the performances not only of skaters but heart-in-throat luge drivers–one pair from Germany going so fast that the tiny vehicle turned over at the end–the men were fine but Oh MY! And the snowboard competition? Holy smokes. I wouldn’t dare walk the ramp much less fly over it as they do.

    Kudos to the Spanish skater for sure! And some morons could do nothing but speak about the costume malfunction of the French skater, poor thing. The team made a remarkable recovery though she must have been distracted beyond the moon as the costume was no longer closed in back as she flew here and there and up in the air.

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