Beijing Games teach us to reject expectations, accept failure and more

From ageless wonders to unexpected failures and everything in between, Yahoo Sports’ Liz Loza reveals what life lessons we’ve learned from the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Video Transcript


LIZ LOZA: If you're looking for high-flying, heart-stopping feats of athleticism, then the Winter Olympics are for you. But the Games also reveal a lot more than what we see on the surface. Two weeks into the Beijing games, and here's what we've learned.

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We've learned that age ain't nothing but a number. 36-year-old Lindsey Jacobellis and 40-year-old Nick Baumgartner won gold and mixed-team snowboard cross. The Americans are a combined 76 years old, and are literally the best in the world at their sport. On the flip side, Canadian Elliott Grondin took silver in men's individual snowboard cross, and he's just 20 years old, half the age of Baumgartner.

2022 is shaping up to be the year of the elder millennial and Gen Xers. Just look at the Super Bowl halftime show. We run this! And then we take a nap.

During these Beijing games, we've also learned that sometimes, cheaters do prosper. Figure skating phenom Kamila Valieva is allowed to continue competing in the Olympics, despite the revelation that she tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in December. The drug is a heart medication that can enhance endurance, which might come in handy when the 15-year-old attempts a historic three quad jumps in her free skate. Valieva claims that her grandfather was taking the medication, and she just ingested it. In other words, she took her granddad's pills. I guess this is the New Age version of that "the dog ate my homework" bull-[BLEEP].

Speaking of which, the Winter Olympics have also taught us that, you know what, sometimes [BLEEP] happens. Like when you have to compete against a known cheater. Or when you're a superstar like Mikaela Shiffrin, Shaun White, or Jamie Anderson, all of whom came into the games with the hopes of defending their Olympic titles and fell flat, sometimes literally. Nobody wins all the time, and that's OK.


We've also learned that the unthinkable is possible. This was reigning 2018 Olympic downhill champion Sofia Goggia three weeks ago.


LIZ LOZA: In that crash, Goggia tore her ACL and fractured her fibula. Yet here she is, three weeks later in Beijing.


LIZ LOZA: The Italian won the silver medal on one leg, pushing the boundaries of what the human body and mind are capable of. And that is what the Olympics are all about.