John F. Russell: Avoiding Olympic hangover
November 21, 2010
If you go to Google and type in "hangover remedies," you will get at least 125,000 hits.
Truth is there are so many remedies for hangovers that it makes my head hurt just thinking about it.
But nowhere in the seemingly endless list of possible cures will the world-class athletes who competed for a spot in last year's Olympic Games find an answer for what ails them.
Not even the prairie oyster — which involves putting a raw egg in a glass along with a dash of hot sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper — is enough to cure the Olympic-size hangover the athletes and fans have been dealing with since March.
For the athletes, the best way to cure the Olympic hangover is to put the skis back on and get back on snow and back in the competition. The athletes' goals may not be centered on Sochi, Russia, in 2014, but you can bet they know it's out there, waiting.
"Because I am a mogul skier, the fading attention is a return to normalcy," 2010 Olympic gold medalist Hannah Kearney said. "I am excited to compete whenever I have the opportunity, whether it is against my family in a board game, or in a mogul World Cup. This season will be less stressful than an Olympic season, but I am no less excited to achieve my goals and improve my skiing."
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Fellow mogul skier Jeremy Cota, who trains in Steamboat Springs, also is happy to get back to a normal atmosphere. He enjoyed the attention and excitement that came with the Olympics, but he also appreciates the opportunities that non-Olympic years bring.
"I've already noticed a difference at the training camps I've attended," Cota said. "There is more of a team atmosphere and less pressure. In Olympic years, athletes tend to be more focused on themselves and don't really enjoy the team."
A year ago, Cota was one of many Olympic hopefuls hoping to punch their tickets for the Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.
He didn't make it, but the experience of making a run at the games gave him insight into how the Olympics can change a team, change a sport and change the athletes who want to be Olympians.
For the Olympic hopeful, teammates become the competition, goals become bigger than life and Olympic dreams can become consuming.
Cota says he will return to the slopes Dec. 11 for the first World Cup of the season in Finland with the same sense of excitement and the same high expectations he had a year ago. But this year, his dream of making it to the Olympics will not take center stage.
"I try to focus on one season at a time," Cota said. "The Olympics are still too far way."
Until then, those of you who still are feeling a bit hung over from Vancouver should drink plenty of water, maybe take an aspirin and, if worst comes to worst, give the prairie oyster a try.
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