Clean, Jerk and Sniffle

I don’t like to tell tales out of school, but (hypothetically) someone I know – someone whose nickname on this site rhymes with “mouse” – has a bit of a problem with the Olympics. The Olympics cause this person to become a complete puddle of tears. Hypothetically, you could put a nine year old child in the centre of a stadium, singing (or lip-synching) a song in a language that this person cannot even understand; if you tell this person that the little girl is singing about the Olympics, the waterworks begin. Being the kind, caring and supportive type of person I am, I tend to let this type of behaviour pass without comment. It would be wrong for me to make fun of such this person’s charming and endearing little trait, right?

…or something like that. Anyway, karma is a bit of a beeyatch sometimes.

So there Spouse and I are, watching the CBC’s evening roundup of yesterday’s Olympic performances as we were preparing our dinner. and the men’s +105kg weightlifting class comes on the tube. I can count on zero fingers the number of times that Spouse and I have sat and watched a weightlifting competition together, but there we were watching the big fellas snatch, clean, and jerk. The announcers tell us that Germany’s Matthias Steiner has had a difficult time leading up to the Olympics, losing his wife Susann in a car crash a year ago. The announcers mentioned that he promised his dead wife that he would become a German (he was born an Austrian) and that he would become an Olympic champion for her.

Steiner battles it out with the other big men, misses an early lift in excruciating fashion, and appears to have lost the competition in this way. On his final lift, though, he plays out – in real life – the script of every inspirational sports movie, calling for an additional 10 kg to be placed on the bar for his final attempt. He has never lifted this much before. He steps onto the stage, absolutely stalks the bar, glaring at it like a sworn enemy, then makes the final attempt of the competition. He manages a relatively fluid clean, then struggles mightily with the jerk and emits a tremendous, joyful roar as his lift is validated by the judges, he throws the great weight to the ground in triumph and commences an alternately exuberant and despairing celebration. At first, Spouse and I laugh with joy at seeing his exuberance.

CBC cuts to video of the podium ceremony, and Steiner is displaying a photograph of his wife, smiling and crying. Spouse and I are no longer laughing, it’s very quiet in the room.

I need to go to the bathroom for a moment – I think there’s something in my eye.