Go Izy!

    We love the Olympics, for a number of reasons.

    When else can you see four women’s hockey games on TV in a single day? Even the other day, when Wisconsin and Minnesota were playing, we had no chance of seeing it. But we did get to watch the awesome American team, the killer Swedish goalie we remembered from Salt Lake City and the incredible shellackings the Canadians were giving all their opponents.

    Plus there are opportunities to see less familiar sports. Halfpipe finals? There. Pairs ice skating? Sure. Even bits of cross-country skiing, which normally is about as much a spectator sport as commuter traffic.

    We have been especially geeked, though, to watch Alex Izykowski in speedskating. My kids learned to skate at the Bay County Civic Arena and my husband went to school with Alex’s dad, Al. The odyssey from qualifying to fund-raising so his family could join him to opening ceremonies has been thrilling.

    So on Saturday, when one child was playing Adray hockey and another was preparing to go on stage, it was my task to find and record Alex.

    NBC didn’t help. USA didn’t help. But the Canadian channel -– they had short track. Unfortunately, it was from the Canadian perspective, so I still ended up scurrying to the computer to interpret the results.

    The first thing I found was on USA Today. It just reported the results from the preliminaries, which I already knew. Still, it was SO cool, to see near the end of this story on Apolo Anton Ohno, one brief sentence: “American Alex Izykowski also moved on.”

    What was especially gratifying, though, was the results page for the semifinals. It confirmed what I believed to be true from watching the race: Alex was done. It also told me something else, though: His time was more than 1.7 seconds faster than Ohno’s.

    I called Michael and we traded stories. He told me about the triple overtime hockey victory; I told him Alex wouldn’t medal but his family would be very proud.

    Hours later, the kids curled up on the couch to watch the tape delays on NBC. (Americans commentating on Americans were a little easier to follow.) Even though they had known he was going, they could hardly believe someone who had skated on “their” ice was on prime time television, with someone talking about his every move. The preliminaries done, coverage moved on to other events … and stayed there. Off to bed.

    10 o’clock. Everyone has been tucked in and has settled down. Finally the coverage flips and I run and holler, “Alex is on!”

    Were they awake? They scurried down the stairs.

    Even knowing he wasn’t expected to medal, they were disappointed when he didn’t make it out of his semifinal. “Is he done?” they asked. Done for today, I told them, but maybe he would be named to the relay team.

    Regardless, the feeling here is the same: Go Izy!

    This post originally appeared on ourMidland.com, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

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