Thank you, Canada.
What a great 16 days of Winter Olympic games in Vancouver. From the snow boarder jumping through the Olympic rings to kick off the opening ceremonies to the very classy selection of Neil Young singing Long May You Run as the flame was extinguished, it was one whale of a show.
My family would gather every night after dinner and watch the athletic drama. The frenetic pace of short-track speed skating. The grueling endurance of the cross country skiing. The confusion of curling…
It wasn’t just the competition that caught our imaginations. The courage of the Georgian Olympic delegation pressing on after the loss of their fellow countryman Nodar Kumaritashvili during a practice luge run. The grace of bronze medal winning Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette who took to the ice mere days after the passing of her mother. Gold medal winning bobsled driver Steven Holcomb who, just two years after an experimental eye operation to save his vision, piloted the United States four-man bobsled to its first gold medal since 1948 at the St. Moritz games.
While the Vancouver games took place during the last two weeks of February, other Olympic competitions took place four months earlier in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. No, IOC president Jacques Rogge didn’t stand at a podium and declare them open. However, the Hand Tool Olympics did take place at the Woodworking in America conference last October.
Mike Siemsen and a cast of volunteers conducted two solid days of competition, which included the one meter dash (rip cutting a three-foot-long board), Greco Roman tenons, boring, crosscutting, hand planing and – the toughest of them all – the two-tailed dovetail challenge.
Not only where contestants judged on their speed, but their accuracy as well. By stuffing a number of playing cards into the joints or under a straight edge, the accuracy judging was tough, with running commentary offered as part of the enjoyment.
Those were some tough and challenging games, and I really don’t want to go into how well (poorly) I did.
I understand that there’s a possibility that Mike might be bringing back the Hand Tool Olympics for this year’s WIA conference. Maybe I can improve my Jamaican bobsled team performance and get a little closer to the podium this year…