Olympics about more than just medals

Becky Tener and Becky Tener

What a successful two weeks it was for the United States’ Olympic Team.

But for every Shaun White setting records, inventing tricks, and winning medals, there was the U.S. women’s hockey team, untouchable World Champions as they made their way to the games, defeated by a Canadian team with the hopes of a nation on their shoulders.

For some athletes, the Olympic experience is the only medal they get to bring home. Simply being Olympians and competing on the world’s stage was their moment of glory.

For Johnny Weir, Vancouver was his last chance in a lifetime of Olympic disappointments. Once again his script remained unchanged and his golden moment didn’t happen.

Apolo Ohno also came to the games to say goodbye after already seeing the other side. After Torino, with his perpetual publicity, he thought he could never make it back to the short-track, but he needed to. Sometimes dreams do come true, but as badly as he wanted a gold medal, this was not the happy ending he had expected. His Olympics ended with record-breaking medals of a different kind.

Lindsey Jacobellis came to Vancouver for snowboard cross redemption and Lindsey Vonn came to take multiple golds, and neither truly met their goal and have set their eyes on Sochi 2014.

There’s one place we could delude ourselves in believing happy endings are deserved, and it’s the fairy tale world of ice dancing.

Tanith Belbin and Ben Augusto have always done what the games have asked: smiled, behaved and worked hard. They virtually changed the face of the sport. Just when the moment was supposed to be theirs in Torino, it wasn’t. And now four years later it wasn’t again.

But the most heartwretching moment of the Olympics came last night when the U.S. men’s hockey team lost to Canada, a goldless 30-year streak still continues.

How could their “miracle” not come true, with all of North America watching?

Amid the record medal rush of American success these were some moments that didn’t happen. They exist in the blind spot of the joyous games we got to watch.

Though the games didn’t turn out how I thought they would, our record medal count makes me look forward to London 2012. They’re more than two years away, but the moments that slipped away this winter spark a fire for future Olympic competition.