OPINION| Barry Richard: TEAM USA Pride and Politics
I am enjoying the Winter Olympics in South Korea. I've never been much for the games but this year find myself watching quite a bit of it.
Maybe there is something paternal about it at this age, having raised a competitive son who played baseball and football for years. I love watching the kids compete. I root for Team USA but I cheer for all of the athletes when they do well. Seeing the reaction from their parents is heartwarming.
Kudos to Chris Mazder for winning the Silver Medal for the Men's Single Luge event. Jamie Anderson's Gold Medal repeat for the Women's Slopestyle Snowboard event was well worth staying up late for.
But, my favorite story so far has been 17-year-old Red Gerard's comeback for the Gold in the Men's Slopestyle Snowboard event.
The parade of athletes during the opening ceremonies on Friday night was great. More than 220 athletes represented the American delegation which was lead by 31-year-old Erin Hamlin a four-time Olympian and winner of a luge bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi games. Hamlin won the privilege to carry the flag in a coin toss with 35-year-old Shani Davis, a five-time Olympian who has won two gold and two silver medals.
A not so highlight, Davis, who is African American boycotted the parade referring to the coin toss as "dishonorable":
"I am an American and when I won the 1000m in 2010 I became the first American to 2-peat in that event. No problem. I can wait until 2022."
A TEAM USA spokesman says it was never Davis' intent to participate in the parade anyway unless he was chosen to carry the flag.
Another low light was Adam Rippon's comments accusing Vice President Mike Pence, who attended the opening ceremonies of funding "gay conversion therapy." Rippon is openly gay. The allegation is absurd (Google it) and shadowed Rippon's performance in the Men's Team Figure Skating competition for which he won a bronze medal.
With so much positivity and team spirit, why would Davis and Rippon seek the spotlight in such a selfish manner? Rippon is just plain ignorant of the facts but will anyone ever even remember Davis' childish boycott over his hurt feelings?
Go TEAM USA!
Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.