About Nicholas Kohn and Marissa Heiser
Sunday, Feb. 28
The last two days have been pretty amazing and exhausting at the same time. Saturday marked the final day of the four-man bobsled races. The snow from the previous day had turned to rain. It was going to be another cold and wet day for the athletes and the spectators. But suddenly right before the race began, the rain stopped and we had pretty decent weather for the rest of our time in Whistler. The day culminated with our boy Mike placing 13th in the four-man. He was thrilled and we were thrilled for him.
Steve Holcomb (USA I) won gold as expected after the previous day. Mike was very happy for them as well as very proud and thrilled for his own team. This was his second and probably final Olympics and there is a big feeling of finality to it. We had anxiety with all the stress of the safety of the track and the weather. Mike had never even set foot on the track let alone driven down it, but he made it down safely and with great results. We could not be happier for him and his team's performance. With 20 years behind him in the sport, he is a professional and a patriot. Mike smiled and shook hands with every sledder that came down the hill after him. A true sportsman.
One of the most special things we saw during the week was noticing that Germany had put a big maple leaf on their sled to show respect for the home country. They also had Native American tribal designs on their suits as well to pay homage to the original inhabitants of North America -- very classy. Andre Lange, the man who had just taken gold (as well as the most bobsled Olympic golds of all-time) in the two-man event, earned silver in the four-man event and was still jubilant over his results -- even classier. We sat next to the parents of Great Britain driver John Jackson during the final day of races. They were just as proud of their boy as we were of ours. We saw six shirtless men with letters spelling C-A-N-A-D-A on their chests cheering loudly for their own, Lyndon Rush's team who earned the bronze. Japan had fans in the bleachers with face paint and caricatures of their athletes drawn on their flags, all chanting "Nippon" which is the native name for Japan. For two weeks residents of this planet got together and celebrated culture, spirits and life. What a grand time.
We spent the last night in Whistler in the condo for a while with Mike chatting about the week and his experience. We then headed into the Village and had a final toast with him at a little Italian restaurant called La Bocca. On Sunday morning, we had to get up at 5 a.m. as the van to take us on the 2 1/2 hour trek back to Vancouver Airport was leaving at 6 a.m. No rest for the weary! Most of us slept the entire way to the airport and then we each hugged each other goodbye and headed to our different destinations in the U.S.
We both reminisced and laughed at all the adventures we had during the week. We talked about how wonderful it was to see the different people from all over the world supporting their athletes. Every time a sled crossed the finish line, everyone cheered. The Olympics are the only time the world truly comes together to celebrate our humanity. We could have easily spent another week in that country, or any country of the people we met along our way. There is something very magical about the Olympics. In a lot of ways it restores your faith in the world and people. It's nice that the Summer and Winter Olympics have now been alternated so that one of them occurs every two years. How great would it be if it were every year? The world could learn a lot from the compassion and friendship that come out of the Olympic Games.
Thank you to everyone for your support and interest in Mike. Go Team Kohn. Go USA. Go Olympics. - Marissa & Nick