VANCOUVER, B.C. --- There are all kinds of amazing and wonderful athletes here, and I am especially dazzled by all those men and women who launch themselves skyward, proceed to do all manner of flipping, spinning and twisting, and then land adroitly on a pair of skis or a snowboard.
But when it comes to sheer fitness, and I am a thousand percent sure all the other athletes would agree, the people who take the prize are the cross-country skiers. Therefore, the two athletes who deserve our greatest respect of all at these Winter Games are the woman who wins today's 30K race and the man who wins the grandaddy of them all, Sunday's 50K extravaganza.
There is a reason why the Marathon is the tradition final event of the Summer Games. And there is a similar reason why the 50K is the final individual event at the Winter Games. But there is also a difference. As my colleague Scott Thurston says, "The 50K makes the Marathon look like the Jingle Bell Run."