Everyone made it down safely.
For luge, that meant progress, healing and normalcy.
Cowbells clanged, fans with painted faces waved flags, and even IOC president Jacques Rogge looked on as the celebration of this hyper-speedy sport resumed one day after tragedy rocked the sliding community and threatened to spoil the spirit of the Vancouver Games before they opened.
Germany’s Felix Loch was the leader after the first two heats of men’s singles were completed Saturday night without major incident on a track made shorter, slower and safer in the wake of Nodar Kumaritashvili’s death during a training run the day before.
“Life will go on,” said U.S. Olympic rookie Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake, N.Y. “And everyone’s classifying this sport as dangerous. It’s so unfortunate what happened. Every track in the world, there’s always spots where it can happen. This is just the first time that it actually has. It’s tragic, but everyone coming and showing up here, it builds you up as a slider.”
Mark McGwire finally came clean, admitting he used steroids when he broke baseball’s home run record in 1998. McGwire said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Monday that he used steroids on and off for nearly a decade.
“It’s very emotional, it’s telling family members, friends and coaches, you know, it’s former teammates to try to get ahold of, you know, that I’m coming clean and being honest,” he said during a 20-minute telephone interview, his voice repeatedly cracking. “It’s the first time they’ve ever heard me, you know, talk about this. I hid it from everybody.”
McGwire said he also used human growth hormone, and he didn’t know if his use of performance-enhancing drugs contributed to some of the injuries that led to his retirement, at age 38, in 2001.
Jerry Jones exclaimed, “demons are GONE!” Keith Brooking pretended to pull a monkey off coach Wade Phillips’ back.
And Tony Romo waxed poetic about the process, about getting better every game and hoping for a reward at the end.
In a way, each of their reactions was pretty appropriate considering all the ramifications of the Dallas Cowboys’ 34-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday night.
The Cowboys won their first playoff game since Dec. 28, 1996, ending a 4,760-day drought, easily the longest in the club’s proud history. The skid included six losses; a seventh would’ve set an NFL futility record.
The houndstooth hat is a memory — the Snake, Joe Willie and Bart Starr replaced by guys named Julio, Javier and Mount Cody.
Alabama football, though, is alive and well, thanks to a defense that would have made the Bear smile.
That defense knocked Texas quarterback Colt McCoy out of the BCS title game early Thursday night, then made a big play to save the win late and restore glory to Bear Bryant’s football factory with a 37-21 victory for the Crimson Tide’s first national title since 1992.
The Tide was the unanimous No. 1 in The Associated Press poll.
“We back,” said Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, the offensive MVP.