Our whirlwind two-week romance was characterized by icy moments and heartfelt victories.
But now, due to circumstances beyond our control, we must part ways.
I’m saying goodbye to my Olympic crush.
This time, it was U.S. skier Bode Miller.
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I stalked his progress online. Entertained fantasies of us sipping hot cocoa together.
When the 2010 Winter Olympics wrap up in Vancouver this weekend, I won’t be the only one mourning the end of a television romance.
It’s easy for Olympic viewing to transform from pastime to obsession.
You turn on the games strictly as a diversion. Then, thanks to a neon Spandex getup or alluring toboggan cap, everything changes.
You’ve found your Olympic crush.
In addition to your time in front of the TV, you bombard your friends’ e-mail inboxes with YouTube clips of speed skater Apolo Ohno on “Dancing with the Stars” or snowboarder Shaun White chatting with David Letterman.
Sufferers of Olympic Crush Syndrome are also known to revamp their seduction vocabularies, licking their lips suggestively while uttering distinctly un-romantic terms like “slalom.”
Recently, I hit a new high (or low): imagining myself singing “Material Girl” while accompanied by tuxedo-clad backup dancers from the U.S. men’s curling team.
It’s not like these athletes become totally obscure once their Olympic fame subsides.
They do, however, enter some level of hibernation — enough to take away the mainstream attention that enhances their romantic appeal.
Life goes on, you learn. And networks like NBC have programming that supersedes a focus on personal triumph and international harmony.
You know, like “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
After the Olympics’ closing ceremony, recovery isn’t easy.
Inevitably, you’ll first seek comfort in the good old rebound.
Perhaps you’ll fill your week with “American Idol,” hoping that if you squint hard enough, Ryan Seacrest will resemble figure skater Johnny Weir.
It won’t work.
The lesson comes harshly: There are no substitutes for an Olympic crush.
Few relationships — whether on TV or on the Saturday party scene — contain an equally exhilarating flurry of risk, adventure and determination.
The good news: The Olympics will return to TV, eventually.
Enjoy the pleasures of real-life romance, even when it feels like you’re skating on thin ice.