The Winter Olympics: The Americans Win Another Rodeo

Wall Street Journal, Thursday, February 18, 2010

 Every Olympic Downhill Has Swaggering U.S. Cowboys, but They usually Back It Up; Vonn Takes the Gold.

 “Skiing with an aggressive, fearless style that has become a trademark of Americans at the Olympics, American Lindsey Vonn won the gold medal in women’s downhill Wednesday by 0.56 seconds—a staggering chasm for this event, was her gunslinging teammate, Julia Mancuso, who claimed the silver medal at the event by the even more preposterous margin of 0.9 second.”

 Coming from a ranching family, the reason older cowboys swagger  is that they have “been in the saddle” for years and they are bowlegged.  In the sense of the article, “swagger” means “I’m the best.”    However, in the old days, cowboys did have to face a great many challenges, difficult weather, obstinate steers, tough bosses, on huge ranges in the West.  They competed in rodeos,  riding Brahma bulls, bucking horses, and other competitions where they could show their skills.  They were tough.  Cowgirls compete in rodeos; in World War II when many men went off to war the women took over doing the same chores, including bringing in the hay.   

 As “Ms. Vonn said after the race: ‘We don’t hold anything back.  I know everyone has a lot of pressure at the big events, the world championships, but Americans seem to come out on top.  We’re free-spirited and we’re really determined people.”

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