Five years ago tonight, Johnny skated the iconic performance of his career: his heartbreaking, achingly beautiful Fallen Angel program at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
It was both one of the most beautiful and most bitter moments of his life.
I hadn’t planned on blogging about it, actually. But then the Russian fan group, Diva on Ice, posted this lovely acknowledgement on Twitter:
— Наташа Saveleva (@NatacshaNn) February 18, 2015
Even after all this time, the controversy over whether or not he should have medaled (Yes. He should have.) lives on among dedicated skating fans.
But the world at large decided long ago. I can’t even tell you how many hundreds of articles I’ve read since then that reference him as “Olympic medalist” or “Olympic champion” in the text, the captions, even the headlines.
On that day in Vancouver, and every day since then, he was the winner.
In all the ways that matter.
I haven’t seen these photos in a long time. Looking back now, this is how I remember him.
My favorite moment of 2010,
and of my life, really,
was the final pose of my long program
in the Vancouver Olympic Games.
I had given up and gained so much
to get to the point of total human oneness —
an athlete, an artist,
with my soul shining out
of every pore of my body,
with a world erupting all around me
staring up to God —
it was the moment of my life.
Photos via wire services.