They came from 80-plus nations, hoping for Olympic glory. The athletes of the Winter Olympics descended on Vancouver with lots of hype and lots of hope. Yes, there were clouds in the Vancouver sky, but that didn't dim their flame.
But then came the big cloud that has hung over the Olympics since before the opening ceremonies. The sudden and violent death of one of their fellow Olympians. If you've watched the Olympics much, you've seen repeated replays of the fatal, high-speed accident that ended the life of a young Georgian luge racer in a moment. Even the high-flying celebration and pageantry of the opening ceremonies came to a jarring halt when the stadium went quiet for a moment of silence in his honor. You could see the deep emotion on the faces of some of the world's best athletes as the glory was, in that moment, overtaken by grief.