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Sean Jensen: My Thrive Five Olympic moments

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Jmd SEAN JENSEN 2I’ve had a blessed career as a sportswriter.

For 15 years, I covered the National Football League, our nation’s most popular sport, interacting with some remarkable people – from athletes and coaches, to public relations officials and equipment managers – and attending 14 Super Bowls.

But the highlight of my career was, far and away, covering the 2008 Beijing Olympics for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Since I was a boy, after emigrating from South Korea, I was always drawn to the Olympics.

The athleticism. The significance. The pride.

And the price.

I reveled in watching sheer domination, like when the Dream Team routed their opponents, then signed autographs afterwards. I enjoyed the underdog stories, like Greco-Roman wrestler Rulon Gardner, and even the surprises, such as Australian speed skater Steven Bradbury zipping past a heap of more heralded opponents, en route to gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

But my father showed me early on that a man can cry, so I’ve always appreciated the inspirational stories – and there’s never a shortage when it comes to the Olympics.

In Beijing, I closely covered the news of Todd Bachman, who was stabbed to death in an attack at the 13th century Drum Tower, a popular tourist destination. Not only was Bachman the CEO of a successful home-and-garden business bearing his family’s name, he was also the father of Elisabeth “Wiz” Bachman, a member of the 2004 U.S. women’s Olympic volleyball team who was married to Hugh McCutcheon, the head coach of the U.S. men’s volleyball team.

In fact, McCutcheon missed his team’s first three games, but he returned and guided the U.S. to a gold medal, including an upset of the heavily favored Brazilians in a riveting four-set match. Amid jubilant players screaming and hugging, McCutcheon instinctively searched for a refuge, someplace he could finally release all the figurative weight heaped upon his 6 foot 5 frame. The tears that flowed were the result of a mixture of joy, sadness and stress.

There were other inspirational moments I wished I could have witnessed, such as Jesse Owens dominating at the 1936 Berlin Olympics in front of Adolph Hitler.

Click through to see five of my most memorable inspirational Olympic moments:

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Sean Jensen

Sports reporting demanded I cover at least 15 Super Bowls (lost count), 2 Olympics and too many close Minnesota Vikings losses to count. Also required me to play Augusta National once. But my close friends are more jealous of my eating records (among them 125 chicken wings and 24 donuts). My priorities: Faith, Family and... oh, I've forgotten the third F.

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