The Year in Review: 2002

Person of the Year: Jim Shea Jr.

 

Finding a Person of the Year for 2002 was like the year itself: extremely difficult with topics of great debate. Jimmy Carter’s Nobel Peace Prize was a welcome surprise; Walter Mondale’s loss in Minnesota was not. Bruce Springsteen brought plenty of comfort and entertainment in post-9/11 America; the likes of John Muhammad and John Walker Lindh did not.

 

For our choice, we travel back, way back, to February.

 

The Salt Lake City Winter Games seem like a long-ago memory in a year dominated by Iraq and Afghanistan. Every thing the Olympics represent is every thing 2002 was not: peace, goodwill, coming together as one.

 

From the opening ceremonies to the moment NBC and the media got carried away with the figure-skating scandal, the Olympic spirit was on display. Competitive sports that no one ever cares about seemed exciting: crazy X-Games events, cross-country skiing, for heaven’s sake even curling! And  making its return to the Olympics was skeleton, a face-first bobsled that starred the 2002 Person of the Year: Jimmy Shea.

 

Shea represents what was right about 2002. Pursuing a lifelong goal while fighting adversity. Shea, a third-generation Olympian, is the grandson of Jack Shea, who won two U.S. Winter Olympics gold medals in 1932. Jack Shea, who had been America’s oldest living winter Olympian, died at the age of 91 shortly before the Olympics, resulting in a memorable ceremony in Lake Placid that brought pride to upstate New York.

 

With his grandfather’s photo in his helmet, Shea won the gold on a second run, coming from behind to win by milliseconds.

 

“What my grandfather always stood for was the friendships, the pure competitions that can come out of the Olympic Games and promote peace and harmony among nations,” Shea said. “He never talked to me about the importance of winning. … He was a man of true principles.”

 

The euphoria was over before it began. Like Derek Parra, Vonetta Flowers and other winners, Shea became a footnote to 2002. He made news again late in the year when he had surgery to relieve blood circulation problems in his leg. Only then did he reveal that he had raced in the Olympics with about 50 percent circulation in his right leg.

That spirit and determination separates him from so many of the year’s newsmakers and makes him worthy of our award.

 

Movies:

 

Rachel’s picks:

1. The Hours

2. Chicago

3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

4. Minority Report

5. Talk to Her

6. Road to Perdition

7. About a Boy

8. The Pianist

9. Catch Me If You Can

10. Adaptation

 

Eric’s picks:

1. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

2. Chicago

3. Road to Perdition

4. Talk to Her

5. The Hours

6. The Quiet American

7. Signs

8. Minority Report

9. Catch Me If You Can

10. The Pianist

 

Music:

 

Eric’s picks:

1. The Rising, Bruce Springsteen

2. New Connection, Todd Snider

3. Jerusalem, Steve Earle

4. The Future that Was, Josh Joplin Group

5. The Last DJ, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

6. The Instigator, Rhett Miller

7. Here Comes the New Folk Underground, David Baerwald

8. A New Day at Midnight, David Gray

9. Play With Your Head, Candy Butchers

10. Brainwashed, George Harrison

 

Rachel’s picks:

1. The Rising, Bruce Springsteen

2. October Road, James Taylor

3. C’mon, C’mon, Sheryl Crow

4. The Corrs Live in Dublin, The Corrs

5. Be Not Nobody, Vanessa Carlton

6. Busted Stuff, Dave Matthews Band

7. De L’Amour Le Mieux, Natasha St. Pier

8. Hard Candy, Counting Crows

9. Maladroit, Weezer

10. The Future that Was, Josh Joplin Group

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