23 Feb 2010, Tues. Day 12 of the Vancouver Olympics had athletes under intense pressure. Some would break spectacularly; others would power through and shine.
A stunning upset in the 10,000m speed skate! Dutch gold medal favorite, Sven Kramer, who won the 5000m gold last week, was the first to cross the finish line. But he was disqualified for missing a lane crossover! He was going the right way when his coached yelled at him to get in the inner lane, when he was supposed to cross over to the outer lane! That led to a disqualification after he finished the race in record time!
Ja, go that way! Trust me!
Oh, the drama! The Dutch were not happy! Sven was not happy! But the South Korean who came in second, Lee Seung-Hoon, was very happy! As were the other two guys behind him who got bumped up a medal! South Korea becomes the most successful speed skating nation at this Olympics! Russia's Ivan Skobrev gets bumped up to silver, and Dutchman Bob de Jong climbs to the podium for bronze!
What the f*ck, dude!?!
Don't tell me to f*ckin' calm down!
Bitch! Get your hands off me!
It's a bad day in The Netherlands! The orange Dutch fans are turning red! It's a good thing they've legalized pot there, because they're going to need to get high to get over this scandalous loss! As for the Dutch coach, I hope he considers asking Canada for political asylum! Oh, poor Sven! Even his competitors thought he should've won, but that's speed skating for you! Unpredictable, even in long track!
Over on the women's 4x6km biathlon relay, big news as German biathlon powerhouse, Magdalena Neuner, who's won silver and gold all ready, took herself out of the team event, citing mental fatigue and wanting to give other members of the German team a chance to medal. Actually, she's not really a good shooter, so she might've cost them a medal by having to do extra penalty shots. She is a fast skier though. Yet, even without Neuner, their fastest skier, the Germans manage to finish with a bronze. France takes the silver. But nobody does it better than the Russian women, like sexy spies from a James Bond movie, who shot their targets better and skied faster than the competition, winning the gold!
From Russia with love
Meanwhile in the Men's Giant Slalom, the super G, where they ski fast downhill and go around gates, it's Carlo Janka of Switzerland who takes the gold! Known as the Iceman for his cool demeanor and not making much of a fuss over his wins, he skied effortlessly and efficiently to take first place. Norway's Kjetil Jansrud takes the silver, and Aksel Lund Svindal wins the bronze. America's best medal hope in this event, Ted Legity, finished 9th, while countryman Bode Miller missed a gate and was disqualified. The Austrian men, who usually medal in downhill skiing events, once again, do not make the podium!
Exciting news in the Nordic combined 4x5km team event! In this sport, they combine ski jump and cross country skiing. For the first time in history, the US wins an Olympic medal in the event, and it's a beautiful silver they fought hard to get!
We kick Nordic ass!
The sport is dominated by Europe, and Austria does take the gold and Germany holds on for the bronze. It was a sprint to the finish line, and Austrian Mario Stecher skied faster than American Bill Demong to take first place; Germany was far behind in third. But what an amazing accomplishment for the Americans; no one thought they would even make it to the medal podium!
And in the thrilling Olympic debut of women's ski cross, four women had to battle their way out of qualifications to earn a spot to race for Olympic gold! France's Ophelie David, the gold medal favorite and leader in the sport, crashed in the qualifying rounds. And it was Canada's Ashleigh McIvor who rockets down the course and leaves the competition far behind to win gold! The rest of the pack had to fight it out for 2nd and 3rd place in the furious rush to get to the finish line. And it was Norway's Hedda Berntsen who edge out a silver win, and France's Marion Josserand takes bronze. A fantastic performance from McIvor, getting Canada another gold!
Finally, we come to the crown jewel of the winter Olympics, women's figure skating. These aren't some fragile, pretty faces come to twirl on the ice. These women came to brawl! And they were fierce in the short program, displaying their awesome skills and incredible strength. You won't find many falls here! This ain't the men's side where they fall on their asses and break under the pressure. This is women's figure skating, where grace under pressure is an art form, and where beautiful skating belies deadly accuracy and tremendous power. This is perhaps the toughest field of figure skaters ever!
And one of the toughest Olympians on ice is Canadian champion Joannie Rochette. Two days ago, on Sunday, she received devastating news of her mother's sudden passing. An entire nation and the whole world supported her as she delivered a performance that earned her 3rd place, with 71.36 points (-7.14 from the lead). It's an incredible show of strength from the reigning world silver medalist amid the painful loss she is dealing with. She has the heart of a champion.
Another top competitor is Mao Asada of Japan. She's the only woman to ever land two triple axle jumps in the same program. This is the jump that caused a lot of falls in the men's competition. A former world champion, Mao Asada skated a very powerful short program, clean, energetic, and strong. She raised the bar high, landing in 2nd place with a score of 73.78 (-4.72 points from the lead).
It's an impressive feat, especially since she considers the short program her weakest!
But it was Kim Yu Na of South Korea, the reigning world champion, who breaks the records by scoring the highest points ever under the new judging system, getting first place with 78.5 points! And she skated right after Mao threw down the gauntlet with a dazzling performance! But Kim Yu Na shimmers and displays her sublime prowess, skating to the theme of James Bond, 007! She demonstrated why is the reigning world champion! She is the skater everyone else is chasing.
Nobody does it better!
Kim Yu Na doesn't break under pressure! She becomes a diamond under it and shines brilliantly, beautifully!
I hate to say it, but I seriously doubt if the Americans are going to even medal in this event. Our skaters are good, but they're up against the best in the world.
And perhaps the dark horse in this competition is Miki Ando of Japan. A former world champion, she's powerful on the ice! Known for taking risks, she either explodes fiercely on the ice, or she implodes catastrophically. She's under the radar, in the shadows of the great rivalry between Kim Yu Na and Mao Asada. She knocked out the Americans from the race, landing in 4th with 64.76 points (-13.74 points from the lead). She attempted a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination, the most difficult jump of the evening. But her execution was not up to par, so she paid for the risk, but it was still strong enough for her to land in fourth.
Anything can happen in the long program. She's fearless. And she's the only female figure skater to ever land a quadruple salchow in competition! I luv a skater who takes bold risks! And if she skates a clean long program and throws a quad, she could go all the way to the top of the podium.
My favorite skater of the night is 16 year old American Mirai Nagasu, currently in sixth place with 63.76 points (-14.74 behind the lead). She's graceful and powerful, skating like a young Michelle Kwan. And she skated to Pirates of the Caribbean! Arrrgghh!!!! She is the best spinner out of all the women! She's even better than some of the top men! She spun so fast and so furious on the ice that she busted a blood vessel and had a nose bleed when she stopped spinning and finished her performance! Now that's a tough athlete!
It's going to be a fantastic finish as the women battle it out for gold in the long program on Thursday!