25 Feb 2010, Thurs. Day 14 of the Vancouver Olympics had athletes giving their all in the quest for gold!
In the women's Giant slalom, where the skiers race downhill while going around gates, there was a surprise upset! Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg made her Olympic debut, and it's golden! She's never won any of the major skiing events, and with her fantastic combined times from her run the day before and today, she takes the gold! Even she was surprised at her win. Slovenia's Tina Maze takes another silver to add to her super G silver earlier in the week. And Austria's Elisabeth Goergl takes another bronze, her first one was in the downhill skiing. Don't feel bad for Georgl! Bronze is wonderful! She could've gotten nothing!
Over on the women's 4x5km cross country relay, Norway takes the gold. Germany wins silver, and Finland, the bronze. And it's a great Olympics for Sweden's Marit Bjoergen, who has won 3 golds (sprint, pursuit, and relay) and a bronze (10km freestyle)! A respected veteran of the sport, her spectacular performance surprised a lot of people, esp. since she is currently ranked 6th in world! She becomes the first athlete to win 3 golds at the Vancouver Olympics.
And it's a great day for Americans in the Nordic combined event, where they combine the large hill ski jump and a 10km cross country ski race. American Bill Demong takes gold, and teammate, Johnny Spillane takes silver! Austria's Bernhard Gruber claims the bronze. It's a great bronze win by Bernhard Gruber, esp. since he wasn't even considered a top athlete in the individual event! But he proved his worth, adding to his gold win the team relay event.
But it's a spectacular Olympics for the Americans, esp. since the cross country ski events are often dominated by Scandinavians and Western Europeans! And you better believe the Nordic countries are upset after their poor performance! Americans have won 4/9 medals in the events, making them the surprise dominant force at the Vancouver Olympics! It's an amazing victory for the Americans, as they aren't even considered among the best in the sport! And it was a combination of great ski jumps and tactics in the ski race that helped the Americans win gold and silver in the event, adding to the team relay silver, and Johnny Spillane's silver in the normal hill event. It's a sweet victory for the American athletes, as they've never won an Olympic medal in the sport, much less get a gold! It's a fantastic performance all around!
Then we come to women's hockey! The game had to go into overtime as Finland takes the bronze in a fierce all out battle with Sweden.
Bitch! What did you say about my pickled herring?
And in the epic battle for gold, Canada takes their 3rd straight Olympic gold in the event. The US women take silver.
Over on the men's aerials, it was a high flying battle for gold as some of the medal favorites crashed and other competitors soared to great heights!
Zhongging Liu of China puts on a brilliant jump to bronze.
And American Jeret Peterson pulls of his signature hurricane move. This was a very risky move, one that cost him the bronze in Torino. But Jeret Peterson believes in going big or going home! All or nothing! Would the risk pay off or would he pay dearly?
Here I am! Rock you like a hurricane!
This time, he pulled it off! He flies to silver!
And Alexei Grishin of Belarus soars spectacularly to gold, winning with a clean and clear display of fantastic aerial acrobatics.
Finally, we come to the most dazzling and graceful sport of the winter Olympics: Women's figure skating. These are the people who keep the bedazzler industry in business. These are the strongest competitors to ever skate the Olympic ice. Some of them are better than the men! And every one of these athletes had great expectations to live up to and tremendous pressure to bear under the watchful eyes of the world.
And as beautiful and clean the American women skated, there was no way they were going to end up on the podium. At least, not against the best in the world!
And Miki Ando of Japan is the first to throw down the gauntlet! A wild and powerful performer, she can either outshine the competition with her fiery skating or she could burn out and fall apart on the ice. Miki Ando is an incredible athletic skater. She had more jumps than any other female skater. And her performance tonight was the most powerful ever, doing an amazing number of jumps and executing them perfectly.
It was a strong athletic performance, stronger than any of the other skaters! But she didn't have the artistic flow and transitional elements the other strong women had. And when she was done, she was in the lead, with the other three top competitors to follow.
Kim Yu Na of South Korea skated next, and she displayed why she was the best skater in the world. She was the perfect balance of athletic strength and grace, beautiful, strong, mesmerizing! Her long program, the free skate, is often weak compared to her short program. But tonight, she was perfection on ice! She danced, she glided, she flew effortlessly, effervescent and ephemeral!
And when she was done, she broke the record by scoring the highest points ever under the new judging system! The gold was all but hers.
And the only person with a slight chance of even reaching the heights soared by Kim Yu Na was Japan's Mao Asada. Mao Asada has made Olympic and international skating history as the only woman to ever successful land a triple axel in a program. This is the tough jump that knocked a lot of the top men out on their butts in the men's competition. But Mao Asada went further and included two triple axle jumps in her free skate, becoming the first woman to ever land 3 triple axels in one competition! And she had amazing transitions and spins, artistry that blended beautiful movements with unique flair.
She needed to skate a perfect program to even stand a chance at getting gold. But she faltered with two minor mistakes, and that caused her to land in silver instead. But would she hold on with one more powerful skater left to go?
And all eyes were on Canada's Joannie Rochette as she took the ice. She skated a beautiful performance, exhibiting her strength and her artistry, doing powerful jumps and wonderful movements across the ice. She made one mistake. But it was a phenomenal performance from a brave athlete who's mother passed away just a few days ago. But make no mistake, she is one of the best skaters in the world!
And in the end, Kim Yu Na takes the gold by reaching heights far above those of her competition. Kim Yu Na was magical and magnificent! Mao Asada secures the silver, and Joannie Rochette glides to bronze. Canadian Brian Orser, former world champion and two time Olympic silver medalist, and choreographer David Wilson have done an extraordinary feat of guiding Kim Yu Na to the top of the skating world. It was an extraordinary night of figure skating, one sure to go down in Olympic history.
But the most delightful skater of the night for me was American Mirai Nagasu. This is her first world competition! And she performed spectacularly, with the most graceful spirals and the fastest, most marvelous spins! She managed to move from 6th place to 4th! She is on the rise, starting her ascent to greatness. It's a fantastic world debut for this young skater. And what a wondeful way to end another great day at the Olympics!