26 Feb 2010, Fri. Day 15 of the Vancouver Olympics had athletes in the mad dash for gold! Some would win, and others would crash in the pursuit.
In a thrilling women's curling match between Canada and Sweden, the game had to go into an extra end before defending Torino gold medalists Sweden wins the match 7-6! Canada takes silver. And world champions China takes bronze.
Meanwhile in the men's 4x7.5km biatlon relay, Norway wins gold; Austria takes silver; and Russia wins bronze. And Norwegian legend Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, nicknamed the Biathlon King, finally wins gold--his 6th in his Olympic career-1 in 1998 Nagano, 4 in 2002 Salt Lake. He's won a bronze in Torino. He's all ready won silver earlier in the Vancouver Olympics in the 20km event. This Norwegian victory was made possible by the accurate shooting and fast skiing of the entire team, which consisted of Halvard Hanevold, Emil Hegle Svendsen, and Tarjei Boe.
In the women's slalom, Maria Reisch of Germany wins gold, while her sister Susanne and friend, US skier Lindsey Vonn, crashed on the course. Maria Reisch has won gold all ready in the super combined event. It was a tough event, sking downhill around poles while the snow beat down hard. Marlies Schild of Austria takes silver. It's a fantastic silver win by Marlies Schild, who recovered from terrible accident in 2008 that resulted in an open compond fracture on her leg. She had multiple surgeries and took over a year to recover, returning to compete only in November of last year. Sarka Zahrobska gets the Czech Republic a bronze, the first alpine medal for that country.
Over in the women's giant parallel slalom, where they snowboard race around obstacles in two runs, Netherlands' Nicolien Sauerbreij survives horrible weather and a tough course to win gold! Russia's Ekaterina Ilyukhina was stunned to win the silver, as she was sure that the wet snow conditions had eliminated any chance of her performance getting a medal. Marion Kreiner of Austria takes the bronze.
But the real winners have to be the crowd who tracked up the mountain, then braved the wet snow and rain conditions to cheer the women as they competed in bad weather.
And in the exciting and furious sport of short track, more crashes and falls lead to drama and thrills!
Dude! Get your ass out of my face!
American Apolo Ohno was disqualified in the 500m short track final! Two other competitors crashed!
Canada's Charles Hamelin wins gold! South Korea's Si-Bak Sung, stumbles and falls to silver after Apolo Ohno's disqualification.
And Canadian Francois-Louis Tremblay gets bumped up to bronze after falling.
And in the women's 1000m finals, China's Wang Meng wins her 3rd gold of the Vancouver games! American Katherine Reutter gets silver after holding off South Korea's Park Seung-hi, who claims bronze.
And in the most confounding and furious race that is men's 5000m relay, there was so much confusion and chaos as multiple skaters took turns pushing each other's butt for the long race!
Push it real good!
China and Korea battled for lead, Canada was in third. France was 4th and US was in 5th.
And as the crazy exchanges kept going, Canada pulls ahead of the pack, leaving South Korea and China to battle it out for 2nd and 3rd! The US manages to pull up to forth, leaving France behind!
And in the final lap of the exciting race, China slips as the US pulls ahead to 3rd! Canada wins the race, South Korea takes silver with US right on them for bronze!
A fantastic end to a crazy and thrilling race!
Sure Canada may have won the race, but they should've been disqualified for their horrific style!
No, your eyes are not deceiving you! That is a French Canadian redhead with dreadlocks!
And finally in the preliminary event that had Canada holding its collective breath til the end. Canadian men barely scraped by the Slovakians in the semifinal spot, going on to fight the US in the gold medal hockey match! This is the game all of North America will be watching! And I can't wait to see it!
And lastly, I'd like to focus on why the Olympics are wonderful. It's not just about athletes winning medals; it's about champions bringing hope and doing positive things for the world. Thanks to MJ for this article on Clara Hughes, the greatest Olympian ever! Canadian Clara Hughes, a cyclist and speed skater, is the only person in Olympic history to win multiple medals in both summer and winter Olympics.
After winning gold in Torino, she was inspired by US speed skater Joey Cheek, who donated his bonus gold and silver medal winnings to the charity, Right to Play. This organization was founded by Norwegian and Olympics champion speed skater Johann Olav Koss. The goal is to use sport and play to aid the development of children and youth in underprivileged areas around the world. At the time, Canada did not give bonuses for medal winners. So Clara Hughes took money out of her own bank account, and donated $10,000 to the foundation, because she believed in the cause.
And this Olympics, she does it again. Clara Hughes donated her $10,000 bronze medal bonus to the Take A Hike foundation, to help troubled youths recovering from addiction to take outdoor challenges to learn skills and build up self esteem. She was inspired to do something about the poverty and drug addiction that plagued Vancouver after she made a wrong turn on her way to training two years ago. She never forgot the sight of those people suffering, impoverished and in despair in the heart of one of Canada's leading cities. Clara Hughes believes that sports saved her life, as she herself was a troubled youth. And with her generous donations, she continues to give out hope and new opportunities for troubled youths to have a chance at a better life, to find a way to be successful amid all the challenges they face.
Clara Hughes is a perfect example of why the Olympics is so great. Even with all the scandals and all the troubles that often plague the Olympics, there are always heroes like Clara Hughes who embody the true Olympic spirit. She remind us that true Olympic champions represent not only our dreams, but our hopes and wishes for a better future. And if one human being can do something positive to help others, imagine what two or more can do to change the world.