Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 2 of the Vancouver Olympics: Hard and Fast!

13 Feb 2010, Sat. The first day of the Vancouver Olympics began with grueling and challenging events that demanded the best from the athletes. You had to be hard and fast to win a medal.

Not that kind of hard and fast!

Just kidding! In the 5000m speed skating, World Champion Sven Kramer of the Netherlands finally wins the Olympic gold that eluded him in Torino! At the Torino Olympics, he was the favorite to win gold in his events, but he failed dramatically. Everything fell apart for him. He lost out to American Chad Hedrick in the 5000m, settling for silver; a broken skate in the 1500m landed him in 15th place; he was 7th in the 10,000m race; and he fell in the team pursuit event that his team was leading, landing them the bronze instead of the gold. His winning this 5000m event in Vancouver is a good omen for the upcoming 10,000m, 1500m, and team pursuit events.

But the biggest surprise of the competition is Lee Seung-Hoon of South Korea, who came out of nowhere to claim silver, causing a huge unexpected upset! Lee Seung-Hoon's medal win is amazing, because he's only been competing in long distance speed skating for a year! He was a short track speed skater who failed to make the South Korean short track team. So he switched to long track speed skating. No one expected him to win, but he pulled off an incredible silver medal race, surprising a lot of people, including himself! Ivan Skobrev of Russian wins the bronze.

Switzerland's Simon Ammann returns to the podium in the normal hill ski jump, taking gold as he did before in the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. His career fizzled after the Salt Lake Olympics, finishing 15th at the 2006 Torino Olympics. His distance of 108m earned him the first gold medal of the Vancouver Olympics, setting him up for another possible gold in the large hill event, just as he did in Salt Lake.

Another comeback story happened in the fast and furious sport of women's mogul. These chicks race downhill on skis and take astounding and dangerous acrobatic flips twice on the way down! American Hannah Kearney, who failed to qualify at the Torino Olympics, won gold, while Canadian Jennifer Heil took silver, the first medal for the host nation. American Shannon Bahrke, Torino silver medalist, landed the bronze.

In the hard and fast world of short track speed skating, it takes speed, grit, and tactics to compete! This race is full of rough contacts and devastating crashes. You've got to be fast, you've got to be strong, and you've got to be smart to make it to the final. And there were a lot of false starts and spectacular crashes in the intense qualifying heats.

South Korea is known for churning out three major products: Electronics, Hyundais, and short track speed skaters. The South Koreans have always been the nemeses and rivals of American Olympic and World champion Apolo Ohno. In fact, a lot of these new South Korean short track skaters are trained by Ohno's former Olympic and World Championship rivals! The athletes battled for the lead, jostling each other dangerously during the action packed final race of the 1500m short track.

In the last few laps of the race, the 3 South Koreans boxed Apolo Ohno inside, working together to keep him from moving forward. The South Koreans were in the clear, taking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. But at the last turn, they made a crucial mistake!

The 3rd place skater made a terrible pass and stumbled over the 2nd place skater, causing both of them to fall and crash, leaving the field wide open for Americans Apolo Ohno and the newcomer J.R. Celski to seize silver and bronze!

What a stunning finish to an action packed race! A fight to the very end! Jung-Su Lee of South Korea wins gold. And Apolo Ohno is on his way to winning the most winter Olympics medals in history.

In your face, bitches! You've been recalled!

But it's 19 year old J.R. Celski who put in an incredible performance! After qualifying earlier last year for the US Olympics team, J.R. Celski was involved in a horrific crash in a race where his blade cut deeply into his thigh, just an inch away from his femoral artery! He has not competed in any other races for 6 months, and this was his first competition since his accident. What an amazing feat he's done, beating out the more experienced competitors to win the bronze medal!

But the most wonderful win of the day occurred in the women's 7.5km biathlon, one of the sexiest sports in all of the Winter Olympics. A biathlon is when skiers race down a course and shoot at targets! That's right. You ski and shoot at targets! If it snowed in Texas, this would be our state sport!

And there's nothing sexier than beautiful women racing on skis and loading their rifles and firing shots at targets! It's like having an evil but sexy assassin from a James Bond film come to life!

The surprise winner of the women's biathlon is Anastazia Kuzmina of Slovakia. Anna Kuzmina was originally a member of the Russian biathlon team. She is Russian. But after she got married and had her baby, the Russian Federation would not allow her to bring her newborn son to training camps with her. Choosing to spend more time caring for her new baby, she contacted the Slovakian Federation. They granted her Slovakian citizenship through her husband, a resident of Slovakia. They allowed her to bring her baby to their training camps, giving her the opportunity to be a mother and an athlete. Two months ago, she broke her left wrist in training.

But today, she pulled off an incredible performance, winning the gold. I luv how she overcame difficult odds and rose above her tough competitors. Her hard work and perseverance paid off. And her unexpected win is a fantastic example of a great Olympic moment.


  1. I love how you get into the stories behind the athletes. That is so inspirational about Anna Kuzmina. So glad she won gold and such a boost for working moms everywhere.

    I had no idea Apolo was still competing. Good for him - that's quite amazing.

  2. Those short track races always make me edgy, in a good way! What excitement.

    Moguls: bumpipety - whee! - bumpipety - whee! - bumpipety- swoosh!

    USA women ice hockey this afternoon!

  3. The biathlon sounds intriguing. I'd never even heard of it before today. Do the winners get to be those evil but sexy assassins you spoke of in the Bond films?

  4. Snooze, I live for the human interest stories behind these great athletes! It makes the Olympics mean so much more and gives people hope.

    XL, I know! Those short track races are thrilling! You described the moguls perfectly! That was an awesome competition! I'm looking forward to more of the games.

    IDV, Ha! I think that's how they should pick Bond girls for the films! I have to admit though, the first time I heard of the women's biathlon, I had a totally different activity in mind.

  5. Thank you for this, and your previous post. I fell asleep during the opening ceremony. It was around the time when the German athletes walked in. It was past 3am.

    I never did think the speed skating was dangerous as I've never really watched it before. Now I'm hooked. The performers are quite fit.

    To be honest I've never really felt much when I heard about deaths at the Olympics but this time it really touched me. His crash was insane! I also have to admit that I love to watch people crashing and falling over and I have laughed at some serious stuff over the years but this was no laughing matter. It made me sad.

  6. CP, Thanks and You're Welcome! Good Lord, 3 a.m.! I'd've set it up for recording and gone to sleep.

    Speed skating is dangerous, but I think so are all the sports in some way or another. Short track speed skating is exciting because you never really know who's going to crash and who's going to win. I think everyone likes to watch other people crash; sometimes it's funny, esp. if they were doing something stupid to begin with.

    It is sad what happened to that Georgian athlete. And it's terrible that it took his death to make the Olympic officials decide to make the course more safe for the athletes. Why didn't they do that before this happened? Who knows? I just feel sad for his family and friends. I wish them much peace and strength through this difficult time.

  7. That Korean blowout was classic! That is a fun event to watch.

    Those skaters have comic book super hero legs...seriously..that is as developed as is humanly possible.

  8. Donn, That was hilarious to watch! It was like karmic payback when those South Koreans took each other out! I believe Apollo Ohno and J.R. Celski's wins are called "pulling a Bradbury"--a miracle win against the odds, in honor of the Australian, Steven Bradbury, who won short track gold when a South Korean crashed into Apolo Ohno at the Salt Lake City Olympics!