17 Feb 2010, Wed. Day 6 of the Vancouver Olympics had athletes taking some incredible risks in hopes of reaching great rewards. For some of them, it paid off in gold. For others, it was a catastrophic loss.
If you don't think women's downhill skiing is dangerous, think again! At speeds of over 60 mile/hour (over 100km/hr), any crash is devastating!
Luckily, these strong athletes were not seriously hurt as they hobbled off the mountain. American Lindsey Vonn delivers gold. Four years ago at Torino, she crashed in a training run and to be hospitalized. She finished 8th. Julia Mancuso gets the Americans silver, and Elisabeth Gorgl of Austria wins an Olympic bronze, continuing a family legacy. Her mother, Traudl Hecher, was the youngest Olympic medalist in the history of downhill alpine skiing, winning bronze at the 1960 Olympics at 16 years old, and she took another bronze at the 1964 Olympics! If you don't think bronze is fantastic, just imagine if you're in 4th place or 15th or didn't even qualify.
Marit Bjoergen wins the women's individual sprint, getting Norway its first gold of the Vancouver Olympics. She was a gold medal fave at Torino, but she only won 1 silver and had to quit the Olympics, not finishing her event because of illness. She endured a lot of humiliation and flak from the Norwegian press for her Torino failures. But she shines this Olympics, as the only person to get Norway, a former winter Olympics powerhouse, its first gold medal of these games. They are singing her praises in Norway now!
The individual sprints are a tough race! First, you have to qualify by beating out the other people in a cross country ski race. Then you have to qualify again in the quarterfinals, then semifinals, just to get to the final race, all in a few hours! Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland takes the silver; Petra Majdic of Slovenia takes the bronze and had to be helped off the ground.
Meanwhile in the men's individual sprint, it was an exciting race! Three Norwegians were supposed to get all three medals, but it's the Russians who go 1 and 2, leaving Petter Northug of Norway the bronze. But it was such a close race! It took a photo finish to find out which Russian got gold and who would get the silver.
Russian ballet at the Olympics!
And it was Nikita Kriukov who takes the gold by just a few inches of his ski! His teammate Alexander Panzhinskiy gets the silver!
American Shani Davis becomes the first person to win gold in back to back Olympics in the 1000m speed skate . South Korea's Mo Tae-Bum takes silver to add to his gold win in the 500m speed skate. American Chad Hedrick wins the bronze, adding to his gold, silver, and bronze from Torino.
So, where are you taking me to dinner tonight?
How do you win the men's double luge? By teaming up with your brother!
Austrian brothers Andreas and Wolfgang Linger win gold in the double luge, repeating their gold win in Torino!
And Latvian brothers Andris and Juris Sics take the silver.
Andris and Juris Sics got involved in the luge when a 9 year old Juris broke into a luge facility near his house and was caught going down the track by a worker. The worker told him if he was crazy enough to go down the track, he ought join the luge club and get coached. He and his brother did just that. And their goal for this Olympics was to win a medal for their biggest fan: Their grandmother! Looks like they've done it.
The Germans, who weren't brothers, Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch, take the bronze.
Marianne St-Gelais of Canada has a fantastic 20th birthday by winning silver in women's 500m short track speed skate! Defending Torino gold medalist and world champion, Wang Meng of China, perhaps the only consistent element in the unpredictable sport of short track, wins gold. Arianna Fontana of Italy takes the bronze. It's a fantastic silver medal win for Marianne St-Gelais, because she was originally training for the Soichi Winter Olympics four years from now! She didn't think she was ready for the Vancouver Olympics until she qualified to be on the Canadian team.
You best be scared! I'm gonna be on you like white on rice!
And finally, the halfpipe, one of the most exciting events of the Vancouver Olympics. It is one of the most popular events, making its second appearance in the winter Olympics after debuting in Torino. And it's easy to see why it's so popular.
There are some incredible highs!
And some catastrophic lows!
And after an intense qualifying event, American Scott Lago takes the bronze.
Finland's Peetu Piiroinen skyrockets to silver.
And defending Torino gold medalist, the icon of the halfpipe, American Shaun White wins the gold by doing incredible moves that takes the sport to a whole other level!
It was a sensational day at the Vancouver Olympics. And it gets more exciting tonight! The men's figure skating event concludes with the long program. And the top 3 are just less than a point from each other!
And keep an eye out for Lori Nichol. Who's Lori Nichol? Ask any serious figure skating fan who Lori Nichol is, and they'll tell you:
She is the goddess of figure skating.
Lori Nichol is a former world champion silver medalist. She is a Canadian choreographer, one of the best in the business. She makes champions. You may not know her name; but you do know her work: Michelle Kwan, Sasha Cohen, Jamie Sale & David Pelletier, Timothy Goebel, Takeshi Honda, Brian Boitano, Brian Orser, Kurt Browning, Tara Lipinski, Josee Chouinard, Jennifer Robinson, Tatiana Totmianina & Maxim Marinin and so many.
Her current works of art include: Evan Lysacek, Patrick Chan, Tomas Verner, Mao Asado, Rachel Flatt, Mirai Nagasu, Carolina Kostner, Joannie Rochette, and so many others. In the Vancouver Olympics alone, she has 15 programs entered! Some of them have done very well, just like they do at every major competition. Just ask Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, the pairs figure skating gold medalists. And tonight, you'll see more of her magic as the men compete for gold and new champions are forged.