Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 7 of the Vancouver Olympics: Grit and Glory

18 Feb 2010, Thurs. Day 7 of the Vancouver Olympics was all about tough athletes going for glory!

In the 15km women's biathlon, Tora Berger of Norway surprises the competition by winning the gold! This gold medal marks the 100th medal Norway has won in both summer and winter Olympics. Elena Khrustaleva takes the silver, giving Khazakstan its first ever winter Olympic medal. And it's a bronze for Darya Domracheva of Belarus.

Big news in the fast and furious world of women's super combined slalom--where you race down a ski hill and then zag zig around obstacles. American Lindsey Vonn crashed in the slalom, taking her out of the race. Germany's Maria Riesch takes the gold, and American Julia Mancuso takes the silver, adding to yesterday's silver medal in the alpine downhill. But it's bronze medal winner Anja Paerson who is the hero of the day!

Yesterday, Anja Paerson had a horrific crash on the downhill skiing, slamming hard into the gate and smashing into ice and bouncing and sliding hard for a very long time. It looked like she was going to need a stretcher when she just laid there for a minute. But the tough competitor was helped off the field. Anybody else would've been out of the Olympics to recover for at least a week. But today, she charges down the hill and takes the bronze, proving what a tough and gutsy athlete she truly is. And this bronze win, a 6th Olympic medal, ties the record for the most decorated athlete in alpine skiing, male or female. And how does Anja Paerson celebrate winning an Olympic medal? By doing her trademark move, the "saelen",

which is Swedish for seal; and the American translation: crazy, because only a nut case would deliberately jump face down on the ice after crashing hard on it the day before! This woman is a warrior!

In the women's 1000m speed skate, World Champion Canada's Christine Nesbitt won gold! Born in Melbourne, Australia, she originally started out in short track speed skating. She applied to McGill University in Toronto, the home of Canadian short track, but she was rejected. She was accepted at the University of Calgary, and since they had a long track program, she decided to give it a try. And that wasn't the only great decision she's made in her career. Last year, she started training with the men's team, undergoing the same rough and tough training they endure, and she's been unbeatable since! Netherlands Annette Gerritsen gets silver and her teammate Laurine van Riessen, the bronze.

In the men's 20km biathlon, Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway claims gold! But in a surprise dead heat, Belarus's Sergey Novikov and Norway's Ole Einar Bjoerndalen share the silver! That's right! They share the silver! No bronze in this event! Sergey Novikov's silver medal win is fantastic, especially since he's never made it to the top 10 of any major event!

In the high flying world of women's halfpipe, there were so many falls from the top competitors, leaving the field wide open. And it was Torah Bright who wins Australia's first gold medal of the Vancouver Olympics! She fell in her first attempt, but she rallied hard in the second attempt, doing daring moves and getting big air to beat out American favorites. American Hannah Teter takes the silver and her teammate, Torino gold medalist Kelly Clark, wins the bronze.

That's right, mate! I wore my gold pants to match my gold medal!

And perhaps the biggest event of the night was the men's free skate figure skating final. It was the spectacular clash of the figure skating Titans. And it was absolutely thrilling!

It was full of drama!

Japan's Nobunari Oda, 4th after the short program, had a Tonya Harding moment, when his lace broke in the middle of is performance! And ever since that Tonya Harding moment, a rule was put into place that a skater only had 3 minutes to fix the equipment problem or be disqualified! And he fixed it in under 3 minutes! I luved how he just picked up his performance where he left off, knowing he wasn't going to medal. And the audience cheered him on for his valiant effort. Had that lace not broken, he could've been on the podium. But look out for him, because this young guy is a superstar in the making.

Come to think of it, a lot of these Asian kids are going to be figure skating superstars come the Sochi Olympics in 2014!

Crouching Tiger!

Hidden Dragon!

It wouldn't be figures skating without the horrendous fashion!

Corn for sale!

A pack of wolves attacked me and ripped my costume!

The Silence of the Lambs!

Well, hello Clarice!

Once again Vera Wang designed Evan Lysacek's costume. It's less hideous than the one before, but it's still awful!

Come on, Vera! Jeweled snakes!?! Really!?! Why didn't you just give him a big hat and a large purse to take to his Ladies Luncheon!?!

But in the end, after so many other competitors fell and made mistakes, it was up to the top 3 men to battle it out for the gold.

Japan's Daisuke Takahashi fell and it cost him the gold! But he recovers very well enough to secure the bronze.

The stage was now set for returning Torino gold medalist Evgeni Plushenko and World Champion Evan Lysacek to fight for the gold. And the winner would finally answer the question of whether the new judging system truly rewards the athletic or the excellence. Has the artistry been diminished in the sport?

Evan Lysacek performed magnificently, executing his elements with excellence. The quality of his skating was his best performance, unmatched by the other competitors. He flowed smoothly and easily in his program, but was it enough to win the gold? He'd have to wait anxiously to find out until Evgeni Plushenko, the last skater of the night, would take the ice.

Evgeni Plushenko's incredible jumps were unmatched. He commanded the ice with his presence and exhibited his power early in the program, using as many tough jumps to gain as many points as possible. But would it be enough to win the gold? It was a tense moment as his scores were being tallied.

And in the end, the goddess of figure skating does it again, she forged another champion:

Evan Lysacek wins the gold by 1.31 points!

He didn't need to do a quad jump! He just had to skate clean. And for the first time under the new judging system, the message was clear: Overall excellence wins over athletics. It's not enough to just do the difficult jumps; you have to execute them flawlessly and your overall program must be efficient and be of high quality. It's not just the tricks anymore; you need overall talent and polish.

And with his gold medal win, Evan Lysacek continues the tradition of American World Champions who win Olympic gold. It is a record unlike any other in figure skating, because most World Champions fail to win the Olympic gold, unless you're an American! It started with Dick Button (1948/52), Hayes Alan Jenkins (1956), Scott Hamilton(1984), and now Evan Lysacek continues this amazing feat.

Evgeni Plushenko performed very well for someone who just returned to skating less than a year ago. Under the old scoring system, he would've won. But it's a new world of figure skating he returns to. And it's a changed world where new Olympic talents have overthrown the old pantheon of figure skating titans.

What a spectacular ending to a glorious competition! And we're just in the middle of the figure skating sports. The most crooked and scandalous sport in all of the winter Olympics, ice dancing, starts tomorrow!


  1. OHMYGAWD! thank you, sugar! until i saw the still, i had no idea those were snakes on his shirt! but, y'all are right, vera needs to go back to designing wedding dresses and beds! xoxoxo

    FANTASTIC commentary, btw! well done!

  2. Again, I love the Vera Wang skating outfits. The feather one ROCKED, and yes, I'm being serious. So dramatic. That's what she should make her wedding dresses like. Besides, black is so much more flattering on women. And his win was very well done!

  3. Elvis Stoyko wrote in a column today that the US win was the death of figure skating because Evan did not do the quad. Evgeny's program choreograpy was hideous - the first half jumps and the second half skating around like a vain cow!

  4. Savannah, Thanks. There were some seriously hideous outfits last night, and this Vera Wang stuff is just ugly! I think the skaters lose points just because the judges are distracted by these monstrosities!

    Snooze, That feathered outfit should be stoned to death! First feathers, now jeweled snakes? At this rate, I'm expecting Dynasty shoulder pads at the Exhibition!

    He won by less than a point and a half! I really do think that Plushenko is still a force to be reckon with. If he can polish his act and work on his elements, I could see him in the Sochi Winter Olympics! Heck, he could shine at the upcoming World Championship! But Lysacek did a fantastic job of skating clean and showing excellent quality!

    Anon, Elvis Stojko is still mad that the Russian judge robbed him of the gold in the Lillehammer Olympics--after he did all those great quads. Don't take it out on Lysacek, Stojko; Plushenko's skating was rough and unpolished. No flow, no gold!

    XL, Ha. It could be worse--at least you didn't crash into hard ice on the way downhill.

  5. Stojko is a bitter man. He never had the polish and beauty of Kurt Browning. I almost puked when I saw Stojko's comments today. I never could stand his karate idiotic routines and you're right that he's just whining because he felt his quads should have given him gold.

  6. Snooze, Yeah, that dude needs to take a chill pill. The best figure skater should be the one who excels in all the elements, not just one, no matter how athletic or showy. It's called figure skating, not jumping skating.

  7. Aussie Aussie Aussie
    Oi Oi Oi
    Great effort from Miss Bright,

    Didnt get any of that info about bootlaces or the drama of falling chinese, only Homophobic comments from the "Twin Twats" in the studio
    About the boys costumes and querying their sexuality constantly.
    Particularly on that lovely boy that had the hot pink lace up number, absolutely adorable!

  8. Princess, Torah Bright was awesome! Even though all the top competitors fell in their first run, she was the only one who gave it all and did the most spectacular moves, going higher and faster than anyone. She definitely earned that gold! And that was so neat how her brother was her coach, and her parents traveled halfway across the world to surprise her! That gold is definitely an early wedding present!

    That lovely boy in the pink lace is Johnny Weir. He's a very good skater; a lot of the commentators who aren't figure skaters are always nervous and make stupid comments about him, because they are uncomfortable around him for being so flamboyant and defiant. But a lot of the figure skaters and fans respect him and admire him because he's not all talk--he can back it up with skills!

    He was definitely underscored in his long program--he should've been on the podium. They audience booed the judges for the low scores--Weir had to calm the audience down. I suspect the ruckus caused by the audience's displeasure may have made the judges be more careful when it came to picking out who really deserved winning that gold.

  9. Latest update from down under.
    Mr weir is planning on comming down under to "Don his speedos and roll in the sand" I'll be looking forward to that. He was interviewed by one of the very "homophobic" presenter "Twats" who made most of the disparaging comments during coverage of the event, and announced on national TV that he could stay at his home when he visited only if he would like to decorate his new extention!
    Johnny took the absolute P out of him by responding that the presenter was his newest best friend, as he proceeded to present johny with a bunch of 12 red roses!
    The presenter happens to be the head of the network and was eating very humble pie. Mr Wier handled the situation beautifully it was a real credit to him..

  10. Princess, Ha! How about that? That's why figure skating fans luv Johnny! He never lets anyone get the best of him! You've got to be tough to deal with all the attention, esp when a lot of it is negative. But's he's smart and defiant and always finds a way to put his detractors to shame! He always comes out on top, looking like a class act! And he's a damn good skater, too!