19 Feb 2010, Fri. Day 8 of the Vancouver Olympics was all about speed! The fastest athlete takes the gold.
A great day for Norway! The winter Olympics powerhouse makes a comeback! In the women's 15km cross country pursuit, Norwegian Marit Bjoergen wins gold, adding to her individual sprint gold. She was the fastest one in the race. Sweden's Anna Haag wins the silver. Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk takes the bronze.
Norway's second gold of the day comes in the dangerous sport of the Super G. The Super G is unlike any other alpine skiing race, because the competitors are not allowed to train full speed on the course until it's time for the competition! They get one hour to do a visual inspection of the course, which involves racing downhill and going around gates! It's very unpredictable, and it carries very high risk. Several athletes crashed on the course, and one had to be taken out on a stretcher. The word is, he's stable, so that's good.
Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway wins the super G gold, adding to his downhill silver from the day before! American Bode Miller steps up to silver, adding to a bronze from the downhill. And the surprise bronze medal winner is American Andrew Weibrecht, who's never finished better than 10th place in international competition. Even he was pleasantly surprised at his fantastic bronze win.
And big surprises in the skeletons! Skeleton is like the luge, except a little crazier: The sliders go down head first!
When it comes to going down, it pays to be under a queen! The Commonwealth is golden!
The man from Manitoba wins Canada the gold! Jon Montgomery, an auto auctioneer, wins the skeleton, proving not only is he a fast talker but a fast slider as well. Latvia's Martin Dukurs, who uses a sled made by his father, made a critical error near the end of the track, causing him to lose speed, but he was still fast enough to take the silver. Russia's Alexander Tretyakov takes the bronze.
And Great Britain's Amy Williams takes the gold in the women's skeleton. Germany's Kerstin Szymkowiak takes silver, and her teammate Anja Huber takes the bronze, giving the Germans their first ever Olympic skeleton medals.
Amy Williams' win comes amid the controversy surrounding her helmet. The US filed a protest, saying that her helmet gave her an illegal speed edge. There are ridges on her headgear. The complaint was denied by the ruling authority, The International Federation of Bobsleigh and Tobogganing--yes, it's a real organization. They checked out her helmet and said it was legal.
Canada has also filed a protest, but it'll likely be denied as well. But Amy Williams win should not be diminished by these complaints. And until there's evidence that she was cheating, no one should give her any flak for her accomplishment. She was just better skilled at going down really fast! Deal with it! She and her strange headgear just got Great Britain its first individual winter Olympic medal since the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.
And after the first round of ice dancing, the sport of the better dressed skaters, the compulsory scores are in.
Ice dancing, besides being the most crooked sport in all of the Olympics, is pairs figure skating meets ballroom dancing. There are three parts:
The compulsory dance, which is the same song and dance every pair must do.
The original dance, in which the skaters choose their own music and moves but must use the specified rhythm, or type of music and this year, it's either Folk or Country. That's right, the next portion of ice dancing consists of Folk or Country dances.
And the final part is everyone's favorite, the free dance, where the skaters chose their own music and do their own moves.
The compulsory dance chosen for the competition was the romantic Tango, same music and same steps for everyone.
Hey! Hey! Hey! The dance is Tango!
Don't flash us your cha cha!
The Americans Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto, Torino silver medalists, are in 4th place, at 40.83 (-2.93 from the lead) .
While Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White are in 3rd place, at 41.47 (-2.29 from the lead).
Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are in second, at 42.74 (-1.02 from the lead) .
Actually, they should be first, since they skated so much better than the pair currently at first place.
And this being the rigged sport of ice dancing, it's no surprise that Russians Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin are first, at 43.76 points. Oksana Domnina also has the worst outfit of the evening!
A backwards tuxedo!?! Really? They should've been disqualified for wearing that fashion monstrosity!!! No one looks good in backwards tuxedo! That's something you wear on Halloween to scare children!
But it's no surprise they've scored well, considering that some of the judges are either Russian or from former Russian territories:
Alla Shekhovtsova is married to the Russian skating federation president Valentin Piseev; Ludmila Mikhailovkaya is from Ukraine, a former Russian territory. And then there is Irina Nechkina, of Azerbaijan, another old Russian territory; she now lives and works in Russia as a judge. She was REMOVED from the 2006 Torino Olympics ice dancing judging panel, because she made serious judging errors; furthermore, she has been demoted from being an ISU judge! Why is she an Olympics judge? I have no idea, but you better believe that if the Russians win, they'll be a serious investigation!
The Russians have been knocked off the pairs figure skating podium and off the gold medal in the mens figure skating podium. Let's see how they fare in ice dancing. As for women's figure skating, the gold belongs to Kim Yu-Na of South Korea, who's won every major figure skating competition all year! Unless she falls flat on her face, I don't think anyone else can match her skills this Olympics. Seriously.
And on a side note, this is probably the last time the compulsory dance will make an appearance in international competition. And thank goodness for that, because no one wants to listen to the same damn song and watch the same damn moves performed twenty or so times in a row!