Yesterday (Day 1 of the Games) was marked with great sorrow; a luger from the Republic of Georgia died on the sliding track at Whistler. Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21 years of age, died during practice runs on Friday when he flew off the tracks hitting a metal column, leaving him bleeding from the face and unconscious. He was unable to be revived when medics came to the scene. Kumaritashvili had just spoken to his parents (his father was a luger for the former Soviet Union) before he took to the track and told them that they should be proud of him.
The Whistler track is one of the fastest and most dangerous tracks in the world for lugers, some suggest that only the most elite in the world shouls use this track. Several other accidents took place during practice runs; Armin Zoeggler of Italy, the reigning gold medalist in more than one event crashed on the track which he descibed as fast and having character. A female Romanian luger, Violeta Stramaturaru, crashed during practice runs and was knocked unconscious and taken to the hospital.
The injuries raise the question, who is responsible and who should be held accountable? On a side note, the other Georgian luger who was competing in the same event as Kumaritashvili, has withdrawn himself from the competition.
Day 2 overall has been full of surprises! The men's 5000m was one after the other, defending gold medalist, Chad Hedrick was shut out of the medals as was his teammate and speed skating star Shani Davis; they finished in 11th and 12th place respectively. The winner was Sven Kramer, the 23 year old pre race fave from the Netherlands; he won the gold medal that had alluded him four years ago and he finished with a new Olympic record. Silver was also surprising, it went to South Korean Lee Seung-hoon who only skated the event because he failed to make the short track team. "This is a dream and a surprise," Lee told reporters following the race.
Men's 5000m Finals
1. Gold-- Sven Kramer, The Netherlands 6:14:60 (Olympic Record)
2. Silver-- Lee Seung-hoon, South Korea 6:16:95
3. Bronze-- Ivan Skobrev, Russian Federation 6:18:05
Men's NH Individual Ski Jumping
1. Gold-- Simon Ammann, Switzerland, total points: 276.5
2. Silver-- Adam Malysz, Poland, total points: 269.5
3. Bronze-- Gregor Schlierenzauer, Austria, total points: 268.0
Well he did it, we all knew he would, our golden boy of the winter Olympics, Apolo Ohno became the most winning short track athlete ever. He is now tied with speed skater Bonnie Blair for most medals won by a winter Olympic athlete with six.He was lucky to make it out with the silver but he skated a smart race. The finals consisted of three Koreans, two Americans, one Canadian, and one Chinese; two of the Koreans knocked themselves out when one of them made a bad pass. The race seemed to have a lot of contact and Ohno said in an interview following the race that he felt he had been interfered with but nevertheless that is the sport. The bad pass was made by Lee Ho Suk who most believed was Ohno's biggest competition in this race. Another Korean, Lee Jung Su captured the gold and was in the lead for most of the race.'
The bronze went to 19 year old J.R. Celski, Ohno's teammate. Celski skated in his first competition since U.S. trials where he had a crash that almost left him dead. Celski's right foot went into his left thigh when he fell and he said it missed his femoral artery by one inch. Had it hit that artery, he would have bled out in a matter of about ten minutes. Celski says, "my life was almost taken away from me, so I'm kind of realizing that life is different than I thought it was." Celski is definitely living the dream right now.
Men's 1500m short track
1. Gold-- Lee Jung Su, Korea 2:17:611
2. Silver-- Apolo Ohno, U.S.A. 2:17: 976
3. Bronze-- J.R. Celski, U.S.A. 2:18:053
Vermont native and Red Sox fan Hannah Kearney won the Ladies moguls and the Canadians will have to wait another day to capture their first gold at these games. Kearney, 23, failed to even makes the finals in this same event four year's ago in Torino even thoough she came in as the favorite to win. Jennifer Heil of the host country came in as the defending gold medalist and finished in silver medal position. American, Shannon Bahrke, who will marry on 10.10.10 this year won another Olympic medal finishing with the bronze; she won a silver in Salt Lake City in 2002.
1. Gold-- Hannah Kearney, U.S.A., 26.63
2. Silver-- Jennifer Heil, Canada, 25.69
3. Bronze-- Shannon Bahrke, U.S.A., 25.43