Bode Miller finally found the Olympic medal that alluded him in Torino; he took the high road this time. He didn't talk a lot before practice runs and competition; he hasn't spoken of "partying it up" in Vancouver. Maybe this is a new and more mature Bode Miller. Marco Buchel of Liechtenstein who has known Bode for years said he has never known Bode to be nervous before any race, but nevertheless he told Buchel that he was. Bode critics believe that a lot has changed since Torino, Bode has a kid, he pondered retirement, and he doesn't have as much sponsorship. Bode suggests that he had more emotion this time around and that's why he fared significantly better.
If Bode had won, he would have been the oldest Men's downhill Olympic champion, instead, the honor went to another 32 year old; Didier Defago of Switzerland blazed down the course in one minute, 54.31 seconds winning Switzerland's first alpine skiing medal since 1988.
1. Gold-- Didier Defago, Switzerland, 1:54:31
2. Silver-- Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway, 1:54:38
3. Bronze-- Bode Miller, U.S.A., 1:54:40
In a sport that is known for youth, Seth Wescott gives true meaning to the phrase, "you're only as old as you feel,". At the age of 33, the Maine native came to Vancouver with one thing on his mind, defending his Olympic gold in snowboard cross. There were many obstacles along the way to another Olympic gold, Wescott injured himself in December during training, barely made the finals yesterday qualifying in 17th place, and had to come behind to win in the finals.
Wescott's teammate, Nate Holland spun out during the final. It looked like Mike Robertson of Canada was going to win the second gold ever rewarded in snowboard cross and onlookers deemed it to be true. Wescott kept fighting though and in the final straightway passed Robertson; experience may have won him the gold.
Men's Snowboard Cross
1. Gold-- Seth Wescott, U.S.A.
2. Silver-- Mike Robertson, Canada
3. Bronze-- Tony Ramoin, France
Mo Tae Bum of South Korea won arguably the best birthday gift any 21 year old could win, a gold medal. Mo won South Korea's first Winter Olympic gold in a sport other than short track, and he was not even favored to win in this event. Mo's specialties are the 1000m and the 1500m which he will face in later this week. Japan took silver and bronze, and American Shani Davis opted to drop out following some controversy. The coaches were arguing with officials that the track was much too slick for the racers.
1. Gold-- Mo Tea Bum, South Korea, total time: 69.82
2. Silver-- Keiichiro Nagashima, Japan, total time: 69.98
3. Bronze-- Joji Kato, Japan, total time: 70.01
Shen and Zhao finally won the prize that has alluded them for three Olympics; a gold medal. Their hard work paid off, putting their married life on hold was right, their experience pulled through, and now there will be no regrets. The dynamic Chinese duo stopped one of the longest steaks in sports history; the Russians did not win a gold for the first time in 46 years! Had Shen and Zhao not won another Chinese pair would have as teammates Pang and Tong captured the silver medal for China as well. The Russians, in fact, walked away empty handed from these Olympics in the pairs competition finishing just out of medal contention in 4th place; Kavaguti and Smirnov had a few too many falls to constitute a medal. Current world champions, Savchenko and Szolkowy of Germany came away with the bronze.
The most beautiful part of the night for me was seeing the smile of Shen that emitted so much joy as her husband looked on contently; I was truly happy for them.
Pairs Figure Skating
1. Gold-- Shen Xue/ Zhao Hongbo, China, short program: 76.66 (1st place), free program: 139.91 (2nd place), total: 216.57
2. Silver-- Qing Pang/ Jian Tong, China, short program: 71.50 (4th place), free prgoram: 141.81 (1st place), total: 213.31
3. Bronze-- Aliona Savchenko/ Robin Szolkowy, Germany, short program: 75.96 (2nd place), free program: 134.64 (3rd place), total: 210.60