Saturday, February 20, 2010

2010 Vancouver Olympics: Day 9

The person most surprised by Andrea Fischbacher winning the gold was probably Fischbacher herself; "It was really crazy. It was a really straight course and you had to push from start to finish," she said following her run in the Super G. She looked up at the scoreboard and couldn't believe that she had finished in front of Lindsey Vonn.
Vonn settled for bronze and said her mistake was that she cruised through the first part of her run and then she said, "I kind of backed off the gas pedal. I felt like I just didn't ski as aggressively as I could have, and I think that's where I lost the race."
The other surprise in this was the second place finish by Tina Maze of Slovenia; her silver medal was the best finish for Slovenia in the history of the Winter Olympics. She told reporters that sometimes it can be hard to represent a country as small as Slovenia, but she also spoke of the greatness of its athletes.
Vonn will decide in the next couple of days whether or not she plans to compete in her remaining events.

Ladies Super G
1. Gold-- Andrea Fischbacher, Austria, 1:20:14
2. Silver-- Tina Maze, Slovenia, 1:20:63
3. Bronze-- Lindsey Vonn, U.S.A., 1:20:88

The men's 1500m was full of stories from the athletes competing. For Chad Hedrick, it was his last individual race, presumably ever, before retirement. He was hoping to improve his bronze in the 1000m, after all, the 1500m is his speciality; however, it was not to be, he finished sixth. The disappointing finish brought back memories of Torino in '06 and Hedrick finishing in third after Enrico Fabris of Italy had the skate of his life and won gold. "It's the second time in a row that Shani and I have gotten this race stolen from us. We go in as heavy favorites each time, and it is some special skater every time that comes in." Hedrick said of the winner, The Netherlands Mark Tuitert, "it couldn't happen to a better guy."
Shani Davis repeated exactly, his performance in Torino, gold in the 1000m and silver in the 1500m. "I just couldn't man up and do it," Davis told reporters, "I wasn't strong enough for the victory." Davis struggled to hang on for the final lap and you could tell that he really worked for that silver medal.
In the Netherlands where speedskating is like a religion, Mark Tuitert became a hero tonight, winning the gold medal and beating out the two favorites from the United States, Hedrick and Davis. "I can't believe it... everything went right-- this is the race of my life," Tuitert exclaimed after his race; he is the first Dutchman to win in this event since 1972.
Havard Bokko of Norway, who will be a threat in the distance races, took the bronze.

Men's 1500m
1. Gold-- Mark Tuitert, The Netherlands, 1:45:57
2. Silver-- Shani Davis, U.S.A., 1:46:10
3. Bronze-- Havard Bokko, Norway, 1:46:13

Apollo made history tonight, and he did it using skill, guts, and experience. He won his seventh medal, a bronze, in the 1000m; it was a come from behind victory because for most of the race Apollo was in fifth place. His competitors were two Canadian brothers, and two longtime rivals from South Korea who won the gold and silver respectively. Apollo congratulated his rivals, and although he won a bronze, the night was about him because he became the most decorated Winter Olympian in history.

Men's 1000m short track
1. Gold-- Lee Jung Su, South Korea, 1:23:747
2. Silver-- Lee Ho Suk, South Korea, 1:23:801
3. Bronze-- Apollo Anton Ohno, U.S.A., 1:24:128

Zhou Yang of China is 18 years old, and this is her first Olympic Games, and now she has a gold medal, and a new Olympic record. Yang competed with seven other women in a finals that was anything but typical; the heats and semifinals featured falls and disqualifications including Wang Meng who won the 500m. Zhou, the atypical, shy skater from China, crossed the line far ahead of the pack with two teenage phenoms from South Korea taking silver and bronze. American Katherine Reutter finished in fourth place.

Ladies' 1500m short track
1. Gold-- Zhou Yang, China, 1:16:993 (Olympic Record)
2. Silver-- Lee Eun Byul, South Korea, 1:17:849
3. Bronze-- Park Seung Hi, South Korea, 1:17:927

I, also in this post, wanted to mention that Simon Ammann of Switzerland won his fourth gold medal in ski jumping today, the second of these games (he won two in Salt Lake City in 2002, and had a disappointing Torino). He is the first ski jumper in history to win that many gold medals, quite the feat. Following his winning jump, Ammann spoke of the magic of North America and why he has had so much success here. I just want to say, I don't care what anyone says either, at the age of 28, he still looks like Harry Potter to me.

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