Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2010 Vancouver Olympics: Days 11 and 12

Day 11:

The Canadian ice dancing team of Virtue and Moir entered into the history books in more way than one last night. They are the first Canadians and first North American ice dancing team to win gold at the games and they are the first team to win gold in their first Olympic appearance. The current U.S. champions, Meryl Davis and Charlie White won a silver medal, it was the first time ever that a U.S. team won a medal in back to back Olympics (Belbin and Agosto won silver in Torino). Reigning World champions Oksana Dominina and Maxim Shabalin took bronze after a tough original and free dance, just edging out Belbin and Agosto. Had the Russian team not won bronze, it would have been the first time since ice dancing became an Olympic sport in 1976 that a Russian team was not on the podium; so history continues.

As for Belbin and Agosto, last night was most likely their last dance; they have hinted at other projects or turning professional. The duo is credited with bringing popularity to the sport in North America, they were truly mentors for teams like Virtue & Moir and Davis & White.

Ice Dancing
1. Gold-- Tessa Virtue/ Scott Moir, Canada, 221.57
2. Silver-- Meryl Davis/ Charlie White, U.S.A., 215.74
3. Bronze-- Oksana Dominina/ Maxin Shabalin, Russian Federation, 207.64

Day 12:

Bode Miller was hoping to add to his medal collection from this games (one in each color thus far) today in the giant slalom, but it was not to be; Miller missed a gate in his first run and was disqualified. It was the first time in this Olympics in an alpine event (seven events) that an American has not won a medal, then again, there was no Austrian on the podium either. The man who did win gold was one nicknamed the "Iceman", Carlo Janka of Switzerland, add in a couple of Norwegians, including Svindal who has already won a gold and silver at these games, and you have your medalists.

Men's Giant Slalom
1. Gold-- Carlo Janka, Switzerland, 2:37:83
2. Silver-- Kjetil Jansrud, Norway, 2:38:22
3. Bronze-- Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway, 2:38:44

An error in lane switching cost young Dutchman Sven Kramer the gold. He skated for eight laps without knowing it and he sees when he looked up and saw his girlfriends head buried in her hands, he knew something was wrong. Apparently his coach made him make a move that cost him a gold medal and quite possibly an Olympic record as well. Kramer came into the competition as the favorite and left with no medal at all. Lee Seung Hoon expected to win silver as he had in the 5000m but instead he ended up winning gold.

Men's 10000m
1. Gold-- Lee Seung Hoon, South Korea, 12:58:55 Olympic Record
2. Silver-- Ivan Skobrev, Russian Federation, 13:02:07
3. Bronze-- Bob de Jong, The Netherlands, 13:06:73

In South Korea Kim Yu Na is like a celebrity, she is everywhere and selling everything, taking in $8-9 million a year; in Vancouver she is the favorite to win the gold medal in the ladies' figure skating. Her closest competitor and biggest rival Japan's Mao Asada is more than five points out of first place following the short program. Kim's program was a sexy but technically packed number to James Bond music complete with a glittery skating outfit. She earned a 78.5, the highest score under the new judging system thus far. Mao sits in second place with two triple axels planned in her long program to catch up with "Queen Yu Na". In third is Canada's Joannie Rochette who gave an inspired heartfelt performance following the sudden death of her mother just two days ago. Her father sat in the audience and father and daughter both cried following her performance. Japan's Miki Ando, the World champion from 2007 is in fourth and the two young Americans Rachael Flatt and Mirai Nagasu will also skate in the last group on the long program because they are in fifth and sixth respectively.

Ladies' Figure Skating standings following the Short Program
1. Kim Yu Na, South Korea, 78.5
2. Mao Asada, Japan, 73.78
3. Joannie Rochette, Canada, 71.36
4. Miki Ando, Japan, 64.76
5. Rachael Flatt, U.S.A., 64.64
6. Mirai Nagasu, U.S.A., 63.76

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