Sunday, February 23, 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014: Day 16 and 17

For the last time....

The Results:

Speedskating: Ladies' Team Pursuit

1. Netherlands, 2:58.05 Olympic Record
2. Poland, 3:05.55
3. Russian Federation, 2:59.73

Speedskating: Men's Team Pursuit

1. Netherlands, 3:37.71 Olympic Record
2. Korea, 3:40.85
3. Poland, 3:41.94

Alpine Skiing: Men's Slalom

1. Mario Matt, Austria, total time: 1:41.84
2. Marcel Hirscher, Austria, total time: 1:42.12
3. Henrik Kristoffersen, Norway, total time: 1:42.67

Bobsled: 4 Man

1. Russian Federation: Alexey Negodaylo, Dmitry Trunenkov, Alexey Voevoda, Alexander Zubkov, total time: 3:40.60
2. Latvia: Daumants Dreiskens, Oskars Melbardis, Janis Strenga, Arvis Vilkaste, total time: 3:40.69
3. USA: Christopher Fogt, Steven Holcomb, Steven Langton, Curtis Tomasevicz, total time: 3:40.99

Men's Hockey

1. Canada
2. Sweden
3. Finland

Look who got her medal today...... Mikaela Shiffrin

My recap....

Some things have become certain in these Olympics. The Dutch are great speedskaters, the Canadians dominate hockey. Russia proved to be warm and welcoming hosts, but they also were forces to be reckoned as competitors within the various events of these games. The Americans seemed to dominate many of the newer events like snowboarding, and overall, we had an impressive team this time around. They didn't live up to the hype in sports like speedskating, short track, and alpine skiing where they were expected to win far more medals. However there were many firsts and surprises. Meryl Davis and Charlie White were the first US ice dancers to win Olympic gold. Bode Miller became the oldest to win an alpine skiing medal and Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest to win gold in the same sport. Sage Kotsenburg and Jamie Anderson were the first gold medalists in the new snowboarding event, slopestyle, and both were members of Team USA. Some members of Team USA returned to prove that they still have it. Julia Mancuso added a bronze to her arsenal of medals. Noelle Pikus Pace won the medal that had alluded her for her entire career in skeleton. Bode Miller proved age is not a factor when you have the talent, and Mikaela Shiffrin proved similar.

Some members of Team USA had stories I will never ever forget--- bobsled's Steven Holcomb, Lauryn Williams and Lolo Jones, snowboardings Alex Deibold, figure skating's Jeremy Abbot, speedskating's Shani Davis, and short track's JR Celski.  

There were inspirational stories of athletes from other countries as well.---

Russia's figure skating team exhibited fight and poise. They were the comeback kids of these Olympics. Plushenko returned and exited in grand fashion. Yulia Lipnitskaya's personality proves she will be around for a while, perhaps, a force to be reckoned with in 2018. Adelina Sotnikova reigned as queen when others threatened a space that she had her eyes set on since childhood.

Victor An, formerly representing Korea represented the Russian Federation, his new home, a country that accepted him and recognized his talent and allowed him to make a come back following what many believed were injuries that would be career ending.

Zbigniew Brodka from Poland was probably the least likely to win a speedskating medal, and not only overcame the odds but beat the best in the process.

Tatiana Voloszhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia had different partners before they had each other, but something said they were destined for gold together. It was written, they became legends like so many before them.

There are so many more stories and not enough time and thought to tell them all. Each Olympic Games that I watch takes me back to my childhood. I think the first Games I remember is 1992 in Barcelona. To me, the Games don't just represent competition, they represent so many other things. They represent the joy of victory; the sadness of defeat. They represent years of practice, determination, and discipline. There is an element about the Games which is so beautiful and that is the coming together of nations from all over the world, even if only, for a little over two weeks, every two years. The Games represent humanity and the best in people. We could only wish, hope, and dream that the human race could always come together as they do so faithfully for an Olympiad.

    Farewell Sochi! from Sochi 2014 website

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