Thursday, February 13, 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014: Day 6

Apologies for being late with day 6, but it was a day of competition that in some ways was full of disappointments but in other ways filled with beauty and joy.

For Julia Mancuso of the US, adding to the medal count in the women's downhill was out of the question. Four years ago in Vancouver, Tina Maze of Slovenia finished 18th in this same event, in Sochi, her mind was on gold. one of two gold medalists, Dominique Gisin from Switzerland also skied in the downhill four years ago, the result--- she didn't even finish. Tara Gut from Switzerland is the newcomer of the group, at 22 years of age, Sochi is her first Olympics, and an opportunity to make her mark. This is alpine skiing's downhill: unpredictable and exciting.

The Results:

Alpine Skiing: Women's Downhill

1. Tina Maze, Slovenia, 1:41.57
1. Dominique Gisin, Switzerland, 1:41.57
3. Lara Gut, Switzerland, 1:41.67

8. Julia Mancuso, USA, 1:42.56

For Shani Davis of the US, the third time was not a charm, Davis was looking for a 3-peat in the men's 1,000 m, but it was not to be. Davis said his best wasn't good enough today. This event was further proof that the Netherlands has a team that is near impossible to beat with Stefan Groothuis picking up gold. Michael Mulder of the Netherlands became the first athlete at the games to win two medals. He won gold in the 500 m on Monday. Davis finished in eighth and looks to medal in the 1,500.

The Results:

Speedskating: Men's 1,000 m

1. Stefan Groothuis, Netherlands, 1:08/39
2. Denny Morrison, Canada, 1:08.43
3. Michel Mulder, Netherlands, 1:08.74

8. Shani Davis, USA, 1:09.12
9. Brian Hansen, USA, 1:09.21

Women's Hockey continues with preliminary rounds, Finland beat Switzerland 4-3 and Canada beat the US 3-2 in a match up that we will probably see again.

I had so much fun watching the ladies' half pipe. This is an event that US ladies dominate, along with an Australian named Torah Bright. One could say that this event showcased a passing of the torch. Kelly Clark (age 30), gold medalist in 2002 in Salt Lake City took bronze, 2010 Vancouver gold medalist Torah Bright (age 27) took silver, and a girl who almost didn't even make the finals, Kaitlyn Farrington (age 24) of the US took gold in Sochi. Hannah Teter (age 27), who was the gold medalist in Torino finished in 4th place this time around. Clearly, this is a close knit group.

The Results:

Snowboarding: The Ladies' Halfpipe

1. Kaitlyn Farrington, USA, run one: 85.75, run two: 91.75, best: 91.75
2. Torah Bright, Australia, run one: 58.25, run two: 91.50, best: 91.50
3. Kelly Clark, USA, run one: 48.25, run two: 90.75, best 90.75

4. Hannah Teter, USA, run one: 90.50, run two: 26.75, best: 90.50

The Russians regained the spot that has been their destiny since the 1964 Games. Gold. After winning 12 straight Olympic gold medals in pairs, the Russians didn't even make the podium in Vancouver in 2010. This was devastating for a country in which Figure Skating holds such deep tradition, particularly in the pairs event. Wednesday night, February 12, 2014 was perhaps one of the most beautiful long programs that I have seen since I was child watching figure skating. Their throws were massive, their spins were synchronized, and the emotion not only filled the room but as I sat at home in front of the TV I was affected bu this pair and the passion they displayed. They've been together for less than four years, but they skate as though they've been together forever. At 27 and 30, I cannot wait to see Tatiana and Maxim's next chapter.

The Results:

Figure Skating: Pairs Finals

1. Tatiana Voloszhar and Maxim Trankov, Russian Federation, short program: 84.17, free program: 152.69, total: 236.86
2. Ksenia Stoblova and Fedor Klimov, Russian Federation, short program: 75.21, free program: 143.47, total: 218.68
3. Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, Germany, short program: 79.64, free program: 136.14, total: 215.78

4. Qing Pan and Jian Tong, China, short program: 73.30, free program: 136.58, total: 209.88
9. Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, USA, short program: 67.44, free program: 120.38, total: 187.82

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