Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reflecting on the Olympics

First, I wrote something about the Olympics here

Earlier, I wrote in my last blog post that Manusco was a jerk. In the last interview I saw her in, she was much better.

I enjoyed the Olympics tremendously. Here are some highlights:
1. Bode Miller made a comeback, in the process, teaching us (or at least me) never to count someone down and out, that winning and losing is secondary to how you thought of your performance, etc.

2. Apollo Anton Anno and the short-track speed skating. The guy got 3 medals, none of which were Gold, yet you watch him and think he is the most amazing athlete in the sport. How is that? We acknowledge it's a sport of random results and the guy not only has the skill to persevere, but he has ability to recover from spills, adapt, and think on his feet. If some perennial favorite like Michael Phelps is James Bond, Apollo Antohn Ohno is Indiana Jones. He gets pushed around quite a bit and somehow managed to find a way through three out of four times.

3. Canada's late medal surge. They had their owning the podium program that looked destined for failure. In the snow cross, Seth Wescott dashed the Canadians hopes, Jeremy Wotherspoon failed to medal for the third Olympics in a row, the Canadian alpine team proved a bust, and potential Canadian Olympic hero Chris del Bosco made it to the finals, only to wipe out. Poor Canada publicly insisted that their initiative of winning the Olympic hunt was unrealistic.
A 1-2 finish in women's bobsled, Jasey Jay Anderson's snowboarding victory in parallel giant slalom, an insanely surprising series of upsets for men's team speed skating, and one hell of a night at the short track oval suddenly made the goal realistic again. Canada didn't win the medal count but they jumped from 6th to 3rd and they won the Gold medal count with a record-setting 14. The Gold medals went to: Men's Skeleton, Short-track 3000 relay, Curling, Freestyle Moguls, Parrallel Giant Slalom, Hockey, Short-Track 500, Speedskating Pursuit, Women's Hockey, Speedskating 1ooo, Ski Cross, Snowboarding Cross, 2-Woman Bobsled, and Pairs Icedancing.

4. Shani Davis and Chad Hedricks combine for four medals in speed skating-Last Olympics they combined for five medals but they're a little older and Chad was an underdog in his events. Shani Davis set a track record and beat a tough field in the 1500 with a silver. Best of all, the two got along quite well. Hedricks acted as the mentor to two very young up-and-comers in almost bringing home a Gold in the team event.

5. The men's 30K race in cross-country skiing. You have no idea how off the hook this race was. i was glued to the screen for like an hour. This was an 18-mile race that was far more exciting than a marathon because the field was tightly packed for over 45 minutes. Around halfway through the race, Swede Marcus Olsson took a sizeable lead from the field and about 15 other skiers stayed back in what appeared to be a race for Silver.

6. Kim Yu-Na and Jeannie Rochette light up the figure skating-South Korea's Kim Yu-Na is considered one of the best the sport has ever seen and even if you're not an expert in figure skating, it's apparent watching her how in control she is. It was also nice to see a sweetheart of the Olympics come from a country like South Korea and watch the world embrace her. Jeannie Rochette lost her mother and managed to maintain her poise and earn a bronze. She was one of the clear heroes of the Olympics and people were thrilled at her bronze.

7. Alexander Bilodeau wins Canada's first Gold-It was hard to believe that Canada had never had a Gold on home soil. Being the home country gives you an advantage so the fact that Canada squandered that twice got my attention. What's more, they didn't just host the winter olympics but the Summer Olympics in 1976. The Summer Olympics have tons of events and it's much harder to NOT win a Gold. Nonetheless, Despartie was the third Gold medal hopeful to compete and after the upset of her female counterpart in the moguls and Kristina Groves failed to medal in speed skating. Despartie upset defending Gold medalist Dale Begg-Smith and seemed like a great guy. He has an autistic brother who inspires him, he was good with the press, and he had a full grasp of the gravity of the moment

8. Jarett "Speedy" Peterson's Hurricane-Two great things about this guy who won a Silver for the U.S. in aerials 1) He hadn't landed his patented jump in 3 years competition in three years

9. The Snow Leopard-The Ghanan skier Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong was determined to not finish last and he did it. After beatng Tola Erjon from Albania by 23 seconds, he gleefully exclaimed that he could retire. Now his post-Olympic goals include creating an snow mountain in Ghana. Good luck with that.

10. Andrea Fischerbacher winning the Super-G. It was a perfect run and the Austrians made it to the podium in Gold when the pressure was on.

11. The thrills and spills of the bobsled run-Russia won the bronze in 2-Man bobsled after Canada took a spill. The Russian driver inappropriately cheered when Canada took a spill. In the 4-man bobsled, Russia took a spill so it was a little bit of karmic justice. It looked like the people who had gotten banged against a track at 60 miles an hour, heads bouncing against the sides of the track. It looked tragic except when the bobsled stopped, the people just got up and walked out. Two or three other bobsleds also took spills on the track including one of the US sleds.

12. The hype surrounding the hockey game-I didn't actually watch the final hockey game and never really watched the hockey much. However, I could appreciate the hype surrounding the thing with people feeling like it was a big repeat of the Miracle on Ice moment. It wasn't so much that we were playing our political enemy, but rather seeing if we had it in us to beat the best and originator of the game. It was like South Korea in Beijing having the gall to think that they could beat the traditional powers of the game in baseball and actually pulling it off with wins over Cuba and the U.S.


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