The Winter Olympics in Vancouver are over. It’s been a week now and I’m going through withdrawal. And it’s no wonder. The games were 17 days of adrenaline pumped action, jaw-dropping performances and perhaps the best climax in Olympic history.
I think Graham Watanabe, who competed for the U.S. in Snowboard Cross, summed up the excitement of the games best:
“Try to imagine Pegasus mating with a unicorn and the creature that they birth. I somehow tame it and ride it into the sky in the clouds and sunshine and rainbows. That’s what it feels like.”
VANCOUVER, British Columbia—The Vancouver Olympic Centre is packed with more than 5,000 fans, and America’s curling skip, John Shuster, prepares to throw the hammer. He gazes intently across the sheet, lining up his shot. He glides and releases the stone just before the hog line, shouting “Whoa,” to the sweepers as the rock careens gracefully across the ice.
Bam! Team USA’s rock knocks Denmark’s right out of the house, in a classic example of a takeout.
“USA! USA! USA!” the crow cheers as the U.S. posts two points in the third end.
His teammate, John Benton, prepares to throw the first stone of the next end, serenely gliding across the ice like a crouching tiger. He shoots the roaring rock down the sheet, as the second and third furiously sweep the path in front of it.
Shuster screams “Hard! Hard!” loud enough for the entire stadium to hear.
“Whoa,” he calls as the stone nears the center of the house.
The rock lands in the 8-foot ring and the crowd gives a hearty round of applause.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia–The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancvouer have come to an end. But not before the city passes the torch to Sochi. It’s been a wild and historic 16 days for both the U.S. and host Canada. Join me as I blog live from the ceremony at BC Place.
5:30 pm: The ceremony opens with a Canadian mime, poking fun at the cauldron malfunction from the opening ceremony. The crowd is eating it up. One thing Canadians have never been accused of is lacking a sense of humor. Well done Canada, well done. Read the rest of this entry →
VANCOUVER, British Columbia–A novelist couldn’t have written a better finale to this story. The last event of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics was a cross-border showdown between Canada and the United States in the men’s gold medal hockey match. It seems the gods on Mount Olympus were smiling on Canada today as they defeated the U.S. 3-2 in a sudden death overtime. “It doesn’t even feel real,” said Canadian forward Sidney Crosby, who scored the final goal. “It feels like a dream.” But for the U.S., it was a stinging defeat that could have gone either way. “It’s going to be tough to swallow,” said U.S. forward Jamie Langenbrunner. Of course, when the two teams first met at Canada Hockey Place last week, the U.S. stunned Canada 5-3 for a win. Read the rest of this entry →
VANCOUVER, British Columbia–This has got to be my favorite night of the Winter Games—the Figure Skating Exhibition Gala. The competition is over, the medals have been doled out and the winners get to strut their stuff in fancy-free routines to music people actually like (hopefully). The top five skaters or couples in each event will skate tonight. No labored movie scores, no required elements—just unabashed skating like nature intended.
The lights are already dimmed in the Pacific Colisuem, and a blue light is shinging on the ice. So sit back, relax and enjoy the sparkles and spangles in the Olympics’ most carefree event.
4:30 pm: The lights are dim and the evening starts with a group skate (not the Olympians) skating to Olympic Fanfare. The teeniest tiniest little boy is on the ice. Super cute! Read the rest of this entry →
VANCOUVER, British Columbia–I’m back at the Richmond Olympic Oval for the final day of long track speed skating competition. The women and men of Team USA will be battling for gold in the Team Pursuit.
First up will be the women’s semifinals where the U.S. will go head to head with Germany for a spot in the gold medal final later today. The women’s team, comprised of Catherine Raney-Norman, Jennifer Rodriguez, Jilleanne Rookard and Nancy Swider-Peltz, Jr., already upset the Canadian favorites with a win in the quarterfinals by .05 seconds.
“I had no idea where we were in the race,” Jilleanne Rookard said. “I heard a lot of cheering for the Canadians so I thought they were ahead by a long shot.”
The Team Pursuit is unique in Olympic racing in that it’s not a relay, but a team skate much like a team ride in cycling. Three skaters work together, drafting off of each other, to get all three members across the finish line first.
“As little as we skate together we have to focus on being in sync with one another,” said Nancy Swider-Peltz, Jr. “This was the one race where we actually pulled it together quite well.”
After the ladies, the American men will face off with Canada in the gold medal final. The U.S. team, comprised of Chad Hedrick, Brian Hansen, Jonathan Kuck and Trevor Marsicano, are guaranteed a medal. The only question is: what color will it be? Read the rest of this entry →
VANCOUVER, British Columbia–Contrary to appearances, it seems that Apolo Anton Ohno can do wrong. After it looked like he won the silver medal in the men’s 500m, Ohno was disqualified for illegal contact with Canadian Francois-Louis Tremblay. But a consummate competitor, Ohno bounced back just 30 minutes later in the 5000m relay to anchor his team—including J.R. Celski, Jordan Malone, Travis Jayner and Simon Cho—to a bronze medal.
“I’ve have nothing but green lights this entire time here in Vancouver,” Ohno said. “The process has been amazing. For me, this has been my best Olympic games of all time.”
With the relay bronze, Ohno won his third medal of the games and the eighth of his career. He’d already sealed his title as the world’s most decorated short track skater and the most decorated American Winter Olympian with his seventh medal earlier in the week. Read the rest of this entry →
VANCOUVER, British Columbia–It’s a story that reads almost like a fairy tale or a hero epic worthy of Joseph Campbell. Billy Demong of U.S. Nordic combined is The Hero With the Thousand Faces. He answered the call to adventure, he faced the supreme ordeal, and now he’s ready to return to the ordinary world with the boons of his quest. He got the gold—and the girl.
“Crossing the finish line to win the medal was the beginning to a little epic journey I had last night,” Demong said. “I’ve really only slept three hours since I crossed the finish line.”
Straight off of winning the U.S. its very first Nordic combined gold medal, Demong dropped to one knee in front of nearly a hundred friends, teammates and family at the Spyder U.S. Ski Team House in Whistler, and proposed to his girlfriend, Katie Koczynski.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia–It’s the final night of short track speed skating, aka the most exciting thing to happen on ice since the margarita.
First up is the men’s 500m race and then the men’s 5000m relay. The star of the show is none other than the defending Olympic champion Apolo Anton Ohno. I’ll be bringing you the action live from the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.
Here in Vancouver, the men’s action will alternate with the women’s 1000 meter event, which my colleague in Olympic arms, Jason Black, will bring to you on his blog, Fade to Black.
We’ve just had some excitement in the press tribune when an access control box caught on fire. Is a portent of hot things to come? I hope so. Read the rest of this entry →
VANCOUVER, British Columbia—It’s ladies’ night at the Pacific Colisuem. What will it take for any of the other skaters to dethrone Korea’s “Queen” Yu-Na Kim? Nothing short of an anti-monarchy revolution. In other words, a miracle.
The reigning world champion delivered a show-stopping performance in the short program on Tuesday night that put her nearly five points ahead of Japan’s Mao Asada. Short of a total meltdown, which would be unprecedented—Kim has won every competition she has entered this season—the Olympic crown is hers for the taking. She simply needs to skate like she usually does. And with record scores in both the short program and free skate, it shouldn’t be hard for her to do. Read the rest of this entry →
The young men of U.S. Ski Jumping, who I chronicled in a feature last week, didn’t win any medals at the Vancouver games, nor were they expected to. But they won something just as important: a bet with the Canadian team.
The wager? The losers of the ski jumping team competition had to chug a bottle of maple syrup. The U.S. finished 11th with 340 points. Canada finished last in 12th place with 294.6 points. Who knew Stephen Colbert would be so right when he jokingly called Canadians “syrup-suckers.”
“It’s just fun,” said Peter Frenette, the youngest male on the entire U.S. Olympic team; he celebrates his 18th birthday today. “Team events are always fun.” Read the rest of this entry →
U.S. Nordic Combined makes Olympic history again, winning a silver medal in the team competition.
Coming into the Vancouver games, the U.S. had never won an Olympic Nordic combined medal in 86 years of competition. But now, they’ve got two: first Johnny Spillane took silver in the Individual Normal Hill/10km Cross-Country pursuit. And now, Spillane along with Brett Camerota, Todd Lodwick and Billy Demong won silver in the Team/4×5 km relay at Whistler Olympic Park. Austria won gold; Germany took bronze.
“We’ve been dreaming about this day for four years,” said Lodwick of Steamboat Springs, Colo., who came out of retirement “to get some hardware.” Read the rest of this entry →
The sky is falling. The U.S. men have beaten Canada at their own game—for now. And after all the hype and hoopla surrounding these Olympics games, Canada may need hockey gold now more than ever.
Team USA trumped our neighbors to the north 5-3 in men’s ice hockey at the winter Olympics for the first time in 50 years. With a perfect 3-0-0-0 record, the U.S. won its group and will move onto the quarterfinal round as 12 pm PST on Feb. 24.“To beat Canada on their own soil is special,” said U.S. forward Ryan Kessler of the cross-border showdown, which ended in the biggest U.S. vs. Canada upset since the epic figure skating Battle of the Brians at the 1988 Calgary games.
While NBC’s primetime coverage went to ice dancing, the U.S. vs. Canada game was relegated to MSNBC. But in Canada, the national obsession is primetime. Which meant all of Canada was watching the stinging national defeat. Read the rest of this entry →
I’m not the fastest runner and I’m not the slowest, but I am a running nerd. A journalist by trade, I love to research, read, learn and cogitate. So stick with me. Like all good nerds, I’ll do the homework and share it. But the running is up to you!