Home > olympics, sports > The Den Mother’s Olympic Recap: Days 1, 2, and 3

The Den Mother’s Olympic Recap: Days 1, 2, and 3

Monday, February 15, 2010, 17:43 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

The big news as the XXI Olympic Winter Games began was not good. As everyone now knows, on Friday a member of Georgia’s luge team, 21-year-old Nodar Kumaritashvili, was killed during a training run. Kumaritashvili died after crashing his sled, being vaulted out of the track, and hitting a steel I-beam. In response, the president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, announced that the flags would fly at half staff throughout the Games in his honor. The track’s designer, Udo Gurgel, commented that the walls of the track, one of which wasn’t high enough to keep Kumaritashvili within its confines, may have to be raised. That was done, along with other modifications to the ice around some of the curves and a change of start points to slow down the sliders to more customary speeds.

By comparison, the weather problems that have plagued the Vancouver area seem minor. Still, the unusually warm temperatures have forced the cancellation of several alpine skiing training runs, delayed some events, and required snow to be hauled in by truck and helicopter to Cypress Mountain. The good news is that the weather situation finally appears to be improving. I guess I’ll have to stop making jokes about moving the Games to Washington, DC.

Dale Begg-Smith (Australia), Alexandre Bilodeau (Canada), Bryon Wilson (USA)As far as the competition goes, through the end of Sunday, medals had been awarded in ten events, including Nordic skiing, speed skating, freestyle skiing, and luge. France leads the pack in gold medals with two so far, the United States overall with six. Canadians were thrilled when Alexandre Bilodeau won gold in men’s moguls, beating out traitor Dale Begg-Smith and becoming the first Canadian to become an Olympic champion at home. And Thank God he did. I was going to have to throw something at the television if Bob Costas mentioned one more time that Canada has never won a gold medal in an Olympics they hosted.

Weather (sun, then rain, then snow) affected yesterday’s men’s biathlon in a big way, putting the later starters at a distinct disadvantage. But that’s luck (or lack thereof) at outdoor events. Past Olympics have seen snow squalls and fog wreak havoc for some athletes. It’s part of what these men and women know to expect.

I was happy to see the U.S. capture its first ever Olympic Nordic combined medal yesteray afternoon, courtesy of Johnny Spillane’s second place finish in the normal hill/10km cross country. Then there was my fellow New Englander and Red Sox fan, Hannah Kearney, who took gold in freestyle moguls while donning a Jacoby Ellsbury shirt under her official duds. Speaking of New Englanders, I also go to watch the run of luger Bengt Walden, who lives not far from me in Westborough.

Olympic hockey has begun with a few huge wins on the women’s side. On Saturday, Canada crushed Slovakia 18-0, a trouncing Team USA couldn’t quite duplicate yesterday when they beat China 12-1. Those results have renewed calls by some that women’s hockey may not be sufficiently balanced for the Olympics. Funny, but I don’t remember any complaints when the Canadian men’s hockey team won six of seven consecutive Olympic gold medals or the Soviet union won seven out of nine. Thus, I say we can ignore the griping.

By the way, men’s hockey starts tomorrow, as does my favorite event from Turin, curling.

The Vancouver 2010 web site has more details about results, medals, and schedules.

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Categories: olympics, sports
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