The Den Mother’s Olympic Recap: Day 7
Thursday was another bang-up day by my countrymen and countrywomen. Julia Mancuso picked up another silver medal in the women’s alpine super combined, an event they didn’t have when I was a kid that combines the times of a downhill race and a slalom race. Hannah Teter and Kelly Clark won silver and bronze behind champion Torah Bright of Australia in the women’s snowboard halfpipe, a competition that saw several less than clean runs. And Evan Lysacek beat out Russian Evgeni Plushenk to became the first American man to win Olympic men’s figure skating gold since Brian Boitano did it 22 years ago.
Is Mancuso just the cutest thing ever? I love her whole tiara schtick. It tells me that she still has a little bit of fun-loving kid in her. She might have beaten out Austrian Maria Riesch for gold if she hadn’t struggled for control in the middle of the slalom course. On the other hand, her medal would probably have been bronze if her teammate Lindsey Vonn hadn’t hooked a pole and gone tumbling to end what was a terrific run to that point. But that’s the nature of a sport where you get only one chance to get it done. And can I say how surprised I was to see Sweden’s Anja Paerson do so well after her horrific crash in the downhill on Wednesday? I don’t even want to think about the bruises she had to ski with.
The women’s halfpipe competition was fun to watch, even for a snowboarding agnostic like me. But I was left wondering why, in an event where Sir Isaac Newton is more important than brute strength, women can’t approach the height and hang time of their male counterparts. I also join my father in wondering why all snowboarders wear such baggy clothes.
Speaking of clothes, American figure skater Johnny Weir wasn’t nearly as flamboyantly costumed as usual in the men’s free skate. But he skated pretty well. The routine of the night, though, belonged to his teammate, Evan Lysacek, who may not have a quad like his Russian competitor, but he had everything else and had it better than everyone else. Lysacek, who was in second place after the short program, beat Evgeni Plushenko by 1.86 points in the free skate and 1.31 overall. Bronze medalist Daisuke Takahashi of Japan was far behind the top two.
In other medal events yesterday, Norway, Kazakhstan, and Belarus took medals in the women’s 15km individual biathlon, and Canadian speed skater Christine Nesbitt edged out two Dutch skaters to win the women’s 1000m. Nesbitt’s medal gives Canada a total of seven, which, as I recently pointed out to one slightly cranky Canadian, is pretty good for a country one-tenth the population of the United States. In fact, I did a little research and found that the U.S., with 18 medals overall, actually trails 20 other countries in medals per capita. Norway leads the pack; Canada is 10th. Courtesy of the Den Mother’s occasional feature “Fun with Numbers,” here is the breakdown:
I got the population statistics from various sources: Google “public data” (what usually comes up when you search on, for example, “Population of Slovenia), the CIA (also found through Google), and a couple random sources whose accuracy I cannot verify. Oh, and don’t expect me to update that table every day. I write my own HTML and it took me half my lunch hour. Maybe I’ll update it after the games are over.
With all that is out of the way, I am pleased to report that the American hockey teams remain undefeated with wins yesterday against Norway (men, 6-1) and Finland (women, 6-0). The U.S. men lead all countries in the standings with six points and lots more hockey to go, including an epic matchup Sunday against Canada. On the women’s side, it’s the U.S. and Canada leading their respective groups with nine points each. They aren’t scheduled to face each other in the preliminary round.
As well as our hockey teams are doing, that’s how poorly our curling teams are faring. Both are winless, the men in four games and the women in three. Neither team is getting crushed, each losing one game each by two and the rest by one. They just can’t pull it together in the end. One bit of good news I am proud to report: I now have both of the Den Mother’s Parents watching curling every day, even though every five minutes Dad says, “Why the hell am I watching this?”
On the docket for today are the medal races in skeleton, the luge-like sport with a smaller sled and the sliders going down on their stomachs and head first. These are people with more guts than brains, if you ask me. Amy Williams, a Brit, currently leads the women’s field after two heats. Martins Dukurs of Latvia leads the men. Canadians are currently in medal position in both men’s and women’s.
Nordic skiing medals will be awarded in the women’s 15km cross country pursuit, and on the alpine side in the men’s super giant slalom. Ski jumping resumes with the large hill competition. I love me some ski jumping, even though the IOC are a bunch of sexist hypocrites for excluding women.
The Vancouver 2010 web site has more details about results, medals, and schedules.