When people ask me what I'm going to remember most about the Vancouver Olympics, I think my answer is going to be the daily punch-in-the-gut feeling. There have been so many odd/strange/sad things happening throughout these games.
Two days ago, Netherlands speed skater Sven Kramer won the 10,000m event by 4 seconds, setting a new Olympic record in the process. But he was DQ'd immediately following the finish. Why? Because his coach made a mistake and told him to change lanes one lap too early.
Sven Kramer is widely regarded as the best distance speed skater the world has right now - and speed skating is Netherlands equvilant to the NFL in the states. It's that big over there. This incident is a national disaster.
There was an isolated camera on Kramer's coach throughout the event and they put the footage up at nbcolympics.com - it's 6 minutes of devastation. You have to watch it to believe it. You can see him calling out to Sven to change lanes and then moments later, he realizes his mistake. He continues to encourage Sven to skate hard and finish (Sven had no idea what had happened) but while Sven is on the other side of the rink, the coach is wiping away tears... just unreal
Sven Kramer's coach video
Yesterday, the South Korean short track speed skating relay team was DQ'd for an illegal push which meant China won the gold. During the chinese team celebration, one of the skaters jumped up on the padded boards and kicked her teammate in the face! Her teammate had a giant gash in her cheek and there was blood everywhere.
Russia has just gotten trounced at this Olympics - in everything! They used to absolutely dominate skating. This is the first olympics since - 1960 I think? - that they haven't won a gold medal in skating. For a nation with as much old school pride as those people have, Vancouver is going to be a terrible memory. People are already calling for the minister of sports head.
Wonder if they're re-enact that old "ship 'em to Siberia" thing they used to do...
Watching them lose so spectacularly to Canada in hockey yesterday was just stunning. We were all thrilled for Canada but there was this uneasy vibe in the air. It definitely didn't have that miracle on ice feeling to it - it was dark and kind of sad to see this former powerhouse just play so bad. A NBC commentator actually said - on the air - that they brought their "euro-trash game"
(he, mysteriously, was missing when they came back from commercial... hmmm, wonder why? We speculated that he was in the commentator penalty box)
We were watching bobsleigh yesterday and, as has been the case with every sliding event at this games, there were a lot of crashes. At one point I asked how in the world they stay in the sled when they crash and sure enough, two runs later, a German girl came out of the sled and went flying down the course spread eagled. Scary.
When you come to the games, you just want everyone to do their best - they work so hard for this moment. But Vancouver has been filled with so many odd mistakes and gaffes and - well, a lot of bonking.
It's a bummer..... to put it lightly.
The ladies final gets underway tonight. I'll be holding my breath that the crazy errors and mistakes that have affected the entire Olympics don't creep into that event. The short program was some good stuff - crossing my fingers that trend continues for the free skate.
Gold - Kim Yu-Na (this girl needs to win. She's the most amazing thing to happen to skating since Michelle Kwan)
Silver - Joannie Rochette (oh god please let Joannie skate her best....)
Bronze - Mao Asada (I predict two falls but still a podium finish)