Monday, March 1, 2010

Sara's Countdown to... Sochi? (The Recap)

So here are the last of the 2010 Olympics stats:
-The U.S. won 37 medals, a record for any country at a single Winter Olympic Games, and the first time ever that the U.S. has topped the medal count. (The U.S. tied for third in the gold medal count with 9.)
-Canada won the most gold medals of the Games, with 14 - also a record, for most gold medals ever at a Winter Olympics.

And now, on to my stats:
-114 posts
-94 + 17 days of blogging
-1764 unique visitors (not including today)
-7603 page views (not including today)
-Visitors from 46 different countries and 47 states
-Most viewed posts:
Gold: 50 Days with 196 viewers
Silver: 66 Days with 115 viewers
Bronze: Day 8 with 89 viewers
-Most commented post:
Gold: Day 14 with 15 comments
Silver: 50 Days with 11 comments
Bronze: 66 Days and 67 Days with 8 comments
-244 Google searches lead visitors to my blog, my favorite: "i saspect that plushenko was ingured,that why he lost mens figure scating. is there any different opinions?" If you're reading, no, I do not suspect injury to be the reason Plushenko lost the gold.

I'd like to thank all my readers, my poem contributors and all of those who sent me links to articles you thought I might find interesting or useful for the blog. And of course, the person who pushed me to make the countdown more than just a boring gchat status, Miriam L. You're right, you are like the skating mom who doesn't let her kids off the ice until they've perfected their triple axel. I aspire to be like you. Special shout out to my commenters:
Gold: Zehava with 14 comments
Silver: Ocho G and MNB tied with 12 comments
Pewter: RebeccaLunch with 10 comments
(Zev came in 5th and BobBeeBoop and Avi Z tied for 6th)

I think that if even just a few of you watched (and enjoyed) a little bit more of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics than you might have otherwise, then I've done my job.

And in case anyone was wondering, only 1438 days until the Sochi Olympics...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 17

Disappointment of the Olympics: Lindsey Vonn. Missed a gate again. I know she won a gold and Julia Mancuso only won two silvers, but I'm on Team Julia, probably for the tiara.

Apolo Ohno won his eighth Olympic medal - the bronze in the relay team. This was his last race of the 2010 Olympics, so he ended up with no golds. Ohno has not yet decided whether he'll try for a fourth Olympic Games in 2014. Even though he won three medals, I can't decide if he's also a "disappointment of the Olympics" since none were gold. Canada did win gold in the relay, which put the country at the top of the leader board for most gold medals so far with 10.

Can we talk about snowboard parallel giant slalom for a second? I know, right? Who even knew this sport existed. You know a sport should not be in the Olympics when a)you don't even hear about it until the second to last day of the Games and b)they only show about 4 competitors and they only show them in the late night broadcast. I don't even know who won because my dvr cut off, and honestly, I don't even care. I also thought of something. You know how all the skiing races were postponed at the beginning of the Games because of bad weather? What happens when there's bad weather at the end of the Games? Do they postpone past the Closing Ceremonies? Has that ever happened?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 16

Wow, the poem thing really seems to be taking off. Here's one from Avi Z.

She blogs about the Olympics in 2010
not only the females, but even the men.
While her passion is to skate
perhaps blogging is her fate.

Sport after sport she writes about them all,
the daily tales both short and tall.
Day after day she entertains us
with a writing style that has no fuss.

When the closing ceremonies finally commence,
what will Sara do to keep us in such suspense?
I am sure that she will find a way to have some fun
because honestly, this story is far from done.

The Canadian women's hockey team apologized today for spending about a half hour on the ice after they won drinking beer and smoking cigars. That apology seems a little unnecessary to me. I know they're supposed to be "role models" but they're all adults (unless they're not, but the legal drinking age in Canada is 19) and nothing was illegal.

Quote of the week: "I am sick of this stupid game." That was said by the U.S. men's curling captain after coming in last place.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 15

Who else had the bejesus scared out of them when American skier Sarah Schleper roared before she began her race? That's quite the way to psych yourself up.

Congrats to Jeret "Speedy" Peterson for winning the silver medal in freestyle aerials. I still can't tell the difference between Peterson's famous hurricane jump and any of the other jumps, but I'm happy he did well. Back in November, Peterson and some other skiers and snowboarders came to Rockefeller Center in N.Y. to celebrate the 100 day countdown to the Olympics and they did some of their aerial tricks on a trampoline. It was fantastic to see live.

Billy Demong made history last night by becoming the first American to win gold in the Nordic Combined. Johnny Spillane won the silver - his third of the games.

I am hating NBC right now. They showed only 10 figure skaters, three of which were not even in the top 12 after the short program. Why would they do that? I understand that they need to cut between different sports, but instead of going for the ones with cute little stories, show me 7th and 8th place. And seriously, why not show Demong's medal ceremony on the late night broadcast? I am thrilled that they made history, but that could have been an extra skater right there. Isn't women's skating supposed to be the premiere event of the Winter Olympic Games? Sigh.

To me, the performance of the night belonged to the bronze medalist, Canadian Joannie Rochette. She has a maturity and grace to her skating that the younger skaters, still in their teens, just don't have. That, combined with having her hometown crowd behind her, and the added emotion from her mother's death on Saturday made her mesmerizing to watch. But silver medalist Mao Asada's two triple axels (one in combination) is quite astounding to me as well. I do think that this is a similar situation to the quad controversy in the men's competition. That Asada's score came nowhere near Olympic champ Yu-Na Kim's is a little startling to me. Mao had just as much pressure from her country to win gold as Yu-Na did and she was clearly distraught during the medal ceremony. But talk about Yu-Na's score - she would have placed 9th in the men's program. That is ridiculously amazing.

Both American ladies skated really well. Mirai Nagasu had my second favorite performance of the night. And Rachael Flatt skated really well too - it's too bad her triple flips were downgraded. But as well as they skated, they broke a pretty amazing Olympic streak: At least one American woman has been on the podium at every Olympics since 1968...until last night.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 14

Let us begin with a rhyme written exclusively for this blog, by our very own Sol R.

If you like to watch figure skating
And always keep all your friends waiting.
If you feel as though it takes over your life
This may lead to feelings of strife.
If you feel the need to watch it in order
You might have an Olympics Disorder.

So let's discuss the women's skiing from last night. Because of the heavy snow, skiers started racing before the skier before them had completed the course. In her first run, Lindsey Vonn fell and broke her pinkie finger. American Julia Mancuso, who was the defending Olympic champion in this event, raced right behind Vonn, not knowing that Lindsey had crashed. Halfway through, the referees made Julia stop since Lindsey was still sitting on the course. At that point, Mancuso's time was among the leaders of the race. Mancuso was then brought back to the top to being the race over, at which point the conditions were a lot worse and she ended up way behind the leaders. The second run of the event will be raced today. It's too bad, and maybe the referees need to rethink the idea of having two racers on the course at the same time, especially in dangerous conditions.

Other than that, I'm gonna call yesterday the most boring day of the Olympics so far. Nothing else to report.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 13

The American men made more history yesterday in the Nordic Combined by winning the silver medal in the team event. This is the first team medal for the Americans and the second medal in the Nordic Combined - Johnny Spillane won the silver a few days ago in the individual event and was part of the team event as well.

Poor Sven Kramer. The Dutchman was way ahead of all the other skaters' times in the 25 lap race, and all set to win the gold, when he was disqualified for not changing lanes correctly. What's more, Kramer was in the correct lane, but his coach started yelling for him to move into the other lane, which turned out to be the wrong lane. Needless to say, Kramer was furious and could not be consoled. Speed skating is so huge in the Netherlands, that coach is never going to be allowed back into the country. At least Kramer already won a gold medal a few days ago.

Did you see the little clip they did about how famous Korean figure skater Yu-Na Kim has become in her home country? I can totally vouch for the fact that there is no exaggeration in any of that. When I was at Skate America in Lake Placid last November, fans had come from all over the world to see her and they went nuts for her. In all my years of skater stalking, I have never seen anything like it. She and Japan's Mao Asada certainly did not disappoint. Both of them have been having trouble with their jumps this season, so it was great to see Asada complete a triple axel-double toe and then Kim to follow that performance with a triple-triple combination. And what an emotional moment to watch Canada's Joannie Rochette skate a beautiful performance just days after her mother died suddenly of a heart attack. Even Scott Hamilton got all choked up. (Note, the man in the audience who NBC kept showing as Rochette's father was not actually her father, but a family friend.) The top 6 ladies are pretty much standing as expected with Yu-Na and Mao at the top and the Americans in the mix as well.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 12

Caught up on some Olympics from Sunday. Go Bode! His first Olympic gold medal. What a comeback after the disastrous 2006 Olympics he had. No American male skier has ever won 4 medals in one Olympics and Bode has two more races to go.

In Ice Dance, North American teams have not had much success. Belbin and Agosto's silver medal in 2006 was America's best result ever, and the first medal in thirty or so years. No North American team has ever won gold. Not only that, but since the Ice Dance event began in the 1970s, the Russians have won gold every time, but twice. (Brits Torvill and Dean in 1984 and France's Annisina and Peizerat in 2002 are the exceptions.) So just the fact that three North American teams are in the top four positions, let alone the top two is a turning point in the sport. Johnny Weir was interviewed a few days ago about how he placed in the men's competition and he made a comment that suggested that he placed lower than he should have for political reasons - that it wasn't in some countries' best interests to have two American men on the podium. I don't know if that's true, but the fact that Russia claimed the bronze medal over Belbin and Agosto makes me think back to Weir's comments. What was up with the ropes? In my mind, lifting your partner from the ropes wrapped around her waist is totally cheating. But back to the positive, Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were absolutely stunning last night. If anything has improved from the new judging system in figure skating, it's definitely ice dance. North American skaters could have NEVER won gold (from a political standpoint) even just a few years ago. Belbin and Agosto must be acknowledged for paving the way for this achievement. Virtue and Moir are also the fourth Olympic champions in figure skating for Canada and the first ice dance team to win gold in their first trip to the Olympics.

What the heck is a "full double full full"? I mean, I know not everyone totally understands the difference between a quad and a triple in figure skating, but the way the commentators call the aerials competition is ridiculous. This is absolutely a sport that no one watches in between Olympics. Try and teach us, would ya?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 11

Yesterday, I decided to take a break from watching winter sports and participate in one myself, so I went skiing. It was a great day and I ended up renting men's Head boots and skis, and felt just like Lindsey Vonn who also skis in men's gear. Some think she is actually racing in Bode Miller's old skis, and I would like to think the same for myself as well.

Ski cross made it's Olympic debut yesterday, with the men's competition. It's just as crazy and fun to watch as snowboard cross. I don't know how ski polls are legal in this sport; it would be so easy to take out an eye like that.

The mother of Canadian ladies figure skater (and medal contender) Joannie Rochette passed away on Saturday night. At this point, Rochette still plans to skate at the Olympics. The short program begins on Tuesday.

By the way, do you know how hard it is to stay away from the Olympics when you don't want to know what's happening? My sister's birthday party on Saturday night? The bar had t.v.s airing the Olympics. The ski lodge? Olympics. The pizza store for dinner? Olympics!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 10

Lots of history making over the last couple of days...

Norway's Simon Ammann made history yesterday by becoming the most decorated Norwegian Olympian - Summer or Winter. He won his fourth gold medal in ski jumping yesterday, his second of these Games. He became somewhat of a star in 2002 in Salt Lake City, more because he looked like Harry Potter than for his ski jumping accomplishments.

Bode Miller also made history on Friday by becoming the most decorated American skier when he won his fourth medal - this one a silver. He had two silver medals in 2002 and a bronze in the downhill a few days ago. Lindsey Vonn raced yesterday and won bronze, her second of this Olympics. (Note to those keeping track, Bode's race on Friday was the first alpine ski race of the 2010 Games that weren't spoiled for me before I watched it. A small victory right there.)

Shani Davis also won his fourth Olympic medal - a silver, which was the second medal for him in Vancouver. (He already won gold.) Davis will not be competing anymore at these Olympics.

And Apolo Ohno made the biggest history by becoming the most decorated American Winter Olympian with seven medals. He won bronze on Saturday night. Ohno has two more races to go this week.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 9

This is going to be a short post, since I haven't had a chance to watch Friday's activities yet.

Here's a men's figure skating stat for you.

The only skater to win 4 Olympic medals: Gillis Grafström from Sweden who won 3 golds in the 1920s and silver in 1932.

The only skaters to win 3 Olympic medals (very short considering two of them did it at these Olympic Games):
Sonia Henie - 3 golds in 1928, 1932 and 1936
Irina Rodnina - 3 golds in 1972 (with partner Alexei Ulanov) and in 1976 and 1980 (with partner Alexander Zaitsev)
Artur Dmitriev - gold in 1992 and silver in 1994 (with partner Natalia Mishkutenok) and gold in 1998 (with partner Oksana Kazakova)
Marina Klimova & Sergei Ponomarenko - bronze in 1984, silver in 1988 and gold in 1992
Xue Shen & Hongbo Zhao - bronze in 2002 and 2006 and gold in 2010
Evgeni Plushenko - silver in 2002, gold in 2006 and silver in 2010

Stephen Colbert arrived in Vancouver a couple of days ago to support his US Speedskating team and apparently, he's found a new use for skates. Figure skating champion Brian Boitano has been known to use a figure skate similarly on his cooking show, What Would Brian Boitano Make.