Greetings this Sunday Morning!
Just a couple of observations from last night’s and this mornings events from coverage I’ve managed to catch – augmented by a few notes by Dan Funboy.
Besides Jennifer Heil’s awesome performance and Women’s Hockey rolling over Italy (as I type they are leading Russia 10-0), i enjoyed an inspired performance by Italian long-strack speed skater (insert name here), who absolutely looked like he was being pushed by the Italian crowd. Great to see the homer country get on the medal board early too.
More about Speed skating, that hotshot American kid is fast and determined, watch his technique, a double push but they’ll likely talk about this on TV-coverage. CBC has Catroina LeMay Doan doing color commentary and she was quite good (though she looks rather soccer-mom-ish now – cause well, … she probably is) but she called on Canada to support more and help the athletes to “own the podium” (the Canadian mantra).
Catriona Lemay and husband, Doan at Soldier Hollow Cross Country venue, Winter Olympics 2002 – photo Dave Olson
Of course, in egalitarian and thrifty Canada, most folks want the money spread around so each athlete can get a piece of the pie but, later as the Federal Sport Minister pointed out, they is better return on investment (judged by medals won) but entirely supporting elite athletes with best chance of medaling.
Digression … CBC has some versatile announcers to be sure, and I love a Saturday without Bob Cole and Harry Neale (retire for Pete’s sake), Ron Maclean is a national treasure, Steve Armitage is pretty good at everything but not great at any one, Brian Williams is Canada’s excessively perky Regis.
Claudia Pechstein and Daniela Anschuetz Thoms just skated the 3000m. Claudia won in 2002 and Canada’s Cindy Klasussen holds the record and skates. Not Claudia’s best race, a NED 19 year old sits in first.
Claudia Pechstein, basking in Gold Medal joy and sitting in on drums with Acoustica at the Thuringen House, SLC 2002
Firecracker Danilea Anschutz of the German long-track speed skating team partying down at the Thuringen House, SLC 2002
Continuing update … Cindy is underway and flying so far, hope she keeps the pace, still under the time, drafting off her pairing (NED Groenewold) down the stretch, smart … still belowthe target after 2 laps – still looking relaxed and solid, 4 laps now and she is bonking, and slipped and Groenewold wins the heat as Klaussen lost it, tightening up on the last lap. Sits in third but still 4 skaters to go including Canada’s Christina Groves and Clara Hughes.
Freisinger skates now with Groves and neither skaters finished top 3. Clara set to start vs. Sablikova of CZE. False start and then away clean. The races have been fast and racers bonking at end so Clara must skate her pace.
Well no go for Sarah but Cindy finishes in Bronze position (same finish as SLC 2002) while the young Nederlander scores Gold. Both Germans were shut out.
BTW, i really don’t like hearing about athlete’s “faiths” on air, i think that is a personal issue and the fact that she is a Mennonite doesn’t add to the athletic coverage.
Back to Women’s hockey vs Russia 11-0 now halfway through the 3rd. In training, the women played 22 games vs. Alberta men’s midget teams (not *really* wee folks, just young men) and finished 10-10-2 and increased their physical game with more rough and tumble play.
It is amazing to see the veterans players for Canada against the Italian women last night (replayed from yesterday). The Italians were tiny and young and looked dazzled by the burly and experienced Canadians to say the least. Major props to the Italians who battled through to the end. Heck, I wouldn’t want to have Goyette or Wickenheiser bearing down on me (yikes!).
Vicky Sunohara and Cherry Piper are my favorites. Sunohara was awesome, gritty, smart player at Nagano and is Piper is wee but a battler and has great hands around the net.
Cherry Piper with newly won Gold Medal at the M’s Gold Medal Curling match at SLC 2002
12-0 now vs Russia, kinda a joke and an awkward situation for Canada to not let up and if they do, the gain lazy habits in front of net and on backcheck etc.
While Canada continues to roll, a note on downhill skiiing which demostrates the unpredictibility of sport with the hotshot Americans finishing out of medals with a darkhorse Frechman taking gold and Austria and Switzerland taking Silver and Bronze. Manuel Osborn-Paradis wa the top Canucks finishing in 13th place Canucks while teammate Francois Bourque came in 16th with a strong finish. The last Canadian also placed top 30, John Kucera came in in 27th place 2.75 sec off the winning time – just wait for 2010.
Cross-country skiier Beckie Scott finished in, what is likely a disappointing 6th, but in a 2002 Bronze finish, she managed to move up 2 places with positive doping test so maybe she’ll manage to gain a few places again.
Digression … is that Personal Digital Recorders (i.e. Tivo, Replay etc.) are excellent for the Olympics – why is Canada slow to adopt this tech just now available (as mentioned in the ubligoutous commericals)? I have a Replay TV but no way to subscribe in Canada and I am trying to set it up just to pause and record what i am watching at the moment.
Next up on CBC, Short Track Speed skating and Jeff Christie Luging.