Friday, February 26, 2010

Our Sixth Olympic Day - Short Track Speed Skating

Today brought us to another one of those events that we really looked forward to, the finals of the short track speed skating.

Joining us for this event was my sister Lori and my brother-in-law Mike and his wife Kate. Here they posed with one of the Royal Canadian Mounted Policemen who would later participate in the Medal Ceremony.

Once up in the stands, Kate and Mike used one of the signs I had made to help us cheer on the USA speed skaters.

Of course, one of the stars we had come to see compete was Apolo Ono. He competed twice tonight, in the Mens' 500 meter and then again in the Mens' 5000 meter relay.

Also competing was Katherine Reutter, who made it into the finals of the Ladies' 1000 meter short track event. She did very well in her semi-final and quarter-final heats.

Here Katherine makes a move to the front in her quarter-final heat.

Anyone who says that you can experience an event like this better on television has obviously never been to a short track speed skating event. I am now absolutely in love with this sport. Instead of competing against the clock as in long track speed skating, short track has 4 or 5 athletes on the ice at one time, with the two fastest in each heat continuing on to the next round. The action is intense, and you just can't experience the excitement from the confines of your couch.

Apolo Ono also advanced through his semi-final and quarter-final heats, although he had a bit of a tougher time, including a race in which he had to leap over two skaters who got tangled up and fell in front of him. He eventually made it to third place in the final, only to be disqualified for impeding a skater in his final heat.

Here's Ono in his quarter-final heat. You can see how fast moving and exciting this sport really is. I think the excitement comes across better in this crude video, shot on my pocket camera, than in the overly-packaged television coverage on NBC.

In the finals of the Ladies' 1000 meter, Katherine Reutter fought her way to the front.

Reutter ended up in second place, winning the silver medal in the Ladies' 1000 meter short track speed skating event.

The final event of the evening was the Mens' 5000 meter relay. This was by far the wildest thing I ahve ever seen, with four skaters from each team on the ice at the same time. Over the course of 45 laps, they switch off, with the next skater entering the ice ahead of the current skater, who then pushes them forward.

Canada took the gold medal, followed by Korea in second place and the USA team of JR Celski, Travis Jayner, Jordan Malone, and Apolo Ono capturing the bronze.

Here's a chunk of the race, as well as the medals ceremony. It was an incredible display.

We stayed for the medal ceremony and then took the Skytrain back into downtown Vancouver.

There are even more photos on my Flickr site.

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