Do the Olympics get any better than what we saw on Wednesday night? There was drama. There was dominance. There was good old hard work paying off. It was not just about America's three gold medals, how about Julia Mancuso's return to the form that won her a gold medal in the Giant Slalom at the 2006 Torino Games?
Since Torino, Julia has been less than spectacular on the alpine skiing circuit. To see her back on the podium (flash update: she took sliver in the Super Combined on Thursday) was great. We all have to learn to never give up. Take a lesson from Julia.
Let's start the Wednesday with Lindsay Vonn's dramatic win in the Downhill. That course had more bumps than the stock market. Add in the immense pressure Lindsey put on herself with the Sports Illustrated cover and the bathing suit photos and I am guessing that her shin injury was as much psychological as physical. In her defense, we all know the Olympics are a pressure cooker and it was clear after Lindsey's run that she was definitely over the boiling point emotionally.
With one gold medal around her neck hopefully she can relax a bit and take some of that pressure off her shoulders. (flash Update: Lindsay fell in the slalom of the Super Combined, but that's OK. Her next big race is the Super G).
How about Shani Davis in the men's 1000m speed skating? The ice in Vancouver looks to be pretty slow, but Shani put all doubts aside and skated his race to win gold. Just like ski racing, speed skating, especially the shorter events, are won by hundredths of a second so any little mistake can cost an athlete dearly. That is why there are so few repeat winners in the Olympics in the skiing events and the shorter distances (500m, 1000m) in speed skating.
Last but not least, how about Shaun White? Snowboard Halfpipe is a judged event which means there can be controversy at any moment. But, the Fying Tomato was so much superior to his competitors that there was absolutely no question who was the best boarder on that pipe. Shaun is only 23 which means you probably won't get more than even odds for the winner of this event in Sochi in 2014.
One last thing. More props to NBC for showing almost all of the men's and women's cross country sprint races on their afternoon show. The afternoon show is turning out to be a great place to watch some of the non-mainsream sports like cross country skiing and biathlon. Keep it up NBC!
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