Archive for Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympics Blog, Day 6: Crash and burn

February 19, 2010

Lindsey Vonn knew just how dangerous the Vancouver slopes could be.

She’s watched opponent after opponent wipe out in violent crash after violent crash while she survived the course Wednesday and captured Olympic gold in the downhill.

TV cameras caught Vonn grimacing and shielding her eyes at the sight of many of the wrecks. While she’d battled through pain of her own — a severely bruised shin nearly kept her out of the Olympics completely — she also saw plenty of evidence that more pain could be in store if one slight mistake were made or one rough patch threw her off course.

Thursday, it was Vonn’s turn to fall, and Team USA fans who’ve enjoyed success after success for American athletes so far this week got a reminder that there are no guarantees at the Olympics.

Vonn surged into the lead after a dominant first half of the super-combined, but on her second run she skied aggressively, caught the tip of a ski on a gate and wiped out. No gold medal. No medal at all.

Later in the women’s half pipe, the USA was again favored for the gold as defending champ Hannah Teeter was scheduled to ride.

Australia’s Torah Bright overcame a fall on her first ride, nailed all of her tricks on the second and surged into first place. Competitor after competitor tumbled to the bottom of the halfpipe attempting to outdo her. Teter didn’t fall, but she wasn’t at her sharpest on her final ride and took second.

Unlike Wednesday night when American Shaun White defended his gold in awe-inspiring fashion, the USA was forced to settle for second.

WHAT THE …?

In all of my previous years of watching the Olympics, I’ve never watched the skeleton competition.

That’s changing as I type this.

Oh … my … goodness.

For all the talk about the danger of the luge and the halfpipe, skeleton is the craziest Olympic event I’ve ever seen. It’s basically a head-first luge, with seemingly less control and faster speed.

I really hope this doesn’t end badly for anyone.

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