Archive for Friday, February 26, 2010

Olympics Blog: Apolo, Reutter deliver the drama

February 26, 2010

After being disqualified for a slight bump during the final turn of his final individual race of the Vancouver Olympics, Apolo Ohno came right back with another unbelievable final-curve rally.

This time, Apolo brought home the 5,000-meter relay team from fourth to third when he made an inside surge and took advantage of a wide turn by China to earn the United States a bronze medal by about a foot.

It was a nerve-wracking follow-up to the 500-meter disqualification, but for Apolo — who now has eight career Olympic medals — it was just another day at the office.

Given the thrills every one of his finals races has provided throughout these Olympics, we can only hope it wasn’t his final race and final Olympic miracle.

Apolo is still far too good to hang up his skates. A lot can change in four years, of course, but at this point it would be silly for him to rule out one more Olympics appearance. He’s the smartest short track racer in the world, and that clearly makes a major difference in races, even if he loses a bit of speed during the next four years.

Equally entertaining was Katherine Reutter. The American squeaked her way into the silver medal with a late surge in the women’s 1,000-meter race.

Fans of the Colbert Report might remember Reutter’s appearance on the show prior to the Olympics when she had the faux pundit autograph her thigh.

Colbert prides himself in giving people, places and politicians “the Colbert bump” by drawing attention to them. It worked for Shani Davis, and Reutter is now the latest benefactor of the coveted vote of confidence.

Reutter is the most gifted US women’s short track skater, and at just 21 years old, she is essentially the future of the sport for Team USA. That’s a good thing, because at future Olympics she will now bring not only experience, but success, to the squad. In addition to her individual medal, she also helped the women’s 3,000-meter relay team nab the bronze.


Earlier in the week I dismissed some of the media’s hype around the US men’s hockey team’s upset of Canada in group play. It was the day before the 30th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, and the press has gone to great lengths to make comparisons.

The upset victory against Canada absolutely was a great story, but to try to put it on the same page as the greatest upset in American sports history was just silly. This wasn’t a roster full of college kids like the one in 1980. These were professionals, albeit not all-stars like the Canadians and Russians had.

I mentioned in the previous blog that we would learn the true value of that victory later in the week.

We will find out what it was worth on Sunday when the USA and Canada meet up for round two in the gold-medal game.


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