Maybe the Koreans are right.
Maybe Apolo Anton Ohno does skate dirty.
Ohno cost himself a ninth medal when he pushed Canadian short-track skater Francois-Louis Tremblay on the final turn of last night’s 500-meter final, sending Tremblay into the padded wall … and sending himself home without that extra medal, disqualified from the final.
When it was over, all the hype, all the promise, boiled down to two medals for covergirl and swimsuit model Lindsey Vonn.
She hit mushy snow, straddled an early gate and skied out of the first run of the slalom this morning, the third time in her five events she did not finish a course. She crashed on Wednesday in the first run of the giant slalom and, last week, did not finish the slalom portion of the super combined – her only apparent regret.
Forget Sidney Crosby.
Joannie Rochette is Canada’s hero on ice.
Rochette last night honored her mother’s memory with a bronze medal in the marquee event of these Games. More than that, she reminded medal-desperate Canada that it is more important to simply seek personal excellence than to Own the Podium.
The U.S. ski team today confirmed that Lindsey Vonn will race tomorrow despite breaking her right pinky finger in a crash Wednesday that ended her first run in the Giant Slalom. A contender in all five events entering the Games, Vonn won the downhill, took bronze in the Super-G and washed out in the GS and the super-combined.
The location and severity of Vonn’s crash yesterday forced teammate Julia Mancuso to stop her (unimpressive) run two-thirds of the way through it. Mancuso, the defending gold medalist, happened to be scheduled to start right after Vonn. As was the protocol yesterday, Mancuso exited the start gate 1 minute behind Vonn, or right about the time Vonn crashed.
Mancuso re-started about 20 minutes and 13 skiers later and finished 1.30 seconds behind the leader of the first run, in 18th place. Mancuso bitterly complained about the race officials’ handling of the matter: about being allowed to start at all, about being stopped, about her transportation back to the top.
Following Bode Miller’s lead from yesterday, lovely Lindsey Vonn skied out of control and crashed near the end of her first giant slalom run, ending her day and, possibly, her Olympics. It was the second time Vonn, a medal contender in every race here, lost control and lost a race.
Vonn broke her right pinkie and banged her chin, knee and hip in the crash, injuries that might keep her out of the fifth and final race, the slalom, on Friday. She entered the Games with a bruised right shin that might have kept her from participating at all.
Vonn fought through that to win gold in the downhill and bronze in the super G, but she ran off the course in the super combined and, today crashed.
Former Flyers general manager Bob Clarke talked about Team Canada's chances in Olympic hockey on Wednesdasy morning at the Flyers' training facility in Voorhees, N.J.
Q: Can you talk about Canada’s loss to USA?
“The loss to the U.S. just caused Canada to play one extra game against a better opponent. I think when you are in a one-loss knockout there shouldn’t be a favorite anyway, even though the Canadians were considered the favorite. There are five or six teams who could easily win it.”
On an emotional night for Canadian figure skater Joanie Rochette, NBC had the right person in the right place to provide some needed perspective.
No one can know exactly what Rochette is experiencing, although the tears after her short program routine last night provided just a small example of how tough this all has been. Rochette's mother passed away earlier this week after her parents had made the trip from Montreal to Vancouver. She learned of the death when her father visited her in the athlete's village Sunday morning.
Before she skated, NBC interviewed Dan Jansen, who is a commentator on the speedskating for the network. It was Jansen, who memorably fell in the 1988 Olympics, hours after learning that his sister, Jane, had died.
VANCOUVER – Allison Baver was knocked into a wall again. This time she got up, continued to skate, and advanced into Saturday’s 1500-meter semifinals anyway through the arcane rules of short-track speedskating.
And then: ``A tactical mistake,’’ she said. She let two many skaters move ahead of her, too many for her to make a charge at the end.
``I wish I would have just slapped myself in the face and reminded myself to take control of the race and be in front of certain girls,’’ said Baver, a native of the Reading suburb of Sinking Spring. ``Usually I skate a lot more aggressively, from the front. Part of it was my confidence a little bit. That split second when I wanted to go to the front I was like, ``oooh’’. I just wasn’t sure of myself. And I think that just comes with my injury a little bit. Not knowing my body 100 percent.’’
A quick refresher: Last February, Baver broke her right ankle, her fibula and suffered cartilage damage when she was knocked off her feet and into the boards by U.S. teammate Katherine Reutter during a World Cup race in Sofie, Bulgaria last February. She didn’t walk again until May, didn’t return to the U.S. team until June, didn’t qualify for the Olympics until September.
Reutter finished fourth last night. She too gained the finals despite a semifinal collision, and she was involved in contact in the final race as well.
Baver will have two other chances to medal – in the 1,000 meters, which begin on Wednesday and finish Friday, and the women’s 3,000 meter relay Wednesday night.
``I wish I would have just went with my instincts in my semifinal,’’ she said. ``I hate that I made that mistake… Hopefully this will give me the fire to step it up in my other races.’’
Less than an hour after she said this, her ex, Apolo Anton Ohno, made Olympic history by gaining a bronze medal in the Men’s 1500 Final, his seventh overall. That eclipsed the six Bonnie Blair accumulated over three Olympics, although it should be noted that five of Blair’s were gold, and came in the more traditional long track discipline.
Ohno has won two gold, two silver and now, three bronze medals. A smile crossed his face as he crossed the finish line, signaling up towards Blair, who was in attendance.
``I'm very happy for Apolo's accomplishment," Blair said. "It's a great feat for him, US Speedskating, and the United States of America. We hope that more kids will see his accomplishments and want to try our great sport that has been so good to us and taught us so much about what it takes to be successful in life.’’
Ohno nearly fell as he chased down his two bitter Korean rivals, Jung-Su Lee and Ho-Suk Lee, in the final -- which cost him any chance to beat them. He has two more medal opportunities – the 500 which begins Wednesday and finishes Friday, and the 5000 meter relay event Friday night.’’
In advance of Canada's marquee preliminary game against the U.S. tomorrow, versatile Flyers captain Mike Richards has been moved up from the Canadians' third line to the first line, where he will skate with Sidney Crosby and Rick Nash.
Richards, promoted for his versatility, effort and physical play, replaces Jarome Iginla, whose health has been in question. Iginla netted a hat trick in an 8-0, opening win over Norway, but he did not get off a shot against the Swiss on Thursday, when Canada's nemesis forced a shootout before falling. Iginla appears headed for the third line.
Richards came into the Games as a possible game-to-game scratch possibility, but his goal in the first game and his two shots and strong play aainst the Swiss has made him worth a shakeup gamble.