Tag Archives: Luge

The Inspiring Journey of Seun Adebiyi

Photo: ESPN's "E:60" and Samson Chan Films.

A forest is not made in a season.  An eagle’s swoop has seen many seasons and floods…. -Nigerian Proverb

I recently learned about Olympic hopeful Seun Adebiyi from a segment of ESPN’s “E:60.” For this fanatic, his story was extremely moving.  It has stayed with me.

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Filed under Olympic Fever, Skeleton

Women’s Ski Jumping Approved? Well, Sort of….

It wasn’t the worst news that supporters of women’s ski jumping could have received.  It wasn’t the best, either.  In a statement released yesterday, the IOC stated that it looked “favorably” on women’s ski jumping being added to the 2014 Olympics, but that a final decision would not be made until after the world championships next year.   Yet again, women’s ski jumping has not been given a final clearance for take-off.  But it is the most promising news the sport has received, and as jumper Lindsey Van told USA Today, “They didn’t say no, so we’re headed in the right direction.” (Click here for the article.)

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Filed under Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Figure Skating, Freestyle Skiing, Luge, Olympic Fever, Ski Jumping, Snowboarding

Day 2: An End to the Droughts, Plus Quebec’s Complaints

Alexandre Bilodeau, first gold medalist in Vancouver for Canada

Perhaps the skies were clear, but a precipitation of good fortune must have come from somewhere, for two droughts came to an end yesterday (Sunday) for USA and Canada.   In addition, there was an upset in men’s biathlon, a tight race in figure skating got even closer following the short program, and apparently there are complaints about the opening ceremony and the Quebec people, also called les Quebecois?

USA Drought Over in Nordic Combined!

Could it be true that USA finally won its first Olympic medal ever in Nordic combined?  Yes!  And Johnny Spillane not only made this happen, but won silver in a race that was a nail biter right down to the finish line!  And what a come-from-behind win for Jason Lamy-Chapuis!  After a disappointing ski jump, he was not in the best position for a medal, but he fought for it and emerged out of the pack victorious!  Vive la France!

Shoot Me Now! Biathlon Shocker!

After having written about the talents and record of Norway’s Bjorn Daehlie, I was excited to watch him win yet another gold medal.  I was confident, and in my mind, perhaps the closer race would be deciding who would win silver and bronze.  Boy was I wrong!  With the weather conditions, Bjoern Daehlie and the other heavy medal favorites faltered during the shooting portion, missing the targets.  Did anyone else notice the delay in Fourcade’s shooting, which didn’t seem to much help his accuracy?  What a shocker!

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Filed under Figure Skating, Freestyle Skiing, Luge, Nordic Combined, Olympic Fever

Day 1 at Vancouver: What I Love About 2010 Olympics

Olympic gold medalist in ski jump, Switzerland's Simon Ammann

Following a day of mixed emotions–the fallen Georgian slider and a celebratory finish late into the evening, I went to sleep with images of the illuminating opening ceremony in my mind.  Saturday morning, I woke up groggy, went for a run, and came home to begin anxiously waiting for television coverage of the first day of Olympic competition in Vancouver!

Disappointed to learn of the alpine events cancelled, I was nonetheless excited about the competition in store for today–normal hill ski jump, men’s 5,000 meters speed skating, short track speed skating, biathlon, and women’s moguls.

But in honor of St. Valentine, whom some celebrate on Sunday, instead of a long-winded recap of yesterday’s events, I decided to make a list (in no specific order) of what I love thus far about the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

1.  Gold medalist Simon Ammann of Switzerland and his exuberance over every Olympic ski jumping gold medal he has ever won.  He’s not afraid to be as excited as possible.  I love his giddy excitement, especially when it’s his third time around at the Winter Games.

2.  Apolo  Ohno graciously giving J.R. Celski his own time with NBC in a post-victory interview.  But before leaving, Ohno picked J.R. up and roared in celebration and pride over the young skater’s bronze medal.

3.  Crying parents/parents pride.  The sobbing Sven Kramer’s father following his son’s gold medal victory in the men’s 5,000 meters and J.R. Celski’s mother who was crying before the final race even began!

4.  J.R. Celski, Trevor Marsicano, and Chloe Dufour-Laponte.  I love watching young athletes with such promise perform well and how they show us glimpses of more to come in future Olympic Games .

5.  Team Canada’s record-breaking 18-0 victory over Slovakia.

6.  Luge athlete Anton Zoeggeler’s silver helmet.

7.  Apolo Ohno’s strategic move to the front of the pack during the men’s short track 1500 semi-final race.

8.  Hannah Kearney’s “Anime-style” pigtails emerging from the back of her helmet

9.  Speed skating fans from the Netherlands

10.  The Richmond Olympic Oval

Perhaps if NBC had shown decent coverage of the women’s 7.5 kilometer biathlon, I’m sure this event would have made my list.  Oh, NBC, you frustrate me so!

Swifter, Higher, Stronger.

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Luge and Skeleton? Fearless Daredevils Welcome! Part 2: Skeleton

As with luge and bobsled, skeleton also derives from traditional sledding.  Like its relative sports, skeleton was also created in the resort town of St. Moritz, Switzerland.  After gaining popularity, luge was added as an Olympic sport in 1928, and 1948 but would not reappear and be officially added as a medal  event until 2002.  Skeleton racers, as they’re called, travel down an icy track at high speeds, trying for the best finish, the fastest times winning.   There’s no vessel to ride in and instead of a supine position as with luge, the racers are face down on a sled made of steel.  No brakes or steering apparatus allowed for the racers whose speeds can increase to up to 62 mph (100 kph) !   One wrong move and the results can be disastrous.

With it being such a new medal sport in Olympic competition, I must admit that I have not yet become overly attached to skeleton.  It is probably my least favorite of the ice track racing events (behind luge and bobsled).   I also have no knowledge of legendary figures in the sport, such as a Georg Hackl or a Gustav Weder.  In addition, from looking at the charts of past skeleton winners at the Olympic Games there is no country or racer that seems to have dominated since 2002.  Germany, Switzerland, The United States, and  Canada have all had success on the track.  Based on World Cup standings and world championships over the past two years, it seems that these skeleton racers will be sure to rattle some bones:

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Luge and Skeleton? Fearless Daredevils Welcome! Part 1: Luge

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about bobsled, labeling it the “roller coaster” on ice and I compared it to traditional sledding.  Perhaps, then, luge and skeleton are extreme sledding on ice?

As with its cousin sport bobsled (or bobsleigh), luge derives from traditional sledding.  Also like bobsled, luge was created in the resort town of St. Moritz, Switzerland.  After gaining popularity, luge was finally added as an Olympic sport in 1964.  As with bobsled, in luge the athletes travel down an icy track at high speeds, trying for the best finish, the fastest times winning.

Here the similarities end.  Unlike that roller coaster on ice, there is no protection for the athlete.  He or she does not ride in the comfort of a metal and fiberglass enclosed vessel.  Oh no.   This sport is not for the faint of heart.  Only fearless daredevils

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