[tweetmeme style=”compact” source=”JohannaAP25″]
Over all it was a great night for American speed skating, resulting in two medal winning races on the short track. Good stuff.
Katherine Reutter had an awesome race night in the 1,000 meter, executing an awesome passes along the way. She won her quarterfinal ahead second qualifier of Cho Hae-Ri of South Korea. Reutter went on to win her semifinal in 1:30.568 just ahead of Wang Meng of China who crossed the line at 1:30.573.
Reutter began the A Final from the third starting position and fought the whole way to finish with a silver, the first individual women’s medal in short track in sixteen years. Reutter hung out in third for a while before slipping back into fourth and finally power-housing through to the silver and heroically holding Park back the last laps. Pre-tty fantastic. Wang Meng got the gold and bronze went to Park Seung-Hi of South Korea. Reutter has been considered a major player on the women’s team for this her first Olympics and it looks like that Colbert-branded thigh can go home happy.
Second medal moment of the night belonged to the men’s 5,000 meter relay team consisting of Apolo Ohno, J.R. Celski, Jordan Malone & Travis Jayner. Ohno was the only remaining team member of the 2006 Torino bronze medalists.
If you missed the earlier relay events you missed out on some spectacular comments comparing the required movements to a ballet of sorts… last night all we got was, “it looks chaotic, but there is an amazing synchronicity to what these skaters do.” This is the race where skaters alternate laps and push each other in and out of play, passing on their speed to their teammates while tagging them in. It’s basically the most exciting and hectic event in short track.
The US team was easily in the lead pack early on, keeping up with Canada, China and South Korea and leaving the French team well behind. Then things got a little hairy with the American team settled into fourth and struggling to keep up with the pack. Very stressful.
In a pre-race sound bite Ohno said that for short track Friday “I like to use the expression ‘Any given Sunday, anything can happen.'” The race was perfect entertainment from the get-go. It was also incredibly close– unknowably close until the replay. I certainly had to wait to be sure of what I had just seen. Ohno took the last laps for the team who had remained in fourth position throughout the race and somehow–out of nowhere– rocketed into third, almost overtaking South Korea for second: “What Apolo can do– he’s the best in the world in this situation!” You get the feeling listening to the commentators that there is no joy in the world like being in the arena when Apolo Ohno is racing. I’m a little/a lot jealous of them.
That’s number eight kids. As over used as the word ‘epic’ is… it was epic. And that is why no one on this earth could tempt me to not watch the Olympics last night. Not a one.
As a postscript, Canada took the gold so good for them on home ice. I’m still upset about the 500 meter though, and I blame them. Sorry.