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Olympic superlatives

February 16, 2006
The fire is out and fog is starting to clear, I even have a voice again. (This is my description of recovering from a nasty head cold over the last six days!) During that time my motivation to do anything around the house has been zero, hence I have had some time to keenly follow the Winter Olympics. After almost six days of competition I have observed the following (sorry for the bias on mostly Canadian and Finnish performances…) And just remember, if you don’t like what I have to write – tough, this all my opinion anyways and I’m stickin’ to it.
WAY TO GO TEAM: Team Canada (men and women) in the team speed skating pursuit, but also a big congrats to Germany (women) and Italy (men) for going all the way!
ATTA GIRL: Jennifer Heil, currently Canada’s only gold medal winner (moguls) up to this point.
ATTA BOY: Mikko Ronkainen, his gutsy performance had him hanging on to the gold medal position right up to the last skier. Hyvä Mikko!
Best hockey fans (or should I say the loudest) – The men’s hockey tournament is just getting started, but I have to say the Latvians take the cake. I love ’em, they’re great!
I wanna pull my hair out when I watch: the Finnish women blow a 3-1 lead against the American women during the round robin  of the hockey tournament. The States scored six unanswered goals; it was like the Finns crawled under a rock and went to sleep!
I wanna pull my hair out when I watch II: the Finnish men’s curling team led by Markku Uusipaavalniemi, they’ve missed so many shots by just millimetres! ARGH! That’s what makes curling what it is however – it is a game of millimetres and millimetres make the difference between a brilliant game winning shot and a shot that loses that crucial game. I hope they’ll do better in the coming days, they’ve lost some tough games.
I wanna pull my hair out when I watch III: Canadian men’s figure skaters Jeff Buttle and Emanuel Sandhu. Buttle has been awesome in recent years and watching him during the short program the other day was painful. Sandhu has been described by sports journalists as his own worst enemy. I guess I have to concur… I just hope he can put it together and prove everyone wrong!
Most interesting to watch: Long track speed skating team pursuit. As a former speed skater myself, I have actually just seen this for the first time today on Eurosport. I just have one question, why weren’t the Finnish men there with a team? (Or did I miss that part – if I did, let me know!) Oh and YAY(!) to Team Canada – men and women – for their silver medals.
The biggest "almost, but not quite": The Canadian women in the cross-country skiing pursuit. What if Sara Renner hadn’t broken her pole?… Well in any case it was an historical moment for Canadian cross-country skiing. Oh and YAY(!) to Finland for the bronze medal.
The most painful moment: watching Chinese figure skater Zhang Dan falling after an unsuccessful quad throw in the long program. Unbelievably, she got up, took a few deep breaths, tested the knee, shed a few tears and marched straight back out there to finish the routine. How Zhang and Zhang managed to win the silver medal after that is beyond me!
Another painful moment: Janne Ahonen being denied of an Olympic medal yet again… He still has a chance!
Wait – one more: Team Canada’s brutal thrashing of Team Italy 16-0 in women’s hockey. Nasty!
Don’t ever underestimate: Team Switzerland and Team Latvia in men’s hockey. Contrary to popular belief they are not the pushovers many people used to think they were! (Look at Belarus in the last Olympics!… Okay that was a fluke… ’nuff  said!)
Most definite: Plushenko gold medal in men’s figure skating and gold for Canada in women’s hockey.
Hard to call: Though Team Canada looks great on paper in men’s hockey; the Finns are off to a roaring start; and the Swiss have already upset the Czechs… Any one of CAN, SWE, FIN, RUS, SVK or CZE could win the gold medal. Men’s hockey is always a hard call these days.
Interesting: 11 of Team Italy’s hockey players are foreign born; nine from Canada and two from the States.
Interesting II: The performance of Team China’s athletes in the Winter Olympics, they keep getting better and better!
Just remember – it ain’t over yet!

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