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Winter Olympics bits III

February 26, 2006
Part three in series… Sorry for the bias towards Canadian and Finnish performances!
Atta girl: Canadian Chandra Crawford for blowing away the opposition in the women’s cross-country sprint. The 22 year-old has a promising future. Look for her in Vancouver in 2010. (www.vancouver2010.com)
Atta girls: Cindy Classen and Christina Groves for their 1-2 in the women’s 1500m speed skating. Clara Hughes for pulling one out of the hat in the last lap of the 5000m and Cindy Classen for her fifth medal of the games with a bronze in the same race.
Atta girl II: Tanja Poutiainen for her silver medal! Hyvä Tanja!
Atta boy: Antero Niityymäki for saying yes to his presence at the Olympics. He has silenced all the critics who said that Finland didn’t have a chance in men’s hockey.
Way to go team: Team Finland – Markku Uusipaavalniemi, Wille Mäkelä, Teemu Salo and Kalle Kiiskinen for their last stone victory over Great Britain in the men’s curling semi-final. The win assured a medal for Finland. Well done guys!  (The Finnish President, Tarja Halonen and her husband Pentti Arajärvi were there to see the action too.) A pity that Uusipaavalniemi and Mäkela curled poorly in the final, but that is curling – like I mentioned earlier, it is a game of millimetres! In any case their silver medal was the first ever Olympic curling medal for Finland. Look for more promising things in Finnish curling. (www.curling.fi) The Mr. was more PO’d about Finland losing the curling final than the hockey final – are we getting old or what??!!
Way to go team II: Canadian women winning gold in women’s hockey. Hats off to Team Sweden for stepping up to the challenge! Women’s hockey will never be the same again.
Way to go team III: Finland’s men’s hockey team for taking down the U.S. in the quarter finals of men’s hockey.
Heavy load: Canadian speed skater Cindy Klassen is going home with FIVE medals from these Olympics. It makes her the most decorated Olympian ever. She’s only 26, so she just may be around for Vancouver.
Bummer: Canada’s performance in men’s hockey! It just wasn’t meant to be. (Yikes! And I promised to wear a Finnish t-shirt to work based on Finland’s performance… Ah, I will take a ribbing from my colleagues, but thankfully they’re good-natured about it! )
What happened?: Team Sweden’s performance in men’s curling… Peja Lindholm and Co. just imploded!
Close but no cigar: Canadian Women’s 2-man bobsleigh (4th), Kelly Vanderbeek (Women’s Super-G), Francois Bourque (Men’s Giant Slalom), Pierre Leuders and Co. in the four-man bobsleigh
Cool: Cross-country skiers from Greece, Turkey, Korea and India; downhill skiers from Morocco, Argentina and India
Nice to see: Norwegian ski coach, Bjørnar Håkensmoen for impulsively handing a spare ski pole over to Sara Renner during the sprint. For his fair play gesture he has been bombarded with thanks from thousands of grateful Canadians. (http://www.aftenposten.no/english/sports/article1225796.ece)
Who’s crazier?: The skeleton crew or the freestyle aerial crew (personally I think they’re all crazy!)
I don’t get it: How can you win a medal in figure skating if you fall?
I don’t get it II: I know the rules for Olympic hockey were different, but the penalty calls were confusing.
Promising future: Canada’s cross-country skiing team
Painful: Kalle Palander missing a gate in the men’s slalom. Though he was out of contention, I was so happy when he continued… and finished 2nd! (So close but so far!!!!) The Mr. told me Palander was fined for continuing when he had clearly missed the gate.
Surprising: The Canadian men’s curling team for scoring HUGE in the semi finals and the finals. A colleague at work asked me how it is possible to score five points in one end… It is possible because they scored six in one end in the final against Finland. Now THAT was painful to watch… Markku Uusipaavalniemi and Wille Mäkelä missed their shots by so little!
Likeable: Finnish men’s hockey coach Erkka Westerlund and forwards Teppo Numminen and Saku Koivu
Painful II: Finland’s loss in the gold medal game against Sweden. The Mr. and I were standing up and yelling in the last minute of the game!
Surprising II: No gold for Finland at these Olympics. I had taken a guess that Finland would win 7 medals (the Mr. said 6). Nine medals for Finland is respectable and I am happy about their performance! Hyvä Suomi!
Hats off: YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Corporation – www.yle.fi) for excellent coverage of the Olympics – even in events where Finland did not field any athletes. Thanks YLE! Tapio Suominen is my favourite sports broadcaster!
It’s sad that the Olympics are coming to and end.  Thankfully Beijing is only two years away and Vancouver will soon be the focus of the winter sports world. (As I write this Finland’s commercial TV channel MTV3 is showing scenes from Helsinki’s “kauppatori”, where the Finnish men’s hockey team will soon arrive to celebrate their silver medal. Right now it is empty, but in just a few short hours it will be bedlam!)
Until Beijing…
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