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Exiting the Olympic bubble…

March 1, 2018

Another Winter Olympics has come and gone, and again I am left with that feeling of, “What now?!”

Well, there is life after the Olympics, but there are still a lot of great performances to savour from them.  A few of my favourite moments and “Wow” moments (it’s taken a couple of days to pull this all together):

The medal count: Norway won a record-breaking 39 medals (14,14,11), Germany was also impressive with 31 medals (14,10,7) and so was Canada with 29 (11,8,10). Korea also managed to pick up 17 medals (5,8,4) giving the hometown crowd a reason to cheer on many occasions! 🙂

Social media fun: I tweeted different athletes (Venla Hovi, Minttu Tuominen, Annina Rajahuhta, Susanna Tapani, Riikka Välilä, Linda Välimäki, Elina Risku, Niklas Edin, Chris del Bosco, Pekka Koskela, Mika Poutala, Denny Morrison) during the games with messages of support and it was great that they got them. The support from thousands of people around the world meant a lot to them and they said so too.

Giving the King a hug: Sweden’s men won the 4 x 7,5km biathlon relay and King Karl Gustav was present at the finish line. I laughed my head off when one of the skiers gave the King a hug. So awesome!

Tied for medals in bobsleigh: Not once but twice! In the men’s two-man event Germany and Canada shared the gold medal. It was tense second or two after the final run, but cheers erupted when the Germans realized they had won too. Bear hugs all around for Team Canada and Team Germany – so great to see.

It happened again in the men’s four-man event when Germany’s second sled and Team Korea tied for the silver medal. Complete pandemonium in the stands!

Krista Pärmäkoski: She was Finland’s shining light these game with three medals in cross-country skiing. Forget Lauri Markkanen – she is hands down my choice for Athlete of the Year. Surely no Finnish athlete will top this performance at all this year. Wait for me to campaign on this later this year.

Marit Björgen (NOR) sealed her place in history by becoming the most decorated Winter Olympic athlete after she bagged her 8th gold medal in the women’s 30km. Her final result: eight gold, four silver and three bronze medals from five Winter games.  Will she retire? I haven’t seen any headlines saying so, so she may be around for the 2019 World Nordic Ski Championships, to be held in Seefeld, Austria.

Kallie Humphries (CAN) also made history by becoming the only woman to medal in each of the women’s bobsleigh events since it became part of the Olympic program in Vancouver.  (Please correct me, if I am wrong!)

Ester Ledecka (CZE) became the first woman to ever win gold in two different events at the Winter Olympics when she won gold in women’s snowboard parallel giant slalom and Super G – on borrowed skis!! Awesome!

(EDIT, March 2, 2018) The men’s 50km – dear heavens, how could I have forgotten this?! I did get out of bed early to watch this! Hopes were riding very high Iivo Niskanen, who was named Finland’s Athlete of the Year for 2017. He made an early break at about 20km and didn’t really look back. A late push by OAR skier Aleksander Bolshunov didn’t phase Niskanen, who changed his skis with just a few kilometres left and stormed back to the lead, becoming the first Finn to win a medal in the 50km at the Olympics since Kalevi Hämäläinen in 1960.

Figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (CAN) – find highlights of any of their performances during the Olympics. I have no words, they were incredible!

Impressive women alround: the top four teams in curling, all of the hockey teams, speed skater Jorien Ter Mors (NED), up-and-comer Kim Boutin (CAN), cross-country skier Charlotte Kalla (SWE) (she won 4 medals) and compatriot Stina Nilsson, who also won four medals and Japanese long track speed skaters Nao Kodaira and Miho Tagaki who were multiple medal winners too. I could go on and on!

Impressive men: snowboarder Shaun White (USA), long track speed skater Ted-Jan Bloemen (CAN), long track speed skater Havard Lorentzen (NOR), the German hockey team, ski jumper Noriaki Kazai (JPN) in his 8th Olympics (!), short track speed skater Shaolin Sandor Liu (HUN) and alpine skier Andre Myhrer (SWE) who became the oldest man to ever win slalom gold at the Olympics.

Missed the mark (and you gotta feel bad for them, but this is the Olympics and anything can happen): Finland’s men’s hockey team (they looked good on paper!), biathlete Kaisa Mäkäräinen (FIN), speed skater Mika Poutala (FIN) after finishing 4th again in the men’s 500 – by 0.03 of a second (!) and short track speed skater Elise Christie (GBR).

Another surprise was the Canadian men and women being shut out of the medals in curling – first time ever since it became an Olympic sport again in 1998. That being said, the curling was great to watch! The rest of the world has caught up!

Scary moment: Men’s ski-crosser Chris del Bosco (CAN), who had a scary-looking crash during the qualifying runs. He suffered a pelvis fracture, broken ribs and bruised lung, but was stable in hospital in Korea. No news has come out since then, so hopefully he is okay! Several other skiers and snowboarders also suffered nasty crashes and injuries in Pyeongchang, so hopefully they’re all going to be okay!

Comeback kids: Speed skater Denny Morrison (CAN) and Snowboarder Mark McMorris (CAN). While Denny didn’t make it to the podium, that he overcame life-threatening injuries after a motorcycle accident and later suffering a stroke – the fact that he participated in fourth Olympic Games is simply awesome. Mark McMorris was fighting for his life at this time last year after hitting a tree while snowboarding with friends. He stormed to a bronze medal in men’s snowboard slopestyle. Hats off!

Calling it a career: Finland’s Anna-Kaisa Saarinen (cross-country skiing), Hannu Manninen (Nordic combined) and Pekka Koskela (speed skating) gave emotional interviews to YLE after concluding their last events in Pyeongchang. They have all decided to call it a career – and impressive careers they have had! #respect

Canada’s Alex Harvey also said that Pyeongchang would be his last Olympics. There were high hopes for him to win some hardware, but other athletes had better days than he did. He finished fourth in the men’s 50km and was devastated.

One more year? This article is in Finnish, but use Google Translate to help you… The campaign has begun to get Finland’s Riikka Välilä to continue playing hockey for #OneMoreYear. As Finland hosts the Women’s World Hockey Championships next year, I’d say the time is ripe to jump on the bandwagon. 😀

At 44, Välilä just became the oldest hockey player to ever be awarded an Olympic medal when Finland beat OAR in the bronze medal game last week.

On the negative side: I was so disappointed with YLE’s coverage of the gold medal game in women’s hockey. The commentators were SO biased towards the American team (just like in Sochi). I understand the connection many Finnish women hockey players have with the States, as many of them have played university hockey there… But come on – the bias was really awful! <grr>

I, like hundreds of thousands of other people, believe that shootouts do NOT belong in championship games. To have a gold medal game decided by a shootout – absolutely ridiculous. Play the game until someone wins. Shootouts are okay for round robin games, but not playoff games… Whose bright idea was it anyways? And why do they do it? Wait – it’s probably all about money and TV rights… Who cares – at the end of the day shootouts stink!

The Finnish Olympic Committee and members of the media deemed Finland’s performance at the Olympics a “failure,”… But that is another story…

Women won five of six of Finland’s medals in Pyeongchang, and that too is a different story…

Enjoy some good round-up stories from the BBC, The Guardian and the CBC


LOL about Scott Moir:

The Guardian:

Canada had a good roll in spite of lots of near misses!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Terri-Lynn Young permalink
    March 1, 2018 2:17 pm

    Great read. I didn’t get much of the Olympic coverage at my home (lack of cable and time) So this run down is appreciated. 🙂



  2. March 1, 2018 4:52 pm

    Nice article!

  3. March 2, 2018 11:49 am

    I don’t really follow the olympics but your summary is great!

  4. anonymous permalink
    March 2, 2018 12:11 pm

    “Finland’s men’s hockey team (they looked good on paper!)”

    Well, I’ve been wondering about the player roles (or I suppose more precisely differences in the players’ strengths rather than actual roles) or lack there of for years. There seems to be a general lack of diversity: fast skaters, players who like to check, players willing to stand in front of the opponents goal and primary goal scorers seem to be perpetually missing. We only get players cut from the same generic cloth plus Kontiola, who tends to be a bit too reckless about everything for his skills.

    The real problem was still the coach. He couldn’t excite or push the players. It also seemed they hadn’t planned or practised any plays for any situation. And to top it all, the next coach will be Jukka Jalonen, the man who introduced the style of play where Finland neither skates fast nor can get out of the defensive zone.

    BTW, you forgot about Iivo Niskanen. That was impressive. I was damn sure he’d fizzle out before the finish line having made his move at 15 km and considering what the other skiers did (or didn’t do), they must have thought the same.

    I wasn’t too impressed with Krista choosing to partner with Mari Laukkanen, because it really screwed her in her biathlon events on the following days.

    • March 2, 2018 12:58 pm

      Damn! Iivo… Yes indeed! (I have another draft entry that discusses him) I will edit this right now!!

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