The Winter Olympics are off to an excellent start.
Canada is seeking to win its first gold medal while hosting the games and came very close to ending the drought during the women’s mogul freestyle event.
Jennifer Heil of Canada had an excellent second run. She stayed balanced, looked relaxed and executed nearly flawless tricks off both jumps. When she finished, she looked up to the scoreboard and saw she moved ahead of American Shannon Bahrke, and was currently in first with one skier remaining.
The remaining skier was American Hannah Kearney, who had a sound second-run of her own. Both competitors knew it was going to be close as they both stared up at the scoreboard, waiting for results.
When it was revealed Kearney won, spectators saw the raw emotion the Olympic offer. They saw it on both the face of the American, expressing sheer joy, and on Heil’s face, stunned at the turn of events.
There was another stunning finish during a men’s short track speed skating event. In the 1500 meter race, South Korea was set to sweep the medals, but two skaters fell coming around the last turn allowing Americans Apolo Anton Ohno and J.R. Celski to gain the silver and bronze medals.
Perhaps the best display of Olympic-caliber bliss was the Netherlands’ Sven Kramer, a 5,000 meter speed skater (and favorite to win the 10,000). Once he realized he won the gold – with an Olympic record time, he ran/slid across the rink, climbed over three barriers between the track and the crowd and ran up a set of stairs to hug his parents and girlfriend. It was a beautiful culmination for the young skater, who no doubt, worked continuously leading up to the games with the goal of first place in mind.
As for Canada’s search for a gold medal on its own soil, they can be excited for their women’s hockey team. The squad pounded Slovakia 18-0, setting an Olympic record for most goals in a game.
There was also women’s biathlon, men’s ski jumping and luge competitions yesterday. And the best part is there are two more weeks of international sport to look forward to.
As of Sunday morning, America led the medal count with four – one gold, one silver and two bronze; South Korea had two – one gold and one silver; and nine countries have one medal each.
If Saturday is any indication of what the 2010 Vancouver games has to offer, we are all in for a treat.