Ameria Has Its Day in Vancouver
2/18/2010 - Heading into Wednesday’s
competitions, the United States had fallen behind Germany in the medal standings for the first time in Vancouver. That all ended after a series of thrilling performances by American athletes put the US back on top.
It began Wednesday morning, with the
much-anticipated Vancouver debut of skier Lindsey Vonn. Vonn, who was considered
a heavy favorite heading into the games, had been suffering from a shin injury sustained in practice. But it was difficult to tell on Whistler, where she skied to a gold medal in the ladies’ downhill. American Julia Mancuso, who won gold in Torino, also had a good day, taking silver
Next, it was Shani Davis. The American skating star is the current record holder in 1000m, and last night he was looking to defend
his gold medal in the race. He didn’t disappoint: in a remarkable show
of athletic power, he skated to an easy gold medal. As in ladies’ downhill,
another American managed to reach the podium, with Chad Hedrick taking bronze.
Finally, it was Shaun White. The worldwide snowboard sensation had been preparing for these Olympic Games for some time, even devising
a new move to bring home gold for the United States. Ultimately, he didn’t
need it: his performance was daring, high-flying and, as always, dominant. White
successfully defended his gold medal, with teammate Scotty Lago taking bronze.
The games of the XXI Winter Olympiad
have only just begun, but already it has been one of the most successful winter games of all time for the US. And with hopes riding high on further medals in skiing and speed skating, and the prospect of taking medals
in figure skating and hockey as well, that’s unlikely to change. Though
the home nation has enjoyed success as well, thus far these have truly been America’s games.
Conditions on Whistler Continue
to Hamper Alpine Events
2/16/2010 - First there wasn't enough snow. Now, there's too much.
Volatile weather conditions on Whistler continue to interfere with the alpine skiing competition at the Vancouver games.
The conditions on Whistler have forced yet another postponement: the men's
super combined scheduled for today will now take place on Sunday.
Weather conditions on Whistler have been fierce and unpredictable since the
start of the Vancouver games. Though this had made for amazing biathlon and cross-country competition, alpine skiing,
which requires more precise conditions, has been negatively impacted. Thus far, only one alpine event has taken place:
the men's downhill, won by Swiss skier Didier Defago.
New Alpine Skiing Schedule Released
2/13/2010 - In light of weather concerns,
VANOC has released a revised Alpine Skiing programme. In this new programme,
the Men’s Downhill event scheduled for Saturday has instead been rescheduled for Monday, while the ladies’ Super-Combined
event will now take place on Thursday.
The revisions to the schedule are sure
to benefit American skiing star Lindsey Vonn, who got a late start on training for the Vancouver games due to an injury suffered
on a practice slalom run.
Sliding Course Modified
2/13/2010 - Amid growing concerns over
the speed and safety of the Whistler sliding course, VANOC has modified the course slightly in the hopes of keeping athletes
safe during competition.
Among other things, the modifications
include the addition of a new safety wall, and a change in starting position, with the men’s runs now beginning at the
ladies’ starting point.
VANOC has been working to alleviate concerns
over safety on the course at the Whistler sliding facility following the death of Georgian athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili during
training on Friday. The Georgian Olympic team has blamed the speed of the Whistler
course for the accident.
Concerns Raised Over Sliding
2/13/2010 - A day after the death of
Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, concerns have been raised over the state of the Whistler sliding course in Vancouver. Amidst these concerns, many are now asking whether or not the course is safe enough
Concerns stem primarily from the speed
of the course. Observers have noted the average speed of athletes on the course
is 90 mph, up 10 mph from Torino and Salt Lake. Such speeds make for more challenging
and entertaining competition, but may keep less experienced athletes from maintaining proper control, leading to further accidents.
The Georgian Olympic team and VANOC disagree
on the cause of Friday’s crash. While the Georgians believe the speed of
the course makes it too dangerous for competition, VANOC disagrees, contributing the accident to athlete error.
Opening Ceremonies Begin with Glowing Hearts
2/13/2010 - Four years in the making, the opening ceremonies of the XXI Olympic Winter Games did not disappoint.
In a remarkable feat of technology, entertainment, and passion, Canada did indeed show the world what their great nation is
truly capable of.
A day that began with tragedy, amidst the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, ended in trumph, with an engrossing
cultural programme intended to showcase the beauty of Canada, and the pride its citizens take in their country. The
star-studded performance featured musical acts from Canadians Nelly Furtado, Bryan Adams, and Sarah McLachlan, and narration
from Canadian actor Donald Sutherland.
Speculation was ended when, at the final leg of the torch relay, the flame was indeed passed to Canadian hockey legend
Wayne Gretsky. Gretsky and the three other final torch bearers then took places at the four corners of an Olympic Cauldron,
where they lit the flame together (this followed an uneasy pause when one of the pylons for the cauldron failed to deploy.
Nonetheless, the spectacle did not disappoint).
Following this lighting, Gretsky was taken by motorcade to the official Olympic Cauldron, surrounded by cheering Canadians
in what will likely live on as one of the great moments in Olympic spirit.
On behalf of Olympia, we thank you, Vancouver, and all of Canada, for welcoming us and all the world with glowing hearts.
Let the games begin!
The XXI Winter Olympiad Opens Tonight
2/12/2010 - After four years of waiting, tonight we witness the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in
With the big moment fast approaching, speculation in Canada is swirling around the question of who will light the Olympic
cauldron. Many expect hockey legend Wayne Gretsky to do the honors, however several other names have been mentioned.
Among others, Betty Fox, the mother of Terry Fox, is considered a candidate, and some have even suggested that a hologram
of Terry Fox himself may carry the torch to the cauldron.
Terry Fox, a Canadian national hero, gained notoriety in 1980 when he set out to run across Canada to rally support for
cancer research. Fox himself was suffering from cancer, but managed to run for 143 days before the spread of the disease
forced him to stop.
Canada hopes to make a strong impression on the world during the 17 days of the Olympic Winter Games, and that impression
begins tonight. Canadian singers Bryan Adams and Sarah McLachlan will be among those performing at the opening ceremonies,
which will also feature such stunts as a ski jumper soaring through the olympic rings.
Cyprus Mountain Ready for 2010 Games
1/30/2010 - As of today, Cyprus Mountain in British Columbia is prepared for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Cyprus will be the sight of all snowboarding and freestyle skiing events during the Vancouver Games, but concerns had
been raised over unseasonably warm temperatures. However, VANOC's contingency plans have paid off, and the moving
of snow from higher elevations to the snowboard and freestyle courses was compleded on Friday.
The monumental undertaking has had 45 people working round the clock, using eight snowcats and two large dump trucks
to move 300 truckloads of snow from the top of Mount Strachan to neighboring Mount Black, where the events will be taking
|The Games of the XXII Winter Olympiad: Sochi 2014
Host City: Sochi, Russia
Opening: 7 February 2010
Closing: 23 February 2010
Sports: 7 (Bobsled, Luge, skating, skiing, curling, ice hockey, biathlon)
Slogan: "Let's Go!"
Villages and Venues
Sochi promises the most compact Olympic Winter Games in history, with two Olympic villages set only 48km from
one another, on either end of a planned high-speed railway. This railway will allow travel between villages in about
half an hour.
One thing Sochi organizers have insisted on is that all venues be capable of accomodating both Olympic and
Paralympic events. Thus, great care will be taken to ensure accessability for those with disabilities.
The villages and venues themselves are separated into two "clusters".
Situated south of Sochi in the seaside town of Adler, the Coastal Cluster will be centered on the Olympic
Park. The Olympic Park promises to be revolutionary in that all ice venues will be within short walking distance
from one another, arrayed around a central plaza. The Coastal Cluster will be capable of accomodating roughly 70,000
|Central Stadium - Sochi
The Central Stadium will house the opening and closing ceremonies, medals ceremonies, and various entertainment and cultural
events during the games. The ambitious structure will be topped with a transluscent polycarbonate roof, giving the 40,000
occupants the feeling of being exposed with the Caucasus mountains soaring before them.
After the games, the Central Stadium will become the home of the Russian national soccer team, and will also be
used as a venue for entertainment events.
Bolshoi Ice Palace
|Bolshoi Ice Palace - Sochi
The Bolshoi Ice Palace will serve as one of the two ice hockey venues of the 2014 games. Built to evoke the image
of a frozen drop of water, the structure will be topped with a polished silver dome.
Scheduled to open in 2012, the Bolshoi will seat 12,000, and will be located conveniently close to the Maly Palace, also
used for ice hockey.
Maly Ice Palace
|Maly Ice Palace - Sochi
The Maly Ice Palace will serve as one of the two ice hockey venues at the 2014 games. Smaller than the glistening
Bolshoi, the Maly will house the majority of the women's ice hockey tournament.
Though the venue will boast a capacity of 7,000, it will be completely modular, and can be dismantled after the
games and moved to other cities, becoming a mobile hockey arena. The Maly is scheduled to open a year
prior to the Bolshoi, in 2011.
Sochi Olympic Skating Centre
|Sochi Olympic Skating Centre - Sochi
Figure Skating, Short Track Speed Skating
The Sochi Olympic Skating Centre will be located at the heart of the Coastal Cluster, as it is seen as the focal point
of the ice venues. Seating 12,000 spectators, the skating centre, like the Maly, will be a mobile venue; after the games,
it can be dismantled and moved to other cities. The skating centre will open in 2011.
|Olympic Oval - Sochi
An Olympic Oval is an oblong-shaped facility built to host speed skating competitions. The oval in Sochi will boast
two competition tracks, a training track, and seating for 8,000 spectators. While an Olympic Oval is typically a purpose-built
structure useful for little beyond speed skating, Sochi organizers hope to use the oval both for competitions and as a venue
for trade exhibitions after the games. The Olympic Oval is set to open in 2012.
Olympic Curling Centre
|Olympic Curling Centre - Sochi
The Olympic Curling Centre in Sochi will be simplistic in its design, which symbolizes democracy and sets it apart
from the other structures nearby. Capable of seating 3,000 spectators, like many Sochi venues the curling centre will
be a mobile venue, capable of being dismantled and transported to other cities. It is scheduled to open in 2012.
Nestled high in Krasnaya Polyana, the Mountain Cluster will host the skiing and sliding events. Its
venues will include biathlon and ski complexes, the alpine course, a sliding track, a freestyle skiing center, a ski jump
complex, and a snowboard park. It will also host its own Olympic Village, to house athletes competing in skiing
and sliding sports.
Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort
|Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort - Sochi
The Rosa Khutor ski resort is located on Aibga Ridge, and will host the alpine events during the 2014 games. Rosa
Khutor's 9km slope will feature a course designed by Bernard Russi, a renowned ski architect from the FIS. As such,
athletes can expect world-class slopes for competition. Rosa Khutor's alpine course will open in 2011.
Freestyle Skiing Centre and Snowboard Park
|Freestyle Skiing Centre and Snowboard Park - Sochi
Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard
Snowboard and freestyle skiing events will be held to the west of the Rosa Khutor plateau. Organizers promise that
unique snow conditions and specialized tracks for all events will make for excellent competition. After the games, the
facilities will be used for winter sports training. The Freestyle Skiing Centre and Snowboard Park will open in 2011.
Biathlon and Ski Complex
|Biathlon and Ski Complex - Sochi
Cross Country, Biathlon, and Nordic Combined
Located within 10km of Krasnaya Polyana, the Biathlon and Ski Complex will host all cross country and biathlon events.
The complex will include two stadia, each with their own start and finish zones, shooting areas, and warm-up zones, as well
as combined capacity for 16,000 spectators. The Biathlon and Ski Complex is scheduled to open in 2011.
Russian National Ski Jumping Centre
|Russian National Ski Jumping Centre - Sochi
Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined
The Russian National Ski Jumping Centre will be a complete ski jumping competition and training centre. Located
in the village of Esto-Sadok on the northern slope of Aibga Ridge, the facility's location was carefully chosen by international
experts, on the basis of harmony with its surroundings and protection fom side winds.
In addition to both normal hill and large hill competition jumps, the facility will also feature three smaller training
jumps, a sports hotel with accomodations for 200, a ski trail, and a training facility for young athletes. The centre
is scheduled to open in 2011.
Russian National Sliding Centre
|Russian National Sliding Centre - Sochi
Bobsled and Luge
Set to open in 2012, the Russian National Sliding Centre will feature state-of-the-art temperature control systems, ensuring
optimum temperature for competition across the entire length of the track.
Figure Skating: US Looks to End Men's Figure Skating Drought
Despite big names and world championship
success, no US man has won gold in Olympic figure skating since Brian Boitano in 1988.
Since then, the competition has been dominated by the Russians. However,
the 2010 Olympic team offers the best chance yet to recapture the gold in men’s figure skating.
Chief among the US medal contenders is
Evan Lysacek, currently ranked second in the overall ISU world standings. Jeremy
Abbott, ranked fifth, is also expected to factor into the competition, as is Olympic veteran Johnny Wier. Wier, a veteran of the Torino games, has enjoyed success in the world championships, though Olympic victory
has eluded him.
However, the US men will face
stiff competition. French skater Brian Joubert, currently ranked sixth, is expected
to perform well. In Vancouver, all eyes will be on native son Patrick Chan, who
hopes to bring success back to Canadian figure skating at home. However, the
toughest challenge may come from Yvgeni Plushenko, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, who is coming off of a three-and-a-half
year hiatus to defend his medal.
Freestyle Skiing: For Canada, Drought is Finally Over
It’s been a long time coming, but
on Sunday, Canada finally broke what had come to feel like an Olympic curse. With
Alexandre Bilodeau’s victory in the men’s moguls, Canada finally won gold at home.
Vancouver is not the first city in Canada
to host the Olympic Games. Canada hosted the 1976 summer games in Montreal and
the winter games in Calgary in 1988. Despite the great success of both games,
Canada came up short, failing to win a single gold medal on home soil. This Olympic
drought prompted Canadian officials to introduce the “Own the Podium” initiative, to encourage Canadians to be
more competitive in international sports competition.
The first major hope for Canadian gold
in Vancouver was Jennifer Heil. In the women’s moguls on Saturday, Heil
was the heavy favorite, coming in on top of this season’s FIS standings. However,
it was American Hannah Kearney, seeking to redeem herself after a dismal showing in Torino, who took home the gold.
But Sunday night belonged to Canada. Canadian Bilodeau had the run of his life, besting former Canadian Dale Begg-Smith,
the heavy favorite now skiing for Australia. Now, with the long drought finally
over, Canadians set their sights, and hopes, on the other Canadian athletes at the games, hoping lightning will at last strike
Short Track: Ohno, US Short Track Program Look Strong as Ever
Though Apolo Ohno came into the Vancouver
Games amid concerns over his age, now there can be no question: Ohno is as strong as he’s ever been.
In the first men’s short track
event on Saturday, Ohno appeared to be in excellent shape, winning his first heat by a wide margin after hanging back for
nearly the entire race. After a hard-fought race in his second heat, Ohno managed
to claim silver in the final following a collision between Korean skaters Sung and Suk.
His was not the only American story in
short track Saturday. American J.R. Celski turned in an impressive performance
as well, taking bronze in the final. With Ohno unlikely to return to the track
in Sochi, Celski is now viewed as his successor for the 2014 games. However,
after his impressive showing in the event he failed to finish in Torino, Ohno’s career may not be over after all.
Alpine Skiing: Vonn Will Compete in Vancouver
American skiier Lindsey Vonn reports that she feels more optimistic about her recent shin injury after her first ski
run in a week.
Vonn, a strong US medal contender, first stated Wednesday that she had sustained a deep-muscle bruise on her shin during
a recent slalom run in Austria. Initially, she stated that the injury would not dissuade her from participating in Vancouver.
However, at a press conference later in the day, she reported that the injury may indeed keep her out of Olympic competition.
That changed today, when a course survey in Vancouver indicated the injury was "making progress" and that painkillers
Vonn is a heavy favorite in Vancouver, and could take as many as three or four gold medals in alpine skiing, typically
a weak sport for the United States.