View Full Version : Australian wins gold at winter Olympics???
02-17-2002, 02:00 AM
What is going on?
Apparently everyone else in the final fell over and the aussie skated to gold.
Sounds like a joke to me.
I might have to start watching this event. Someone called it NASCAR on ice.
Here's the link (http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/winter02/speed/story?id=1335069)
Saturday, February 16, 2002
Aussie earns gold with unbelievable luck
By Anne Marie Cruz
ESPN The Magazine
SALT LAKE CITY -- As soon as his face went up on the screen, Apolo Anton Ohno had the crowd. With three laps to go, he had the race. Storming up through the line, the Seattle teen rocketed in from fourth to second. Then, he put the hammer down and began pulling away.
But not far enough.
After Canadian Mathieu Turcotte slipped and fell away from the race, the remaining racers locked down for a desperate scramble for a last-tenth-of-a-second lead change.
Firing into the final turn, China's Li JiaJun slipped, sliding into Ahn Hyun-Soo, the youngest member of the South Korean team at only 16. Ahn wrapped his arm around Ohno's legs to gain some advantage, but only succeeded in taking out both himself and Ohno mere meters from what would have been Ohno's first gold medal. Within the blink of an eye, three competitors, including Ohno, were sliding into the walls.
Meanwhile, Aussie Steven Bradbury couldn't believe his fortune. The sea of elbows and skates had parted, the ice was empty and the path to gold had been miraculously cleared. As Bradbury crossed the finish line, Ohno picked himself off the ice, reaching for the line. With a gash in his inner left thigh that required six stitches, he stumbled again, but managed to push his leg across for the silver.
A thunderous "BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" rained down from the rafters. Women covered their mouths in disbelief.
"That's short track," said the PA announcer. "Thrills and spills, ladies and gentlemen." He sounded like a weary three-ring circus leader trying to calm down angry throngs of ticket-holders after his bevy of clowns were stampeded by elephants ... who were then knocked out by falling tightrope walkers ... while the tent caved in.
Even though, of course, he was right. Ohno's teammate Rusty Smith calls it "NASCAR on ice."
"Let's give all of the skaters a round of applause," the PA announcer implored. Hilariously, the smattering of claps were roundly drowned out by the jeers.
In the midst of all the shock and disgust, Bradbury kept circling the ice, wearing the look of a child on Christmas. He had been blessed with not one, but two rounds of sheer dumb luck. In the semis, he also was far behind the leaders, but survived a crash 10 meters before the finish line.
Now he had won his country's first-ever Winter Olympic gold medal. He skated numbly around the oval to foundation-rumbling boos. He konked himself lightly in the head with his fist, as if he was checking to make sure he was awake. Then he looked up and pointed at two Aussie journalists who were up out of their seats, cheering him on.
Later, as he sang his national anthem during the medal ceremony, Bradbury couldn't wipe the smirk off his face.
"What a story we've got," one Aussie reporter exclaimed to his fellow writers as they waited for Bradbury in the mixed zone.
"Our first Winter gold medal ever?" another replied, sucking in a laugh.
"We're working with the French judge," joked another.
The race to the mixed zone was just as much of a knock-down, drag-out roller derby, with stunned writers flying from all corners trying to find out what happened. Ohno himself was in a daze. All he could say was, "I skated the race of my life, and I got silver."
Despite the continuous booing by the American-heavy crowd, Bradbury's gold seemed oh-so-appropriate, especially after the Aussies' best hope for gold, freestyle aerialist Jacqui Cooper, had been just as abruptly taken out of competition. By equally dumb luck, Cooper, the three-time world champ, had ripped her left knee to shreds Monday after bouncing hard off the landing in training. Once that happened, the Aussies' chances to rectify years of wintry futility seemed to vanish without a trace.
That is, until all of Steven Bradbury's rivals conveniently disappeared for him.
02-17-2002, 06:40 AM
Yeah! We rock!
Damn, I think it was the funniest sporting moment, I've ever seen.
The guy is from Queensland, which Americans wouldn't understand, but it's named the Sunshine State. It's hotter than hot there.
02-17-2002, 08:54 AM
Man, that sucked. The american dude was on his way to gold when that little guy in yellow(Think he was from China, or Japan or somethin.) just took him out. What a cheater i/expressions/face-icon-small-disgusted.gif .
My favorite article on the situation has to be this one. Talk about being in the right place at the right time.
>With the four skaters in front of him on the ice, Bradbury, who was in the finals only because another crash took out two racers in the semis and a disqualification got him through the quarterfinals, was lolling so far behind he was able to avoid the scattered debris and assorted body parts, and was the only skater still on his feet at the finish line.<
Here's the link (http://www.dfw.com/mld/startelegram/sports/2689373.htm)
Jim Reeves - Fort Worth Star Telegram
Posted on Sun, Feb. 17, 2002
Slide to Silver
Crash at end of race denies Ohno shot at gold medal
SALT LAKE CITY - Swapping paint, elbows and insults - just like a NASCAR race - four skaters, including U.S. gold medal hopeful Apolo Anton Ohno, took each other out in a dramatic chain-reaction pileup at the top of the stretch of the 1,000-meter short track finals Saturday night at the Delta Center, allowing Australia's astonished Steven Bradbury to steal the gold.
This isn't roller derby, after all. It's much rowdier than that.
This sport actually needs a French judge to give it some high-tone respectability, which may make it the most entertaining game in the Winter Olympics.
Ohno, the U.S.'s goateed poster child and resident rebel with a cause, went into the second-to-last turn of the nine-lap race trying to hold the lead and jostling elbow to elbow with China's Jiajun Li. The chaotic jumble of four skaters - Bradbury was so far back he could have stopped for a cigarette break - went into the last turn with the American holding a slight lead.
But Li, having slipped into third, clipped skates with someone and crashed, taking Korea's Ahn Hyun-Soo down from behind. Ahn, in turn, reached out and tackled Ohno, spinning him around and down to the ice not more than 15 yards from the finish. Canadian skater Mathieu Turcotte fell over Ohno.
With the four skaters in front of him on the ice, Bradbury, who was in the finals only because another crash took out two racers in the semis and a disqualification got him through the quarterfinals, was lolling so far behind he was able to avoid the scattered debris and assorted body parts, and was the only skater still on his feet at the finish line.
He raised his raised his arms in bemused exultation as it dawned on him that he had just won Australia's first-ever gold medal in the Winter Olympics.
You think he didn't have a few Fosters to celebrate last night?
"I have mixed feelings of how I won the race," said Bradbury, who looks like the singer Sting on skates. "Obviously, I wasn't the fastest skater in the race. I was hanging back, hoping I could get a bronze because there are a lot of crashes in this sport, but I've never seen anything like that.
"Those were my tactics, and they worked like a charm."
His distant position at the back of the pack gave him a, shall we say, unique view of the pileup.
"I can't single anybody out who was more aggressive than someone else," he said. "I don't know how it happened, but suddenly they were all down on the ice. I thought, `Hello, this can't be right. ... I think I won.' "
Ohno, the 19-year-old whose picture was on the cover of `Sports Illustrated"s Winter Olympics preview issue (there's that `SI' curse again), got to his feet and stuck a skate over the finish line to edge Turcotte for the silver medal.
Turcotte, who said he "cut my bum" and couldn't sit comfortably at the postrace news conference, grabbed the bronze. Ahn was fourth but was voted Defensive Player of the Game.
Li was disqualified, which must mean he was found to be carrying a concealed weapon.
"This was the best race of my life," said Ohno, who took six stitches to close a gash in his left thigh and was on crutches after the race but insisted he'll be ready to race again Wednesday in the 5,000-meter relay prelims. "I skated exactly how I wanted to. Unfortunately, I went down in the last corner.
"This is the sport I trained for. I got a silver medal, so I can't complain. I'm very happy, regardless of what happened out there."
At least no one's whining like the Canadians did in figure skating. But hold the phone on that one.
If NBC takes on this cause like it did that one, it may yet rouse enough public indignation to get Ohno a matching gold medal, just like Bradbury's.
Just kidding again.
The 1,000-meter race requires nine laps around the 111-meter track at the Delta Center, and Ohno had breezed through his quarterfinal and semifinal races.
As he had in those races, Ohno eased out at the start from the middle position in the five-man finals and quickly dropped into fourth place, skating easily. Three laps in he made a quick move into second place, bringing a roar from the crowd, and six laps in, he moved inside Ahn to take the lead.
Then came the dramatic pileup that put the grinning Bradbury, who almost bled to death in a crash in 1994 when he catapulted over another skater and impaled himself on a skate, on the podium with the gold medal around his neck.
"It was surreal," said the 28-year-old Aussie. "I couldn't believe it when they started playing the Australian national anthem. I actually knew most of the words."
He also recognized the four-letter words some disgruntled fan hurled at him from the crowd.
"Somebody in the crowd with a very loud voice made some negative comments and said I shouldn't be smiling after the way I won," Bradbury said. "So I threw some comments back at him."
Like I said, just like NASCAR.
All that was missing was racers throwing punches at each other afterward, but maybe they can add that feature for the next race.
02-18-2002, 03:03 PM
2 in one Olympics!
That's double what we've achieved in the history of the winter Olympics i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif
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