Tonight Figure Skating got started with the Pairs Short program, usually I would be going all uber fan but most of the top teams just don’t do it for me. On the other hand IT’S THE OLYMPICS so there are tons of other events going on to be pumped about, namely Mens moguls and Alex Bilodeau.
First lets jump back to the highlight of last night, Jennifer Heil. She skiied an AMAZING run in pretty crappy conditions. I’m pretty sure I held my breathe the whole time, she was flying down the mountain so fast I thought she was going to blow right down to Vancouver. For a minute she took the lead and then was overtaken by the last skiier who also put down an amazing run.
Jenn is a huge inspiration to me, not only does she work tirelessly to be the amazing athlete that she is – Olympic Champion in ‘06, #1 in the World Cup circuit and now silver in 2010 – but she has also had a huge hand in bettering sport and helping others around the world. These Olympics alone feature many athletes who were helped by B210 which started with Jenn but which she had a hand in expanding to others. What Jenn has done for sport and people around the world, all while training at the Elite level, is seriously impressive. I can’t wait to see what she does in the future. When I grow up I want to be Jenn Heil lol, she makes me want to do better and be better, I’m so proud of her.
While we were anticipating tonight’s mogul event we got to have some fun with rad speed skating races. I have to say I just love having Catriona commentating, she knows the sport (obvi) but is also a superb commentator. This afternoon in the 3,000 meters Clara Hughes had a great race, she finished off the podium but it was really fun to watch and was a teaser for things to come in her stronger races. Then Christina Groves came out and made things look easy. Coming into the home stretch, when her legs had to be on fire she cruised over that finish line and earned herself a bronze medal! Already a two time silver medalist she has a few more events to go where medals are also possible. I can’t wait for those races, our ladies are FAB as always.
I was so pumped for moguls that I DVRed the dedicated Figure Skating coverage in favour of the main networks coverage of moguls and skating. Needless to say I was SUPER pumped.
The men have BIG air and are so fast the event is always thrilling to watch. Both qualifying and the finals had a lot of great races, huge tricks, big falls and fantastic runs… and then Alex came out and blew it up. Tight turns, lots of speed and huge air, ahhh it was so great and left him atop the leader board. However, just like last night, with Jenn, there was one more skiier left to go but he would have to be super fantastic to take the lead. When he finished his run you just knew he wasn’t going to knock Alex out of first but of course we had to wait for the official results. When it was confirmed that Alex had just won Gold it was an amazing moment. Wow! From the crowd going nuts to his family and especially his brother it was a magical moment and something that I will always remember.
Alex’s skiing take me back to when I first got into moguls in the early 90s and Jean-Luc Brossard. I had Jean-Luc’s photo hanging on my wall for ages after he won that Olympic Gold Medal and I can still remember how thrilling that race was so I know I’ll remember Alex’s race for years to come.
While Jenn and Alex are taking home impressive hardware our other skiiers have also been impressive. From Chloe who raced to a solid 5th at 18 in her first Olympics to Kristi who was 4th in the preliminary round and though she fell during the race she popped back up and threw down a huge air. In mens we had rocking runs from everyone, Maxime in 11th, Vincent in 4th and in 5th PA Rousseau who waited more than a decade for this moment. I love the Olmypics!! It’s been a great opening weekend, GO CANADA!
Tomorrow I can’t wait for Jess and Bryce in the pairs long program and I’m excited for some downhill, I need some Super G in my life!
Okay pairs in 2.2 seconds or less.
Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao skated first and seemed a little flat (performance-wise) which might have had something to do with their skate order and an audience who, because they hadn’t seen anyone else skate, didn’t know the high quality they were seeing. As usual these two they had some huge tricks, beautiful twists and throws that were high and in control. Unfortunately their side by side spins took place on different ends of the rink, not exactly what you want to see from a top team. With their score they achieve an Olympic record which was and interesting way to kick off the evening.
Fast forward to the last two groups.
Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy – I’m not exactly this teams biggest fan BUT they have a great short program. They cast a spell over the audience while doing huge tricks perfectly, exactly what this sport is about, beautifully done. It doesn’t even matter that she has an odd bun on the top of her head and a not-so-pretty position at the end of the pairs spin, they were the only team who cast that spell and boy was it fun. After a stiring performance that came so long after Shen and Zhao it was a little disappointing to see them slotted into 2nd place, but being behind by less than a point is basically irrelevant going into the long program.
Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov – Nice lines, original positions, classical style and both very flexible. Unfortunately it all feels a little disjointed, like they are connecting dots as they skate. They’re third and they’re tough skaters just not my cup of tea.
Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison – they had a bit of trouble when Jess fell on the side by side jump and a slight balance check from Bryce in the footwork but they kept themselves in the mix and are sitting 6th going into the Long Program. They can be spellbinding in the Long Program so I’m very much looking forward to them rocking out tomorrow night!