February 12, 2010 |
Near the end of another practice session in preparation for his third Winter Olympic Games, Apolo Anton Ohno toes the starting line for a final trip around the short track. As the 27-year-old explodes in a flurry of arms and legs, ice shavings flying and light dancing off his skates, everything else in the building seems to pause. Teammates stop gathering equipment as all eyes are drawn to the 5-foot-6-inch speed skater as he races around the ice. It's not the last time Ohno will be the focus of attention in the coming days.
February 16, 2002 |
Bonnie Blair is glad her speedskating career ended before the clap-skate era dawned in 1998 and skaters had to adapt to the new gear, in which the heel of the blade isn't attached to the boot and the toe is attached with a hinge. "I have a pair of the clap skates," Blair said, "but I've never lit it up." Blair lit up three Olympics with triumphant performances--and the exuberance of the "Blair Bunch," the friends and relatives who followed her to every competition and unabashedly roared.
February 19, 1999
It's never routine, she said, the gold medal around her neck, her eyes moistening. Bonnie Blair, at Hamar, Norway, had just won her fourth gold medal--for the women's 500-meter speedskating event--in three Winter Olympic Games, and shook her head when asked afterward if it was beginning to feel routine. It was her third consecutive gold in the same event. No other speedskater had won at the same distance in three straight Olympics.
February 10, 1998 |
From Calgary to Albertville to Lillehammer, my fondest Winter Olympic memories are of Dutch fans singing "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" in tribute to an American speedskater they admired as much as their own. "Bring back, bring back, bring back my Bonnie to me, to me." Bonnie Blair never let them down, never let anyone down. Winning was as routine for her as eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before every race. She won five gold medals, more than any other U.S.
February 1, 1998
Speed skating has been part of the Winter Olympics since the first Games were held in Chamonix Mont-Blanc in 1924. Originally only men competed, but women's events began in 1960 at Squaw Valley. Speedskating features two competitors going head-to-head, counterclockwise, on a 400-meter track in heats called pairs. People to Watch Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansen have retired. As a result, the United States has only one realistic chance for a gold medal.
July 22, 1996 |
She effortlessly moves from carrying the Olympic torch--the pleasantly surprising link between Evander Holyfield and Muhammad Ali--to the mundane task of doing laundry for a 14-year-old teammate, Amanda Beard. U.S. swimmer Janet Evans has handled her fame with down-to-earth ease, the same way American speedskater Bonnie Blair did en route to five gold medals, the most by a female U.S. Olympian.