February 28, 2010 |
When speedskaters Brian Hansen, Jonathan Kuck and Chad Hedrick finished the team pursuit "A" final early Saturday afternoon, they could pat themselves on the back for winning a silver medal and officially start the U.S. chest-thumping for making history. Theirs was the 35th medal for Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics, one more than its record 34 at Salt Lake City in 2002. Steve Holcomb's four-man bobsled team added another later Saturday, the first U.S. gold in the sport since 1948.
February 28, 2010 |
With each passing day, the weight pressed a little heavier on their shoulders. Some of the Canadian athletes tried to shrug it off, but it was tough to ignore all that talk about dominating on home soil and owning the podium. "You grow up in Canada," said Hayley Wickenheiser, captain of the women's hockey team, "you know the expectations." A week into the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, every athlete wearing a maple leaf knew the True North Strong and Free looked downright feeble with only six medals.
February 26, 2010 |
For the briefest moment, Bill Demong stood absolutely still, closing his eyes, exhaling. Only then did he step onto the highest part of the podium, the spot reserved for the winner. "I didn't expect to win the medal until it was over," he said. "I'm just starting to let it sink in a bit." Let it sink in that he had won gold in the large hill event of the Nordic combined at Whistler Olympic Park on Thursday. Let it sink in that his victory, along with a second-place finish by teammate Johnny Spillane, capped a historic two weeks for the U.S. in this obscure sport that combines ski jumping with cross-country skiing.
February 13, 2009 |
The only other time the Winter Olympics have been in Canada, at Calgary in 1988, the U.S. team did so poorly the U.S. Olympic Committee called on volatile and voluble George Steinbrenner to fix the mess. The Yankees owner, then a USOC board member, calmly and quietly headed a commission that a year later issued a report reducing the USOC's previously amorphous mission to this bottom line: "Winning medals has always been the primary goal." And the U.S.
August 29, 2008 |
You will not hear the chimes of Olympic medals in Egypt's trophy cases. The country won only one in the Beijing Games. That embarrassment has riled President Hosni Mubarak, who has ordered an investigation into why his athletes fared so poorly. The state news agency has reported that Mubarak has ordered a committee to find out "who is responsible for the Egyptian mission's bad performance and calling them into account." Someone's going to be in trouble. But it most probably won't be Mounir Thabet, the head of the country's Olympic Committee.