The Daily Bongo

Winter Olympics 2006: Turin

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Sunday, February 26, 2006 -- Evening

The 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin are over. The past two weeks have gone by so quickly. I gained an interest in curling from watching the games, and I'm going to check out curling with the Pittsburgh Curling Club on one of their open house days. The closing ceremonies are supposed to represent a circus. NBC is going to show the Olympics closing ceremony from 7 pm until 11 pm.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 -- Morning

The gold medal game between Finland and Sweden has just completed, and Sweden won the gold medal with a final score of 3-2. The score was tied at the start of the third period, but 10 seconds into the period, Nicklas Lidstrom scored the game winning goal when Saku Koivu broke his stick on the faceoff. It has to be difficult to be the silver medalist in the hockey games. The only two teams receiving the medals are the gold and silver winners, so it's not like the silver medalists can see that they were better than the bronze medalists. The Finnish players wee looking very despondent because they didn't win the silver--they lost the gold. I was abit surprised because Finland had been doing such a superb job this Olympics. Antero Niittymaki was given the honors of tournament MVP because he did such an excellent job, but it still has to stink to only get the silver medal. There goes my predicition from Friday. I got it all wrong!

Saturday, February 25, 2006 -- Late Evening

The Czech Republic beat the Russian team in the bronze medal hockey game. Russia was shutout with a score of 3-0. Jaromir Jagr injured his groin in the second period and sat out the rest of the game. Ilya Kovalchuk was tossed from the game with a game misconduct for taking his elbow to the face of Pavel Kubina. Kubina was bleeding heavily after the hit. Tomorrow morning at 8 am ET will be the gold medal match between Finland and Sweden. Obviously I was off with my prediction for the bronze. I'm glad though that the Czech Republic won because I am a huge fan of Jagr's.

Apolo Anton Ohno won a gold medal in the 500 meter short track race and the US team, with Ohno, won the bronze medal in the 5000 meter relay. That race is scary looking. You have all these skaters on the ice, and the outer ring is where the competitors are, and the inner spot is where the other team members skate until the substitution is made. Instead of handing off a baton, the replacement skater comes onto the race track and gets shoved by the person he is replacing. It is very scary looking.

Saturday, February 25, 2006 -- Morning

I'm not the only one who thinks that the key for the US and Canadian hockey teams in future Olympics is to go younger. After all, the stamina and energy that young people have can't be ignored.

Friday, February 24, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Finland's male hockey team remains undefeated by beating Russia in the semifinal match by a score of 4-0. Finland will indeed play Sweden in the gold medal match. I don't see how Finland can be beaten except by themselves. They are a very good team.

Mike Modano was unhappy with the way that things went with the US hockey team, and he didn't stay around for the team meeting the day after the team's loss to Finland. Modano thought that the team needed new blood, and maybe that also means new blood on the ice. Perhaps some younger players instead of 36 year old Modano should have been playing. Modano was also benched for most of the third period of the final game. I think that Canada and the US got a wakeup call about relying on the geriatrics. Let's see if they actually pay attention to it.

You probably didn't realize that you were getting a physics lesson as you watched the Olympics, or maybe you did. Originally folks thought that the reason people glide on ice is because the friction of the blade causes the ice to melt and put a layer of water on top of the ice making the glide possible. However, that really isn't the case. Regardless of friction, there is 20 layers of water on the surface because that's just how it is. Another thing you might not know that the ice is different for figure skating and ice hockey. Figure skating ice is softer so the skater can dig into the ice and do the jumps and spins. Meanwhile the hockey ice is harder so the skaters can be quicker.

Friday, February 24, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

The Czech Republic lost to Sweden in the quarterfinal match today. The score was 7-3. That means that Sweden will move on to the gold medal round and the Czech Republic will go to the bronze medal round. My prediction for the medals in hockey (and it's easy since I have only the four teams from which to choose) is Finland with the gold, Sweden with silver and Russia with bronze.

Friday, February 24, 2006 -- Morning

The Us Men's curling team won the bronze medal today in the Olympics after defeating Great Britain. I got to watch a portion of it before I came in to work today, and it seemed that the guys were in the groove. The final score was 8-6.

Later on this afternoon, the hockey semi-finals will be played. Sweden will be playing the Czech Republic and Finland will be playing Russia. More on those games later today.

Thursday, February 23, 2006 -- Evening

Sasha Cohen lost a chance at the gold medal in the women's figure skating long program when she fell twice at the start of the long program. I haven't seen the clips yet because NBC holds the videos hostage. They only show the good stuff (meaning the winners of the popular sports) late in the evening. I'll try to stay up to watch. The only good news is that Cohen was still able to get the silver because Irina Slutskaya fell at the end of her program, and wound up in third place. The gold medal winner was from Japan, Shizuka Arakawa.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 -- Evening

The selection of geriatrics gave the Canadian Men's hockey team just what it deserved: a loss to Russia that removes Canada from the medal rounds. Will the Canadians learn a lesson from this performance? Probably not because when there is arrogance that says that the older non-performing members are more deserving that those that are young and doing a great job, there isn't much interest in learning from mistakes. The final score was 2-0. The best part of the whole fiasco was that the young Alexander Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the third period. Elderly Canada, on the other hand, was totally incapable of scoring.

26 years ago today, the Miracle on Ice happened. That's when the US men's hockey team won the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics. This year, the US team was ousted by Finland with a final score of 4-3. Again it was a matter of having older, non-performing geriatrics. At least the Americans can go to sleep tonight knowing that the score was a close one.

The Czech Republic was able to hold of Slovakia with a win today. The score was 3-1. Sweden beat Switzerland by a score of 6-2 to move on to the semifinal round. In the semifinals on Friday, Sweden will play the Czech Republic and Finland will play Russia. The winners of the two matches will meet on Sunday for the gold medal game, and the losers will meet to battle it out for bronze.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 -- Evening

Sasha Cohen is leading after the women's figure skating short program. Kimmie Meissner is in fifth place and Emily Hughes is in seventh. Not bad for Emily since it is really her first competition. Tomorrow will be a big day for the US men's curling team. They will be competing in the semifinal round and could be competing for a medal on Friday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 -- Afternoon

Canada beat the czech Republic with a final score of 3-2. With one period completed, Russia is leading the US with a score of 2-1.

In the women's figure skating short program, half of the skaters have competed and Kimmie Meissner is leading the group with Emily Hughes in third. Sasha Cohen will be competing last in the group.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 -- Late Morning

Canada is currently playing the Czech Republic, and in the first period is leading with a score of 3-0. I suppose that team Canada has figured out where the net is. Martin Brodeur is in goal for Canada, and that is going to be to their benefit. Later on this afternoon (around 3 pm ET), the US team will be playing Russia. From what I heard this morning, because Kazakhstan beat Latvia by a score of 5-2 earlier today, the US will be playng Finland in a quarterfinal game tomorrow.

Late last night, meaning after 11 pm ET, I got a chance to see the Russian ice dancing team of Tatyana Navka and Roman Kostomarov. They skated to the music of Carmen and did a great job. The commentators were claiming that the pair wasn't very emotional, but the difficulty of the program was impressive to me. The Americans, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, came in fourth in the free dance, but it was enough to win the silver.

Later on today, the women's short program is going to start. Sasha Cohen is scheduled to go last today. That could put some pressure and stress on her to watch everyone go before her. Emily Hughes will be 15th of 29 and Kimmie Meissner will be skating second. It will be interesting to see how they do. The start time for the event is 7:00 pm Turin time which should be 1 pm ET.

Monday, February 20, 2006 -- Afternoon

The US Men's curling team lost to the Canadian team with a final score of 6-3. The US team had already wrapped up its spot in the medal round, so on Wednesday, they will meet Canada again. On Wednesday, it will be Finland against Great Britain and the US against Canada. The winners of both matches will compete for the gold medal while the two losers will compete for the bronze.

The last component of the Ice Dancing competition is taking place right now. It is the free dance. In yesterday's competition, the Canadian pair of Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon had a terrible fall. Patrice was spinning Marie France as she held on to his arm. It was a really neat move with her totally wrapped around his one arm, but then her fingers slipped. She fell heavily to the ice and had trouble putting weight on her right leg. The team withdrew from today's competition because of her injury. It was really horrible. The Israeli team of Galit Chait and Sergei Sakhnovski have yet to compete today. They finished yesterday in ninth place.

Monday, February 20, 2006 -- Morning

The US Mens Curling team is playing Canada right now. They are in the seventh end and the score is tied 2-2. If the US team wins, they should get a medal, and Canada will then be in a tie for fourth place. Go USA!

Sunday, February 19, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Olympic hockey news. The US team lost to Sweden with a final score of 2-1. As the announcers were saying the US team seems to have it all except for offensive scoring. It doesn't matter if you have a goalie that keeps the points down if you can't score. That's the same problem that the Pens have. The Czech Republic beat the Italians with a score of 4-1. Jaromir Jagr played in the game with nine stitches in his forehead after yesterday's hit. Finally, in a game that just ended, Canada was shutout by Finland. Antero Niittymaki is doing an excellent job. Finland is undefeated in Group A. In Group B, the US is really lagging behind three really good teams. Slovakia is undefeated, followed closely by Russia and Sweden with three wins and one loss each. The big news though as the announcers said is that Canada has not scored a goal in the past two games. I think it is because the team concentrated more on making geriatrics and criminals happy as opposed to picking team members who were young and vital. It would be grand if Canada doesn't even medal in hockey. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that result!

I'm going to watch the ice dancing competition this evening. The Israeli team of Galit Chait and Sergei Sakhnovski finished sixth in the original dance portion to be ninth overall. It seems that there were some spills which allowed some teams to move up.

Sunday, February 19, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

I am watching the US hockey team play Sweden. So far, in the second period, the score is tied--1-1. Time is 8:30, and the game is a good one. Sweden is playing well, and Rick DiPietro and Henrik Lundqvist have made some nice saves for their teams. Later today it will be the Czech Republic against Italy and Canada against Finland.

The Olympics have not been doing well in the television ratings here in the US. American Idol has done alot better than the Olympics even in its fifth season. Simon Colwell thinks that it's because the Yanks don't do well in the Winter Olympics. As Colwell says, "Nobody wants to watch Swiss people doing well." Another reason why Idol might do better in the ratings is because someone who is unknown can make it to stardom.

Saturday, February 18, 2006 -- Late Evening

More losses today in Olympic hockey. The US team lost to Slovakia with a score of 2-1. Czech Republic lost to Finland with a final score of 4-2. Jaromir Jagr was hurt in the match when he was rammed into the boards by Jarkko Ruutu. Jagr fell to the ice and was lying in a pool of blood for several minutes before being helped off the ice. Marty Straka, teammate of Jagr's when they were with the Pens and currently on the Rangers, went after Ruutu and knocked him to the ice. Ruutu got a game misconduct for boarding and Straka got two minutes for roughing. Jagr may be okay to come back and play tomorrow against Italy.

Saturday, February 18, 2006 -- Late Morning

No one sympathizes with Lindsey Jacobellis from the US. She had an impressive lead in the final of the Snowboarding Cross competition, and decided that she was going to show off. So on the next to last jump before the finish, she leaped into the air, swiveled, grabbed her board, landed, and fell. Jacobellis wound up in second place as she was passed by Switzerland's Tanja Frieden. Cockiness isn't always the way to go when you are competing for the gold because you can fall on your butt and win up a loser. In Jacobellis' case, she didn't "win" the silver, she lost the gold. At first, she tried to deny that she was showboating, and said that she just fell while trying to stablize her board. Chuckle! Unfortunately, she was caught on tape looking back, and then doing her little twist before the fall.

The big news in the Olympics is the success of the US Men's curling team. This morning, they beat the German team by a score of 8-5 to move into a solid second place. They were just talking to a happy Shawn Rojeski and he said that they are just going to the games one at a time. The US team will be playing Great Britain on Sunday and Canada on Monday. I don't know much about curling, but it really is a strategic game. The player has to decide how to get their stones in the circle while knocking out the opponents stones. Curling really depending on physics too with the friction from the stone and kinetics. The US Curling team's web site had over 12 million hits yesterday which caused the server to crash. Learn more about curling.

The Canadian hockey team is losing to Switzerland in the second period of a game that is being played live as I write this. After two periods, the Swiss lead with a score of 2-0.

Friday, February 17, 2006 -- Evening

Dominik Hasek is out of the Olympics with a groin injury. Hasek has decided that it might be in his best interests to take the time to rest and rehab the injury so he could return to the ice for the Ottawa Senators. I don't think that the Czech Republic hockey team has much of a chance without the goaltending of Hasek.

The womens US hockey team lost today to Sweden with a score of 3-2. The Swedes won by having a goalie who shutout the American team in the last 48 minutes of the game. The game ended in a tie in regulation. Since this was a semifinal match, it went to a shoot out which the Swedes won. The other semi-final match was between the Canadian team and Finland which Canada won with a score of 6-0. That means that the Canadians and Swedes will meet in the gold medal match on Monday (the 20th) and Finland and the US will meet up for the bronze match the same day.

Johnny Weir is the talk of the town, and it's not positive. Weir could use some cheese with his whine. Imagine how insufferable the brat would have been if he had won the silver instead of underperforming? I suppose there are always small pleasures in life.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 -- Evening

Just as I finished, the men's final free skate competition came on NBC. First up was Evan Lysacek from the US. In the short program, he ranked 10th with a score that was his personal worst. Evan came back today to skate his best to music from Carmen. He did a beautiful, clean job, and scored his personal best. He finished in third place for the free skate, and in combination with the points from his 10th place in the short program, he wound up fourth overall. Not bad at all. Meanwhile Johnny Weir's problem was that he was an insufferable bore both on and off the ice. He skipped some elements of his program, and then whined on and on about missing a bus and having to have a volunteer drive him to the arena. Boo-Hoo! Weir also stormed off after getting poor scores for his performance, and swore in the parking lot. Perhaps Weir should realize that he ain't all that. Nah, won't happen.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

I was quite disappointed today when Canada won their match against Germany with a final score of 5-1. I really have been cheering against the team because of the fact that the young guys were passed up. I'm sorry, but I don't feel any sympathy for someone in his late 30s who might want to win a medal and hasn't yet. Meanwhile the Czech Republic lost to Switzerland earlier today with a final score of 3-2. The US hockey team is currently playing Kazakhstan and is leading in the second period by a score of 3-0.

Johnny Weir must have had a problem. I am following the live results on the web, and it looks like he is in fifth place. I am assuming that there must have been some sort of fall on Weir's part. I'll have to see what happened tonight on NBC. The results for the men's final are not complete yet because two more skaters have yet to compete.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 -- Evening

The USA hockey team was just able to pull off a tie with Latvia this evening. The final score was 3-3. This was not a very good showing for the USA team. One thing that I do have to admit is that I am cheering on any team other than the Canadian team. My reason is that the team is a geriatric team, and that better players were not included just because they were "young." Something has become so perverted in our culture that we believe that the Olympics is not for the young and enthusiastic, but the older, more experienced athlete.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Olympic hockey news. Canada beat the Italian team earlier today. It was looking pretty close there for the first period because Canada only had a 1-0 lead, and then Italy came back to tie things up at the beginning of the second period. But then Canada started to pull away. Final score was 7-2 in Canada's favor. The Czech team also won in a closer game against Germany with a final score of 4-1. Dominik Hasek was injured during a power shot by the German team and was pulled from the game. Meanwhile, currently in progress at 4:40 pm ET is the USA/Latvia game. In the second period, Latvia is ahead with a score of 3-2. I hope to get home in enough time to catch some of this game because it looks like it will go down to the wire.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 -- Evening

Tonight on NBC, they featured alot of the male figure skating short program. Unfortunately, I missed the performance of Yevgeny Plushenko, but he did a great job with a quad toe loop/triple toe loop combination. The guy is unbeatable because he performs his moves so cleanly. Plushenko is ten points ahead of American Johnny Weir, who is in second place. I did catch Weir's performance, and it was great! I was really impressed. He did a nice job with his jumps and foot work. The spins showcased Weir's impressive flexibility. I was surprised, because for some reason, I wasn't thinking that Weir would do that great of a job. Unfortunately for Weir, it looks like he will have to settle for the silver medal because Plushenko is so impressive. The men's freeskate is on Thursday.

Monday, February 13, 2006 -- Evening

There were alot of crashes today at the Olympics with the women skiers. The defending Alpine champion, Carole Montillet-Carles of France, was the more seriously hurt with back and rib injuries. The American skier, Lindsey Kildow, looked like she really hurt herself with the spreadeagle move that brought her down, but she just has a badly bruised hip. Lindsey is expected to return to the slopes for the Olympic competitions. It's ironic because in the last Olympics, the women skiers were complaining that the course was too easy. Another serious injury was to Samantha Retrosi, from the USA. Her luge hit the wall, and flipped over. Samantha was unconscious under the luge as it careened down the track. She was taken to the hospital and is expected to be okay. She only suffered a concussion, cut chin, and some short term memory loss. Last night, Apolo Uhno slipped on the ice during 1500 meter short track speed skating event, and was out of the race. This was one that he had gotten a gold medal in during the last Olympics.

Now for some good news. Shaun White won a gold medal in the snowboard halfpipe competition. He was expected to be the favorite, and he didn't disappoint. He has an irritating look--at least irritating for me. He has long, tomato red hair, and looks like a modern day Howdy Doody. He seems like a nice, kid though. Shaun has the hots for American skater, Sasha Cohen, and says that his friends are trying to arrange a meeting.

This evening we all get to watch the final night of Pairs figure skating. The Russian pair of Totmianina / Marinin won the gold with the Chinese pairs of Zhang / Zhang and Shen / Zhao winning the silver and bronze respectively. The Chinese used to lag in figure skating, but as with anything they take on, then tend to excel. The NBC Olympics show this evening even has a clip on how horrible the Chinese used to be, and how good they have become. Earlier I was watching curling, and surprising, the United States team beat Norway. I don't understand curling, and my boyfriend wonders how it can be included in the Olympics because it's not very athletic. What he doesn't understand is that athletism doesn't have to be part and parcel of an Olympic sport. The recognized sports just have to have an organized body that supervises the sport, establishes the rules, organizes events, and do drug testing on the competitors. So bridge is a recognized sport, and could someday become an Olympic event.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

The American women competed in a hockey match this afternoon (evening in Turin) with Germany and won the match with a score of 5-0.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 -- Late Morning

Michelle Kwan has pulled out of the Olympics. What a surprise! Not! Kwan was unable to complete her short program practice on the first day because of a groin injury. That was why she wasn't able to compete in the US Championship earlier in the year. Fortunately, Emily Hughes who finished third in the US Championship and who deserved to be in the Olympics, unlike Kwan, will get to compete. What I think is sad is that Hughes missed getting to walk into the stadium and partcipate in the Opening Ceremonies. Kwan painted a pitiful picture with her desperation to win a gold medal. Her time was past, and the odds that she would have been a successful competitor with the scoring changes in figure skating that were implemented to prevent judges cheating.

The Canadian women's hockey team is whooping butt in the games so far. Today they are playing the Russian team, and the Canadian team is winning easily. The Canadians scored seven goals in the first period. Right now, they are in the second period, and the score is 9-0 in favor of the Canadians. It is amazing to watch them. They are outskating everyone, and even when they are shorthanded, the other team, in this case the Russians, can't seem to get out of its end. The Canadians are able to skate down the others and steal the puck, and seem to shoot the puck with greater strength, speed, and accuracy. The Canadian team is a joy to watch in the sport. The third period just started and the Canadians have scored again to pull ahead 10-0. It seems that the team has made 25 goals on 100 shots in the tournament so far. As the announcer said, that means that every fourth shot is a goal. The shame is that the other women's hockey teams seem to be so inferior so it's not much of a competition.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 -- Evening

Today was the first full day of Olympic competition. Women's hockey started today, and the Canadian team put on a show by winning against Italy with a score of 16-0. The Canadian women are good, and obviously outclassed and outplayed the Italians. The American women played Switzerland, and won with a score of 6-0. The Canadian and American teams are considered the elite teams in the competition, and many hope and anticipate that the two teams will meet in the gold medal round. It is really amazing to watch women's hockey after watching the NHL for so long. The women are slower moving and appear to be alot less skilled than the men. It's really interesting because even the better women hockey players seem to be less skilled with skating than I would have expected. The Pairs Figure Skating short program competition is this evening. I just saw a few minutes of that during the Pens intermission. It's amazing how little of the competitions is shown on television here in the US. I suppose that NBC doesn't think that folks would want to watch non-stop Olympics. The other thing is that they tend to concentrate mostly on the American competitors, and just show us the highlights in the evening show. It's a common complaint that I have. I thought that at least with six cable channels involved, there would be more sport. However, somehow, it just winds up being the same amount as when it was just shown on one network channel.

Friday, February 10, 2006 -- Late Evening

I am watching the Opening Ceremonies, and so far, it has been fairly boring. The best part was when a ski jumper was formed by a group of people. It was well orchestrated and it went from the person starting the jump, to coming down the ramp, to the leap in the air, and the landing. It was very nicely done. I am waiting for the best part which is the arrival of the Olympic flame and the lighting of the torch.

Friday, February 10, 2006 -- Evening

The Turin Winter Olympics started today with the opening ceremonies. Since we are six hours behind Turin, we have to settle for watching the Opening Ceremonies in a recording. I am recording the event for later viewing. It seems that Alberto Tomba was the first to run with the flame in the Turin stadium. Stefania Belmondo, Italian cross-country skiing legend with 10 medals--two of which are gold, lit the Olympic flame. Sophia Loren was one of eight women who carried the Olympic flag. The ceremony will be on NBC at 8 pm ET.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006 -- Afternoon

Luciano Pavarotti is going to be singing at the Turin Winter Olympics opening ceremony. He is my favorite opera singer, and it will be interesting to see his performance.

Saturday, January 28, 2006 -- Afternoon

Michelle Kwan has been given the green light to perform in the Turin Olympics in a few weeks. Kwan had to give a performance before officials from the U.S. Figure Skating Association yesterday, and did four triple jumps. None of her combination jumps were triple-triple, although she did do a triple-double right after a fall on a double axel. In order to be in competition for the gold, however, Kwan is going to have to complete a combination triple jump.

Monday, January 16, 2006 -- Afternoon

Another sporting controversy. This time it deals with the Turin Olympics. Michelle Kwan. Here's the controversy. Kwan injured her groin and was unable to compete in the US Championship. The top three finishers in the competition go on to compete in the Olympics. Well Kwan petitioned to get included in the team that would be sent to the Olympics, and she got her wish. The thing is if she is injured what makes her think that she would be able to be competitive in February? Kwan has already been at two Olympics and got the silver in 1998 and the bronze in 2002. Because the Olympics Skating commission is obviously desperate for Kwan to have a chance at gold, they are giving her a position. It is horribly unfair to Emily Hughes who finished third in the US Championship. Kwan will have to prove to the officials by Jan. 27 that she is capable of competing. If for some reason the officials feel that she isn't up to snuff then Hughes will be on the team. It just bothers me to no end that someone who is injured and who can't compete in the trials is just given a spot on the team. It isn't fair. Part of the process is that you should be able to win your place in the pre-Olympic competition. Kwan isn't able to fulfill that part of the bargin and should not be on the US Olympic Skating team.