Couple pieces of business before we proceed to the final day of competition (and I really hope that US/Canada isn't a run-away-and-hide 4-0 snorefest).
First, the Terry Fox Award was awarded yesterday; mentioned here previously. It will be going to two athletes who gave inspiration through perserverance: Petra Majdic of Slovenia and Joannie Rochette of Canada. It was originally to go to a single athlete, but the judges couldn't decide between them.
Majdic, a cross country skier, fell into a ravine during warmups for the women's sprint and fell back-first onto a rock, fracturing four ribs and puncturing a lung. She would go to the hospital for three days and miss the rest of her events... right after winning bronze.
Rochette's mother died of a heart attack four days prior to her competition, women's figure skating. With that going through her mind, she won bronze too. In fact, according to her statement upon recieving the award, it hasn't even really hit her yet:
"It's not even a week since she died and I don't even realize yet that my mom is not here anymore. I don't even realize I have won this medal. My feelings are so mixed."
Our second piece of business concerns Chile, which you'd never think would connect to the Olympics, but remember, it's a global competition. Chile did in fact send a team, three alpine skiers, none of which were contending for medals. Two had in fact already departed Vancouver after their events, but when the third, Noelle Barahona, was unable to secure a flight home, and as she knew her family was okay- they were in Vancouver themselves- she decided to stay and participate in the Closing Ceremony after all.
And finally, Team Uzbekistan has not been shown on NBC for the entire Games. You'll remember them as the country that had the misfortune of marching between the United States and Canada during the Parade of Nations, with NBC lingering on the United States until Canada entered the stadium, skipping Uzbekistan entirely. No measure of redress was made over the course of the Games. So we do what we can here. Here's how they did.
*Anastasia Gimazetdinova claimed the 24th and final transfer spot after the short program in women's figure skating, coming in 23rd overall.
*Kseniya Grigoreva DNF'ed in the first run of women's slalom, along with 29 others including medal contenders Lindsay Vonn of the United States, Anja Parson of Sweden and Susanne Riesch of Germany. Two others were disqualified; Jelena Lolovic of Serbia withdrew between runs. Grigoreva, however, would finish the giant slalom, coming in 58th. This event would claim 21 through DNF's, including Vonn again, with one disqualification and four who did not make the second run.
*Oleg Shamaev finished 77th in men's giant slalom and 42nd in the slalom. The men's slalom claimed more victims than any other event of these Games, taking out more than half of the field. Of 101 who started (Markus Kilsgaard of Denmark did not), only 48 made it to the bottom both times.
Granted, not epic performances. But in the Olympics, that is not what matters. Baron de Coubertin would tell you himself.
"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."