Sunday, February 28, 2010

Olympics: Denouement

As posted by me on the Penny Arcade board, the Vancouver timeline of major events, updated day-by-day as the Games progressed.

Day 1: Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia dies in a crash when he loses control, flies off his sled and collides with an unpadded steel pole at a reported 89.44 mph. The culmination of a series of crashes in training, the track is closed for investigation. The remainder of the Georgian team considers withdrawing, but decides to compete in Nodar's honor.
Day 1: Opening Ceremony, dedicated to Kumaritashvili. Wayne Gretzky is the final torchbearer. Two cauldrons were lit, one indoor, one outdoor (as Olympic protocol states the cauldron must be outside and visible from a distance). The indoor cauldron was to be lit by a group of four poles, lit by Gretzky, Steve Nash, Nancy Greene and Catriona Le May Doan, but Doan's pole did not function, and the cauldron was lit using the other three.
Day 2: The luge track is reopened, with the wall raised at the section where Kumaritashvili left the track. In addition, the men are moved down to the women's starting point.
Day 2: Men's downhill is postponed due to slushy conditions on the track.
Day 2: Ski jumper Simon Ammann of Switzerland is the first gold medalist of the Games, winning the men's normal hill individual. Adam Malysz of Poland wins silver. Gregor Schlierenzauer of Austria wins bronze.
Day 2: With the Dutch prime minister in attendance, speedskater Sven Kramer of the Netherlands wins gold in the 5000 meters, setting an Olympic record of 6:14.60, six hundredths of a second faster than the previous record set in Salt Lake City by Jochem Uytdehaage of the Netherlands. Lee-Seung Hoon of South Korea wins silver. Ivan Skobrev of Russia wins bronze.
Day 2: Biathlete Anastasia Kuzmina wins Slovakia's first winter gold in the women's sprint. Magdalene Neuner of Germany wins silver. Marie Dorin of France wins bronze.
Day 2: The Canadian women's hockey team sets an Olympic record for largest margin of victory, defeating Slovakia 18-0. Canada was also owner of the previous record, beating Italy 16-0 in Torino. Slovakia had previously defeated Bulgaria 82-0 in qualifying, a world record.
Day 2: The South Korean short-track speedskating team misses out on a podium sweep when Ho-Suk Lee and Si-Bak Sung collide and crash just short of the finish line. Sung comes in 5th; Lee is disqualified. Jung-Su Lee of South Korea wins gold. Apolo Anton Ohno of the United States wins silver. J.R. Celski of the United States wins bronze. Ohno, with his silver, ties Bonnie Blair as the most decorated American winter athlete with six medals.
Day 3: The Vancouver climate strikes again in the men's biathlon 10km sprint, raining heavily after the early starters had gone and sealing the fate of everyone else in the field. Vincent Jay of France wins gold. Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway wins silver. Jakov Fav of Croatia wins bronze.
Day 3: The United States wins its first-ever medal in Nordic combined as Johnny Spillane wins silver in the individual normal hill/10 km. Alessandro Pittin of Italy wins bronze, Italy's first medal in Nordic combined as well. Jason Lamy Chappuis of France overtakes Spillane near the end of the race to win gold.
Day 3: Having paid $820 million to air the Olympics, NBC of the United States airs local news, USA airs a rerun of White Collar, MSNBC airs a true-crime docudrama, and CNBC airs a juicer infomercial simultaneously. Other NBC Universal networks such as Telemundo and Bravo, used in Beijing, are not in use for these Olympics.
Day 3: Figure skaters Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao of China kick off the pairs event by setting a world record in the short program, 76.66. They are not overtaken and win gold the next night.
Day 3: The men's singles luge competition, marred by the death of Kumaritashvili, is won by Felix Loch of Germany. David Moeller of Germany wins silver. Armin Zoeggler of Italy, who had crashed himself during the same training session, wins bronze. Levan Gureshidze of Georgia, Kumaritashvili's teammate, withdraws prior to the first heat of the event.
Day 3: Overcoming what has proven to be a merciless, unforgiving moguls course, Canada wins a war of attrition to achieve its first-ever Olympic gold medal on home soil as freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau takes gold in the men's moguls competition. Dale Begg-Smith of Australia wins silver. Bryon Wilson of the United States wins bronze.
Day 4: Cross-country skier Dario Cologna wins Switzerland's first cross-country gold in the men's 15 km. Pierro Piller Cottrer of Italy wins silver. Lukas Bauer of the Czech Republic wins bronze.
Day 4: In response to public complaints, the IOC asks VANOC, the local organizing commitee, to remove or lower the fence separating the public from the outdoor Olympic cauldron. Previously, the fence was covered by blue and green bunting, blocking the view entirely, but a high chain-link fence still remains, creating poor photo opportunities for tourists.
Day 4: Men's 500-meter speedskating is delayed due to a Zamboni breakdown that damaged the ice surface. The delay is so long that Shani Davis of the United States, not in serious contention at the time, elects to withdraw.
Day 4: Alpine skier Bode Miller of the United States makes a miraculous NBC-approved comeback from everything from disappointing finishes to a still-slushy course to being named Bode to win bronze in the men's downhill. Didier DeFago of Switzerland wins gold. Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway wins silver. This is the closest men's downhill competition in Olympic history, with .09 seconds separating gold from bronze. In a non-NBC-approved non-comeback, Marco Sullivan of the United States finishes 60th, 13.45 seconds back. Sullivan finished last place among those who finished and over three seconds behind 59th-place Andrei Drygin of Tajikistan.
Day 4: An epic men's snowboard cross final sees Seth Wescott of the United States edge out Nate Robertson of Canada in a photo finish. Tony Ramoin of France wins bronze.
Day 4: The gold skinsuits of Japan win everything but as speedskater Mo Tae-bum of South Korea wins gold instead in the men's 500 meters, the first South Korean to win winter gold outside of short-track speedskating. Keiichiro Nagashima of Japan wins silver. Joji Kato of Japan wins bronze.
Day 5: Men's super-combined skiing is postponed due to too much snow. Sure, why not.
Day 5: Biathlete Magdalena Neuner of Germany, who had missed gold by two seconds in the women's sprint to Anastasia Kuzmina of Slovakia, misses her final shot in the 10 km pursuit, erasing what was a previously insurmountable lead and letting Kuzmina into the race again. However, Neuner hangs on and wins gold. Kuzmina wins silver, 12.3 seconds behind. Marie Laure Brunet of France wins bronze.
Day 5: Snowboarder Lindsay Jacobellis of the United States fails to silence four years of personal demons as she is disqualified in the semifinals of women's snowboard cross after going off-course. Maelle Ricker of Canada wins gold, becoming the first Canadian woman to win gold on home soil. Deborah Anthonioz of France wins silver. Olivia Nobs of Switzerland wins bronze.
Day 5: The Canadian men's hockey team begins the most high-pressure quest for gold of the Games by crushing Norway 8-0. To this point, the two Canadian hockey teams have, combined, scored 36 goals in three games while only giving up 1 (to Switzerland).
Day 5: Cherry blossoms are spotted in Vancouver during the hosting of the Winter Olympics.
Day 6: The fences surrounding the outdoor cauldron are moved in and a length of fence at eye-level is removed. A higher-level viewing area is also made available.
Day 6: Cross-country skiier Petra Majdic of Slovenia, #1 in the world rankings, becomes the latest victim of Vancouver when she falls off the course during warm-ups for the classic sprint and goes into a ravine. She recovers enough to qualify and eventually wins bronze. Marit Bjorgen of Norway wins gold. Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland wins silver.
Day 6: Speedskater Shani Davis of the United States, after having dropped out of the 500 meters, makes good on his gamble in the 1000 meters, winning gold. Mo Tae-bum of South Korea wins silver, Chad Hedrick of the United States wins bronze.
Day 6: Short-track speedskater Wang Meng of China demolishes the field in the 500 meters, setting three consecutive Olympic records in the first three rounds and taking gold with no additional trouble. Marianne St.-Gelais of Canada wins silver. Arianna Fontana of Italy wins bronze.
Day 6: After multiple delays, the women's downhill is finally held, with the results no less challenging than anticipated. Eight different skiers fail to reach the bottom of the mountain. Lindsay Vonn of the United States wins gold. Julia Mancuso of the United States wins silver. Elisabeth Goergl of Austria wins bronze.
Day 6: Snowboarder Shaun White of the United States sets an Olympic record in the men's halfpipe, winning gold and, more importantly, avoiding becoming Vancouver's next victim. Vancouver took many victims this day. Peetu Piiroinen of Finland wins silver. Scotty Lago of the United States wins bronze.
Day 7: There is a tie in the men's individual biathlon for 2nd, netting Ole Einar Bjorndalen of Norway and Sergey Novikov of Belarus silver medals. Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway wins gold. No bronze medals are awarded, which sucks for Evgeny Ustyugov of Russia.
Day 7: Vancouver claims six more victims in the women's combined, including downhill gold medalist Lindsay Vonn, and nearly claims bronze medalist Elisabeth Goergl as well. Maria Resch of Germany wins gold. Julia Mancuso of the United States wins silver. Anja Parson of Sweden, a victim of the women's downhill, wins bronze.
Day 7: The men's figure skating competition is won by Evan Lysacek of the United States. Evgeni Plushenko of Russia wins silver. Daisuke Takahashi of Japan wins bronze.
Day 7: Canada's third gold of the Games comes in speedskating, when Christine Nesbitt claims the women's 1000 meters. Annette Gerritsen of the Netherlands wins silver. Laurine van Reissen of the Netherlands wins bronze.
Day 7: The Canadian men's hockey team is nearly derailed in the group stage, needing a shootout to beat Switzerland 3-2.
Day 7: An NBC reporter asks speedskating gold medalist Sven Kramer of the Netherlands, who won the 5000 meters, who he is. Kramer responds, "Are you stupid?"
Day 8: Alpine skier Patrik Jaerbyn of Sweden is airlifted off the mountain after a crash in the men's Super G slalom that would claim 18 victims. Meanwhile, NBC interviews three American snowboarders. Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway wins gold. Bode Miller of the United States wins silver. Andrew Weibrecht of the United States wins bronze.
Day 8: Great Britain gains its first winter gold in 30 years as Amy Williams wins the women's skeleton. Kerstin Szymkowiak of Germany wins silver. Anja Huber of Germany wins bronze.
Day 8: Snowboarder Scotty Lago of the United States, bronze medal winner in the men's halfpipe, leaves Vancouver after lewd photos of him emerge involving said bronze medal. One picture involves the medal disappearing into a woman's mouth. Another involves the medal disappearing below his waist, woman in tow.
Day 9: Ski jumper Simon Ammann of Switzerland claims his fourth Olympic gold, more than any other Swiss athlete in summer or winter, and more than any other ski jumper, dominating the individual large hill. Adam Malysz of Poland wins silver. Gregor Schlierenzauer of Austria wins bronze.
Day 9: The Canada 2 two-man bobsled flips during the second heat, somehow manages to negotiate the final three corners, and finishes Heat 2 (of 4) in 6th position.
Day 9: Short-track speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno of the United States surpasses Bonnie Blair as the most decorated winter American athlete by taking bronze in the men's 1000 meters. Lee Jung-Su of South Korea wins gold, setting an Olympic record. Lee Ho-Suk of South Korea wins silver.
Day 9: Sung Si-Bak of South Korea sets an Olympic record in the men's 1000 meters. Zhou Yang of China sets one in the women's 1500 meters. But it's a slow-val. Really.
Day 10: Skier Chris Del Bosco of Canada careens off the last hill of the final in skicross and becomes Vancouver's latest victim. Michael Schmid of Switzerland wins gold. Andreas Matt of Austria wins silver. Audun Gronvold of Norway wins bronze. Along the way, Schmid eliminates Errol Kerr of Jamaica in a quarterfinal; Kerr qualified 9th of 32 and won his opening heat.
Day 10: The Canadian men's hockey team, and the entire nation of Canada, is left wondering what went wrong with not much time to find an answer after a 5-3 group-stage loss to the United States sends them to the qualification round.
Day 10: In a super-combined event that takes out 17, with an additional DNS for the slalom from Georg Streitberger of Austria, alpine skier Bode Miller of the United States claims a complete set of medals, taking gold. Ivica Kostelic of Croatia wins silver. Silvan Zurbriggen of Switzerland wins bronze.
Day 10: Ice dancers Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia perform a controversial dance based on Australian Aboriginals, including matching costumes. Actual Aboriginals find the dance offensive, especially considering that the pair had performed a more flamboyant version of the same dance at January's European Championships, garnering much the same reaction, and still chose to perform the dance at the Olympics. Domnina and Shabalin dropped from first to third in the competition.
Day 11: Cross-country skier Petter Northrug turns on the afterburners to win gold for Norway in the men's team sprint. Germany wins silver. Russia wins bronze.
Day 11: Bob Costas of NBC is in a seaplane, oblivious to the fact that Americans never really needed to be told where Vancouver is or what's up there, considering there's an NHL team up there, there was an NBA team there not too long ago, and there will be an MLS team there in the near future. And also a job at Whistler was offered as a grand prize on Hell's Kitchen this season.
Day 11: Austria obliterates the large hill in team ski jumping, the last ski jump event of these Games, setting Olympic records for longest jump, largest team point total and largest margin of victory. Germany wins silver. Norway wins bronze.
Day 12: Speedskater Sven Kramer of the Netherlands continues his rather interesting excursion in Vancouver by losing what was to be a sure gold medal and Olympic Record in the men's 10,000 meters when, under his coach's advisement, he transferred into the wrong lane- or rather, failed to change lanes- and was disqualified. Lee Seung-Hoon of South Korea wins the gold- and the record- instead. Ivan Skobrev of Russia wins silver. Bob de Jong of the Netherlands wins bronze.
Day 12: Whistler eats freestyle skier Ruxandra Nedelcu of Romania in particularly heartbreaking fashion in the qualifiers for women's ski cross when Nedelcu wipes out just short of the finish line. She slides across the line to register a time, but the time is .21 seconds slower than the time needed to qualify ahead of Yulia Livinskaya of Russia, who qualifies instead. There were 32 spots available; Nedelcu finished 33rd. Livinskaya DNF's herself in the first heat of the 1/8 finals. Ashleigh McIvor of Canada wins gold. Hedda Berntsen of Canada wins silver. Marion Josserand of France wins bronze.
Day 12: Alpine skier Oleg Shamaev of Uzbekistan, the lone country not featured at any time in NBC's coverage of the Opening Ceremony, finishes 77th in the men's giant slalom, an event that claims 20. Shamaev is the first of three Uzbek athletes to participate in these Games. Carlo Janka of Switzerland wins gold. Kjetil Janslud of Norway wins silver. Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway wins bronze.
Day 12: In ladies' figure skating, the second member of Team Uzbekistan, Anastasia Gimazetdinova, claims the 24th and final qualification spot in the short program to advance to the free skate. Elene Gedevanishvili of Georgia qualifies 9th. Kim Yu-Na of South Korea leads after the short program.
Day 13: Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn of the United States crashes in the first run of women's giant slalom, but due to the fog, teammate Julia Mancuso, next to ski, is oblivious until reaching Vonn's position. Despite NBC having exclusive coverage of the Games in the United States, ESPN scoops NBC on this event by several hours. Run 2 was postponed to Day 14. Kseniya Grigoreva of Uzbekistan, the third and final member of that delegation, sits in 67th of the 68 who finished.
Day 13: NBC claims their e-mail inbox is full of people asking why short-track speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno of the United States yawns before races. In the process, NBC proves that, in addition to being jingoistic idiots who can't program for beans, they're liars as well.
Day 13: The South Korean short-track speedskating team is disqualified for illegal contact with the Chinese team, who sets a world record in the women's 3000 meter relay. Slow ice. Slowval. Worker ice. Slow ice. Canada wins silver. The United States wins bronze.
Day 14: Four days after the death of her mother, figure skater Joannie Rochette of Canada wins bronze in the ladies' singles. Kim Yu-Na of South Korea wins gold, setting a world record in the process. Mao Asada of Japan wins silver. Anastasia Gimazetdinova of Uzbekistan finishes 23rd.
Day 14: Alpine skier Kseniya Grigoreva of Uzbekistan moves up to 58th in women's giant slalom, primarily because eight additional skiers dropped out, four from DNF's. Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany wins gold. Tina Maze of Slovenia wins silver. Elisabeth Goergl of Austria wins bronze.
Day 14: Canada's women's hockey team does its part in the most important event of the Games by taking gold from the United States in a 2-0 victory. Finland wins bronze.
Day 14: Belarus wins its first winter gold as freestyle skier Alexei Grishin takes the men's aerials competition. Jeret Peterson of the United States wins silver. Liu Zhongqing of China wins bronze.
Day 15: Enjoying a surge of popularity in the sport, Canada rides the home crowd to silver in women's curling. Sweden wins gold. China wins bronze.
Day 15: Kseniya Grigoreva of Uzbekistan becomes one of 32 victims of women's slalom, the most of any event so far. Maria Reisch of Germany wins gold. Marlies Schild of Austria wins silver. Sarka Zahrobska of the Czech Republic wins bronze.
Day 15: The Canadian men's hockey team staves off a furious last stand by Slovakia, including a last minute of unceasing goal-line attack, to advance by a score of 3-2. They face the United States in the gold medal game.
Day 15: Meanwhile back in Sydney, the International Gymnastics Federation recommended to the IOC that the Chinese gymnastics team that won bronze in Sydney 2000 be stripped of their medal in the all-around after finding one member of the team, Dong Fangxiao, was underage- 14 years old- at the time of the Games. The bronze, if stripped, would instead go to the United States.
Day 15: Biathlete Ole Einar Bjorndalen of Norway carries his flag across the line as Norway wins the men's relay to close out biathlon in Vancouver. Austria wins silver narrowly over Russia, who wins bronze.
Day 15: Short-track speedskater Zhou Yang of China sets a new world record in the women's 1000 meters. She is, however, disqualified in the final. Wang Meng of China wins gold. Katherine Reutter of the United States wins silver. Park Seung-Hi of South Korea wins bronze.
Day 15: The Netherlands wins its first gold outside of long-track speedskating as Nicolien Sauerbreij takes the women's parallel giant slalom. Ekaterina Ilyukhina of Russia wins silver. Marion Kreiner of Austria wins bronze.
Day 16: An 8.8 earthquake strikes off the coast of Chile, causing a massive amount of damage. Team Chile, consisting of alpine skiers Noelle Barahona, Maui Gayme, and flagbearer Jorge Mandru, heads home to survey the damage. Barahona's best result was 28th place in women's combined. Gayme's best result was 42nd in men's Super G. Mandru's best result was 52nd in men's giant slalom.
Day 16: Canada closes out long-track speedskating by edging out the United States in the men's team pursuit. The Netherlands win bronze, setting an Olympic record in the process. Slowval.
Day 16: The women's team pursuit is even closer than the men's, as Germany pips Japan to the line with only .02 seconds to spare. Poland wins bronze.
Day 16: The only non-competitive athletic event of the Games, the Champions' Gala, is held, featuring all figure skating medal winners. It's the only functionally useless figure skating exhibition with a genuine five-ring pedigree. Accept no substitutions.
Day 16: In the winter equivalent of the women's marathon, the cross country 30K classical, it all comes down to a difference of .3 seconds after over an hour and a half of struggle, with Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland claiming gold at the expense of Marit Bjorgen of Norway, who wins silver. Aino-Kaisa Saarinen of Finland wins bronze.
Day 16: The Canadian men's curling team rides a raucous home crowd to gold, defeating Norway in the final 6-3, with Norway conceding the 10th end. Switzerland wins bronze.
Day 16: Whistler Creekside takes one final opportunity to sate its voracious appetite for alpine skiers, feasting on 53 participants in the men's slalom, over half of the field, with the help of a dense fog. Oleg Shamaev of Uzbekistan finishes 42nd of the 48 survivors. Giuliano Razzoli of Italy wins gold. Ivica Kostelic of Croatia wins silver. Andre Myhrer of Sweden wins bronze.
Day 16: The Terry Fox Award, intended to recognize inspiration through perserverance, is awarded to cross-country skier Petra Majdic of Slovenia and figure skater Joannie Rochette of Canada.
Day 17: Unable to secure a flight back home, alpine skier Noelle Barahona of Chile decides to take part in the Closing Ceremony after all.
Day 17: The King's Race, the 50k cross-country classical, is won by Petter Northug of Norway, who in addition to gold, wins the right to hear the Norwegian national anthem at the Closing Ceremony. Axel Teichmann of Germany wins silver. Johan Olsson of Sweden wins bronze.
Day 17: In a storybook ending to the Olympics, the Canadian men's hockey team defeats the United States 3-2 in an overtime game for the ages, with the winning goal scored by Sidney Crosby. Slovakia wins bronze.
Day 17: Closing Ceremony. Catriona Le May Doan, whose arm of the indoor cauldron failed to rise in the Opening Ceremony, is brought back to light her now-functional arm. The Olympic flag is passed to Sochi, Russia. Both cauldrons are extinguished during a performance by Neil Young. Then the ceremony goes straight down the tubes with every wrong thing about Canada profiled in rapid succession. NBC is eventually driven away to the premiere of The Marriage Ref, leaving Vancouver to their descent into madness. They come back to spare the United States of the worst of it.

See you in London, two years hence.

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