Tag:Bobsled
Posted on: March 2, 2010 4:32 pm
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Fried: My five favorite Olympic memories

By Ina Fried

Thinking about the top sports moments of the Vancouver Games, there are many images that stand out, but a few performances that are etched indelibly in my brain. Two of the five are events on my list were ones got to witness firsthand and two others I covered live, albeit watching on a big screen. Over the coming days, I plan to write about my top non-sports moments of the games, as well as some of the not-so-highlights.

1. The gold medal men's hockey game.

Sure, the U.S. didn't bring home the gold, but this was an incredible game that left an entire nation (and some additional millions in the U.S.) on the edge of their seats.

After finding itself in a 2-0 hole, the U.S. crawled back, finally tying the game with 24 seconds left. More than that, there was tons of end-to-end action and an incredible crowd that extended beyond the walls of Canada Hockey Place and to every cathode ray tube and collection of pixels in Canada. Although I had an incredible vantage point from the Molson Hockey House pavilion, I'm told it was just as great outside, downtown in neighborhood pubs and elsewhere. 

A close game and a great tournament could help the NHL and might also help the league commit to working its schedule around the Olympics in the future. I was also glad to see a team win it in the overtime. From where I sit, gold medals shouldn't be decided in a shootout.

2. The "Night Train" winning bobsled gold.

America hadn't won a gold in bobsled in 62 years, until Steven Holcomb and team sped through the track at Whistler. Turning in four dominating performances, USA-1 led from the first run and continued to grow its lead throughout the two days of competition. 

The track, which Holcomb and others called the fastest and one of the trickiest in the world made for a challenging Olympic venue. Six teams crashed at some point on Day 1 of the competition, but every bobsled that started on Day 2 managed to turn in a clean run, making for an exciting conclusion.

To claim the gold, the Night Train had to pass up some steep competition including a strong Canadian team and retiring German star Andre Lange who was hoping to go out with a bang, adding yet another gold in his already prodigious collection.

And the fact that Holcomb is a big computer geek, well, that just made it even better. As one of my friends said on Facebook, Holcomb gives hope to every pudgy guy willing to wear spandex.

3. The U.S. beating Canada in men's hockey.

This game set the stage for what proved to be an exciting and wide-open tournament with many countries not expected to fare all that well offering steep competition for the highest-ranked teams. In addition to being an entertaining game to watch, the U.S.-Canada game served as a wake-up call for the Canadians and showed the Americans to be serious contenders.

Though Canada outshot the U.S. by a wide margin, American goalie Ryan Miller came up huge, allowing the U.S. to win the game, even if it appeared to be outplayed at times.

4. Women's figure skating, especially Joannie Rochette.

Clearly the emotional story of the games was Canadian Joannie Rochette, just days after the sudden death of her mother, turning in great performances in both the short and free skate to claim the bronze medal.

The women's event also saw the dominating performance of Korean Kim Yu-Na as well as very nice routines from the Japanese and American women, though there wasn't enough room on the podium for all those that skated well.

But, unlike the men's side of things, there was a lot less bickering and backstabbing once the event was over.

5. Canada's comeback in the medals race.

When the games started, Canada's goal to "own the podium," or lead the medals race seemed highly ambitious. By midway through the games, even its backers were conceding defeat. Then a remarkable thing happened.

Canada, which had failed to win a gold medal in either of the two Olympics it had previously hosted, went on a tear. In the end, Canada went on to win more gold medals -- 14 -- than not only any other country at this year's games, but more than any country at any Winter Games ever. Sure, Germany and the U.S. had more total medals, but Canada definitely managed to change Own the Podium back into a statement as opposed to a punch line.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog "
Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

 

Posted on: February 27, 2010 5:05 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2010 11:46 pm
 

U.S. Bobsled Blog

By Ina Fried

Editor's Note: Ina has been following USA-1 and Steven Holcomb the last few days in their quest to earn a gold medal for the first time in 62 years. Here is her recap:

Steve Holcomb stood proud as he and his four-man bobsled team were honored with the American's first gold medal in 62 years.

Then, for the press, he did his now famous Holcy dance. Unfortunately, CBS doesn't have broadcast rights, so I can't show you that.

In an interview, Holcomb told me that he's done a lot of crazy things in his life, but said "This is a better high than anything." The huge adrenaline rush makes him understand why retiring German sledder Andre Lange stuck with the sport so long. "It's addicting."

Teammate Steve Mesler said hearing the National Anthem after winning gold was an amazing feeling. "It was kind of everything I hoped it would be. His one complaint: "It didn't last long enough."

In the hours after winning gold, Mesler was so excited tweeting and sending messages that his phone battery ran out of juice. "I had to shut it off," he said.

The team is off to the USA House to celebrate with fellow athletes and backers of the U.S. Olympic Team before heading to Vancouver late tonight in order to do the Today show on Sunday morning.

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Though clearly excited at winning a gold medal -- the United States' first bobsled gold in 62 years --Steven Holcomb wasn't quite sure what to say.

"I think I"m supposed to say I'm going to disneyland."

In reality, the avid gamer and computer junkie is far more likely to go home and play xbox than visit Mickey Mouse. As for future plans, Holcomb said he wants to stay with bobsled as long as he can. "I'm a lifer," he told reporters.

Teammate Steve Mesler also said it was impossible to describe the feeling of winning a gold medal.

"This is a moment I have waited for my entire life," Mesler told reporters just after the race.

There was something different in that fourth and final run, though.

"I actually heard the crowd for the first time in years," Mesler said. It's been years since I heard the cowbells in the crowd."

One thing that helped was that, even though the US team was the reigning world champion sled, a lot of the focus was on retiring German star Andre Lange and his team.

"We never really thought of ourselves as the team to beat," he said.

As for the track, Holcomb and Mesler agreed that it was fast and tricky, but Mesler said he has only good things to say about it. "It's my favorite place in the world right now," he said. "That's not to forget the Georgian luger who lost his life here."

Mesler said that to blow off steam last night he and teammate Curt Tomasevicz did play Rock Band. "I was on guitar and mike; Curt was on drums."

Coach Brian Shimer, himself a bronze medalist, fought back tears as he praised Holcomb. Shimer noted that it took him five olympics to win a bronze, while Holcomb claimed gold in only his second Winter Games.

"He kind of followed in my footsteps, but he passed me up."

Mesler said the reality might kick in by the time the actual medals arew handed out. That is scheduled for a ceremony at 11 p.m. ET in Whistler.

Below is a live account of the final two runs by team USA:

7:17 p.m. ET -- There were a lot of choked-up people in the US bobsled program as Holcomb and team crossed the finish line. "There's obviosly a lot emotion" said Darren Steele CEO of US Bobsled and skeleton federation. Steele said that things stayed pretty quiet over the last couple days. "We don't celebrate until the final run, until the sled crosses the finish line," Steele said. "This is a great day for the US and our program."

7:03 p.m. ET -- Lange's german teammates have entered the media zone wearing T-Shirts that say "Thank you Andre for all the famous moments." Although he took home Silver, lange has been an Olympic force having won the two-man here and previously winning the two-man and four-man at the same Olympics. "Andre you are a legend," screamed one fan.

7:01 p.m. ET -- Crowd, cheering the Canadian performance has broken out in a wild, if only partly on-key performance of "O Canada"

6:35 p.m. ET -- Holcomb has won the gold ending the 62-year gold drought -- 3:24.46. Germany silver, Canada bronze

6:32 p.m. ET -- Canada was one one-hundredth of second slower than germany so lange is time to beat. 3:24.84 is what holcomb needs for gold. Huge cheers as he takes the track too.

6:30 p.m. ET -- Lange total time 3:24.84 for the four runs. Canada-1 up now, was in 2nd. Huge cheers for the home sled. Can-a-da. Can-a-da cheers the crowd before the run begins.

6:27 p.m. ET -- Three sledders to go; germany's Lange on track. This is it!

5:26 p.m. ET -- So after three runs, here are the official standings:

Holcomb and USA-1 are in first with a total time of 2:32.94.

In second is Lyndon Rush and Canada-1, with a time of 2:33.39, that's .45 of a second back. In third is Germany-1, piloted by Andre Lange a further .09 seconds back, at 2:33.48.

Fellow countryman Thomas Florschuetz has Germany-2 in fourth place, with a time of 2:33.95, while Canada-2 is in fifth place with a time of 2:33.95

Starting the fourth run will be Croatia 1, followed by Korea-1 and Great Britain-1, all more than five seconds back of the leader

6:30 p.m. ET -- Lange total time 3:24.84 for the four runs. Canada-1 up now, was in 2nd. Huge cheers for the home sled. Can-a-da
Can-a-da cheers the crowd before the run begins.


6:27 p.m. ET -- Three sledders to go; germany's Lange on track. This is it!

5:20 p.m. ET -- There have actually been zero crashes today after six on Friday.

4:57 p.m. ET -- After 3 of 4 runs USA-1 bobsled pilotted by Steve Holcomb still in 1st, followed by Canada and Germany. The track is a bit slower today with the sun peeking through. That's meant somewhat lower top speeds! But also a whole lot fewer crashes. Interesting note, in addition to sweeping the snow at the start after each run, today they are also pulling down what look like giant window shades to keep the track ice temperature as consistent as possible.

4:15 p.m. ET -- The second-place sled of Canada is just slower than Night Train with a 3rd run of 51:24. Holcomb's clean run means he is likely to be in the lead as he enters fourth and final run.

4:04 p.m. ET: As the race leaders, Holcomb and the Night Train sled are up first. They set the pace with a time of 51.19 seconds. Up next is Canada, which finished Friday in second.

Ina Fried is a Senior Writer for CNET News. She will be in Vancouver covering various angles for both CBSSports.com and her CNET Blog " Beyond B1nary ". You can also follow her on twitter at: http://twitter.com/Inafried

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com