Tag:Figure Skating
Posted on: March 2, 2010 4:32 pm

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 26, 2010 8:43 am

Fans gather to cheer on figure skaters

By Ina Fried

One of the cool things about the Vancouver olympics is practically every restaurant or bar in town is a mini-venue with a contingent of fans as passionate as any lucky enough to have tickets.

Such was the case with Thursday's ladies figure skating finals. I found myself at Character's a bar and restaurant on Davie Street.

At one table, a group of Koreans cheered on Yu-Na Kim, a national hero and leader after the short program.

One table over, a group of Canadians clapped for Joannie Rochette, their countrywoman who was skating just days after her mother's death

The koreans also cheered for Rochette.

"We know about her story," said Seung Yu who studies English in Vancouver. Yu and her friends wanted Rochette to get a medal too--just not the gold.

In the end, all were happy, with Rochette getting bronze and Kim, the Gold.

"It's quite a heroic performance," Dan Fernandes of Toronto said of Rochette. "A bronze medal means more than a gold (under other circumstances)

Lauren Karst, of Bowen Island, British Columbia said she was also happy because Canada now has 17 medals, equalling its mark for the Torino games, with the country also assured of a medal in Curling. "Own the Podium worked," she said, referring to the national effort to do better on home turf in this year's medal standings.

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 24, 2010 4:20 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2010 8:28 pm

Olympic notebook: A kid's first hockey game

By Ina Fried

A child's first hockey game is a right of passage in Canada.

And Thomas Challis, 5, of Coquitlam, got an exceptionally good introduction to big time hockey, landing the chance to go with his dad to Tuesday's matchup between Switzerland and Belarus.

Thomas' Dad, Roger, patiently explained some of the games finer points, such as the difference between linemen and referees (referees call penalties, while linesman generally do not) and why regular players have hard shin pads and goalies have big soft pads (goalies don't want to give up big rebounds that can lead to scoring chances).

But, Thomas got things pretty quick. "The boys bump each other," he says, "but that's a part of hockey."

Challis noted that he's not totally new to hockey, frequently playing in the alley in back of his house as well as some stick and puck play with his dad at the local ice rink.

"I grew up playing hockey," the kindergartner told me.

At figure skating, all eyes on hockey

After each figure skater performed on Tuesday, there was a rush to check on the score.

Of course, wanting to know what the judges thought of the skater would be normal. But that wasn't the score that many people were focused on, at least for the first few skaters. Following each performance, many spectators would look around to find a neighbor with a radio or cell phone that had the latest score from the Canada-Germany hockey game, which was taking on at the same place.

Photo Gallery: Figure skating images

As Canada built a solid lead and in the hockey game and the figure skating performances went on, the attention did eventually shift to what was happening within the building.

By far the crowd's highlight the emotional performance from Joannie Rochette, whose mom died of a heart attack just days before the Olympic competition. Rochette kept her emotions in check--at least until the skate was done. Then she, her coach, and many others at Pacific Coliseum broke down in tears.

Rochette is in third place after the short program, trailing also spectacular performances from Korea's Yu-Na Kim, who is in first after an impressive skate to a James Bond medley and Japan's Mao Asada, who skated her way into second.

Hockey fever hits Wall Street

Passion for Olympic hockey isn't limited to those in Canada, of course. Brokerage Credit Suisse issued a memo, published by the Wall Street Journal, letting its New York employees know that the firm has decided to pipe in Wednesdy's U.S.-Switzerland hockey games to its auditorium. However, it warns the room only seats 225 people and standing won't be allowed. Employees, according to the memo, should try and get a manager's approval before heading out to snag a seat.

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