Friday, February 12, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics Preview - Speed Skating

Speed Skating Preview


What's not to love about Speed Skating? Short track is basically a condensed version of a NASCAR race with no penalties for taking people out. Okay, maybe there are, but Apolo Anton Ohno got taken out in the 1,000 meter race in 2002 and the dude who knocked him out didn't medal so there really weren't any penalties.



Events

Long Track
Men’s 500 m
Ladies’ 500 m
Men’s 1,000 m
Ladies’ 1,000 m
Men’s 1,500 m
Ladies’ 1,500 m
Ladies’ 3,000 m
Men’s 5,000 m
Ladies’ 5,000 m
Men’s 10,000 m
Men’s Team Pursuit
Ladies’ Team Pursuit

Short Track
Men’s 500 m
Ladies’ 500 m
Men’s 1,000 m
Ladies’ 1,000 m
Men’s 1,500 m
Ladies’ 1,500 m
Ladies’ 3,000 m Relay
Men’s 5,000 m Relay

In Long Track, just called "Speed Skating" for these games as "Short Track" was given it's own event, skaters compete head-to-head around a 400-meter oval. In each event, each skater gets only one run. The skater with the fastest time wins. Personally, we think a bracketed competition would be cooler, but we love brackets and stuff, so that's probably just us.

In Short Track, skaters compete in heats of 4 to 6 skaters. The top 2 from each heat advance to the next round until only 4 skaters remain for the final heat.

. In the relay, 4 skaters from 8 nations compete. There is a semi-finals and finals round in relay.

Favorites

In 2006 in Turin, the Netherlands (3G, 2S, 4B), Canada (2G, 4S, 2B) and the United States (3G, 3S, 1B) cleaned house in Speed Skating. Short Track has been dominated by Japan, Korea, and American Apolo Anton Ohno. The fields are a bit more wide open this year, particularly in the shorter distances where any number of skaters could bring home gold. Distinct favorites are American Shani Davis (who beat Stephen Colbert in a race to get on the team) in the 1,000 and 1,500 and Sven Kramer of the Netherlands in the 5,000 and 10,000. In Short Track, Apolo Ohno will have another shot at gold this year.

US Hopefuls

Beyond Shani Davis and Apolo Ohno, the US's hopes rest on Chad Hedrick in Speed Skating. No one else is even close to Ohno in short track. Hedrick probably couldn't hold Shani Davis' jockstrap but he still has an outside shot to reach the medal stand.

Predictions

The Steelers n'at Pick: Stephen Colbert. For those that haven't heard, he and Colbert Nation saved the US Speed Skating team by raising money. The Colbert insignia will be on the US Speed Skater's uniforms and give them the "Colbert Bump" necessary to get them on the medal stand. On the women's side, Canada will probably sweep everything.

Three Rivers Burgh Blog Pick: The United States will take home with Ohno, and maybe some guys from the Netherlands. Colbert is an interesting choice as I believe he just went off the board in Vegas so they must know something.

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