Monday, February 27, 2006
The Olympics: An Austrian Recap
The Olympics are over, and from an Austrian point of view, they were somewhat of a mixed bag, but all's well that ends well, and it ended up being the most successful Olympics for Austria ever. This includes beating Active Nick in our bet, since the Canadians ended up behind Austria in the overall medal standings.
We did very well overall. We got 23 medals total and ended up #3 in the overall rankings, 2 silver medals behind the US and 2 gold medals behind the Germans who won. Man, how those lost gold medals in men's downhill and men's combined hurt! But considering that we didn't get the gold in our best events, it is amazing how far we got. Just think about it: A country with about the same population as Houston ended up number 3 in overall rankings. Pretty cool if you ask me!
Here's another pretty cool story. I am from a small town in Austria with less than 20,000 people (Saalfelden). Less than 10 miles from that town is Zell am See, with just over 10,000 citizens. This is where I went to school. Then there is another nearby town called Unken, which has far less people. Probably some 250 households or so (I might be slightly off here). I was born in Unken. These three areas are what I would consider "my community in Austria". About 30,000 people or so total. From within that community, we had several athletes compete in the Olympics. Here is the list:
- Marlies Schild: She is from Saalfelden. She won a silver medal in women's combined, and a bronze in women's slalom.
- Reinfried Herbst: He is from Unken. He won the silver medal in men's slalom.
- Felix Gottwald: He is from Zell am See. He competes in nordic combined, and won the gold medal in the sprint, silver in the individual competition, and gold in the team competition.
- Benjamin Raich: He is not technically from Saalfelden, but he is engaged to Marlies Schild, and thus we adopted him as someone from Saalfelden, since he has joined our community. He won the men's slalom, he won the giant slalom, and darn it, he fell on his way to gold in men's combined. But hey, 2 gold medals is not that bad either... ;-)
So people from my immediate community won 4 gold, 2 silver, and 1 bronze medals! I would be surprised if there is another 30,000 people community anywhere in the world that was equally as successful. Heck, these guys alone had more than half as many medals as all of Canada... ;-)
Unfortunately, there also were some bad news. A big "doping scandal" in the Austrian biathlon team. Everyone - including myself - thought that they must have been guilty. But no! As it turns out, all the tests came back negative. Not a single one of them was doped. And now it turns out that the person who started all of this, an Austrian coach who was banned from the Olympics and was only there as a private person (but staying in a house the team rented), is now probably not even going to be charged with anything at all! So all if this was just a bunch of BS! Apparently, nobody did anything wrong. Makes you wonder who started this nonsense and why. Either way, as a result we didn't get a single medal from the biathlon team, even though we had high expectations, especially in the team event. I assume someone got what he wanted. I guess jealousy is rearing its ugly head...
Anyway: Tough luck for Nick and the rest of Canada, eh? ;-) I will enjoy the dinner I won. I have to say, Canada did well, and they had some tough luck. The whole deal with the hockey team. Also, Canada has more 4th place finishes than any other country. 11 total. But maybe they can beat Austria the next time. I have already agreed to a new bet for the next Olympics. Of course, Canadians will have "home field advantage" then, since the games are in Vancouver. But hey, Salzburg is making a bid for the games in 2014. Maybe it will swing in my favor then...
Posted @ 10:12 PM by Egger, Markus (firstname.lastname@example.org)