Friday, February 17, 2006
Finally, a few better days at the Olympics
When you are Austrian, the Winter Olympics are a rather exciting time. The first few days of the 2006 Winter Olympics however have been somewhat disappointing for us. We may be a small country (less than 8 million people), but we sure expect to play with the big boys when it comes to sports, especially in the winter. But so far, many of the events we are strong in have not gone our way, and in some of the other events where we generally expect to do well, we are not well positioned this year. Especially in things like speed skating, the lack of good competitors really hurts, because there are so many medals awarded here. If you have good speed skaters (short track and regular), you can collect more medals than most countries will collect total.
So among the disappointing events this year were things like ski jumping, luge, speed skating, cross-country skiing, biathlon, and more. Of course our biggest strength is in skiing. But even there, we have not been doing very well so far. In men's downhill, we got a silver medal for instance. Not so bad you say? Humbug! We expect at least 2 medals out of that, and one better be gold! ;-) In fact, Walchhofer, the silver-medalist, was removed from the Super-G team after this "failure". Personally, I thought that was a bit of a touch call... but there are just so many other skiers that are good as well. In fact, since at the Olympics, only 4 competitors are allowed from each country, you might be the world's number 5 ranked athlete, but if you are from Austria, that is probably not enough to make it to the Olympics. In fact, you might be the world's 4th ranked athlete, but if there are some people coming up behind you that had a few good races just before the Olympics, even being #4 may not be enough!
But things have taken a turn for the better. In women's downhill, we took the gold. Another runner came in 4th I think. A bit of tough luck here, but we can live with that. In men's combined, Beni Raich was comfortably ahead, but then couldn't finish his final run. We still got 3rd place, but it is tough luck. An American won. Now I might live here, but when it comes to sports, I am a patriotic Austrian! After all, a little friendly rivalry is what creates the excitement and fun!
So now Austria is in 4th place of the medal rankings. I had hoped for a better position, but at least it isn't the disaster anymore that it was after the first few days. And after all, considering the population of Austria is less than the population of Houston, we do kick butt!
Posted @ 11:10 AM by Egger, Markus (email@example.com)