Olympics Watch: What Was Your Favorite Moment From Sochi 2014, Day 15?

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winter-olympics-day-14-ladies-30-km-cross-country-ski-norway-sweepIs it terrible to admit that when I turned on coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia, today, I treated coverage of the Ladies’ 30KM Mass Start cross-country ski race as little more than background noise?

My initial lack of respect, however, quickly gave way to something close to awe — as these crazy-fit athletes powered through a long and snowy course whose uphill climbs looked so daunting that I decided simply watching from my couch was all the exercise I’d need for the day.

The first big thrill came at the 10KM mark, as Norway’s leading trio of Marit Bjoergen, Therese Johaug and Kristin Stoermer Steira had to make a crucial decision: Stop and swap out their skis or carry onward and hope the calculated risk paid off. All three chose the latter option (as did the bulk of the athletes behind them), and then, slowly but steadily, began to separate from the pack.

Announcers Al Trautwig and Chad Salmela cautioned that the move might be premature, while reminding the audience that Norway’s “wax technicians” had been under fire midway through the games after its athletes failed to medal in the team relay events. (And here I thought “wax technicians” performed an altogether different — and far less sports-related — service at the day spa down the street from me!)

In the final kilometers, it became clear that Norway was on its way to a sweep — its three women now more than a full minute ahead of a dozen or so women in the second flight. And then it became a mere matter of which medal would go to which Norwegian.

Stoermer Steira was the first to yield — not a surprise after watching her gaspingly sip some water late in the race, a refreshment that her two rivals zipped past without indulging. And while Johaug attempted to outpace Bjoergen in the final uphill run — knowing the latter veteran was the stronger finisher — she never got the separation she needed.

Bjoergen, smiling delightedly, pulled ahead as they entered the stadium and drove to victory — collecting her 10th Olympic medal (a record among female athletes in the Winter Games) in what she admitted would be her final performance on the Olympic stage.

What Olympic event held your attention on Saturday? Sound off in the comments!

Comments (12)

  • the skating gala until it got interrupted by bobsledding and more skiing, now it’s about a boy that on. Not Happy!

    Comment by Jennifer Addington – February 22, 2014 08:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The story of Vic Wild, the American snowboarder who married a Russian snowboarder and won two gold medals-for Russia, is one of the most interesting in my opinion of these Olympics. Just kind of sad that he felt there were more opportunities in Russia than in the U.S.

    Comment by andy j – February 22, 2014 08:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s Ice Dance Gala performance to Rhianna’s “Stay” was exquisite. Their musicality is stunning. They truly are amazing.

    Comment by Sera – February 22, 2014 10:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Teemu Selänne.

    Comment by JJ – February 22, 2014 10:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Obviously the double win for the Dutch skaters in the team pursuit.

    Comment by EJ386 – February 23, 2014 12:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That was epic!!

      Comment by CBWBDK1 – February 23, 2014 02:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I only got to see Meryl and Charlie’s dance routine, which was absolutely gorgeous, and the Russian singles winning young woman, whose dance was ugly to uglier music. I missed the rest of the gala.

    Comment by jabell – February 23, 2014 02:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Gotta go with Tara and Johnny doing commentary for the Ice skating gala! Keep these two on speed-dial for the next time Bob Costas gets pink eye!

    Comment by Pavanne – February 23, 2014 04:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Finland beating the hell out of USA. Worthy ending for Timonen, Salo and Selänne, the greatest olympian hockey player.

    Comment by FF – February 23, 2014 11:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • There were none – still boycotting. And the sponsors, too.

    Comment by Tarc – February 23, 2014 01:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The best moment occurred for me when I realized that this whole mess was almost over with. This Olympics would have been better done as a reality series. You could have called it “Putin’s Place”. The intrigue just within the skating events between members on the same team combined with the figure skating judges trading quid pro quos over their scores would have made for truly “interesting” television. Plus, it would have been immune to anything slipping out about who actually won an event. Add to that watching so-called “stars” like Shani Davis having to face the reality that their day has come and gone and you would have had a ratings champ on your hands.

    Comment by David P. Graf – February 23, 2014 01:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Canada getting the double double in Gold medals for women’s curling, men’s curling, women’s hockey, men’s hockey. That’s our nation’s pride right there. YA baby!

    Comment by Terry – February 24, 2014 08:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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