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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Shocking moments abound for U.S. teams

By Ryan Mercer/sports editor

   After days of competition in Torino, the Olympics have yielded plenty of surprises.
   The Torino games were supposed to bring out the best in American athletics, the best team ever in winter Olympic history. However, some surprises have dimmed the lights and left America wondering what?
   The start of the unforeseen events came just one day after the opening ceremonies. Figure skater Michelle Kwan had made the team with a medical waiver, as she did not compete in the U.S. Championships. When she couldn’t finish her practice session, she began talking of pulling out of the Olympics.
   After a day had passed, Kwan announced she was pulling out of the competition. Emily Hughes, younger sister of Salt Lake gold medalist Sara Hughes, has arrived to take Kwan’s spot in the figure skating competition.
   Kwan’s departure was just the beginning for team USA.
   Alpine skier Bode Miller is highly regarded as America’s best chance at winning gold in the downhill event.
   Miller is known for his wild and crazy approach to skiing with his unconventional all out style. Miller’s everything-or-nothing attitude garnered much attention prior to the Olympics.
   When the competition began, Miller looked poised to take gold, but critical mistakes in his final run cost him as he finished fifth. If that finish wasn’t bad enough, Miller was disqualified in the combined event as he straddled a gate in his slalom run. Sadly, he was leading the event after a great downhill time.
   However, out of nowhere, an unexpected member of the U.S. ski team had two fantastic runs in the slalom and claimed a gold. Ted Legity, a 21-year-old from Park City, Utah, was golden in his upset of the heavily favored Austrian Benjamin Raich. The gold was Legity’s first major win in any alpine event.
   Legity’s gold medal salvaged an event team USA was poised to win. Another event the Americans were favored to win was in short track speed skating.
   Apolo Anton Ohno looked poised to win gold in the 1,500 meters he won in ’02. In the semi-final race Ohno was in position to move on to the final race. Ohno was making a move to pass the leader when he fell behind and caught his hand on the leader’s skate causing him to fall out of the race and ultimately the gold medal.
   However, Ohno would find some redemption in the 1,000 meters, as he would claim bronze in a tight race to the finish.
   Where Ohno failed, Texan long-track speed skater Chad Hedrick succeeded.
   Spring native Hedrick blew the competition away in the 5,000 meters, winning the event by almost two full seconds. Hedrick hopes to win more gold in the 1,000 meters, 1,500 meters and 10,000 meters. Hedrick also competed in the team pursuit, but they failed to qualify for the final.
   Sticking with ice, the U.S. hockey team started its run for a medal against Latvia last Wednesday.
   USA looked to have everything in hand when Latvia scored three unanswered goals to take the lead. USA tied the game in the third but couldn’t get the go ahead goal as the two teams tied.
   Team USA handled Kazakhstan easily but struggled to score against Slovakia and Sweden this past weekend dropping both games two-to-one. Team USA is all but assured a spot in the medal rounds despite the losses. For USA to win a medal they must score more goals and continue to have stellar goaltending.
   With hockey’s final coming the day of the closing ceremonies, many will remember the Olympics for the upsets, disappointments and perseverance.
   For the American athletes, it’s a question of whether or not they lived up to their lofty expectations. If the first week is any indication, it could be indifference that captures the mind of the athletes and the fans.

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