Sochi 2014 Olympic Update (Day 15)

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When the 2014 Winter Olympics leave Sochi the media will follow and the majority of the fans will leave but it will not be the end of the games. After the Closing Ceremonies of this major event a host of new people will show up in Sochi for their own chance at glory. Two weeks after the Winter Olympics close the 2014 Winter Paralympics will begin in a much smaller but still very important week of games. Olympic athletes are considered the best athletes in the world but nobody in the Winter Olympics has had to overcome the same obstacles as those in the Paralympics. There are great stories of perseverance throughout the Olympics of people coming back from major injuries to win medals or from escaping terrible situations to participate in the Olympics. In the Paralympics all of these are common as well but the difference is that all have a form of physical disability that has made sports an even bigger challenge. There are athletes with amputations to their arms or from the knee down and from the waist down, there are athletes who are visually impaired, and athletes who have lost the use of their legs. These athletes have had to overcome the difficulties in living life without the use of something that most people take for granted. Then these athletes overcome the difficulties in everyday life to take on a sport and perform that sport at a very high level. The Paralympics are a week of overcoming obstacles to win a Paralympic medal and be the top of their sport for four years. The Paralympics will open on Friday March 7th and will involve 5 different disciplines with multiple categories in each discipline. For every discipline there are women’s and men’s along with the standing, sitting, and visually impaired categories for a few of the disciplines. Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, and Cross-Country Skiing all see these three categories that refer to the physical disability of the athlete. Sitting athletes do not have the use of their legs, either through amputation or paralysis, while standing athletes generally have an upper body disability, amputation of an arm or paralysis in their arms, but may have a single amputation below the waist. In the Alpine Skiing discipline there are these three categories as athletes compete in the usual alpine events (slalom, giant slalom, super-g, downhill, and super-combined) and will also compete in the snowboard cross. For the sitting category athletes use a mono-ski sled to move down the hill with special poles that have skis attached to each to assist in balance and turning through the course. In the standing category athletes usually have a single amputation below the waist and use one ski along with the special poles to move down the hill. The visually impaired athletes ski in pairs with a physically abled teammate who guides them through the course using a speaker system in the impaired athletes’ helmet. In the Cross-Country discipline athletes sitting athletes use a two-ski sled with regular poles to pull themselves through these gruelling courses. In the standing category athletes are usually above the waist amputees or suffer paralysis above the waist with many not having the use of their arms and using simply cross-country skis to move through the course. Much like in alpine skiing the visually impaired athletes race alongside a physically abled teammate to help guide them through the course. In biathlon the sitting athletes use a smaller, lighter version of the cross-country sleds to allow them to get into shooting position. Standing athletes use a modified gun if they cannot fire a regular gun where the trigger is located at the mouth and chin rather than the usual place. The visually impaired biathletes will also use a teammate and a modified gun that allows aiming through sound. There are also two more disciplines in the Paralympics in sledge hockey and wheelchair curling. In wheelchair curling athletes use a special handle on a pole to push the rocks to the button with no sweepers. In sledge hockey athletes use specially designed skating sled and carry two picks on the ends of hockey stick blades to help them push on and to shoot. The Paralympics are not as big as the Olympics but they feature some of the strongest people in the world and the stories are endless about the athletes and what they have overcome to get to Sochi. The Paralympics will start on Friday March 7th and although not many will be watching it is worth paying attention to as a host of other athletes look for their chance at Olympic glory.


Canadian Story:

Another close call
After a day when Canada would win 4 medals Day 15 was not nearly as successful as the only real medal hope of the day, the Speed Skating Men’s Team, would finish their Olympics in 4th place after leading their race with Poland until the final laps

Scary Incident at the Track
The Canadian Bobsleigh team would put three sleds into the competition and Canada 3 looked to be one of the best with Justin Kripps figuring out the track but in their second run they would crash and skid past the finish line in a scary incident that put them out of contention but saw everyone walk away

Short of the Goal
The Canadian Olympic Team would set a goal of 26 medals this year and were expecting that those medals would put them at the top of the medal standings but they may fall just short and will not make the top spot in the medal standings falling just short of their goals


Day 15 Medal Results:

Alpine Skiing
Men’s Slalom
1. Mario Matt (Austria)
2. Marcel Hirscher (Austria)
3. Henrik Kristoffersen (Norway)

Men’s 4×7.5km Relay
1. Russia
2. Germany
3. Austria

Women’s 30km Mass Start
1. Marit Bjoergen (Norway)
2. Therese Johaug (Norway)
3. Krstin Stoermer Steira (Norway)

Women’s Parallel Slalom
1. Julia Dujmovits (Austria)
2. Anke Karstens (Germany)
3. Amelie Kober (Germany

Men’s Parallel Slalom
1. Vic Wild (Russia)
2. Zan Kosir (Slovenia)
3. Benjamin Karl (Austria)

Speed Skating
Men’s Team Pursuit
1. Netherlands
2. Korea
3. Poland

Women’s Team Pursuit
1. Netherlands
2. Poland
3. Russia


Day 16 Medal Events:

Four Man Bobsleigh

Men’s 50km Mass Start

Men’s Hockey Gold Medal Game


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