Bryan’s Olympic Return

Alright, the Olympic Winter Games are over and I have returned home to the great state of Missouri.  It’s not quite as exciting as Whistler, BC, but it’s going to be Spring soon and that’s enough to keep me around.

I tried to keep notes on things that happened around the Games as they happened just for my own amusement later.  I came home with about 30 pages of notes.  I have no idea how to transform those notes in post form; there are just too many of them.  I’ll try to hit up some of the highlights and then if anyone has any questions, you can just leave a comment and I’ll answer the best I can.

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Olympic Games

Hello fearless readers.  I have a little bit of time here so I figured I’d leave a little post here letting you all know that we are not dead, we’re just on a hiatus.  Actually, come to think of it, Weller might be dead.  I’m not sure.

As you know, I’m at the Olympics in Vancouver working hard, but having a lot of fun in the process.

I’m staying in the Whistler Village and I’m scheduled to work the Downhill events whenever they actually get started and then I’ll be moved around to the Sliding Center or wherever they need me.  I’ll try to come up with a way to encompass everything that has happened on try to give you a little taste of what it’s like to work at the Olympic Games but right now it’s just too hard to try and cover everything.

Anyway, assuming Weller isn’t dead, we’ll be back in full force soon.  If he is dead then I’ll be back at the beginning of March.

Some Olympic Hardware

Earlier today, I got curious and looked up what the medals for the upcoming Olympics would look like.  What I found was way more in-depth than I wanted, but I read all the articles and watched all the videos anyway.  Apparently these medals are wrought with symbolism.  Something about some whales and stuff, I don’t really remember.  Anyway, I thought they looked a whole lot better than the medals from Turin four years ago.

After I was satisfied with the medals from Vancouver, I went back on a pictorial walk through past Winter Olympic medals and figured I’d share them with you all.

Enjoy.

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Friday 5 – Winter Olympics

As Weller pointed out on Wednesday, I was recently informed that I got a job with the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.  I’m going to be headed out there either on January 25th or February 4th (they’ll let me know tomorrow) and I’ll be back on March 3rd unless they keep me around for the Paralympics which take place immediately after the Olympics.  I will be a “Venue Systems Manager” (OoooOOOOoooo) which means I’ll be in charge of the transportation of athletes and media from the Olympic Village to the venue.  Basically I’ll be making sure that all the buses are running on time, carrying all the people they’re supposed to carry, and making sure that everything is ready for them when they step off the bus.  I was also told specifically, “This is a stressful job.”

But I was also told that it’s a blast and I’ll be meeting all kinds of people from all over the world, which excites me.  I do plan on taking my laptop, though I don’t know if I’ll have internet access or how much time I’ll have to give updates, but I’ll try my best.  Now onto the Friday 5.

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The Miracle on Melted Ice

That’s what I’ve decided to call the men’s semifinal water polo match between the United States and Serbia, a game in which the U.S. doubled up Serbia, winning ten to five. The remarkable part about this is that the United States team came into the Olympics being ranked only ninth in the world and weren’t even supposed to be in contention for a medal, finishing only eleventh and ninth in the past two world championships. After the United States beat the number one ranked team in the world, Croatia, to win their group people have started to believe differently.

There had been speculations that Serbia had thrown one of their own games to end up on the same side of the bracket as the United States, providing the U.S. team bulletin board material to give them to motivation needed to beat the Serbian team that they had failed to score more than 3 goals against in their last meeting, which was in the preliminary rounds of the Olympics. Head Coach, Terry Schroeder, who was the captain of the 1984 and 1988 silver medaling Olympic teams, said that he welcomed the challenge and that they would be ready and they were.

The game was tied at four goals a piece late in the first half, but the U.S. put in their 5th goal to give them a 5-4 lead at half time. After that the United States ran away with it, having a 7-5 lead going into the 4th quarter, and not allowing a single score in that final period, and putting in three of their own. Lead by Tony Azevedo, who had three of the teams ten goals, and in addition to his hat trick had two assists, two steals and two blocks. The other seven U.S. scores came from Ryan Bailey and Layne Beaubien with two each and then Peter Varellas, Jeff Powers and Rick Merlo had a goal a piece. Though despite all of the scoring the player of the game award should probably go to goalie, Merrill Moses who had a staggering 16 saves, which when compared to Serbia’s goalie, Slobodan Soro, one save, puts it in to perspective on how impressive Moses’s 16 is.

This win gives the United States team an opportunity to compete against Hungary for the gold medal. The United States hasn’t had a men’s water polo team in this position since the 1988 Olympics. Hungary has won the gold medal at the last two Olympics and will be looking to defend their title and become the first men’s water polo team since Great Britain in 1920 to win three Olympic gold medals in a row.

Mizzou at the Olympics

As I alluded to a couple days ago, Mizzou has two athletes competing in the Beijing Olympics: Christian Cantwell and Ben Askren.

A few days ago, Cantwell took the silver medal in the shot put, with a throw of 21.09 meters. After a shocking failure to qualify for the games in Athens four years ago, Cantwell vowed to win gold this time around in Beijing. Several news stories from the local paper in Columbia have him quoted as saying he wouldn’t be happy with a silver or bronze. After seeing him take the silver, he went too his coach and grabbed the American flag and had quite a smile pasted on his face. I’d say he was pretty happy with the silver.

It was just reported on the news that The Diner down on Broadway has a 21.09 meter silver ribbon that fans can come and sign. Maybe I’ll go do that tomorrow after work.

Ben Askren was another first time Olympian, but he was no stranger to high level competition. At Mizzou, Askren became the first Tiger Wrestler to be a National Champion and he did it in back to back years. His senior year, Askren went undefeated and won his second straight Dan Hodge Trophy as the best collegiate wrestler. Askren’s Olympics started with a pin against István Veréb of Hungary. In his round of 16 match, Askren was pitted against Cuba’s Ivan Fundora, the bronze medalist from Athens. Fundora’s experience showed as he beat Askren 3-1 and 4-0. Defending gold medalist Buvaisar Saitiev then defeated Fundora, ending Askren’s hopes at a bronze medal.

In the end, it didn’t actually matter to me how they finished. I really just wanted them to represent the USA and the University of Missouri well. Cliche, I know, but after seeing Usain Bolt’s antics while blowing away the field and after reading about Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian’s antics on the medal stand, I didn’t want any sort of similar performance. I was never worried, but it’s always in the back of my mind. Both Ben and Christian made the University of Missouri very proud in their respective events.

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