(following a dramatic late crash in the 1500m, US Speed skaters Ohno "256" and Celski "252" maintain their composure and make it to the medal podium.)
I happened to catch this race last night and it was awesome. A perfect example of the unpredictable and delicate nature of short track speed skating. Anything can happen at any second, especially in the 1500m. Just getting through the first two heats to compete in the finals is widely considered a crap shoot. For instance, there were times in the opening heats where much-decorated US Speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno was in last place and had to fight his way back up just to make it to the finals. Then there were times in the Final Heat where he was in the lead, only to find himself stuck in 4th trailing three members of the South Korean team on the final turn.
South Korea's Lee Jung-Su wound up winning the gold medal, but two of his compatriots - Sung Si-Bak and Lee Ho-Suk - who were in line for second and third, toppled over each other with a quarter of a lap left, leaving Americans Ohno and JR Celski to cruise across the finish line and on to the podium. And just like that, South Korea lost its chance to sweep the podium, and Ohno tied Bonnie Blair to be the most decorated Winter Olympics athlete ever from the U.S.! Wepa!
JR Celski, who took home bronze, raced for his first medal last night after suffering a freak leg injury in September. At the time, his blade awkwardly sliced his leg muscle and if it had been only a few inches higher, he'd have bled out in seconds. You might recognize Celski from his appearance on The Biggest Loser last week, when the contestants went to visit Olympic hopefuls at the National Training Center. While there, Celski encouraged the future-former-fatties to never give up on their dreams, no matter what setbacks they face. Now Celski has achieved his dream of being an Olympic medalist. Outstanding!
I wish Ohno and Celski much more success (and also a strong helping of good luck!) in their remaining races.
I can't embed them here, but www.nbcolympics.com has a lot of great moments available for replay (including this one) if you missed any great moments you want to see for yourself. Enjoy!