Guess who all of a sudden cares about ice dancing? All of Canada, that’s who.
The country won its first gold medal in the ice dance Monday night when Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue finished the three-part competition on top – the youngest couple to do it and the first from North America.
Their training partners, Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White finished second – a testament to the value of practicing against strong competition rather than keeping your training secret.
In that note, Canadian Olympic officials announced earlier in the day they’re waving the white flag. Canada will not ‘Own the Podium’ after all – the Americans are too far ahead in the medal count. It’s looking like that all the money spent on keeping some training sessions secret, like in speed skating, would have been better used by allowing athletes to regularly practice with competitors who can push them to their limits.
Speaking of giving it your all, how about that Slovenian cross-country skier who won bronze in the 1.4-kilometre sprint despite reportedly suffering four broken ribs and a collapsed lung when she fell in a ditch during the warm-up last week. Petra Madjic could well turn out to be the most inspirational story out of the Vancouver Olympics.
Even more emotional will be Tuesday’s women’s short program as two of the figure skaters will be thinking of their mothers. Canadian Joannie Rochette’s mother died of a massive heart attack at age 55 on Sunday. The 24-year-old practiced in tears but said she still wants to compete. American Mirai Nagasu’s mom has undergone two operations since being diagnosed with cancer and is expected to receive radiation treatment after the Olympics. The 16-year-old is dedicating her skate to her mother, Ikuko, who insisted on driving her to practice one day after surgery to show she supports her daughter.
-The driver of a Vancouver Organizing Committee shuttle bus carrying other bus drivers suffered an apparent heart attack and died behind the wheel. One of the off-duty drivers riding as a passenger managed to grab the wheel and stop the bus.
-Signs are going up at transit stations to remind Olympic revelers the SkyTrain closes before 2 a.m., while a lot of downtown bars stay open until 3 a.m. The one-hour difference is leaving a lot of partiers stranded.
-Liquor stores were allowed to stay open Monday night after police forced them to shut down at 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday to reduce the number of people drinking on the streets.