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A class act...(6 posts)

A class act...lonefrontranger
Feb 18, 2002 3:31 PM
If you guys ever want to see up close what crit racing is like, just watch the bumping, shoving, near misses, skill, speed and crashes that occur in short-track speed skating.

If I had a dollar for everytime I've seen (or been party to) a yard sale in the last corner of a crit I'd have a new C-40. The usual result is name-calling, four-letter-words, fistfights in the parking lot, and general nastiness and bad karma. I've seen teammates quit speaking to each other over the same type of thing at the Wednesday Night World Championships - pretty petty when you compare it to losing the gold at the Olympics:

I saw Apolo in an interview last night, and he said "oh, yeah - I could literally taste that gold medal in the last corner... but that's short-track." He is truly a class act, and an excellent role model for athletes of any stripe. He shows superb aplomb, despite race-fixing allegations (situation which is depressingly similar to a couple of lady trackies I won't mention leading up to Sydney - the loser eventually dropped the lawsuit which was commonly believed to be a "sour grapes" situation) and the general pressure of being a medal favorite under the unblinking media microscope.
Olympic race fixing? What's next?shirt
Feb 18, 2002 7:51 PM
JUST as I was done telling my colleague that the only 'pure' sports in the Winter Olympics are downhill skiing, cross country skiing and speed skating, you tell me that skating is fixed! I'm getting a bum rush, here! What do you know? What have you heard? I'm trying to imagine what amount of money could make me throw a gold medal race I knew I could win. Frankly, I can't think of an amount. Maybe I don't value money properly, but I can't imagine doing it.

BTW, one of the reasons I only do crits is because I take perverse pleasure in yard-sale avoidance. For some reason, the more incident-prone a race tends to be, the better my results. When people around me get really rattled, I get really focused. I think I also may be reliving echoes from a life in the early 80s as a punker who spent an unhealthy amount of time in the mosh pit.
The fix was alleged at the trials, not the Olympicslonefrontranger
Feb 18, 2002 9:43 PM
It was a very similar situation to the women's track cycling Olympic Trials for Sydney / 2000. Apolo allegedly "threw" an Olympic qualifier (he was already a shoe-in at that point) to help a buddy get into the Games, at the supposed expense of someone who consequently sued and made a big media stink about it.

What I find amusing is that plaintiffs in each situation:
1) hadn't a prayer of qualifying on merit before the alleged "fix" episode
2) fit the mold of the 'poor little rich kid'
3) couldn't find sufficient witness / evidence to back their claims, and
4) subsequently dropped their suit.

Stinks to high hell of sour grapes if you ask me.

Agree on the yard-sale avoidance; I'm a crit specialist myself. Hopped a few curbs, have images of bodies / bikes flying through the air burned into my memory, and spent some time in the mosh pits too. I typically listen to Ministry, Dead Milkmen, Limp Bizkit, et. al. to get in the correct frame of mind before a race. "Break Stuff" is my current fave, although nothing tops ol' Johnny Rotten for sheer angst.
re: A class act...brider
Feb 19, 2002 9:26 AM
I gotta agree that Apolo Ohno is a class act. And only 19! Mentally, that guy is a true champion. And that goes for the Canadian pairs figure skaters as well. Class acts. These people impress the hell out of me.
re: A class act...RayBan
Feb 20, 2002 6:06 AM
you are so right, Apollo has a GREAT attitude. Its that type of athlete that deserves to be an olympic champion!
Speaking of deserving...downunderracer
Feb 25, 2002 6:13 PM
Since someone raised short track speed skating, I've got to put my words behind Steven Bradbury, the guy who won gold in the 1000m despite coming last into the final turn. This guy's been dedicated to the sport for over a decade, survived horrific injuries, including almost dying from loss of blood after one crash and breaking his neck in another. Before now, winter sports in general and short track in particular didn't get much attention here in Aussie. Despite that, he plugged away at it, supporting himself by making skating boots used by many of the top skaters (including Ohno). His attitude is like Ohno's - he accepts the dangers and vagaries of his sport without complaint.

He broke through to win gold when he (and everybody else) least expected it, at what was his last winter games. I, for one, think he fully deserved it.