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McKeever Wins Paralympic Gold

March 15, 2010 Leave a comment

He was disappointingly left off the final race for Canada’s Olympic team, but Brian McKeever has a Paralympic gold in the 20km cross country race after silvers in the last two Paralympic games. Despite fighting off a cold, McKeever’s time of 51 minutes, 14.79 seconds was nearly 45 seconds ahead of the second place finisher.

McKeever has Stargaard’s disease, which is a genetic disease that has reduced his eyesight to about 10% of normal. All of his vision is peripheral. His brother acts as his guide during races.

McKeever still hasn’t given up his dream, and will attempt to compete in both the Paralympics and Olympics in 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

Grading My Medal Predictions: Cross Country

Men

1.4 k Classical

Predicted:

Gold – Emil Jonsson, Sweden

Silver – Nikita Kriukov, Russia

Bronze – Ola Vigen Hattestad, Norway

Actual:

Gold – Kruikov

Silver – Alexander Panzhinsky, Russia

Bronze – Peter Nortthug, Norway

Joensson didn’t even make the finals, finishing 7th, and Hattestad finished 4th.

Team Sprint – Freestyle

Predicted:

Gold – Norway

Silver – Sweden

Bronze – Russia

Actual:

Gold – Norway

Silver – Germany

Bronze – Russia

Sweden finished out of the top 10. The United States ended up finishing 9th.

15k Freestyle

Predicted:

Gold – Peter Northug Jr., Norway

Silver – Marcus Hellner, Sweden

Bronze – Dario Cologna, Switzerland

Actual:

Gold – Cologna

Silver  – Pietro Piller Cotterer, Italy

Bronze – Lukas Bauer, Czech Republic

Northug finished a disappointing 41st, and Hellner finished 4th. The best American finished 58th.

50k mass start classical

Predicted:

Gold – Lukas Bauer, Czech Republic

Silver – Alexander Legov, Russia

Bronze – Georgio di Centa, Italy

Actual:

Gold – Petter Northug, Norway

Silver – Axel Tiechmann, Germany

Bronze – Johan Olsson, Sweden

Whoops on this one. Bauer finished 12th, Legov 14th and de Centa 11th. The best American finished 28th.

4 x 10k Relay

Predicted:

Gold – Norway

Silver – Germany

Bronze – Russia

Actual:

Gold – Sweden

Silver – Norway

Bronze – Czech Republic

Germany finished 6th and Russia 8th. The US finished 13th.

Women

1.2 k sprint (classical)

predicted:

Gold – Justina Kowalczyk, Poland

Silver – Petra Majdic, Slovenia

Bronze – Hanna Falk, Sweden

Actual:

Gold – Marit Bjoergen, Norway

Silver – Kowalczyk

Bronze – Madjic

Hannah Falk finished a disappointing 29th. Madjic recovered from falling into a ravine and breaking ribs to win a bronze.

Team Sprint

Predicted:

Gold – Sweden

Silver – Italy

Bronze – Slovenia

Actual:

Gold – Germany

Silver – Sweden

Bronze – Russia

Italy finished 4th and Slovenia, without Madjic, didn’t enter a team.

10k freestyle

Predicted:

Gold – Marit Bjoergen, Norway

Silver – Charlotte Kalla, Sweden

Bronze – Irina Khazova, Russia

Actual:

Gold – Kalla

Silver – Kristina Smigun-Vaehi, Estonia

Bronze – Bjoergen

Khazova finished 20th. The best American finished 30th.

15k pursuit

Predicted:

Gold – Petra Majdic, Slovenia

Silver – Justina Kowalczyk, Poland

Bronze – Alno-Kaisa Saarinen, Finland

Actual:

Gold – Marit Bjoergen, Norway

Silver – Anna Haag, Sweden

Bronze – Kowalczyk

Madjic didn’t start due to her rib issue, and Saarinen ended up 5th.

30k Mass Start

Predicted:

Gold – Marit Bjoergen, Norway

Silver – Justina Kowalczyk, Poland

Bronze – Anna Haag, Sweden

Actual:

Gold – Kowalczyk

Silver – Bjoergen

Bronze – Alno-Kalsa Saarinen, Finland

Haag ended up not entering the race. American Holly Brooks finished 36th.

4×5 K relay

Predicted:

Gold – Norway

Silver – Sweden

Bronze – Finland

Actual:

Gold – Norway

Silver – Germany

Bronze – Finland

Sweden finished 5th. Not a bad way to end it, eh?

Can Northug Catch Daehlie?

March 1, 2010 5 comments

Norwegian Bjorn Daehlie is an icon in his homeland, in his sport (cross-country) and in all of winter Olympic lore. He is also the most decorated winter Olympian ever, having won 12 career medals (8 Gold, 4 Silver) over the course of three Olympics. NBC’s cross country skiing analyst Chad Salmela told a story during the 50k race on Sunday of how during a race Daehlie’s ski fell off when he was at the top of a hill, the ski slid all the way down the hill forcing him to go get it….and Daehlie still won the race. The guy is a legend.

Now, enter Petter Northug. The brash 24 year old (once, when being told the King of Norway was here to see him he said “no, the king is right here” while pointing at himself) just finished his first games (should have been his second) by winning 4 medals (2 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze). Northug probably has two Olympics left in him. He might physically be able to do three, but because Norway is such a strong cross country skiing nation there will be undoubtedly be younger skiiers who take his spot in 8 years.

A look at his chances of passing Daehlie after the jump: Read more…

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