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Winter Olympics, Torino 2006 Wrap up

Bode, Sasha, and Ohno…Oh my!

With the passing of the torch from Torino to Vancouver this past Sunday, we are left with a plethora of spills, thrills, chills, and the coolest looking medals in ages! Allegedly designed to resemble an Italian piazza, one has to marvel at the utility of these medals! Not merely designed for aesthetics, these medals could be used as a coaster, a Frisbee (albeit awkward), and perhaps could even be played by your DVD player!

Medal gushing aside, there were numerous interesting storylines to follow in Torino:

Figure Skating

The early departure of the elder stateswoman, Michelle Kwan removed much of the drama from the women's figure skating competition as Sasha Cohen was left with no real clear rival.

Enter Michelle Kwan's replacement, Emily Hughes, the younger sister of 2002 women's figure skating gold medalist, Sarah Hughes! While not necessarily considered to be at the same level as Sasha Cohen, Emily couldn't be ruled out given her superior skating genetics.

While Hughes would ultimately place seventh, her ability to step in for Kwan and perform at this level is more than commendable. Watch out for Emily in Vancouver!

The heavily favored Sasha Cohen valiantly managed a silver despite taking two tumbles during a disastrous program. Sasha's performance was two places better than her fourth place finish in 2002 at Salt Lake and Cohen's perspective on the experience four years more mature (and perhaps decades more mature than Bode Miller).

Alpine Skiing

Join Bode? Surely you jest. I provided a list of semi-flattering adjectives to describe Bode prior to the Games. Now, we have a few more (less flattering) ways to describe iconoclast Bode Miller: underwhelming, disappointing, immature, and a bust.

No only did Bode not strike gold, he struck out in every event. Falling in some, not finishing in others, but man was there some great partying to be had! One can only imagine how pissed Nike is after the glut of advertising and marketing dollars hurled at the "Join Bode" campaign. Wasting his talent and everyone's time, Bode unfortunately was the low point for the U.S. Alpine Skiing team.

Mercifully, we had Julia Mancuso for a silver lining. Mancuso got off to a rough start in Torino and admittedly was ready to pack it in before unleashing one of the finest performances of her career in the giant slalom and effectively annihilated the competition (by .67 seconds). Mancuso's gold was the first in alpine skiing by a U.S. woman since Picabo Street in 1998. Join Julia, I say!

Speed Skating

Apolo Anton Ohno returned for more Olympic glory and endeared himself once again to his legion of fans and seemingly healed an inexplicable rift between him and the South Korean team. Ohno nabbed a gold in the 500M, bronze in the 1000M, and rounded things out with a bronze medal performance in the relay.

Not to be outdone on the long track was the drama between Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick. Apparently, the two were NOT the best of friends and the media did their level best to stoke the fires of acrimony. This drama would be transcended in the 1500 meters when Italian underdog, Enrico Fabris, knocked off Shani and Chad to nab the gold to the delight of the elated Italians. Despite this loss, Shani still came home with a silver in the 1500 and a gold in the 1000. Hedrick managed a gold for the 5000.


Curling

I was too busy studying the origins of the Olympic mascots, Neve and Gliz to take in any of the hot curling action. But, I heard the U.S. scored a bronze due to their frenzied sweeping efforts.

Hockey

While the U.S. men's team didn't exactly shock the world with their performance in the Torino Games, the women's team redeemed U.S. hockey taking home a bronze medal and inspiring countless young women across the nation to pick up a stick and check someone.

Snowboarding

Simply put, the U.S. team shredded at Torino. The motley crew headed up by the 'Flying Tomato' (Shaun White) came home with ample hardware. Yes, Shaun…that gold medal on the halfpipe should help you score some babes. Perhaps fellow American Danny Kass can be your wingman with his silver in the same event. Granted, it doesn't have the same cache as gold, but it's still some serious bling bling.

On the women's side, Hannah Teter rocked the halfpipe taking a gold of her own. While her partner in crime, Gretchen Bleiler took home the silver. On the Snowboardcross, Lindsey Jacobellis squandered a sure gold in a moment of hubris, but still managed to salvage a gold.

Arguably the most entertaining events at Torino, snowboarding is well on its way to shedding the redheaded stepchild label it has carried for too long.


For a full wrap up of the Torino Games: http://www.nbcolympics.com