Olympic Diary - Day 13, Feb. 20, 2002Feb. 21, 2002
Baylor University graduate Erika Snoberger, who is covering all speed skating events for the U.S. Olympic Committee at the Winter Olympics, is filing a daily diary with Baylor Public Relations, as she experiences the "shining moments" that only the Games can provide.
Day 13, Feb. 20, 2002
Today was wild! It was a double-event day for me and it turns out American's medaled in both events! Jen Rodriguez won bronze in the women's 1500m (long track) and, of course, Apolo Ohno won his first Olympic gold medal.
In the press conference after Apolo's skate, a reporter asked him if he ever thought controversy would stop following him. It's been one thing after another for Apolo and again yesterday, something strange happened! It was the last lap of his race, and Apolo had just made a great pass to move him into second place position behind a Korean skater. On the last straightaway, Apolo went to pass again, but apparently the Korean skater made a blocking motion (I'll leave it up to you to see the replay and decide if there was any contact) which ended up getting him disqualified for an illegal move called "cross-tracking."
I heard Bob Costas on TV last night say that he thought Apolo had really "sold" the call to the judges, since he threw up his hands and made a gesture with which to indicate the Korean skater had done something wrong. Anyway, I don't really know about that but one phrase I hear more and more every day is, "That's short track!" It's just a sport where some crazy things can happen, and really, it's just the nature of the sport. Apolo has his last two events on Saturday, so we'll see what happens then!
This year marked the first Olympic Winter Games in which women's bobsled was an Olympic event. Jill Baaken and Vonetta Flowers, from the U.S., won the first gold medal in the sport! They were in our offices yesterday and I had my picture taken with them - it was really neat. Both women were really friendly, and REALLY beautiful! Sometimes you picture high-level athletes like that, at least the female ones, as bulky, rough-looking women. These two were not. Vonetta looked like she could be a model!
I ended up working until almost 2 a.m. because some things had to be done in the office and by about midnight, only three of us were still there! I have to say, though, it has been really the only time so far that I've stayed that late, so I didn't really mind. On the way home, as I was riding on TRAX, I met an older man who apparently had worked with the ski team for many years. He carried a photo album with him that included pictures of him with all kinds of famous people! Val Kilmer, Sonny Bono, various presidents and even the cast of "Saved By The Bell!" I was very impressed. But finally, I made it home and am now heading off to bed! Tomorrow is kind of another day off since I have no events. The last two days of competition are coming up so fast! I don't want the Olympics to end!