Saturday, February 13, 2010

Best Story of These Winter Olympics So Far

In the 1,500 meter short track speed skating final, South Korea's Lee Jung-Su wins the gold medal followed by Americans Apolo Anton Ohno and J.R. Celski.

Ohno surpassed speed skater Eric Heiden for most Winter Olympic medals won by an American man* and tied speed skater Bonnie Blair for the most for any American. That was only the second most compelling story of this race.

Bronze medal winner J.R. Celski's route to a medal was truly remarkable. After earning a spot on the 1,500 meter team, Celski crashed in another Olympic trial race in September and jammed his skate into his left thigh:
"I had to pull it out," said J.R. Celski, of Federal Way, Wash. "I saw my femur. It's not fun seeing things you don't normally see in your body."
Celski said the cut missed his femoral artery by an inch. It took emergency surgery, 60 stitches and months of race-against-time rehabilitation, with advice from speedskating-legend-turned-surgeon Eric Heiden, to repair a wound at least one doctor doubted would heal in time for the Olympics.
J.R. Celski has not competed in any races until today's competition. And he earns a bronze.

Not bad.

*I'm a little too old school to think a great deal of Ohno surpassing Eric Heiden in the medal count. In 1980 Heiden won 5 golds, taking every event from 500 meters to 10,000 meters. Apolo won dancing with the stars! Well, in 1985 Eric crossed over and won the U.S. Professional Cycling Championship and raced in the Tour de France the following year. Ohno sports that cutting edge 'soul patch' on his chin. Heiden became an orthopedic surgeon.

Sorry, Carol.

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