Morning links, Day 9
The Canadian Olympic commissioners will give their midway point address in Vancouver this weekend, but we got a peak at the script on Friday: Canada won't finish on top. Other nations, though, are rolling on ahead of projections, and forget about Marcel Aubut's confident chest-beating of a week ago, or the Own the Podium™ mantra.
Yes, the United States and Germany have exceeded expectations. And just a couple of days after they were up in arms - imagine a national media moaning about lack of medals - Norway is scaring with a lot more than those curling pants.
That all seems pretty far away stuff, though, at ground zero. The streets of downtown Vancouver have filled up and look like Times Square on New Year's Eve with a coat of red paint dumped all over everyone. It's all laughing and red-mitten high fives. Inside Smiley's Public House on Pender on Friday night, everyone was a skeleton expert, even the guy crying out "Go Jeff, C'mon Jeff!" as Jon Montgomery bulleted around the track to the top of the podium.
So where do we go from here? Five questions to ponder, as these Olympics reach middle age:
Can Denny Morrison stop Shani Davis? The two - one Canadian, one American - are training partners, but in Saturday's 1500m speed skate they will face one another in one of the top events of the weekend. Davis has been posting "Shani on Shani" video updates outlining his approach and his fears, like this one after winning the 1000m:
Are you ready for Yu-Na Kim? South Korea's biggest sports star was due to arrive on Friday from Toronto, her training home, with former Canadian Olympian Brian Orser the mentor leading her into Tuesday's opening of the women's figure skating. Yu-Na will be a major star here, but back in South Korea the hype machine is already working her, including for laughs:
What's this - a kinder, gentler Stephen Colbert? Departing Vancouver, Colbert had this to say on syrup-suckers lapping up his act: "The Canadian people, God bless 'em. They get the joke."
Will Evgeni Plushenko please shut up?
Which of Cindy Klassen, Christine Nesbitt and Kristina Groves will shine brightest on Sunday? The women's 1500m might well be the best single event of these Olympics in terms of quality CanCon. Nesbitt has a gold already, Groves a bronze, and remember 2006? Sure you do.