Morning links, Day 6
All hail Maelle Ricker, and as emphatic a gold-medal performance as has been seen at these Games. Ms Ricker is a local success story - born in North Van, raised next door in Seymour and now living in Squamish. Four years ago in Turin she was airlifted off the course and missed the podium in a race best recalled for Lindsay Jacobellis' moment of tomfoolery. Yesterday Ricker was the most comfortable of winners and Jacobellis failed to reach the final.
Today the women's downhill is up at Whistler, and Lindsey Vonn, helped along by the most overhyped medicine since the swine flu shot, finally gets her chance to perform - on tape delay at home, maybe, where in the age of Twitter NBC is standing firm while taking a bollocking for its packaged, hours-later coverage.
Evgeni Plushenko stomped it in the men's short programme, then finished with a sword foil stab move that was aimed straight into the hearts of the rest of the field. It's close, but I'm betting he gets the gold in Thursday's skate-off, and prepare for a memorable flourish and perhaps some vintage kiss-off line from one of sport's prima divas.
On the subject of kiss-off lines, the Times Online's Matthew Syed takes a well-aimed shot at the contemporary Olympic movement itself, as the body of Nodar Kumaritashvili arrived home in Georgia at dawn this morning:
But it is the collateral damage to the Olympic movement itself that will be of most concern to its regal custodians at the International Olympic Committee. After all, even if the Own the Podium is not found to be responsible for Kumaritashvili’s death, it nevertheless hints at just how far the notion of Olympianism has morphed from the original vision of Baron De Coubertin. The very fact that an organising committee was prepared systematically to undermine the medal prospects of overseas competitors — even to the point of taking risks with their safety — reveals the sham at the heart of the Olympic ideal and the hypocrisy of the Olympic Charter, with its talk of dignity, solidarity and the “harmonious development of man”.
And finally, the sun came out in Vancouver yesterday and, Olympics or no Olympics, a reminder of what a beautiful part of the world this is. Here's another reminder: