Shannon Bahrke hangs out to dry at Cypress.
PETER Q. GRAVES
SALES AND MARKETING
GARY BLACK JR.
WHISTLER — By Day 4 it finally stopped raining, but not before Hannah Kearney and Shannon Barhke lit up a
soggy, gloomy night at the Cypress freestyle venue just north of Vancouver. The pair dampened a very wet but
enthusiastic Canadian crowd by sandwiching Jennifer Heil, the favorite, in the silver medal spot. In winning the
gold, Kearney, who had been the pre-event choice in the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games only to fail to make
the final round, skied flawlessly to flat-out win the top spot on podium.
But the moguls women were not the only medalists of the opening days for the Vancouver 2010 Games. Johnny
Spillane’s dramatic silver in the nordic combined made history as his medal was the first in the discipline by anyone from the Western Hemisphere. With his teammates, Todd Lodwick and Bill Demong, finishing fourth and
sixth respectively, the 15-year-old USSA program has really produced. Then, to add icing to the first three-day
cake, Bryon Wilson, virtually unknown to all but the most knowledgeable freestyle aficionados, put it together
and captured the bronze medal in the men’s moguls event.
In the downhill, Team USA’s former bad boy, Bode Miller, pushed himself to the limit in grey, flat light to hold
on for bronze, garnering his third Olympic medal. His medal makes him the most decorated Olympic skier in U.S.
alpine history. Miller, who decided to continue ski racing only last September, seems out to disassociate himself
from the disastrous image he earned at the 2006 Games, where he failed to medal despite having the odds for
five events. It is cool to see.
The Olympic Winter Games is a special event and despite the persistent rain and fog, Vancouver will prove to
be very special when it concludes in 10 days. Many Canadians have done all in their power to make the world feel
welcome with thousands of volunteers who smile and are nice even if they do not know all the answers.
It has been a stunning start, and a sharp contrast to the last Games, where U.S. skiing struggled early on only
to be pulled out by the snowboard athletes. Ski Racing’s Eric Williams has followed the freestyle events at the
alternately melting, windy, foggy and rainy (often all of the above) Cypress venue and reports on how the moguls
skiers rose to the occasion. Shauna Farnell is handling the alpine end of the Games, reporting on not only Miller’s
bronze but also Lindsey Vonn’s painful injury to her shin and how that affects her approach to her events.
Far from Vancouver and Olympians, Bill McCollom will have you laughing as he describes the foibles and pitfalls
of coaching a Vermont high school team in his Finish Line column. Bryce Hubner reports on how colleges are
lining up for the upcoming NCAA finale while Hank McKee pulls junior results from around the country.
If you haven’t been following Ski Racing’s website, you are missing a lot. Editors are looking to bring you our
special slant on the Games, talking about preparation, execution and stepping up for the big events.
The U.S. leads the medal count now with eight and it is only Day 4 of the Vancouver Games. My guess is that we
have a few more coming our way. Enjoy! — G.B. Jr.
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Which country will win the most Olympic
medals? At press time, Canada had earned 100
percent of the votes! Visit SkiRacing.com to
participate in this latest Games poll.
The Whistler weather has been topsy-turvy.
Stay on top of postponements, cancellations
and results by checking SkiRacing.com.