Day 13 – An Unlucky Number for the Koreans

Team China celebrates their gold medal after a disqualification of Team Korea in the Women’s 3000M Relay during the Short Track Speed Skating at the Pacific Coliseum during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics on February 24, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Donald Miralle) 

Short Track Speedskating is the Winter Olympic version of Nascar. You have oval racing, drafting, left hand turns, crashes and a dash to the finish. Luckily the similarities end there. Donning circa 1980 florescent yellow helmets, short track almost has that old school retro feel to it, similar to roller derby. Since I was stationed in Sestriere and mountains in the Torino Olympic games, I didn’t get a sniff of the arena event and short track, and today was the first time shooting the sport since Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002. I forgot how much fun it is…

Kalyna Roberge #107 of Canada leads Katarina Novotna #115 of the Czech Republic and Bernadett Heidum #123 of Hungary during Women’s 500M Heats, Short Track Speed Skating at the Pacific Coliseum during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics on February 24, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Donald Miralle) 

I was a little knackered after taking the two hour bus ride from Whistler, a subway ride to my hotel to quickly swap out camera gear and clothing, a subway ride back to the MPC, then a bus ride to the Pacific Coliseum, the Speedskating and Ice Skating venue. I’ve now officially become numb to all the hoops you have to jump through at the Olympics just to get to venue, which is starting to remind me a lot of John Candy and Steve Martin in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. And even after you finally arrive at the arena, you are never guaranteed a shooting spot either unfortunately, unless you are one of the Olympic pool photographers.

CRASH IN TURN 4!!! Yuri Confortola #232 of Italy crashes into the wall during the Men’s 500M heats, Short Track Speed Skating at the Pacific Coliseum during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics on February 24, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. 

Jordan Malone #255 of the USA crashes into the wall during the Men’s 500M Heats, Short Track Speed Skating at the Pacific Coliseum during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics on February 24, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.

Apolo Anton Ohno of the USA competes during the Men’s 500M heats, Short Track Speed Skating at the Pacific Coliseum during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics on February 24, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photos by Donald Miralle) 

It was worth all the work as today’s program didn’t dissapoint, with a glimpse of US Star Apollo Anton Ohno cruising through his 500M heats to qualify for the final on Friday. But the story of the night was the Women’s 3000M Relay. In the final race of the night, short track superpowers China and Korea were up against Canada and the United States, who hadn’t seen a medal in Short Track Speedskating in 16 years. The race was mostly between China and Korea, who had dominated the medal podium since the sport’s inception in 1992. But with six laps to go and after leading most of the race, South Korea Kim Min-Jung impeded China’s Sun Linlin’s path after a handover. After five minutes of celebrating what seemed to be a new world record and Olympic gold medal, referees disqualified the Korean Team giving China the gold medal, Canada the silver and bronze to the US, who were nearly lapped by the lead teams. Just goes to show that you never give up and you may end a 16-year drought and win an Olympic medal. 

LinLin Sun of China #111skates in front of Ayuko Ito of Japan #132 during the Short Track Speed Skating at the Pacific Coliseum during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics on February 24, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.

Team Canada celebrates their silver medal after a disqualification of Team Korea in the Women’s 3000M Relay during the Short Track Speed Skating at the Pacific Coliseum during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics on February 24, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.

The Koreans were flabbergasted and shocked after the disqualification….(Photos by Donald Miralle) 

After shooting, I had to prepare a couple of remote cameras to hang in the catwalk for the next evening Women’s Ice Skating Long Program, one of the Winter Olympics premier events. Unfortunately, the lights were dimmed on the arena floor, so I had to manual focus the remote in the dark and go off the exposure that Matthew Stockman of Getty Images gave me. The cameras are probably back-focused by 10 feet and 2 stops over on the exposure, but that’s just the way it goes with remotes. After getting everything clamped, focused and safetied upstairs, I met Mike Powell for a dinner at the Cactus Club restaurant across town. Since we had to return back to the arena the next morning at 6am to do the ridiculous wait in line for photo positions, we headed back to the St. Regis hotel after dinner to crash for a couple hours. It’s crazy to think that there’s only four days left in these games, it just seemed like yesterday when I made my first post on this blog and was just getting over the sleep deprivation from the Super Bowl. I’m going to try to make the best of these last couple of days, make some photos and have fun before getting back home to the family and regular life in San Diego. Looking forward to it…

Team USA celebrates their bronze medal after a disqualification of Team Korea in the Women’s 3000M Relay during the Short Track Speed Skating at the Pacific Coliseum during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics on February 24, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Donald Miralle) 

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