February 14, 2006


Updated Predictions

Canadian medal prediction, 2006 -- Updated 13 February

Figure 1 — Probability distribution for Canada's 2006 winter Olympic medal total.

Either you've been ignoring me for the last week, or you know the drill. The blue curve shows my original (a priori) prediction, and the red curve shows the current prediction, accounting for events that have already happened.

The team sprint medal today brings my expected number of Canadian medals back up to 20.4.

Joey Cheek Acts

American speed skating gold medallist Joey Cheek has pledged to donate his $25,000 reward from the USOC to Right to Play. The money will be earmarked for children in the Darfur region of Sudan, where hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, and millions displaced, by war and genocide.

I have discussed athlete activism here before and in my opinion this fits the bill. It is not a protest, I admit, since Cheeks is risking very little (only a few xenophobic patriots will question his actions). However, an act meant to help others and right a wrong is still an act, even if it is uncontroversial.

I ♥ Cross Country

Canada's result of the day was also the race of the day, in my opinion (although the men's alpine combined also had plenty of drama). Cross country skiers Sara Renner and Beckie Scott raced very aggressively in the women's team sprint, pushing the pace at every opportunity. Renner broke a pole on an uphill during her second leg in the alternating relay format; she took a spare from a sportsmanlike Norwegian coach, and then got the right replacement at the bottom of the hill. Renner becomes only the second North American woman to win an Olympic medal in cross country skiing. The Norwegians finished fourth in the race.

I just have to add that the cross country skiing has been the most enjoyable sport at the Olympics to watch. I'm fond of speed skating, and alpine skiing, but I am loving the head-to-head racing in cross country; it's a great combination of physical prowess and strategy.

Blogs of Note

Today I stumbled upon a very well-done blog about the Olympics at Eurosport.com called citius altius fortius. The blog began just before the 2006 Olympics, but the author plans to keep it going afterward. In general I have not been terribly impressed by many of the blogs dedicated to the Torino Olympics, but this is a good one. The golden (retriever) predictions are worth the effort, just by themselves.

I also found out today about the resurrection of DFL, a blog that got quite a lot of publicity during the Athens Olympics; I did not expect it to reappear, but I am glad that it did. DFL's motto is "Celebrating last-place finishes at the Olympics. Because they're there, and you're not." Celebrating last-place finishes is a dangerous game; it would be easy to fall into mockery or unjustified glorification. Author Jonathan Crowe keeps things in the right perspective.

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