Next Page » February 23rd, 2014 Dr. Eric St. Pierre

The last day of the Olympics is here. Yesterday was another up and down day watching the men’s hockey team get beat handily by Finland and out of medal contention, but also having the opportunity to enter the Medal Plaza to witness our Short Track boys receive their Silver Medals. I video taped the event for Eddie Alvarez since his parents left earlier that day on a flight home. The boys performed a “Three Amigos” skit during the ceremony that caught everyone off guard and was pretty funny! Following the medal ceremony we returned back to the USA House where the Women’s Hockey team was leading the dance party and the place was full of great energy. For how challenging it has been down here in the Coastal village to win the medals that we expected, it was nice to see everyone let loose a little bit and enjoy themselves.


So, the end is drawing near, and Team USA has represented well. However, these seem to be a Games of the favorites struggling or underdogs coming through. For instance, the Dutch have killed everyone in Long Track Speedskating, even though they’re not necessarily underdogs. It has been astonishing seeing them sweep distances that they weren’t necessarily even favored in, and racking up a medal count that even surprised them. US Long Trackers leading up to the Games were often ranked in the top three of a few events, but it just didn’t happen these Games. The sport is generally more competitive than what has happened here, but hats of to Dutch. We’ll see you in Korea 2018…

Last night I went to the USA House again to watch the USA Women’s Hockey play Canada for the Gold Medal. The energy was amazing since Ted Ligety and the two Women’s bobsled teams showed off their medals and presented their Order of Ikkos awards to special coaches or staff. The place was packed with current and former athletes, their families, team staff and other special guests. Some members of the Men’s Hockey team stayed for the complete duration of the game in support of the women and we were all deflated when Canada scored in overtime. I’ve been able to spend meaningful time interacting with both the men’s and women’s hockey teams, and through two Olympics we’ve taken 3 Silver medals in hockey, all with loses to Canada. It’s been pretty tough. Hopefully tonight our Men can win the semifinal game and move on to the Gold Medal Game. However, I won’t be able to watch the game because my team, Short Track Speedskating, has it’s last events at the same time. (more…)


So, the end is drawing near, and Team USA has represented well. However, these seem to be a Games of the favorites struggling or underdogs coming through. For instance, the Dutch have killed everyone in Long Track Speedskating, even though they’re not necessarily underdogs. It has been astonishing seeing them sweep distances that they weren’t necessarily even favored in, and racking up a medal count that even surprised them. US Long Trackers leading up to the Games were often ranked in the top three of a few events, but it just didn’t happen these Games. The sport is generally more competitive than what has happened here, but hats of to Dutch. We’ll see you in Korea 2018…

Last night I went to the USA House again to watch the USA Women’s Hockey play Canada for the Gold Medal. The energy was amazing since Ted Ligety and the two Women’s bobsled teams showed off their medals and presented their Order of Ikkos awards to special coaches or staff. The place was packed with current and former athletes, their families, team staff and other special guests. Some members of the Men’s Hockey team stayed for the complete duration of the game in support of the women and we were all deflated when Canada scored in overtime. I’ve been able to spend meaningful time interacting with both the men’s and women’s hockey teams, and through two Olympics we’ve taken 3 Silver medals in hockey, all with loses to Canada. It’s been pretty tough. Hopefully tonight our Men can win the semifinal game and move on to the Gold Medal Game. However, I won’t be able to watch the game because my team, Short Track Speedskating, has it’s last events at the same time.

Short Track Speedskating is pure racing, like Nascar. An athlete may race the fastest race of their career, but if your strategy in passing an opponent is not effective, you cannot win. Likewise, you could win a Gold medal with the slowest race of your career, of which, has happened many times. Especially, if everyone falls or crashes. I love Short Track and ice hockey players particularly appreciate it. It is the most exciting sport at the Games, but is admittedly more enjoyable when we are successful. Although Short and Long Track represent one National Governing Body, US Speedskating, we are two separate disciplines, with completely different athletic qualities. But unlike Long Track, Short Track is always a crap shoot. Anything can happen and the best athlete doesn’t always win. So, the athletes and staff are conditioned to move on to the next race. Long Track is about beating your best time and hoping no one can match it. It is an amazing sport, but in very different ways. Tonight and tomorrow Long Track will send both a men’s and women’s teams to compete in the Team Pursuit, a relay of sorts. In Vancouver, the United States provided some of the most memorable upsets, of which I hope happens again. Their team deserves some good things to happen to them. Short Track however will have three medals on the line tonight. The US Men are ranked #1 in the Relay, which actually does not include two favorites Canada or Korea, winners of every single Olympic Relay Gold. We will also have JR Celski, Emily Scott and Jessica Smith competing in individual distances. It will be fun!!!

Over the past few days I’ve enjoyed myself. Watching our last Short Track practice yesterday, working with our men and women in Sports Medicine and just hanging out as a group. Yesterday I saw Chris Chelios, Jeremy Roenick and Kristy Yamaguchi at the USA House. The day before I congratulated David Wise and Juila Mancuso on their success. I supported our Hockey women after their defeat, hung with Apolo for lunch and got to seriously catch up with our Men’s and Women’s Skeleton Teams who have kicked butt since I moved on to Short Track in 2009. They remember more about our interactions than I assumed. It’s nice witnessing people you know reach their Olympic Dreams. It’s also unique supporting high profile athletes at critical times in their career.

Saturday and Sunday we will watch if our 4-Man Bobsled team can repeat for Gold, and if our other two sleds do well. The Bobsled, Skeleton and Luge athletes of the Host country always have an advantage due to their massive training time on the track, but our bobsled teams are very good and are usually in contention.

These last few days will be a whirlwind. We fly out at 3 am on Monday morning, which means right after Closing Ceremonies it will be a rush to get to the airport. It would have been nice to have one last beer with everyone!!! BTW, all food and drink at the USA House is free, gourmet food, but they only serve Budweiser, yuck! You need passes to get in, $300/piece, but thankfully athletes without family or friends here, which is very rare, have provided me support. Thanks to my Short Track coaches, Evan Bates- Figure Skating and Ryan Kesler- Hockey for looking out for me! The Short Track athletes have been great to support, always smiling and promoting a positive attitude. It really is fun not knowing or caring what the TV programs are promoting back home. Here we just watch a live feed without commentary. The reality is that everyone is trying as hard as the can to succeed, and character is shown during tough times, not cultivated in tough times… Although I will never work full-time again with an Olympic Sport as I did in 2009-10, I will continue to stay active as best I can. This will probably be my last Olympic Games, simply for the fact that it is very rare to get one opportunity, let alone two.

Regardless of what happens over these next few days it’s been a blast. It has been very safe. I haven’t seen a military person, a gun or witnessed any skirmishes, other than on the ice… The Russian people have been wonderful, and they love interacting with us, asking for pictures and speaking great English. The Russian Olympic Committee hired mostly young, enthusiastic 20 year olds as volunteers. It’s not always fun dealing with us when we need something done now… So we give them USA Short Track pins and say thank you in Russian, Spaceeba!!!

I’ve had a Dutch person give me crap for being in their House and I’ve given some Canadian NHLers a little ribbing leading up to our game tonight. I probably won’t write another blog until I get back home, but I will upload more pictures as I move along. I warn you to not believe the hype or read into the negativity as it relates to the Games. The medals aren’t as shiny as the memories, and usually the loudest and most obnoxious individuals are part of the problem.

Go USA!
ESP

 



This morning Dr. Michael Noyes MD and I left the Olympic Park/Village to have breakfast within one of the United States Olympic Committee’s hotel here in Adler, Russia. We needed a break from the buffet, wanting to actually order something of our own choosing. The town of Sochi is actually almost 10 miles North of the Olympic Coastal Village in Adler. The hotel was only a few minutes walk from the Park’s Southern entrance. It was an interesting experience trying to find it, walking along the Black Sea wall for a bit, an enjoyable experience other than being a gloomy morning. Without planning, I video taped a little of the adventure on our way back to the Olympic Park. We passed the Heineken House where the Dutch team celebrates each day and night. A few nights ago we visited their House and experienced the live band and club type scene, which was a great break from the grind. The Heineken House is within the grounds of the Azimut hotel where many international media are staying, an impressive place for “Russia”.


Interesting article on why this author loves Short Track so much. Check it out!

http://grantland.com/features/the-human-drama/


So, I really can’t talk about US Speedskating, but I can talk about every other team…

The men’s and women’s hockey teams are primed to do well, the women won today to make it to the championship game (probably against Canada) and the men are preparing for the quarterfinals. T.J. Oschie’s performance in the shootout was epic!!!

We just watched Charlie White and Meryl Davis win gold in Ice Dancing, Steve Holcomb/Steve Langton win Bronze in Two-man Bobsled, and Noel PIckus-Pace win Silver in Skeleton!!! We plan to finally go to an awards ceremony down here in the Olympic Costal Village. It’s been a long time coming!

Yesterday while on my way to the USA Men’s Hockey game against Slovenia, I entered the stadium through the Athlete Entrance as all medical staff does, when Dr. Noyes found a VIP lounge to the International Ice Hockey Federation IIHF. We went in and found the Stanley Cup and World Championship trophies on display!!! Dr. Noyes and I spent 3 hours with the Stanley Cup while watching the USA/Slovenia game on TV, and along side Phil Prichard, the Keeper of the Cup. He’s also the Curator of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto Canada. We literally sat with him the whole time, eating fancy gourmet food, while most of the time I was staring at the Cup… it was amazing!!!

Short Track races resume tomorrow so be sure to watch! The weather has become rainy, but otherwise the atmosphere has been great. I did venture to the Heineken House/Dutch House to watch an awards ceremony for one of their Short Trackers. It was very cool, live music, party and Olympic Medalists.

Have a nice week! ESP




Things continue to roll along here, absolutely beautiful weather, and a great atmosphere. We’re coming into some busy days ahead, and I hope we’ll be able to celebrate (medals) more than we have been. Regardless, it’s been a blast. The interactions I’ve had with all the athletes has been amazing, we support them and they support the staff. The amount of NHL athletes that I’ve met is also crazy. Lots of national pride and competitive spirit. Personally, the second time coming to the Olympic Games has definitely afforded me more opportunities to enjoy myself since I generally have a good feel for what needs to happen. I met Steve Yzerman and talked to him for a few minutes, nice guy!!!

The US plays Russia in Men’s hockey tomorrow, should be awesome. Putin actually went into the USA House today and I heard it was pretty intense with the security, but otherwise it was a unique event for my friends there.

Short Track races resume tomorrow and I’m excited to see our men and women perform. Long Track should be interesting as well, Go Shani!!! I went to a period each of the USA Women’s hockey game against Canada, and Men against Slovakia. Men won, women lost. The next meeting of USA/Canada women should be the Gold Medal game, I can’t wait.