Through three days of the Paralympics, host Russia unsurprisingly has a huge lead in the medal count with 24 medals, 7 gold. Tied for second with 7 medals is the USA and the inspiring team from Ukraine.
The U.S. track and field team ran away with the medals at the World Indoor Championships — 12 overall, 8 gold.
The USA’s week also included a redemptive World Cup weekend for speedskaters and more Alpine glory for Mikaela Shiffrin and Ted Ligety. (TeamUSA.org is also posting daily Paralympic recaps.)
Best and worst of the week …
Best event to watch Tuesday morning: USA-Russia in sled hockey.
Best documentary: USA Track and Field wrapped up Alan Webb’s track career with an inspirational 12-minute video.
Best Paralympic starter: Allison Jones won the first U.S. medal of the London 2012 Paralympics (in cycling). Then she took downhill bronze for the first U.S. medal in Sochi.
Best statement: The first 2012 Paralympic gold medalist from Ukraine, Olena Iurkovska, spoke proudly: “Every time I race, it will be for Ukrainian independence and peace in my country.” And she embraced a top Russian lawmaker at the flower ceremony.
Best bounce-back from Sochi: U.S. Speedskating medals in Sochi: zero. At the World Cup in Inzell, Germany, with most of the same skaters competing: eight. Heather Richardson won three races, Shani Davis and Brian Hansen each won one, Brittany Bowe had a second and a third, and Hansen added a third.
Best place to swim: London’s swimming venue is now open to the public.
Best description of covering the Olympics: Canadian journalist Bruce Arthur offers the proper mix of humility and humor:
On one Wednesday in Sochi I got up at 6:15 on three hours’ sleep, was on a bus to the mountains by 7:30, covered slopestyle for seven hours, wrote it, ate a meal cobbled together out of apples and water and a cake-like yellowish thing with raisins in it, covered the half-pipe where Shaun White lost, ran out of the mixed zone and under the bleachers as White’s last run ended to get a Canadian cross-country coach on the phone after he’d given a ski to a Russian competitor, scrambled back, slipping on the snow, covered the half-pipe until White finally spoke around midnight, wrote one of the columns on the bus ride back down the mountain, wrote the other one in the Main Press Centre (MPC), missed the 3 a.m. bus, had a beer with a colleague in the media bar, caught the 4 a.m. bus, decided to have two more beers with the same colleague in the media village bar because at the Olympics you start to get punchy after a while, and went to bed 24 hours after I started.
Best top 10: Not sure how much longer 2010 gold medalist Bill Demong will compete, but it’s nice to see him back in the mix in a World Cup Nordic combined.
Least necessary apology:
Best World Indoor lap: Francena McCorory blew past and said goodbye in the women’s 400 meters.
Best hurled object at World Indoors: David Storl took the shot put lead, putting down the challenge for the USA’s Ryan Whiting. He responded with a shot that cut through the air like a meteor.
Biggest World Indoors upset: Nia Ali over Australia’s Sally Pearson in the 60-meter hurdles.
Most dominant World Indoors run, individual: Chanelle Price led each lap in the women’s 800 to win in 2:00.09, best in the world this year.
Most dominant World Indoors run, team: McCorory, Natasha Hastings, Joanna Atkins and Cassandra Tate won by nearly two seconds over a Jamaican 4×400 team that set a national record.
Best World Indoors win by someone I admit I’d never heard of: Omo Osaghae won the men’s 60 hurdles in a world-leading 7.45 seconds.
Most dominant multi-events athlete: Ashton Eaton was actually disappointed after winning World Indoors heptathlon gold. He didn’t break the world record. Poor guy.
Best multi-sport show:
And finally, the world record World Indoors win: Kyle Clemons, David Verburg, Kind Butler III and Calvin Smith — 3:02.13 in the men’s 4×400. At least, that might be a world record — we have a discrepancy of record-keeping.
That’s eight gold medals for the USA. No other country got more than five medals, let alone gold medals. But that was still lower than the projection at DailyRelay.com, which posted a lively in-depth recap of the meet.
Most compelling argument for change in the Olympics: This many slopestyle snowboarders can’t be wrong.
Most emphatic continuation of Olympic gold medal form: Wins for Ted Ligety (though he concedes he’s unlikely to win the season title) and Mikaela Shiffrin (who clinched her second straight season slalom title).
Most depleted World Championship field: Raising the age-old question of why they bother to have a figure skating championship one month after the Olympics.
Worst time to have a part fall off a rifle: OK, maybe the Olympics would’ve been worse, but you still have to feel for Susan Dunklee trying to shoot without a sight.