Torino – February 22 – hockey disaster and speed skating glory

M hockey Canada vs. Russia QF
W 1500 speed skating

In the early afternoon we took in our first long track speed skating event, and we picked a good one. It was amazing to see a venue filled with 80% orange-clad Dutch fans. The Dutch and their speed skating is quite the spectacle. They’re fun, they sing, they play music, they cheer loudly during every race (even if no Dutch skaters are involved), they’re incredibly knowledgeable, and above all else, they display wonderful sportsmanship.

Canadians Cindy Klassen and Kristina Groves went 1-2 while Ireen Wüst of the Netherlands got the bronze. This was one of Cindy’s 5 medals during the 2006 Olympics, a record for a Canadian athlete.

The rest of the day didn’t fare so well. We watched Canada get drubbed 2-0 to the Russians in the QF men’s hockey match. The Russians fans were an especially aggressive and unfriendly bunch. After experiencing the pleasantness of the Dutch skating fans, this was the polar opposite.

Edit: Payback would be sweet as Canada and Russia meet up again in the QF in Vancouver 2010. 

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