What to watch for at the Olympics - Day 1
All the media has been telling you who to watch for over the last few weeks. Apolo Ohno, Hyun-Soo Ahn, Meng Wang and Sun-yu Jin will mostly like win gold. Honestly, I've seen them win before and seeing them win yet again even at the Olympics isn't as compelling as watching certain match ups.
For those that don't know short track here's what to watch for during day one. First off, the ladies race the 500m and the men race the 1500m. It's completely different strategy to win those.
For the women, it's going to be first person off the line and around the first turn is going to have an advantage over those behind her. Even the favorites will have problems if they're in the 4th starting position and can't get a good start. Passing from last place to first in 4.5 laps when all the skaters go all out from the get go is almost impossible.
There's going be lot's of false starts. And there's going to be some pushing and some falls before the first turn. If someone falls before the turn then the judges will call it back and start the race again.
NBC's coverage in America stinks compared to CBC in Canada or Eurosport in Europe. If you see the heats, here's what I'm looking forward to:
Race 6 - Allison vs. Erika. Allison Baver has much better in the last year. But then so has Erika. Hungary spent a lot of money on their program and it shows.
Race 7 - Arianna vs. Kalyna. It's the battle of the young all-stars. Italy's up-and-comer vs. Canada's up-and-comer. Ariana got 2nd at the European Championships last month and Kalyna has won bronze 3 times at the World Cups.
For the men in the 1500m, it's all about positioning. The favorites do not want to be first. They want to draft and conserve energy for that winning pass during the last 4 laps. What you should be watching for is all the jockeying for position around 7 laps to go as skaters at the end try to move to 2nd or 3rd to inorder to make their move at the end.
Here's what I will be watching for during the heats:
Race 1 - Maxime Chataignier vs. Jon Eley. I think these two will have a very long an exciting rivalry.
Race 2 - Wim De Deyne. He's fast but not a passer. I'm expecting him to get in front and stay in front and make Ho-Suk Lee and Setaro Terao work really hard to pass him to make the next round.
Race 3 - Fabio Carta. He's 7 time European championship at his last Olympic appearance. Torino is his hometown and everyone is going to go crazy when he skates.
Race 5 - Jiajun Li. Also retiring and still winning medals at the World Cups. He's just great to watch.
Race 6 - Apolo in hard races isn't as much fun to watch as in his easy races because it's harder for him to charge to blocks (make an inside pass) in his hard races. This is going to be an easy race for Apolo. He's going to putter near the end to avoid any of the bumping and make a bunch of amazing inside passes at the turn that's going to look effortless around 4 laps to go. He's going to stay in front till the finish and no one will catch him.