The Olympic Sport for Day Sixteen:
Women's Team Pursuit Speed Skating Semi-Finals
The Olympic Athlete for Day Sixteen:
Germany's Anni Friesinger-Postma
In the last lap of the semi-finals against the Americans, Anni began to really struggle to keep up with her two teammates. Already unsteady, she teetered after the last turn and finally tipped over to fall on the ice. If her teammates, having already slowed down when they saw how far behind them she was, didn't actually see the fall, they sure knew it was coming. By time Anni was splayed out on her belly, her two teammates had assumed defeat was inevitable and started to coast to let their momentum carry them across the finish line. But Anni did a few breast-strokes on the ice as she slid along towards the finish, and kicked her right leg up by her head to make her skate cross the line quicker -- and won the race!
Anni lay face down on the ice, sure she had cost her team a chance to medal. After a moment, she looked up at the time to see the proof -- and it took a long time for her to register what she saw there. I think the only ones more surprised than her were the Americans. When your opponents can coast in the home stretch, belly flop across the line and still win, it's time to go home, crack open a cold one and call it a day.