Sunday, February 26, 2006

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Medal olympics team, points and games

The closing ceremonies are nearly upon us and all the U.S. medal hopefuls have competed. That means this year's winter games -- and the inagural year of Fantasy Olympics -- are over. Here are the final results: Gold: If You Don't Have Olympic Fever, It Might Be Dysentary (Bryan) - 20 points Silver: Cuddling with Lee's Mom (Dustin) - 18 points Bronze: Jer-Bear's Stairwells (Jeremy) - 8 points Certificate of Participation: Dark Cloud (Lee) - 4 points Amazingly, this year's contest turned out exactly like the pre-Olympic power rankings predicted. Looks like SI was on top of things. Still, we weren't without our share of surprises. Those are outlined below. Before I get to my post-Olympic awards, I just wanted to take an opportunity to share my thoughts on the Olympic games. I've listened to the American media complain all week about how "disappointing" the U.S. team has been in Torino. It's clear to me that these people haven't done any research on Olympic history. Yes, Bode Miller was a disaster, Lindsey Jacobellis cost herself a gold medal by showboating and the Shani Davis-Chad Hedrick feud was ugly for a while. But lost in all this were the heroes of these games... people like Ted Ligety, Julie Mancuso and Joey Cheek. And let's make one thing clear: this year's team has performed better than any U.S. team in history at an Olympics held outside the United States. The old medal record for such an Olympics was 13; this year's team netted 25, just two shy of the all-time American record set four years ago in Salt Lake City. They finished second in the medal count for the second straight winter games -- only traditional powerhouse Germany did better. So let's get some perspective, people. The media is so quick to jump on anyone who makes even the smallest mistake -- like poor Sasha Cohen, who is being roundly criticized for winning a silver medal -- that they lose sight of the big picture. Either that, or Americans are so arrogant that they expect to win the medal count every time out, even though the Americans have never done so at a Winter Olympics. Contrary to what has been said over the last week, this Olympic team has not been a disappointment; in fact, it has been one of the most successful American teams of all time. So let's take the time to enjoy it! Post-Olympic Awards MVP: Chad Hedrick With a trio of medals, Hedrick racked up a total of six points to lead all athletes. If not for an unlikely gold medal for Julia Mancuso, Hedrick would have led Dustin's team to victory. Biggest Draft Bust: Halie Kim Kim was the only first-round pick that didn't win multiple medals -- and she did win any. Lee's team never really stood a chance as Hedrick, Davis and Ohno kept winning more medals. The closest Kim came to a medal was a fourth place finish in the women's short-track relay. Biggest Draft Steal: Hannah Teter The golden girl of the halfpipe wasn't picked until the sixth round, providing Bryan's team with three valuable points late in the draft. Biggest Disappointment: Bode Miller Miller will now rank with Reebok's Dan and Dave as the biggest Olympics disappointments of all-time. Powered by Nike's "Join Bode" campaign and the media frenzy surrounding his comments on 60 Minutes, Miller was the most-hyped ahtlete coming in to this year's Games. He was a favorite to medal in as many as five events. Instead, he left with no medals and was disqualified from more races than he finished. Biggest Surprise(s): Julia Mancuso and Ted Ligety (tie) Coming into the Games, everyone was talking about the medal chances of alpine skiers Miller, Rahlves and Lindsey Kildow. But Mancuso and Ligety shocked the world by winning gold while the rest of the alpine team came up empty handed. The timing of Mancuso's winning runs will make her a Fantasy Olympics legend, as her gold medal provided the winning points for Bryan's team. Biggest Story Line: The Shani Davis-Chad Hedrick feud The feud between these champion speed skaters spilled over into the league, as Davis scored crucial points for Bryan's team and Hedrick carried Dustin's team to a near-victory. Thankfully, Davis and Hedrick were finally able to bury the hatchet, and Davis was seen cheering Hedrick on duing the 10,000m finals. Hopefully, Bryan and Dustin will be able to overcome their differences as well. Best Free Agent Move: Lee picks up Kathleen Kauth Lee was the only one who managed to pick-up a free agent that actually earned a medal for his team by dropping biathlete Jeremy Teela and picking up Kauth of the U.S. women's hockey team to earn a bronze medal. Worst Free Agent Move: Dustin drops Ben Agosto When Michelle Kwan withdrew from the competition, Dustin made what would have been the best free agent move of the Games by picking up Ben Agosto. If he had stuck with Agosto, Dustin would have earned another silver medal and finished in a tie for first. But a few days later, Dustin dropped Agosto and picked up Emily Hughes, costing himself two points. Top Undrafted Athletes -Danny Kass went undrafted and earned a silver medal in the men's snowboard halfpipe -As the media swarmed to 2002 gold medalist Vonetta Flowers, Shauna Rohbock led USA-2 to silver in the women's bobsled competition. -Three of the league's four teams picked up members of the women's curling team, but it was the men's curling team that emerged with a bronze medal -Rosey Fletcher, appearing in her third Olympics, won bronze in the women's snowboard giant slalom. I think that does it for this year's Games. The Fantasy Olympics were definitely a huge success, so we'll probably have even more teams for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. And as for the next Winter Olympics in 2010, I'll see you guys in Vancouver (yes, I'm actually planning to go... it should be a blast!)

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