Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 13th 2014 Contents A57
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Groothuis sat on an infield bench
and started choking up as he saw
one challenger after another falter.
The freak injuries, illnesses,
depression, the thoughts of suicide
---a catalog of bad luck was about
to turn into Olympic gold with one
powerful 1,000 metre race few
expected the Dutchman still had in
him at 32.
"I almost started to cry, thinking:
this is not happening," he said.
Going early with most of the
medal contenders still to come,
Groothuis set an Adler Arena track
record of 1 minute 8.39 seconds and
then had to sit and wait for four
more pairs to race.
Canadian Denny Morrison of
Canada scared him big time when
he came within .04 seconds.
Double defending champion Shani
Davis was still to come.
The American, one year younger
than Groothuis, couldn t summon
the Dutchman s power and kick and
faded into eighth place.
Groothuis released a massive
"Yes!!!!" when the final challenger,
Denis Kuzin, failed to beat his time.
He grabbed Jac Orie, the coach who
kept faith in him when so many oth-
ers had given up, in a bear hug that
almost broke Orie s glasses.
Morrison took silver and 500
champion Michel Mulder added
bronze to make it another outstand-
ing Dutch party at the Olympic oval.
In the summer of 2011 Groothuis
fought depression and even con-
templated suicide while his wife Ester
was pregnant with their first child.
"I was pretty close. And that is pretty
shocking to say," he told Dutch
national broadcaster NOS last year.
Now the couple was kissing beside
the ice, Groothuis with the Dutch
flag draped over his shoulders as
they celebrated the fourth gold medal
in five speedskating events for the
"She went through enough bad
times," he said. "I am so thankful
that she has been there for me all
If Groothuis came up with a
comeback of a lifetime, Davis
shocked with a defeat no one had
He was poised to become the first
male speedskater to capture the same
event at three consecutive Olympics.
He ended up with no medal of any
color. It was a stunning loss for one
of the greatest speedskaters ever.
"I have to live with this for the
rest of my life," Davis said. "I just
had a misfortunate race."
While Davis became the latest US
star who failed to deliver in Sochi,
following Bode Miller in the Alpine
downhill and Shaun White in the
halfpipe, the Dutch continue to excel.
The Netherlands team now has
10 out of a possible 15 speedskating
medals---a dominating performance
that sets them up to crush the record
for most speedskating medals by a
country at a single Olympics. East
Germany captured 13 at the 1988
Calgary Games. There are seven
events left at the Adler Arena. (AP)
depression Bronze medallist Michel Mulder from the Netherlands, right, applauds country skater and gold medallist Stefan
Groothuis during the flower ceremony for the men's 1,000-metre speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating
Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, yesterday. AP PHOTO
Shiva Keshavan of India prepares to start his
run during a training session for the men's
singles luge at the 2014 Winter Olympics in
Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, last Thursday.
Keshavan competed under the Olympic flag
because India's Olympic body had been
suspended by the IOC in 2012 over a
corruption scandal. AP PHOTO
NEW DELHI---The taint of corruption fol-
lowed India s Olympic athletes everywhere
in Sochi. They were not allowed to enter
the Olympic stadium marching under the
Indian flag. They were warned the national
anthem would not play if they won any
But the athletes had done nothing wrong.
Their administrative exile was the result of
ethics violations by the Indian Olympic
Association, which had elected two cor-
ruption tainted officials as its leaders.
Although the IOC executive board reinstated
the Indian Olympic body Tuesday, five days
after the Games began, the episode laid bare
India s intractable problems with corruption
on an international stage.
"The whole world is watching and when
the Indian flag doesn t fly, people know
that it s because of corruption and it s not
a nice image for the country," said luger
Shiva Keshavan, India s top winter sports
athlete. "Symbolism is really important at
the Olympic Games," he told The Associated
Press in Sochi.
The bureaucratic bumbling had all the
makings of a national scandal, touching on
resonant issues of national pride and pres-
tige. But despite the sting of embarrassment
for the athletic community, the episode has
failed to stir up much outrage among ordi-
The muted response stems, in part, from
India s virtually non-existent presence at
the Winter Olympics. It is likely the public
sense of embarrassment would have been
greater had the controversy broken out
before a summer Olympics.
India has never won a medal at the Winter
Olympics, and the three Indians competing
this year at Sochi---a luger and two skiers
---are not household names. Keshavan fin-
ished 37th out of 39 competitors in Sunday s
men s singles event for luge.
In a country where cricket is the pastime
of choice, and where temperatures are
scorching for much of the year, winter sports
have never gained much traction here.
"People haven t been bothered much
about the developments on the Olympics
front," said TS Sampath, a businessman in
New Delhi and an avid sports lover. "It s
not been very important for me even though
I m a sports lover because I don t think our
performance level is good at the (winter)
The quiet reaction to the Olympic snub
is starkly different from the national mood
ahead of the Commonwealth Games of 2010,
which deeply embarrassed India on its own
turf. India s preparations for the Games
were seen as an international humiliation,
with filthy athletes housing, a collapsed
pedestrian bridge, security worries, corrup-
tion accusations and even an outbreak of
dengue fever. (AP)
Corruption sting follows Indian athletes to Sochi
CAPE TOWN---South Africa s Olympic
committee says a top cyclist hoping to
compete at the Commonwealth Games
has died after crashing at a track meet.
SASCOC says Jeanne Nel, a former
national sprint, time trial and Keirin
champion, died after the crash at a velo-
drome in Bellville near Cape Town on
Cycling coach Ricky Kulsen says Nel
was "one of the best sprinters South
Africa has ever had ... a true champion
lost to South African cycling."
The Olympic committee said yesterday
that Nel was a member of the South
African men s sprint team attempting
to qualify for the Commonwealth Games
in Glasgow, Scotland in July and August.
It didn t give any detail on the cause of
Cyclist dies after track crash in South Africa
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