Friday, August 21, 2009

Dramatic Relay

38 nations started the men's relay at 11 am this morning close to the village of Bankut. Patrick Goeres opened for Canada, but struggled a bit on the first leg. After a small mistake on the first control he lost the train of the leading pack and then had to fight the rest of the way without the help of the speed of the fastest teams. Patrick changed over to Mike Smith in 27th position, 9:25 behind Russia. Mike had the best run of the day on the Canadian team and picked up to 24th, passing Team USA out in the forest. Jon Torrance ran the last leg, but was not able to hold off the Americans and dropped down to 29th.

In the fight for the medals, there was a very dramatic finish. France, Sweden and Norway had pulled away in the lead when the Swede Martin Johansson got a stick of wood in the leg, causing a deep cut and a lot of bleeding. The French Thierry Gueorgiou and the Norwegian Anders Nordberg stopped to help Johansson and were soon joined by the Czech Michal Smola. Nordberg ran for help while Gueorgiou and Smola stayed with the Swede to stop the bleeding. Meanwhile, the chasing teams passed through the forest without noticing what had happened and the Swiss ran in as gold medalists, unaware of the drama. Johansson was eventually taken to hospital in stable condition and will recover. The rescue team of Smola, Gueorgiou and Norberg then decided to jog the rest of the course together to complete the race and was greeted at the finish as heroes with applause.

The women's relay was also very exciting with changes in the lead as mistakes were made in the tricky and difficult terrain. In the end it turned out to be an all Scandinavian affair with Norway taking the gold before Sweden and Finland.

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