Tuesday, February 21, 2006

GUEST POST -- Osterreich uber nichts

Posted by Craig Westover | 1:29 PM |  

Mark Yost, Opinion Page Associate Editor at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and diehard biathlon fan (or is it just women with weapons) has reported on "only sport that really matters during the Winter Olympics" here , here, and here. If you're from Bemidji, don't read this.

We, of course, will have to wait and see what comes from the raids on the Austrian Olympic team headquarters. But if the Austrians were using banned substances, it didn’t seem to help them in Tuesday’s 4 x 7.5K men’s biathlon race.

The German team of Ricco Gross, Michael Roesch, Sven Fischer and Michael Greis took the Gold Medal, completing the 30K course at Cesana San Sicario in one hour, 21 minutes and 51.5 seconds, 20.9 seconds ahead of second place Russia and 43.6 seconds in front of third place France.

The Austrians were dead last, 6 minutes and 34.9 seconds behind their Aryan brothers. They even finished behind the normally abysmal American team, which usually brings up the rear of the biathlon field in both Olympic and international competition.

The Americans — Olympic hopeful turned ne’er do well Jay Hakkinen, Tim Burke, Lowell Bailey and Jeremy Teela — put in a pretty good performance, finishing ninth, 2 minutes and 31.9 seconds behind the Deutschlanders.

The Austrians haven’t won any medals in other Olympic biathlon competitions in Torino. Perner Wolfgang finished fourth in the 10K Sprint (), but is one of two Austrian biathletes who left Torino following the drug raids. Austrian Christoph Sumann finished eighth in the men’s 12.5K Pursuit.

The moral of the story: Eugenics didn’t work for a crazy Austrian in the 1930s and ‘40s, and it doesn’t appear to be working today.

Meanwhile, if Olympic officials believe the investigation needs to be expanded to the German team, I'm willing to search wherever necessary to ensure the integrity of the Games.

Up next: The women’s 4 x 6K Relay, perhaps the last chance for my sweetheart, Uschi Disl, the most decorated biathlete in Olympic history, to win a Gold Medal. The race starts live at 5 a.m. CDT Thursday. Free coffee and Danish in Lake Elmo for anyone who wants to get up that early and scream at the TV in German.