Audio October 28th, 2010
Sometimes there are moments at world’s that are just too precious and too touching to forget or to let go by without mention. There are times when teams come together to celebrate and then there are times to remember what is happening or has happened in the real world.
Chile brought us the latter by creating a “note” to symbolize the notes that the trapped miners sent up while they in the mine. This note was given to the mascot who skated it around the track. It read “Chile says, we are here.” Seeing this reminded spectators that even though we are not in the “real world” right now, we should remember the world that we live in and those who are having trials in their lives.
Before we get to the former, I need to first give a little background. In what was probably the most controversial junior 20,000 meter elimination race, Mario Valencia won a silver medal but by all accounts it should have been gold. Mario was in the front on the last lap of the race. The Colombian skaters were behind him and when they went up to make the pass they shoved him off to the side. Coming along the final stretch Mario, the two Colombians, and Korea were in the normal all out sprint. One Colombian thought he had the race won so he stood up and began celebrating well before the finish line. He apparently did not realize that Korea was close to him because he was still celebrating when Korea passed him and won the race. Mario came in third because of the shove on the back-stretch. This was reviewed and Colombia was disqualified from the race giving Mario the silver medal. In fact, this race is being reviewed over and over again here in the Colombian media. It is on television, the Internet, and we even saw it in the newspapers while walking around Guarne today.
Even though rain had delayed the racing every single day. This would not stop USA’s Erin Jackson and Will Bowen from achieving medals in their 500 meter races. Erin, who is making an unforgettable presence on the Senior World team scene, won a bronze medal and Bowen, performing an intense race in which he was able to maintain the lead the entire time won the Gold medal. Afterward, Joey Mantia rallied his teammates together for the awards ceremony.
Mantia lead the team to the center of the track to cheer for Will as he approached the podium. All lined up along the path where Will walked to the podium, his teammates cheered and jumped up and down for him. They didn’t stop there. The team stayed there the entire time, in the rain through the National Anthem. Now, some of you may not know that they never play the entire national anthem for any country at worlds. Some of them are just too long, so while the entire USA team was standing there the parents in the stands continued singing the anthem to the end and nobody moved while we did so. There were no announcements and nobody left the podium. Once this was finished and Will left the track the team was right there smiling, cheering and watching him leave with his medal. They then had their picture taken with the police and EMTs that were on hand. There was such an admiration for Will, even from other countries that after the awards he skated in front of the crowd, tossed his stuffed mascot and his flowers, both of which part of his award, into the crowd.Even though the relays were postponed till the next day; this day, is one that will never be forgotten. It will be remembered as the day, that not-so-ordinary young adults brought tears to the eyes of not-so-ordinary spectators.