World Cup Women’s Skeleton: medals ceremony

Bet you didn’t think I could get this many blog posts about a single race, did you? I wasn’t expecting this one either, but you can thank some schoolchildren.

On the official, published schedule, there is supposed to be a single medals ceremony for each day of competition, held 15 minutes after the conclusion of the last race. However, on the day I attended, there were three different groups of schoolchildren visiting. Their buses brought them to the Olympic Sports Complex at around lunchtime (because Lake Placid is a really long way from anywhere), and they would have to leave after the first run of women’s bobsled. The race organizers got a few of the USABS athletes (three women and one man) to do an autograph signing for the kids, and they moved up the medals ceremony for the morning’s race — women’s skeleton, as chronicled in the three previous posts — so that the children would also get to see the presentation.

Throughout the whole competition I was blown away by how close the spectators were able to get to the athletes. Yes, a bobsled track isn’t that wide, but I was honestly expecting the whole trackside to be cordoned off for VIPs and sponsors. I certainly was not expecting to be having breakfast with the Austrian bobsled team — and I definitely wasn’t expecting to be nearly tripping over a Russian slider’s backpack as athletes and spectators mingled with schoolkids eating lunch in the runup to the medal presentation. You’ll see what that was like in these photos. (I should point out that there was a “VIP lounge” that I did not know about, and to which I was denied access when I walked up to the doorway in search of a toilet.)

Athletes and spectators mingling

Athletes and spectators mingling


Elena Nikitina and other members of Team Russia

Elena Nikitina and other members of Team Russia


Schoolchildren eating lunch at a picnic table

Schoolchildren from one of the three groups are finishing up their lunch


Team GB athletes chatting

Team GB athletes chatting


Schoolchildren in line for the signing

Schoolchildren in line for the autograph signing


Signing table

Signing table


Elena Nikitina again

Elena Nikitina again


German team athletes and coaches

German team athletes and coaches relax and wait for the medal presentation (although none of their athletes were on the podium).


Elena Nikitina

I think I have more photos of Elena Nikitina than of any other athlete at the entire event. (I haven’t used them all.) That may be because she’s so darn cute, but she was also literally standing right next to me while I was taking most of the photos on this page. At the time I didn’t recognize her as anything other than a Russian female athlete.


Flags prepared for raising at the medal ceremony

Flags prepared for hoisting at the medals ceremony


Videographer recording the medal ceremony

Videographer recording the medals ceremony

This is where things get a little weird. If you’ve watched any kind of international sport at all, you’ve undoubtedly seen a medals ceremony before: the top three athletes get the bronze, silver, and gold medals. This one was different, because they gave medals to the top six athletes, although there wasn’t anything I could see that distinguished the medals given to the fourth, fifth, and sixth-place women. I couldn’t tell what material they were made of, either. But they were all introduced and got up on the special wide podium, in the following order:

6th
Jane Channell (CAN)
5th
Laura Deas (GBR)
4th
Elena Nikitina (RUS)
3rd
Lizzy Yarnold (GBR)
2nd
Elisabeth Vathje (CAN)
1st
Janine Flock (AUT)

Presentation of the gold medal to Janine Flock

Presentation of the gold medal to Janine Flock


Presentation of the gift bag to Janine Flock

Presentation of the gift bag to Janine Flock. Each venue gives a gift to the winner in each race; in Lake Placid, they canvassed local retailers to find appropriately themed “Adirondack” items.


Raising the flags

Raising the flags


Confusing flagpoles

The flags are a bit confusing here because, in addition to the national flags of the top three finishers (the United Kingdom, Canada, and Austria), you can also see a separate display of the national flags of all the competitors.


Expanded podium

The athletes on the podium crowded together for the traditional group photo.


Janine Flock poses for pictures with schoolgirls

After the medals ceremony, winner Janine Flock poses for pictures with some of the schoolgirls who came to see the race. (They’d better hurry up and start walking up to the track, because the women’s bobsled race is about to start!)


Team GB folks still chatting

Team GB folks still chatting

I’ll be back soon (hopefully) with photos from the women’s and two-man bobsled races.

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One Response to World Cup Women’s Skeleton: medals ceremony

  1. UPDATE: Two weeks later, Elena Nikitina was sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee for alleged doping violations at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and “provisionally suspended” by the IBSF.

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