February 17, 2010 | 2010 Olympics >
Richmond, Professional & Spectator Sports
After checking out the women's 500m speed skating on Tuesday, it became obvious that the sport is much bigger in the rest of the world than it is here in Vancouver.
Most of the fans in the beautiful and new Richmond Olympic Oval were cheering for Canada, but I was still blown away by how many fans there were from the other competing countries. The two biggest and most passionate groups of spectators had to be the Dutch and the Japanese.
It was obvious after just a few minutes in the oval that the Dutch LOVE speed skating. All decked out in orange they were the most passionate and loudest fans in attendance. It was really sad to see one of their best skaters, Annette Gerritsen, fall during her first race. Hopefully she can come back strong in the 1000m and the 1500m.
The Japanese fans did not disappoint either, waving flags, holding up signs and making a ton of noise. Their skaters seemed to really appreciate the support, waving and smiling at their fans on a number of occasions during the event.
Unfortunately, neither the Dutch or the Japanese made the podium, and neither did the Canadians, with Christine Nesbitt the finishing a Canadian best 10th place.
The day belonged to Sang-Hwa Lee of South Korea, who won the gold. Silver went to Jenny Wolf of Germany and bronze to Beixing Wang of China.
In all the event was great fun and hopefully the new Richmond Olympic Oval can help to increase the popularity of speed skating in Vancouver and generate a greater interest in the sport.
What do you think the lasting legacy will be of the Olympic Oval? Post your thoughts in the comments, or if you're a BC student consider submitting them to the 2010 Learning Legacies Competition!