With the 17-day ice- and snow-fest that is the 2010 Winter Olympics about to get underway in Vancouver, British Columbia, we took a stroll down memory lane to award our own medals for the most bone-jarring, can't-take-your-eyes-off-it winter-sports wipeouts.
GOLD - Nagano 1998: Austrian Herman Maier tops the podium for one of the most spectacular crashes of all time during the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan. Remarkably, he walked off the course with only bruising and went on to take double gold in the super G and giant slalom a few days later. Maybe that's why fans nicknamed him "Das Monster."
SILVER - Turin 2006: Prize for dumbest wipeout ever goes to American Lindsay Jacobellis for her pointless grab while cruising to victory in her snowboarder-cross heat and then crashing. Words don't do this one justice.
BRONZE - Salt Lake City 2002: The "agony of defeat" (see below) might be the lasting epithet of this speed-skating pileup during the Utah Games, which took out American favorite Apolo Anton Ohno and South Korean rival Ahn Hyun-Soo. But what about Australian Steven Bradbury who wins it from dead last? Talk about ecstasy of the underdog.
The Classic: Vinko Bogataj's ski-jumping flameout didn't occur during Olympic competition, but the judges awarded this one points for style (the Yugolsav jumper only suffered mild concussion from this crash in West Germany in 1970). Captured on camera by ABC's "Wide World of Sports," Bogataj's crash became the symbol of the show's melodramatic "...and the agony of defeat" catchphrase.
The Close Call: Bode Miller is everybody's favorite ski-hill renegade, and this clip from a 2008 world-championship race in Kitzbuhel, Austria, shows him at his barnstorming best. Watch Bode ride the safety fencing about 35 seconds in (the Italian commentary adds in some nice drama, too).
The Comedy Roundup: Love it or hate it, but figure-skating has too many diva tumbles not to mention here. This montage of ice-rink mishaps from the Turin Winter Olympics in 2006 goes out to all the prima ballerinas in the house.
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