The 2018 Winter Olympics have officially begun, and sports fans everywhere are grateful. Snow and ice-based sports grace our televisions and help give some semblance of meaning to the post-football/pre-baseball limbo. The Olympic Games are all about friendly competition between multiple countries, and that was on full display last night on the speed skating track. In one of the most exhilarating races ever, history was made.
Speed skating, which was one of the events in the inaugural Winter Olympics in 1924, has historically been dominated by northern countries and Asian countries. The United States, Canada, South Korea, Japan, and China are always very strong on the speed skating track. Last night, however, a new country took home the gold in the Men’s 500m: Mexico.
After advancing through every preliminary race with ease, Mexican speed skater Oscar Martinez found himself toe-to-toe with two American skaters, Michael Scarn and Golden Face, in the medal round.
Entering the night, Golden Face was the heavy favorite to come in first place. His face is literally made of gold and his name also has the precious metal in it, so it only made sense for him to win the gold medal. In addition, he’s a physical specimen, standing 6’11 and weighing 90 lbs. Gumby has a better body than he does (boom, roasted). His long strides allow him to cover a ton of ground and his top-heaviness (due to his golden face) keeps his center of gravity low. On paper, he’s the ideal speed skater. Furthermore, his touching story about working in a gold mine has led him to become a fan favorite. His boss only cared about money and wouldn’t grant his workers lunch breaks, so Golden Face had to eat the gold. It’s hard to not root for a man who has overcome so much.
Speaking of overcoming hardship, Michael Scarn was the man expected to take home the silver. After Golden Face murdered his wife, Scarn dedicated his life to speed skating. He hired the greatest skating coach in the history of speed skating, Cherokee Jack, to help him with his training. Known for his unorthodox teaching methods, Cherokee Jack got the best out of his protege. Unfortunately, Cherokee Jack passed away before the race, which set Scarn on an emotional downward spiral. Still, Scarn’s passion for speed skating was expected to earn him the silver medal.
The clear underdog of the trio was Martinez, who had never skated at the Olympic level before. However, he had made it up until this point and wasn’t expected to go down without a fight. If he wanted to win, he would have to skate as fast as he could and not get caught up in Scarn and Golden Face’s business. The two Americans had a long history of facing off against each other (on and off the ice), so they were expected to slow each other down. This was labeled as Martinez’ only shot at victory.
Lo and behold, the underdog cruised to Mexico’s first ever gold medal in speed skating as a result of the feud between Scarn and his colleague. They were so focused on defeating each other that they forgot about their Mexican counterpart. Scarn would finish second, as expected, and Golden Face fell all the way to third.
After the race, Golden Face didn’t seem so upset. As a matter of fact, he took Scarn’s devastation as an opportunity to throw in a quick “by the way, how’s your wife doing?”. Ruthless. After all was said and done, though, Scarn made sure to congratulate Martinez on his victory. He was certainly upset about being runner-up, but he was happy for his opponent and the country of Mexico. He had absolutely no hard feelings towards Oscar.