Olympics

Five favorite moments from Monday at the Sochi Olympics

Five favorite moments from Monday at the Sochi Olympics
CNN
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 10:35am

Monday brought us defending champions who performed brilliantly in clutch moments, the Dutch doing what they do best, and an American bobsledder with a knack for getting stuck behind closed doors.

Kiss Can-ada

It was an "awwwww, isn't that sweet" day for Canadian champs. The kind of moments you love to see, unabashed celebration after four years of waiting to compete on the biggest of stages.

Four years ago, Alexandre Bilodeau became a hero to Canada by winning the country's first gold medal of the 2010 Games. His upset win in the men's moguls lifted the spirits of the nation concerned with the slow start of its athletes. And the victory was even more poignant when Bilodeau celebrated with his brother, Frederic, who has cerebral palsy.

Was it too much to ask for an encore Monday? No one had done it before in men's moguls.

Bilodeau, on his last Olympic run, was astonishing and won in brilliant style.

Again the brothers met in a long celebratory hug as Canadians cried, then the Bilodeaus held the country's flag up for fans to see,

"It was amazing," Alexandre said of celebrating with Frederic. "My brother is my everyday inspiration. Like I say all the time, if he had the life that I have lived, he would be a three-time Olympic champion."

At the speed skating rink, Charles Hamelin could have waited to celebrate his 1,500-meter short track gold with his girlfriend, who is also a speed skater (so we assume her pass gets her past security guards into areas close to the locker room).

But there Marianne St. Gelais was, racing down from her seat. He skated over, leaned over the high barrier and they kissed, just as they did in Vancouver when he won the 500-meter race.

And in the Great White North, there was much swooning.

Canada.com called it The Kiss, Act II.

Triple dutch

Are Dutch babies born with clap skates on? Because the speed skaters from the Netherlands are making the long-track event into a who's-going-to-get-fourth affair.

Dutch skaters have won seven of the nine medals after twins Michael and Ronald Mulder and Jan Smeekens swept the top three in the men's 500 meters.

(That's what we were thinking, too; twins, that's so not fair.)

Their coach explained the reason behind their triple triumph.

"It's a beautiful success. Six, seven years ago we started our way to what we have reached today. They were roller skaters and then they switched to speed skating," Gerard Van Velde said.

OK, so they're not born with ice skates on.

Johnny Weir loves Russia

You'd think Johnny Weir would stick out in Russia. In a country with strict anti-gay laws, a guy wearing fur coats and ostentatious necklaces might draw extra attention.

But the skater-turned-NBC-commentator, who is married to a Russian man, said he has never encountered oppressive attitudes in the host nation.

"I've never felt any anti-gay sentiment in Russia through all the years I have been traveling here," he told CNN's Rachel Nichols. "I've never had a bad situation."

Weir said he comes to Russia five or six times a year, but chooses passive activism as his method of change.

"I want to show the Russian public that I am here and I am normal," he said. "I'm not doing anything wild or obscene."

Weir was heartened by the news of an NFL draft prospect revealing to the U.S. press that he is gay.

"Anyone that can own their truth in whatever discipline they choose to live, whether it's a football player, a figure skater, an Olympian, a trash collector, everyone needs to live their truth," he said. "It's so inspiring for so many young athletes and people who are struggling with their sexuality ... to have somebody in the NFL to look up to."

Mancuso's mettle means medal

Lindsey Vonn may get more commercial time and attention from the media, but Julia Mancuso is the female American alpine skier with the most Olympic medals.

With Vonn still recovering from injury, Mancuso could be one of the U.S. stars in Sochi. She started with a bronze medal in the super combined on Monday. She smoked the field in the downhill section of the two-stage event, but defending combined gold medalist Maria Hoefl-Riesch turned in the third-best slalom run to win the gold.

The Olympics bring out the best in Mancuso.

"They definitely do," she said. "I grew up in an Olympic valley. It's in my blood."

Mancuso, who is from Squaw Valley, California, site of the 1960 Olympics, now has four medals. And if you think she's disappointed not to win gold after having a big lead halfway through, check out her Facebook page.

"Today was amazing, inspiring, surreal," she writes.

She gets Tuesday off to celebrate and Wednesday she'll be back at it in the downhill. In 2010 she won a silver, while Vonn won gold.

The United States now has five medals at Sochi, two behind joint leaders Canada, the Netherlands and Norway.

This time the door survived

Our new favorite bobsledder Johnny Quinn took down a bathroom door the other day that tried to lock him in.

But on Monday, when a set of elevator doors wouldn't open, Quinn and three other U.S. bobsled team members were stuck.

This time, Quinn couldn't pry the dang things open, try as he must to use his super-hero powers.

We're beginning to wonder if it's a bad idea for Quinn to let a door shut behind him. Good thing there's no gate at the start of the bobsled.

He joked with CNN's "Piers Morgan Live" that he'll probably shower with the door open and take the stairs on the days when he competes in the two-man and four-man events.

The funny elevator moment is another entry for the #SochiProblems on Twitter, but Nick Cunningham, a bobsledder who laughed at getting stuck with Quinn, says the hashtag is a "complete and utter joke."

"C'mon America, stop being ignorant. Get off the negative bandwagon," he tweeted. 

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