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The hidden support team

Original post made by John Naber, another community, on Feb 22, 2010

Yesterday, I made my way to my seat directly in front of a large contingent of brightly orange clad Netherlands long-track skating supporters. The event was the women’s 1500 meters, and Germany and Canada were favored for the gold. In the third-to-last pairing, the Dutch skater, Ireen Wust, circled the oval passing us four different times, and with each lap, the Dutch grew louder. Horns, cow bells and voices raised the roof over my head. The American seated to my left just smiled at me and clapped along.
The second-to last pair featured Kristina Groves, a Canadian who was faster than Wust at each of the intervals, except at the finish. When Groves’ time was displayed, I heard an audible gasp from the Canadian crowd, a respectful pause, and then a boisterous eruption of cheers behind me. With one pair to go, the Dutch were still in the lead, and Wust was now guaranteed at least the bronze medal.
The last pair featured the favored Canadian skater, Christine Nesbitt, along with a returning American medal winner, Jennifer Rodriguez. After three laps, the American was out of contention, and the Canadian was beginning to tire. Across the finish line came Nesbitt, and Wust’s time was still on top of the leader board. Gold medal for Holland! The cheering volume reached eleven on the loudness meter, but they were being happy, not rude. Nearby, Canadians were nodding their heads in appreciation of the good race.
As people began to make their way to the exits, I heard the American lean over to his wife and say, “Well dear, I guess it’s time to go console our daughter.”


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