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Ashley Wagner of the United States reacts to her results after competing in the women's team short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
The Sochi Olympics has brought out an interesting range of excuses among athletes who failed to live up to expectations.
Weather has been the most popular scapegoat and one of the most legitimate, considering the number of events that have been delayed, rescheduled and even cancelled on account of melting snow and fog.
Still, other excuses abound, from bad uniform material to conspiratorial referees. Here are some of the reasons athletes gave when asked why it all went wrong:
"I thought maybe I should have a little bit of a higher score, just because I did all the tricks big and clean," she said.
Alex Ovechkin told the Chicago Sun-Times that Quick himself "pulled [the net] out" -- an accusation seconded by other Russian players.
Her reaction — mouth agape, brow furrowed in offended disbelief — became one of the first viral images of the Games. "I was so excited with that strong program, and I know exactly how that program was supposed to go, and I still don't exactly agree with some of the calls that were made," she told Us Weekly. "But we're in Russia, and we're at the Olympics, and I can't give them any room because they're going to take it."
After trading them in for different uniforms, it became clear that the problem lay somewhere else.
Saturday, American Brian Hansen finished 7th in the 1500m race, while two-time silver medalist Shani Davis finished 11th in a race he was expected to win.
“We spent a lot of energy here focusing on things that we didn’t quite necessarily have to focus on in the past,” Davis said, according to NBC Olympic Talk. “I’m sure none of my competitors had to deal with half of what I had to deal with while I’ve been here, but there’s no real excuse for it. I’m a professional. I’m one of the best speed skaters in the world. I just didn’t have it.”
"We have received confirmation that others have things that we have not received," Knut Nystad said, referring to the top-of-the-line wax, which other teams had and Norway did not, according to The Local, a Norweigan publication. "There's always been talk that Norway is dominant," he said. "Now they have a chance to create alternative winners, which in the long-term is positive for the sport. But it's damn annoying."
High temperatures in Sochi have been such a concern for organizers that, according to the New York Times, they hastily imported 24 tons of salt during the Games. (The salt was used to melt the snow so that it would re-freeze overnight into a harder surface for competitors.) So it's little surprise that losers (and even some winners) complained about conditions.
His teammate, who finished last in her cross-country event, also criticized conditions. "They spray something on the snow, and it feels different since we are used to skiing on natural snow,” she said.
FAILING BODY PARTS
The three-time Olympian told reporters that his eighth place finish in the men's downhill, he determined, was the result of his poor vision in cloudy conditions."I was supposed to get an eye surgery earlier this year," Miller said. "We just never found the time to do it because the race schedule was so tight. We were pretty (upset) looking back on that that we hadn't figured out a time to do that, because for me my vision is critical."
Miller, who later redeemed himself with bronze medal in the men's super-G, appeared to take some ownership of his downhill defeat, but in the end went right back to his eyes. "At the end of the day we all kind of concluded the fault came down to me," Miller said, before adding that his coach had made it clear to him that he does not "win when the sun is not out.'"
On Sunday Svindal tweeted: "Olympics have not been the way I wanted. No medals. Haven't been good enough. But I'm blessed with awesome teammates. Thanks Kjetil!"
His teammate Kjetil Jansrud won the super-G gold and bronze in downhill.