On Tuesday Beckie Scott and Sara Renner of the Canadian Olympic team won a silver medal in the Cross Country Team Pursuit event. This was the first time the event was held. The event involves two skiers on a closed loop track. Each skier completes a loop then tags up with their partner, who then proceeds to ski the same loop. Repeat three times. Not quite as exciting as hockey or even the ski jumping events, but still interesting from the athletic perspective.
The gold medal winners (from Sweden) completed the course in 16 minutes, 36.9 seconds. Beckie and Sara completed the same course (at the same time) in 16 minutes 37.5 seconds, or a 0.6 second difference.
For reference, the average human blink lasts for about 0.3 second. Two blinks difference over sixteen minutes.
For me this is probably the most amazing thing about Olympic-level competitive sports. These people come from all over the world to participate in these events after four years of practice, they race side-by-side for many minutes, and the difference between first and second place is the same as two blinks. And for sure its not just cross country skiing, or even just the Winter Olympics. The Summer Olympic events often see close races, especially in the swim events where first and second place might be separated by a hundredth of a second.
Eleven more days of Olympic events. Go Canada go!