Cheers and tears in Torino

In the women's figure-skating race yesterday, I bet Carolina Kostner to show, and that's what she did. Her Italian home-town crowd went wild when she delivered a personal-best skate that won bronze in the ISU grand prix finals in Torino. I'm really pleased for this 20-year-old Italian skater. It's her first world-level medal. Her hard work, grit and experience have finally been rewarded.

The singles gold and silver went to Korea's Yu-na Kim and Japan's Mao Asada. Shaky performances by Zhang and Meissner meant that the U.S. did not make it onto the women's podium...though talented, explosive Evan Lysachek did get us the bronze in the men's singles final. Switzerland's Lambiel and Japan's Takahashi took the gold and silver, respectively.

Our Johnny Weir, so admired by many of us, had one of his less fortunate days, and wound up 4th. He's in a shaky moment, and it probably didn't help that he was back in Torino, where he said he was never comfortable, and finished out of the medals during the Winter Olympics. If this was a movie, Johnny would have come roaring back to heave off the mental block about Torino and win the gold...like Seabiscuit finally came roaring back to win the Santa Anita Handicap. But Hollywood scriptwriters don't get to determine the story points of athletes' lives.

So what's bothering Johnny? Pressures of stardom? Especially about the G question? Or just ongoing technical struggles with his jumps? I'm willing to bet that Weir pulls himself together at some point, and makes a late charge that will astonish us all. -- Patricia Nell Warren

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