Speed skater Olga Graf won Russia its first medal of the 2014 Olympic Games on Sunday. In a surprising win, she took the bronze medal in the women’s 3000 meter event at Adler Arena.
Her moment of triumph almost ended in embarrassment though, when – following her cool-down lap – an ecstatic Graf unzipped her skin-tight racing suit right down to her belly button, forgetting that she was wearing nothing underneath.
“I totally forgot,” Graf admitted through a translator. “We have very good suits and they are very tight. … You just want to breathe and you want to take off your suit.”
She went on to say “Only afterward did I realize that maybe this video will appear on YouTube. But I don’t think it will be so bad.”
And sure enough, video footage abounds on YouTube.
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Despite her wardrobe malfunction close call, Graf made her home country proud.
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered words of praise: “You brought an unforgettable moment of triumph and utter joy to millions of fans by taking the first medal for our team,” he said.
Graf’s time in the 3000 meter event was 4:03.47. Dutch speed skating legend Ireen Wust took the gold with a time of 4:00.34 and Martina Sablikova took the silver for the Czech Republic with a time of 4:01.95.
It was Wust’s third straight Olympic gold medal. She previously won the gold in Vancouver (1500 meters) and Turin (3000 meters.)
“I have won three times in a row, I can’t believe it,” said Wust. “It is unbelievable and it is also a big relief. I have never felt this much pressure. I was not the only one who wanted to win, 17 million Dutchies wanted the same.”
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Sablikova, who specializes in longer distances such as the 3000 meters and who won gold for the distance in Vancouver four years ago, was favored to take the top spot in Sochi.
Germany’s Claudia Pechstein was expected to be a medal contender in the 3000 meter event. It would have been her tenth Olympic medal. She ended up in fourth place with a time of 4:05.26.
Her much talked about fashion blunder aside, Graf’s best surprise of the Sochi games was edging Pechstein out of the top three and claiming the host country’s first medal of the 2014 games, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
“I didn’t expect such support from the audience,” Graf said. “I want to thank them.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons