Vancouver 2010: Renzhin 10 seconds away from medal

Israeli skier concludes Olympic run 9.59 seconds off winning time in race which saw about half of the 102 competitors fail to finish the run.

mikhail renzhin 311 (photo credit: AP)
mikhail renzhin 311
(photo credit: AP)
VANCOUVER – Israeli skier Mikhail Renzhin concluded his 2010 Olympic run with a 35th-place finish in the men’s slalom Saturday.
Though far from the podium, he finished just 9.59 seconds off the winning time in a race which saw about half of the 102 competitors fail to finish the run amidst tough weather conditions mixing both rain and snow.
“Mikhail had a very good race,” his coach Stanley Rubenstein told The Jerusalem Post after the results came in.
“He was only nine seconds off the winners, which is a very good result.”
The result met Renzhin’s goal of repeating his performance at Turin in 2006, when he also placed in the 30s. And as in his giant slalom race Tuesday, where he came in 55th overall, he improved his position on his second run.
Almost all those who preceded him, Rubenstein pointed out, came from Alpine countries, and he far surpassed any other skier from the Middle East.
It also put him in better standing then several big names, including American gold medalist Bode Miller, who missed a gate early on at the Whistler course.
The gold ended up being claimed by Italian Giuliano Razzoli, with silver going to Ivica Kostelic of Croatia and bronze to Sweden’s Andre Myhrer.
“It was a difficult race in very difficult conditions. It was raining, snowing,” Rubenstein noted, questioning whether they would have held the race at all if it hadn’t been scheduled for the penultimate day of the Olympics.
“They had to get it done,” said Rubenstein, who, like Renzhin, spent time Saturday afternoon packing up ahead of the Closing Ceremonies Monday night, held more than two hours away in Vancouver.
Renzhin will be marching with the only two other Israelis athletes,Roman and Alexandra Zaretsky, at the event. Renzhin made aliya fromUkraine in 2001, and these are his second Olympics representing Israel.
Despite the bad conditions that saw many skiers fall, Renzhin was ableto draw on his consistency as a racer who almost always completes arace, despite the ever-changing course layout, snow quality and weatherconditions that define ski racing.
Rubenstein praised Renzhin for the quality and said that made him“hopeful,” if not confident, that the 32-year-old Israeli would finishboth runs.
“With a ski race,” he said, “you never know.”