Daniela Anschutz-Thoms still has time to avoid becoming the Minnesota Vikings of speed skating.
The German tabloid Bild, which always comes off like it was the model for the early 1990s comedy The Paper ("God forbid we ever run anything without an exclamation mark!), pointed out Anschutz-Thoms might be the patron saint of Fourth-Place medal.
When she finished three-100ths of a second behind Canadian Kristina Groves for third in the women's 3,000-metre race on Sunday, it marked the 15th time Anschutz-Thomas has finished fourth in an Olympic or other major international event, without ever getting on a podium. No wonder schadenfreude is a German word. In Bild's phrasing:
"No matter how hard poor old Daniela tries, she just can’t escape fourth place.
"For a total of 15 times in the last 12 years, she has just missed out on the medals at big events like the Olympics, World Championships and the European Championships.
"After the race in Vancouver she moaned: 'Sh*t! Sh*t follows me wherever I go! I made no mistakes, I’m endlessly disappointed.'
"Sarcastically she added: 'Winning all my fourth places has always been a close call.' "
They don't write it that way -- nor do the athletes give those kinds of quotes once they have received media training -- in North America. Canadians, who for many a year knew all too well the sting of finishing just out of the medals at the Olympics, should cheer for Anschutz-Thoms in the women's 5,000 on Wednesday.
The hosts have no major threat in the 5,000, so why not?