Hello and welcome to “Podium Moments”, a series that discusses the performance of the three athletes or teams that place on the podium after a competition. Today’s article will cover the three teams that finished on the podium for Event 6 of the 2020 Marble League!
All three teams that made the podium for this year’s Hurdles event have had previous successes in the event. The other two medalists also made the podium last year, but neither of them can say that they won the Marble League because of the event, and in a historic photo finish, no less. No, the only team that can say that is the Savage Speeders, the champions of the 2016 Marble League and this event’s bronze medalists.
The Speeders got off to a very rough start at the beginning of the season, falling to last overall after the second event—but quickly started to recover after earning bronze in a fairly dominant performance in Funnel Endurance. Since then, their performance has been on an upswing, and with the introduction of this year’s track events, the Savage Speeders are in a good position to chase this year’s trophy, which would mark their second Marble League championship.
After all, speed events have been key to the Speeders’ successes in the past. Swifty’s bronze medal in this event accents this precedence, underscoring their potential to win it all.
The Midnight Wisps, unlike last year, are fighting for this year’s championship as if they’re defending the championship they won in 2018. They have only placed outside of the top five twice this season, and Wuspy’s showing in Hurdles was no exception.
Although Wuspy could not repeat their gold medal from last year’s Hurdles event, they were able to advance through their heat, dubbed “the group of death”, in a close photo finish with Swifty and Smoggy, and through the semifinals in second, unable to track Yellow Eye as they set a Marble League record but able to stay ahead of Kinnowin. Wuspy began the finals in last and was able to finish second, well ahead of Swifty in third but considerably behind the lead.
Regardless, it’s clear that the Midnight Wisps, by earning their second medal of the season, are so far determined to do well this season. And this time, the Wisps are not the dark horses—they’re vying to be front and center.
Last year, it took the Raspberry Racers thirteen events to earn their first gold medal after several close finishes in other events. The Racers’ domination became one of the best narratives of the season, as they were able to medal in half of the events even without standing at the top of the podium—a feat only matched by the Savage Speeders in 2018, who lost that year’s championship in a historic upset. Although the Racers were challenged by the robust rookies, the Green Ducks, they ultimately had more than enough medals to overturn the Green Ducks’ five medals and several finals appearances.
The Racers’ gold medal in Hurdles came with a historic connotation, as it was the first medal earned by a reserve who substituted the main athlete in the middle of the event. After two record-breaking runs and advancing to the final, Razzy started feeling dizzy as they prepared to line up in the starting gate. Coach Berry, who was quick to realize this, rolled Razzy aside and appealed to the JMRC to swap in Ruzzy for the final. The JMRC accepted Berry’s request, and Ruzzy won the race in a performance that honored their team captain.
“The whole point of having a reserve is to substitute a team member that gets injured,” stated Coach Berry, “so I’m grateful to the JMRC for honoring that. It’s a practice that respects the well-being of our athletes and doesn’t push them to the point where they get hurt.”
The story of the Raspberry Racers’ domination continues, as they have once again kept up their streak of medaling every two events. While that may not be enough to rise to the top of the standings right now, it is enough for them to be recognized in another “Podium Moment” and for their continued success to be commended. We’re sure their families in Tumbletown couldn’t be more pleased.
The fifth edition of the Marble League is becoming more and more of an homage to champions past—as three of them podiumed at the end of this event and one of them stands one point behind the lead overall. Will one of them win the tournament at the end of the season? As that probability becomes more likely, it is becoming more important for other teams to earn their podium moments so that they remain in competition against these titans.
In conclusion, it is indeed a milestone to see three teams at the end of each Marble League event stand above the rest, because they—through months of training in the offseason, working to qualify, and dealing with the unquestionable presence of fortune that affects any sporting event—have preserved and put their best roll forward. They deserve their “podium moment”, but more than anything, they deserve their chance to shine.
Until next time, keep on rolling!
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