Podium Moments – ML2020 Event 8

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 8 of the 2020 Marble League!

The official pictogram for ML2020 Triathlon, designed by the JMRC.

Bronze: True Orange

The O’rangers have refused to let up. With five medals in the past eight events, their consistency is stronger than the Raspberry Racers’ record last season, and their average amount of points earned each event equates to one bronze medal per event, and in the Triathlon, Orangin did just that—earn a bronze medal.

Contrary to the other “O” team, the O’rangers have historically done well in previous events involving water, with Kinnowin breaking a Marble League record and earning a silver in the Underwater Race 2017. While the Triathlon isn’t entirely a water event, the final leg of the race did require athletes to take that deep dive, which Orangin did with grace in their heat and semifinal after braving the Marbula One-esque track and sand portion of the course. Truth be told, they would likely have won the entire event with ease if not for the other two medalists…

Orangin proved to be one of the most skilled reserves during Marbula One.

Silver: The Art of Mo-vertaking

Team Momo, where did you come from? And where are you going with this? You just earned two silver medals in a row after failing to qualify last year. Although you made it through the Showdown, you didn’t earn any medals there, and the only medal you secured in Marbula One was a bronze medal due to Mimo’s stellar performance at the Razzway.

Momo, the titular athlete of the team, didn’t do as well in Marbula One, going scoreless at the Savage Speedway and finishing in last at the Momotorway. “We aren’t the fastest athletes,” acknowledged Momo in a post-event interview, “but we make up for our speed with our strength, and that gives us a significant advantage when we’re overtaking. It took us basically the entire season to realize that, but everything finally started to make more sense when Mimo was overtaken at the Razzway.”

Momo played back the footage, and we watched as Orangin took advantage of Mimo’s arrested momentum at the attenuator, overtaking them for a brief period in the penultimate lap. “That was a critical mo-moment, if I do say so myself,” Momo jested, smirking. “In all seriousness, that’s the exact tactic I’ve been training for all season, and it finally came through in the underwater sector of the semifinal. In fact, it almost came through in the final.”

Team Momo has come from a position where they were able to learn from their mistakes and hone their strengths. Will that take them somewhere this season?

"OH, THEY GOT IT! By one-hundredth of a second, Team Momo advances!"

Gold: Out of Nowhere

Suffice it to say that prior to this event, the Hazers looked more like a team suffering from the third place curse than a team that narrowly lost the first season of Marbula One to the Savage Speeders. They began this season in the middle of the standings and continued to place there consistently until Block Pushing, where they finished in dead last. If the team was one of the best in terms of speed and versatility, they were not showing it.

Enter Foggy, knowing the problem they had to conquer in order to win. The team’s swimming ability and Marbula One experience couldn’t help them if Foggy crashed into a sand dune at the start. This ended up not being a problem at all before the final, as the Hazers racer sprinted out of the gate to dodge any collisions, recording the only sub-31 second runs in those rounds.

The finals begin and it seems like disaster: Foggy collides with every opponent of theirs out of the sand section and is in last place. But as soon as the marble dove into the water, instinct took over. Seeing that Momo and Orangin in the front were only staring each other down, Foggy only got faster and faster. Then the Hazers marble made a move of their own: they pushed Orangin aside and rolled through an opening between them and Momo, earning the gold seemingly out of nowhere. To the Hazers, though, it was the exact opposite: another calculated victory for a team well known to do so.

The podium moment at the end of ML2020 Event 8: Triathlon.

Conclusion: Halfway There

Just like that, we are already halfway through the season—after nearly a year of preparation and anticipation—and though there is a clear frontrunner, it is still any team’s game. No event could have demonstrated that more clearly than the Triathlon event, where teams across the field had defining moments from the heats to the final. This is reflective of a Marble League season in its entirety: regardless of which team triumphs, each team has their own defining moments which contribute to the whole.

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!

                                                                                                               Thank you to Foucaulf for helping direct the analysis for this article!

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