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Baver's Beautiful Bronze

Reading's Baver won bronze in what was likely her final Olympic race

By Dan Stamm
|  Thursday, Feb 25, 2010  |  Updated 5:01 PM EDT
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Allison Baver finally got to wave the red, white and blue.

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The people of Reading Pa. should be puffing out their chests Thursday. Their girl -- their Olympian -- is finally bringing home some hardware.

After her third Winter Games, Allison Baver is an Olympic medalist.

But, it took a little luck (and a controversial decision) to land the 29-year-old speed skating queen and her U.S. 3,000m relay teammates on the podium.

Baver, Alyson Dudek, Lana Gehring and Katherine Reutter fell back early in the 27-lap race and stayed in fourth place.

But, the Americans leaped from fourth to third after fist-place finishers South Korea were disqualified for a controversial skate click. Just like that, the South Koreans slumped down letting their flags fall to the ice while the Americans jumped up and began to wave their flags.

Baver was excited by the accomplishment no matter how it happened.

“I'm bringing home the Bronze! Thank you team, staff, family, sponsors, friends and fans! We couldn't have done it without you,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

For Baver this was likely the end of a long journey that took her from roller skates to speed skates and everywhere in between.

The bronze medal (even if it was a gift of sorts) in a way validated Baver’s career. No longer is she the girl who dated Apolo Ohno or just a pretty-faced model that happened to skate – she is now a skater who happens to be pretty.

But, it sure doesn’t hurt her cause that she is gorgeous.

Baver, though, really earned this one. In the last year or so Allison and Apolo ended their relationship so that she could focus on her skating, she said. And, about one year ago she shattered her leg in a crash overseas. The docs put her back together but it wasn’t clear if she would be ready in time to compete in Vancouver.

She made it back for what was likely her last chance. Earlier Wednesday night she was DQ’d in 1,000m qualifiers so when she took the ice in the relay it was likely her final Olympic skate (unless she skates as a 33-year-old in 2014).

So what’s now for Allison? Will she get back together with Apolo? Will she turn to modeling full time? Will she keep skating?

Those questions will be answered sometime in the future, for now she has other plans.

“Guess I’ll go for a jog…” she wrote Thursday morning

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