Saturday, February 18, 2006
I watched some coverage from this afternoon. You know how I've
been wondering where all of the fluff went? Now I have my answer.
In just one hour of afternoon Olympic coverage,
I got to see pieces on how Apolo Ohno is hated by the Koreans,
a humorous bit on Daron
Rahvles' dog, a loooonnnnnng segment narrated by Sam Waterson
about the '94 cross country competition, and worst of all, a short
for tonight's upcoming Chevrolet Olympic Moments. Great. Now
I have THAT to look forward to.
Anyway, on with the results.
Julia Mancuso on the downhill. Today she races without a tiara.
Her run puts her in 2nd place... for now. Resi Stiegler makes her
downhill run, sans pearls. Ultimately, the two of them finish 9th
and 11th, respectively.
Anja Paerson of Sweden gets 30 seconds of fluff. She wants to win!
Janica Kostelic thinks it's suffering having to sit for the obligatory "Up
Close and Personal" interview. Thanks, Janica! We do, too!
Anyway, this three minutes of fluff is filled with details of Janica's
rough life, from her Dad who trained her by making her cliff dive,
to having to barter sponsor-given skis for gas money. Oh, and she's
had 11 knee surgeries. Eleven? How could you even have knees left
to operate on after that many?
Apolo Anton Ohno races Ahn Hyun-Soo of Korea in the quarterfinal
of the short Track 1,000-meters and both qualify. On the one hand,
NBC would be upset if either of these skaters missed moving on,
because the network has been building up the hype on this race
all week. On the other hand, if one of them HAD crashed, NBC would
have fresh fodder for more fluff pieces like the one they did for
fallen snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis. It's win-win for NBC!
Hermann Meier, Daron Rahlves, and Bode Miller are featured in Super-G
fluff. It's Super Fluff!
We start the Super-G... then stop it. Bad weather forced the race
officials to stop the event and cancel the existing runs, meaning
some skiers had to start over again. Racers who hadn't yet skied
the hill were upset that the racers who had already skied would
now have experience with the course (the Super-G is typically run
without a practice run). The racers who had already skied were
upset because they didn't want to ski again. The man with the biggest
complaint? Pierre Dalcin of France, who was in first place during
the first runs, but who missed a gate and was disqualified on the
second. He was justifiably angry at the bottom of the hill, angrily
whacking a barrier with his ski pole.
We get a minute-and-a-half of fluff on Scott McCartney and how
his dad found his mom in a snowdrift. I'd elaborate more, but we've
seen this story once already in this Olympics, and I don't want
to encourage NBC to rehash old fluff.
Scott, as opposed to his mom, avoids snowdrifts and skis well enough
to end up temporarily in 1st place, but subsequent skiers push
him all the way back to seventh and out of the medals.
Bode Miller, once again, doesn't finish, but super-slo-mo shows
us his great athletic ability to keep from wiping out after he
smashed right through a gate. So far, Bode has made news by switching
skis at the last minute on the Downhill, straddling a gate in the
slalom on the Combined, and smashing a gate to pieces on the Super-G.
Perhaps someone needs to inform Bode that the phrase "all
publicity is good publicity" doesn't really apply to the Olympics.
Listen to Bode next time he talks. Is it just me, or does his voice
sound like Bill Gates?
Daron Rahlves finishes out of medal contention, another disappointment
for the Americans. However, in a moment that DIDN'T disappoint
THIS American, NBC uses Simulcam on the top two skiers, to show
where on the course Hermann Maier lost out to Kjetil Aamodt.
Well, crud. Jimmy Roberts is back for Chevrolet Olympic Moments.
Of course, I knew that he would be, just as I knew he'd be talking
about Apolo Anton Ohno. Briefly, Apolo was an unknown until Salt
Lake City, at which point his monastic training lifestyle became
non-stop living in the fast lane, that is, until he centered himself
by training for the next Olympics. There was probably more in this
segment, but I found it so utterly boring that I went to the kitchen
to get a Coke.
From short track to long track, we move over to the controversy
within the U.S. team. Here it's Chad Hedrick, gold-medal winner
in the 1,500-meters, versus Shani Davis, who NBC wants us to
hated by Hedrick because Davis didn't participate in the Team Pursuit
competition on Wednesday.
Shani Davis fluff. Davis grew up on the south side of Chicago,
and is the first big black star in speed skating. His mom was his
inspiration. He's the favorite to win. Blah, blah, blah... at four-and-a-half
minutes, it's the longest fluff of the night. My question remains
unanswered, though: Does Shani ever smile? All signs point to "no."
Melissa Stark has very uncomfortable interview with 1,000-meter
winner Shani Davis, who gives terse responses to each of Stark's
questions. At one point, she even asks him if he's angry. He certainly
seems that way, but he says he's happy. He wasn't particularly
convincing in that sentiment.
Back in the studio, Bob Costas says
that in a separate post-race interview, Chad Hedrick-- who
finished fifth behind Shani, was
asked if he was happy for Davis and he said he was happy for
Joey Cheek, the American who finished second. Boys, boys, boys...
we all just get along?
Apolo Anton Ohno gets the bronze in one of the most-hyped races
of the weekend, the 1,000-meter short track speed skating. First
place goes to Ahn Hyun-Soo, who will probably want to go to Disneyworld.
The silver goes to Lee Ho-Suk, who's gonna get a big dish of beef
Ski jumping! This time it's the K125 hill, and much like the smaller
jump, it features the Skycam that tracks along with the skiers.
Very cool. More than almost any other sport, I associate ski jumping
with the winter Olympics, mainly because there's never another
time when it's on TV in the United States. About the only time
an American audience sees ski jumping on a regular basis is the "agony
of defeat" guy.
Ohno! It's fluff! Bob interviews Apolo. He seems like a nice enough
guy. And maybe he'll come back for Vancouver in 2010. That's about
all I got out of the interview.
We close by discovering that not only is Joey Cheek the only U.S.
speed skater that isn't a hater, he's also donated some more money.
The USOC, which apparently gives athletes $25,000 for a gold, also
gives $15,000 for a silver, and Joey's taking all of that money
and donating it to the same place he did last time, "Right
To Play." It's nice to know that even when Shani and Chad
are having their little feud, there are still decent people on
the U.S. Olympic Team.
was more fluff today, but I'll let this one slide because instead
of the three-and-a-half hours of scheduled events, NBC decided
to give us four. Of course, you could easily argue that they could
have done that just by cutting out the fluff, but you know that's
not going to happen. See you tomorrow!