Tuesday, February 21, 2006
What fluff? NBC is your figure skating channel tonight. As the
network jumps right in, so shall we...
time for figure skating! It's time for figure skating! NBC is VERY
So excited that tonight they once again shun the opening sequence
so they can head straight to the ice rink and show us... uh...
skaters warming up.
Okay, that was only temporary. They're showing
us the skaters now. Two minutes into the broadcast and we're
seeing a skater compete.
How fast is that? Tune into a basketball game on another channel.
Typically, a basketball tip-off doesn't come until six minutes
after the start of the broadcast. NBC kicking off this fast means
either they have a lot of skating planned for us, or a lot a
fluff. Pleeeease let it be skating.
The second skater is Kimmie Meissner of the United States and wow!
She does really well, especially for going this early. Usually
the good skaters go later.
Chevrolet Olympic Moments? Already? We're only 40 minutes into
the show. Oh well, Jimmy Roberts gets us early tonight, I suppose.
Vonetta Flowers, the first black athlete to ever win a Winter Olympic
gold medal (2-woman bobsled, Salt Lake City), had twins just six
months after winning the gold, and one of them was born deaf. After
he had surgery, he could hear again, but because of the expenses
involved, she couldn't afford to bring the twins to Turin.
this wouldn't be a Chevy Olympic Moment if it ended on a downer,
so Flowers' sponsors and the Today show arranged to bring the
twins across the ocean. Awwww... this was such a good segment it
made up for Jimmy Roberts talking over it. Almost. Please, Jimmy,
So now, having talked about Flowers, we're off to the bobsled run.
And we start with... uh... the other American team. Is it still
okay to root for them after I've watched that sad story about Vonetta?
No! Chevrolet Olympic Moments has declared you can now only cheer
for one team! You must conform to Jimmy Roberts' sentiments! Anyone
who defies this ruling will be disqualified from the Olympic Games
as insufficiently sympathetic.
Okay, NBC, is it Bobsleigh or Bobsled? Your graphics say "sleigh" but
your announcers keep saying "sled." I realize the Olympics
just snuck up on everyone, but I would think this would be the
kind of thing you could have coordinated in advance.
Off to the Men's 1,500-meter Speed Skating, which NBC has dubbed
a grudge match between Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis. But first,
American Joey Cheek skates. You know, with as much time as NBC
has spent hyping the Hedrick-Davis spat, you'd think that maybe
they could spend a little more time talking about Cheek, who has
to charity the money he's won from his last two medals.
But that would be a positive story, and I guess NBC isn't interested
in that unless Jimmy Roberts can somehow ruin it.
Hmmm... in their last seven races, Shani Davis has beaten Chad
Hedrick six times. Might THIS be part of the reason that Hedrick
seems a little bitter about Shani?
Hedrick goes first... and misses! He finishes second behind Italy's
Enrico Fabris. Can Shani get it done?
Again during the race, we are told that Shani is the first black
athlete to win individual gold in the Winter Olympics. Someone
needs to clarify. Is he the first black, or the first African-American?
And Shani's ahead! He's coming down the stretch! He's... second?!
What?! NBC's been hyping this battle between the Americans all
week and they finish two-three behind some guy from Italy? Count
me as disappointed. But maybe this is a good thing. Maybe now we
can put all this American-on-American hate behind us and get back
to what's really important: hating the Italians.
• In Hedrick's
post-race interview, he tells Melissa Stark that the hype between
he and Davis has pretty much been overblown
And what does Davis say? Pretty much the same thing. Why exactly
won't NBC let this die? Don't be hatin', NBC!
Oh, but they're still
at it! After a couple of leading questions in the press conference,
Bob Costas declares that there's still
tension between the two. You know, even if a bear is friendly,
if you keep poking it with a stick, it's going to be a little
upset. Don't poke the bear, Bob.
Vonetta Flowers and her miscellaneous teammate make their last
bobsled/sleigh run and only finish as high as second. Didn't the
people running the official time watch Chevrolet Olympic Moments?
Vonetta deserves to win!
Shauna Rohbock of the USA-1 sled wants to win so she can hear the
Star Spangled Banner playing after her run. Maybe SHE'LL sing if
she wins. If so, I'm going for her. And her run? She drives to...
FIRST PLACE! They're in first place with one sled to go! But that
last sled is the German's, and with their brutal Deutschlandish
efficiency they finish in first. Bah! Now we'll have to listen
to the German
anthem. What is that? The Beer
Barrel Polka (warning:audio)?
Now it's time to pay some bills, so we're off to the figure skating,
if I was betting, probably for the rest of the night. The first
skater on this segment, Yelena Sokolova of Russia blows a couple
of jumps while skating to that same song that Pavarotti was singing
in the Opening Ceremonies. Sorry, Yelena, but I think there is fat lady singing for you.
And now, the Not-Kwan will skate. Emily Hughes takes the ice for
the U.S. as a late replacement for the injured Michelle Kwan. Spectacular?
No, but very solid, and she ends up temporarily in third place.
Nicely done, Emily Not-Kwan!
The figure skating judges have access to slow-motion replays to
review technical details. Can each skater's coach throw a red flag
on the ice to get a performance reviewed? I'm just askin'.
Sandra Bezic says it's a good thing for Irina Slutskaya of Russia
to wear pants, since a new rule allows the women figure skaters
to do so. Speaking as a man, I say anything that shows less skater
leg is less good. Slutskaya, however is the first person to pass
Meissner's score for first place.
Five skaters to go, and Bob says the next three will be presented
Sometime, to see the future, you must turn your back on the past.
Well, it's not Jimmy Roberts, but we're speaking
like The Sphinx again. Sasha Cohen fluff! C'mon, you all knew this was coming.
I'm just surprised it took this long. Let me sum it up for you.
She was disappointed with her Salt Lake performance, and now she's
worked hard to fix everything for Turin. Two sentences! Think NBC
could do it that briefly? Ha! Does fluff count as an interruption?
I guess not.
Sasha's coming out of the locker room! Sasha's coming out of the
locker room! Oh, and there's somebody else skating. Whatever.
Italy's Carolina Kostner falls on her first jump and Dick Button
goes crazy. He has been unusually quiet tonight. I guess he was
due for an outburst.
Guess who's coming up next! Guess!! It's Sasha! Sasha Cohen! Yayyy!
We've been waiting all night! Or, at least, NBC is hoping you have.
All I have to say is she better not pull
a Jacobellis, or we've
been waiting for nothing.
Wow. Finally, something that lived up
to the hype! Cohen comes out as the last skater and nails her
short program, moving into
first place. So, the Americans are 1st, 5th, and 7th. You know,
I don't want to speculate here, but if she wins a gold, I think
Tomato guy might want to date her.
great night from the Peacock network. A few missteps, sure, but
Dick Button would forgive those while praising our emotion. He'd
give us straight 6.0s across the board, but that's not the way
they score anymore. Hopefully, this will continue. See you tomorrow!