Wednesday, February 22, 2006
all going so well! Lots of events, not much fluff, great coverage,
good commentary, and...
Hey! Are those storm clouds?
• After Bob's intro, we start with a new
sport, the Men's Parallel Giant Slalom in snowboarding. Our first
race is... the gold medal race? What? Why are we starting with...
Ohh... because there are no Americans. Of course.
• Anja Paerson fluff! Who? She's a skiing
star from Sweden, who coincidentally comes from Taernaby, the same
town in Sweden from which Ingemar Stenmark came. And that town is
so proud of her that the whole town gets together once a year for
her birthday to celebrate. Can you imagine everyone in your
town coming out for your birthday? Those crazy
Swedes. Oh, and everyone in town knows she'll win, knows she's great,
blah blah blah... fluff.
• Off to the Women's Slalom to watch Anja
ski. Go Anja! We love you because now we know you're important thanks
to fluff bearing your name! Anja finishes faster than the skier
that immediately follows her, and then we get to see the two skiers'
runs compared using Simulcam! I love Simulcam, even without a fluff
piece devoted to it.
• American skier Kristina Koznick skis
down the slalom run with bad knees. As someone
with bad knees, all I have to say to this is OWWWWWWW!
• American Lindsey Kildow gets 30 seconds
of fluff before her race. It turns out that once in a race in another
country, she won a cow. Okay, that's worth 30 seconds of fluff.
• Resi Stiegler represents the U.S. by
wearing tiger ears on top of her helmet compared to an earlier race,
where she wore pearls. Could we maybe
get someone who will represent the U.S. by winning instead of by
• Tom Hammond, Scott Hamilton, Sandra Bezic,
and Dick Button talk about how much they liked last night's figure
skating. In fact, they liked it so much that we're going to watch
Sasha Cohen's program again! Admittedly, even I said that Sasha's
program was worth the hype, but that doesn't mean I want to
see it again tonight when we could be watching something that's
happening today. Fluff.
• Okay, we've had some figure skating fluff,
now we move on to... more figure skating fluff?
Oooo... I don't want to say I knew this was coming, but I knew this
was coming. Does NBC mean to tell us that there aren't any
events they could be showing? How about curling?
The only thing I liked about these 12 minutes
of fluff was that Costas named the skating commentators "The
Quirky Quartet." It's not much, but I wanted to take something
positive out of it.
• AAAAAA!!! We head over to the Women's
Aerial Finals, where one of the first things we see happened yesterday,
when Australia's Lydia Ierodiaconou blew out her ACL landing a jump,
then screamed in pain and sobbed as she slid down the hill. Did
I mention I have a
bad knee? I realllllly did not need to see that.
• I really like the Aerial competition.
The coverage is great, and commentators Trace Worthington and Steve
Podborski are very good at explaining what's going on. I do have
a question, though. Why is it when the skiers approach the jump,
they stick their hands straight up into the air? I'm not faulting
the Trace and Steve for not telling me, I'd just like to know.
• Tonight on Chevrolet Olympic Moments,
Jimmy Roberts tells us that "fan" is short for "fanatic,"
and no group is more fanatic than... dah duh DAAAAA... The
Dutch! At least, they're fanatics for speed skating. And
they like to wear orange. Basically, this was four minute of bad
Dutch fashion. The only truly notable thing here was that Jimmy
got Bob to wear an inflatable orange crown. Other than that, it's
hard to even comment on this segment because it was so bland that
I've forgotten most of it already, and it just ended.
• Segueing over to speed skating for the
Women's 1,500-meter race, and what can I say? As usual, the coverage
is excellent. That's over 27 minutes of fluff-free racing! Great
• Back to the Women's Slalom. Meow meow
Stiegler races meow with meow tiger ears meow on her head. Meow.
• Anja Paerson wins! There's gonna be a
big party in Taernaby tonight!
• Back into the ice arena for the Men's
500-meter Short Track Speed Skating, but not before we get a minute
or so of fluff on Korea's Ahn Hyun-Soo. He used to be young and
disappointed, now he's older and confident. Yawn. Just show the
Stanley is racing in one of the 500-meter heats! We can only
hope Gene Simmons will be racing later. He'll beat the competition
by a tongue! Oh wait. It's Paul
Stanley of Great Britain. Never mind.
• Apolo Ohno qualifies, so we move to the
next short track event, the Women's 3,000-meter Relay. It's going
to be 27 laps. Think we'll watch them all? I'm betting we cut away.
Heh. Good thing I'm not a gambler. NBC shows
us the whole event which, if you've ever seen the short track relay,
is one step above chaos. Or is it?
In an extremely well-done segment, analyst Dan
Weinstein actually guides us through how the short track relay works
during the gold medal race by following one skater from
the time she's actually competing to the time she's in the middle
of the track, following her teammate around the outside. And just
like that, an expert explanation makes the whole race seem perfectly
organized. Excellent job, Dan!
• We shift back to the freestyle mountain,
where hopefully we can make it more than five minutes without someone
blowing out their knee. Well, the final Chinese athlete does a nice
face plant on her landing, but at least she was okay. I know that
makes me feel better.
• Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick shake hands
on the medal podium as Enrico Fabris gets his gold medal for yesterday's
race. Okay, can we let this spat-thing die now?
Oh, and Fabris? Singing on the medal stand. Excellent.
• Hey! Did you know there's figure skating
in these Olympics? Well, just in case you forgot, we get another
six minutes of fluff at the end of the program rehashing yesterday's
short program and prehashing tomorrow's long program. Didn't we
cover this for almost a quarter of an hour earlier?
Oy? Cracklin' good television? What kind of catch
phrases are those? Why isn't Dick Button here berating Scott Hamilton
and Mary Carillo?
• Normally, I count the last minute or
so of each broadcast--the part where NBC shows a montage of today's
events-- as events. However, today they showed figure skaters from
yesterday. If it happened yesterday, it's fluff!
Well, although there wasn't much fluff tonight
as compared to previous Olympics, today was definitely the low point
of the Turin games. Sadly, three-quarters of that fluff was figure
skating related. Does NBC really think people are going to forget
about the most popular event in the games if they don't hype it
throughout the evening? Oh well. Better luck tomorrow!