Oh no? Oh yes!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
It's day two of Vancouver. Hopefully things
turn out better than on day one.
no, it's Ohno! Tonight we don't even open with the pretty montage
straight to short track speed skating featuring Dancing With The
Apolo Anton Ohno. Isn't it a little sad that a reality show about
dancing is how he's best known?
I watched and enjoyed some regular speed skating this afternoon,
but I lovvvvvvve short track. The long track events are mostly
racing against the clock, so they seem a little impersonal. With
short track, your competitor is right there next to you. It's
much more dramatic. Especially in the last couple of laps when
everyone is jockeying for position.
Also, much like watching NASCAR,
the crashes! I know... that's terrible. But at least I'm honest
A uniform note: do you know who has the most recognizable flag
in the world? The United States. Given that, why do the U.S. short
track uniforms consist of dark blue bottoms with powder blue tops?
Is it really that hard to work stars and/or stripes into a theme?
Oh yes, Ohno! Apolo trailed the first 11 of the 14 laps in his
1,500-meter qualifier race, and I'm sure I'm not the only one
who thought he
might be past his prime. Then, in one lap, he made the move from
last place all the way to first. As several other skaters crashed
behind him, he ended up so far ahead that he coasted across the
finish line in first. That's why this sport rules.
Back in the studio, Bob gives us a recap of last night's torch
malfunction. It turns out it wasn't the ice obelisk that malfunctioned,
but rather the door that covered it up. Is this fluff? It's a close
call. Given that I hadn't heard the explanation before, I'm going
to call it news.
Over to women's moguls skiing, where NBC's announcers Todd Harris
and Jonny Moseley tell us that Canada has never won a gold medal
in an Olympics that is has hosted. Really? Yes, really. Here
look it up
yourself. None in Montreal.
None in Calgary.
Hard to believe, isn't it? But tonight, Canada has high hopes that
skier Jennifer Heil could be the one to change all of that.
Uniform note: In women's moguls
(what is this event called?) the U.S. competitors uniforms are
blue, covered with stars, and have
red and white stripes on the sleeves. The even have a big stars-and-stripes
USA on their butt! Someone on the ski team should contact the ice
skating team to show them
Canada's Kristi Richards skis down the hill while Michael Jackson's "Beat
It" plays over the venue's loudspeakers. Do skiers get to
pick a song that plays while they're skiing, or is it just random
selection? Heather McPhie of the United States apparently isn't
willing to leave her musical choice to the whims of others. A close-up
as she's at the starter's gate shows that she's listening
to her iPod.
U.S. skier Shannon Bahrke gets 15 seconds of mini-fluff. Her family
is a little nuts, she says. I never would have guessed that from
and dad's handlebar mustache.
Oh no, it's... Cris Collinsworth. Oh. No. He likes short track
speed skating for the same reasons I do. Does this mean Cris and
I could hang out and be best buds at the Olympics? I probably dress
better than he does, and that doesn't speak well of Cris because
I'm not exactly the pinnacle of fashion. Does he like Mexican food?
Maybe we can go catch a movie or something.
Anyway, it's time for
some Ohno fluff. Cris tells us why Apolo came back for another
Olympics. Duh. Because he loves it and short track speed skating
is awesome! It's not a bad piece, actually. You know, other than
the fact that it's
All of this segues strangely
into Bob asking what would the Olympics look like in the time
of Vikings and dragons? Fortunately, an ad
for the upcoming movie "How
To Train Your Dragon" lets us know.
I don't know how the Olympics would have looked then, but hopefully
sound mix, so you could understand what was being said. How can
you spend all of this time preparing a special promotional feature
for the Olympics and not check the sound?
Back at short track, NBC has extreme close up in super-slo-mo of
a blade of a short track skater's skate. You can actually see it
cutting the ice. Very impressive! Then analyst Andy Gabel adds
that short track skaters' skates are also offset and slightly
Wow! What's with all of the good commentary? I'm going to get spoiled.
U.S. skater J.R. Celski qualifies in the semifinals of the 1,500-meter
and NBC gets a nice close-up shot of his happy parents. They're especially
happy because earlier we saw footage of the Olympic qualifying
match where Celski got sliced by his own skate and nearly bleeding
to death. Man, this Olympics is getting really dangerous.
Back in the studio, Bob gives us a story on changes to the luge
run following Nodar Kumaritashvili's fatal crash yesterday. I'm
counting this as news, not fluff. Given the unusual circumstances,
no way that NBC could NOT do a story like this.
Over to the luge run, and another uniform note: the U.S. unis feature
neither stars nor stripes, but rather flames. No, no,no... you
put flames on the vehicle. Stars and stripes go on the person.
Haven't Harley Davidson riders taught you anything? Meh.
But at least the American uniforms sort of make
sense... flames=speed. The Canadian uniforms make their riders
Perhaps they're hoping for Optimus Speed.
Back at short track speed skating, we show up for the "B final" race.
Why is there a "B" final? Well, says analyst Andy Gabel,
the IOC likes to give commendation out to 8 places, and since there
are only six racers per race, a B final is necessary to award positions
seven and eight. Yet more informative commentary from Gabel!
In the race itself, Canadian
skater Charles Hamelin wins! Yay! Canada is number seven! Hmmm...
it's kind of like
winning the NIT tournament in basketball. We're number 65!
And now the A final. Three Koreans and two Americans are among
the seven racers. Why seven when I just said there were only six
per race? Because the judges advance Canadian Oliver Jean for getting
knocked down during the semifinal race, that's why.
Anyway, we're off! Unlike
the quarter- and semifinals, now the racers are vying for the
lead from the very beginning. OH NO! Ohno
gets bumped by one Korean, and his loss of speed causes another
Korean to pass him. It's going to be Korea 1-2-3!
OH YES! Koreans
two and three knock each other out in the FINAL TURN and Americans
Ohno and Celski end up taking the silver and
bronze! Wow! I love this sport!
Back to women's moguls. It's foggy! Why is that a problem? Analyst
Jonny Moseley explains that the judges have to be able to see the
length of the course so they can judge the runs. AGAIN with the
Did NBC have some sort of revelation about the last Olympics' bad
analysts? I like the change.
Shannon Bahrke is going to be Shannon Happy on 10/10/10. That's
right, she's going to marry Mr. Happy. I'm not even going to make
a joke about that. But her run is great. First place! At least
Kristi Richards is back on the slopes and "Beat It" is
playing again. I guess the skiers DO get to pick their own music.
It doesn't help Kristi, unfortunately. She crashes after the first
And now Canada's hope, Jenn Heil. Can Canada get it's first home
gold medal? The crowd goes nuts! The first jump: good! The second
jump? GOOD! Her speed? A little slower than Bahrke. Will it be
enough for Canadians to start partying?
YES! Heil's in first with
one competitor to go! Now only Hannah Kearney from the U.S. stands
in the way of Heil never having to
buy a meal in a Canadian restaurant again.
Kearney starts down the hill. She's fast
and her jumps are perfect. The results?
USA! USA! Canada gets silver, and looks for someone else capable
of bringing in the elusive first home-gold medal.
Back in the studio, Brian Williams references Nodar Kumaritashvili
to tells us how dangerous the winter games are. Is this news?
Music. This was obviously prepared in advance.
Besides it was kind
of annoying, with Williams telling us twice that there's something
different about these athletes' "DNA chain." Really?
When did Brian Williams stop being a news anchor and start being
a genetic analyst? I guess "a different personality type" didn't
sound cool enough.
We return to the luge and Simulcam! NBC overlays two different
lugers' runs to show where they were in relation to each other.
Okay, I'm getting a little tired of luge analyst Lewis Johnson's
continual use of the term "levers." Lewis, here's what
most of us call the things the lugers use to pull themselves
down the track: "arms." I
know it's a technical term, but it's okay to drop it in there every
once in a while.
Back at the short track arena, Andrea Joyce interviews Apolo
Ohno and J.R. Celski. She asks Ohno if he was interfered with
during the final? Ohno replies, "Uh... yes," then laughs. That's
the laugh of someone who's probably not coming back
to the sport after this Olympics, so it's okay to tell the truth
about what he thinks. He is, however, gracious, adding that interfering
is part of the sport. Again we say it: short track speed skating
rules! Oh yeah... so does Ohno.
Back at the mogul run, reporter Tina Dixon with is with gold-medal-winner
Hannah Kearney. She says her goal at the Games was to be part
of Olympic montage. Mission accomplished. Also, she wants to
spend the rest of the Games being a superfan and, "If anyone's
USA." How cool is that?
Overall, it was a much better second day than
first day. Live events kept the fluff down to a minimum, coverage
of these live events caused NBC to run overtime for the second
consecutive day, and the announcers and analysts were... well,
Olympic-class. Good times for all! See you for more tomorrow!