Thursday, February 18, 2010
Live events keep fluff to a minimum, and the
U.S. continues to rack up the medals on Day 7 of the Vancouver
• We'll be seeing all the live events
later, so let's jump right into the tape-delayed events now. First
up, the Women's Super Combined, which is part downhill, part slalom.
First for the U.S. is Julia Mancuso. She's racer
number three, but the first competitor that NBC has shown us. Clearly
the first two
were lesser skiers as she finishes over a second-and-a-half faster.
Apparently skiers number 4 through 17
good, either. Lindsey Vonn is skier number
18 and Julia is still in the lead. Vonn skis fast and
beats Mancuso by eight tenths of a second.
Sideline reporter Christin Cooper shows
us a little insight during a replay of Maria Riesch's run. Since
this event was early in the day, there wasn't much sun on the slope,
so Riesch didn't see a large bump in the snow. Replay shows her
almost crashing as she goes over it. Even with that, she still
finishes second in the downhill portion.
Anja Parson had a horrible crash yesterday and
is in pain, but analyst Todd Brooker says that Lindsey Vonn's brave
run yesterday has taught these ladies that they can ski through
the pain. I think that might be giving a little too
to Vonn. These are world-class downhill skiers. Don't you think
they might have experienced pain once or twice?
• By the way, if there's something you'd like
to share about the Olympics or the Olympic Watch, I'd love to hear
from you. Just head
on over to the main site and drop me a line!
• Back to the studio where Bob Costas
interviews Shaun White. I've got to admit that White was much more
articulate than I thought he was going to be. I guess I was just
expecting a lot of "Duuuuuuude!" He actually sounded very analytical
about his whole performance yesterday. I guess that's why he's
a world-famous, millionaire snowboarder and I'm a poor, snarky
• Thanks to the miracle of tape-delay,
we head back to the afternoon and go to the slalom portion of the
Women's Super Combined.
Anja Parson has a good slalom run, but she was
slower in the downhill, so the next skier we see, Mancuso,
finishes in first. Once she crosses the finish line she drops to
her back, kicking her feet up in the air. With only two
guaranteed to get on the podium.
Riesch beats Mancuso by eight
tenths. She's now in first place. Only Vonn left! Is there another
gold in her future?
Nooo! Vonn hooks a ski tip halfway down the
slalom course and gets a DNF. Still, another silver for the U.S.!
• Here's something weird. NBC-TV spells
the female Swedish alpine skier's name "Anja Paerson." However, NBCOlympics.com spells
her name Anja
Pärson (note the umlaut).
Does a billion-dollar network really not have a character generator
that can put an umlaut over someone's name?
• I'll call this "psychic fluff." In a
previously recorded fluff interview, Riesch, a good friend of Vonn,
claimed that her ideal scenario would include her winning
combined and Vonn
winning the downhill. Spoooooooky!
Yesterday we heard that snowboarder use the phrase "eye
of the tiger." Now Todd Richards says there's a saying in snowboarding
big or go home." I
thought that was from golf. Does snowboarding just crib sayings
from other sports?
• And speaking of snowboarding, we're now at
the Women's Halfpipe which, sad to say, is kind of uninspiring
after yesterday's performance by Shaun White. There are only 11
boarders in the finals. Seven of them crash in the first round.
Of the Americans, only Hannah Teter makes it down successfully.
Surprise! She's in first place! I'd say, "by default."
• Even Torah Bright, Australia's superstar can't
successfully make it to the bottom of the run. In fact, she crashes
twice, meaning her score is so low that she'll start off the second
But oh, that second round! Torah's score immediately
becomes the one to beat. All that means is we'll probably see even
more crashing in round two as people try to catch up to her.
• Just before her second run, Todd Richards
quotes Bright's coach as saying, "Torah has
all the abilities to break through all of the barriers women have
faced in sports. I'm not trying to overstate things, but she has
all the ability, determination, intelligence, and perserverence
to take women's snowboarding to the next level." Todd then
agrees with everything the coach said.
Whew! Good thing they're not trying to overstate
• Kelly Clark of the United States is singing
at the top of the halfpipe run. She actually takes the time to
get her iPod out and adjust the song before she starts down the
slope. It works! She grabs onto third place! Good! After hearing
her sing, I'm glad she has a day job. Yes, I know. I'm a hater.
• Oh, I forgot to mention the fluff! American
Bleiler, Hannah Teter, and Kelly Clark are all BFFs!
Yes they're rivals but they love each other and are world travelers
and so supportive and everything! For sure!
•Ultimately, no one can catch Torah Bright.
She wins gold, and Americans Teter and Clark finish 2-3.
• Back in the studio, Costas and Button
talk about the upcoming figure skating. Button says it's the quality
of skating that counts. Profound. To the
we go for the Men's Figure Skating
Up first is Jeremy Abbott, whose falls on Tuesday night doomed
his overall chances. He starts his program tonight by falling once
and cutting another jump short. Scott Hamilton spends the rest
of his routine telling us how much he's "fighting." Please,
Scott. I don't need encouragement in feeling sorry for Abbott.
It is possible for me to sympathize without specific guidance.
• Back in the studio, Bob gets caught
off guard twice. Canada and Switzerland went to a shootout in hockey.
Apparently, Sidney Crosby
scored the winning goal, but Bob says the clip we are shown
was somebody else. Then, as he apologizes
that HERE is the winning goal, what we're actually shown is Canadian
goalie Martin Brodeur making the winning save. Whoops!
In the crowd tonight, Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones and former
Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy. Tom Hammond calls Jones "American
sporting royalty." I've heard Jones called a lot of things,
but "royalty" was never one of them.
• We take a break from figure skating to watch Shaun White get his
gold medal. The silver is going to Scott Lago. Will either of them
sing? Will both? Nooo... but they'll both take time during the
national anthem to point to people they know in the crowd, and
Shaun will play air guitar. Oh, Shaun. Couldn't you have waited
60 seconds to do your shout-out? At least there wasn't any swearing
• A big cheer for Patrick Chan of Canada at the figure skating rink.
Can he move up from seventh place to a medal? He's skating to a
Phantom of the Opera medley. He falls. I guess the music
of the night couldn't save him. There are still a lot of skaters to go,
but he's in first place for now. If everyone else falls flat on
their face, he could still win! Doubtful.
Belgian Kevin van der Perren is skating to "American
In Paris." He is neither. He was okay, but then
he ran out of gas at the end of his routine.
• We're back to drive around with Plushenko
and hang out with Lysacek's Ridley Scott piece. Holy Brian Boitano,
it's a fluff montage! Note to NBC: Fluff should NEVER be recycled!
Evan Lysacek almost runs into Johnny Weir in practice because,
says Scott, "Johnny jumps the other direction." Okaaaaay,
Scott, if that's how you want to put it. Not that there's anything
wrong with that!
• Lysacek goes first in the last group. Evan seems to favor uniforms
with big shoulder pads. He's making all of his jumps and doing
very well, but I'm worried about Scott Hamilton. From the noises
he's making from the broadcast booth, I'm pretty sure he's got
some kind of hernia. You should really get that looked into, Scott.
skates a clean program. Now all of the pressure is on his enemy, Plushenko.
• Japanese skater Nobunari Oda looks like
he's just struggling, but it turns out he broke a shoelace while
performing. He stops in the middle of his routine to petition the
judge for time to fix his wardrobe malfunction. Scott and Sandra
state that he only has three minutes to make the repair. That was
the most informative commentary they've had all night.
Sandra Bezic wishes that Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland would
skate the way he usually does "so that everyone could enjoy
it." Isn't that a backhanded way of saying she's not enjoying
it right now?
• Coming up, Johnny Weir. Admit it, you've been waiting to see him
skate. There's no telling what he'll end up wearing. Actually,
it's not that wild, although it does have feathers hanging off
of it. But for figure skaters that's normal, right?
Tom says, "He skated his
life out there and did it on his own terms!" What
does that mean? Whatever. It was good, but he started off in
sixth and probably won't move up to a medal, but you never know.
Plushenko will do a faceplant.
Nope. Fifth place which, once Plushenko
skates, will probably put Weir in sixth. Too bad, Johnny.
• And now the enemy! Plushenko attempts to become the first back-to-back
gold medalist since Dick Button. We can only assume Button is on
the edge of his studio seat right now.
Yevgeny's doing well, but Sandra thinks that Lysacek's program
is harder. Will this all come down to degree of difficulty?
and Scott declares that both Yevgeny and Lysacek deserve what
they get. Again, profound.
While watching Plushenko
replays, Scott makes both Three Stooges and cat noises. I don't
know what's worse, the commentary or the sound effects.
come Plushenko's scores...
NO! It's Lysacek
by a nose! Heh. You see, because Plushenko has a big nose and...
oh, never mind. Anyway, Evan is the first American
since Brian Boitano to win gold in the Men's Figure Skating.
• We're running long now, but NBC
wants to stay for Lysacek's medal ceremony, so we're back in the
studio with Bob, who wants to make a correction on the hockey game
from earlier. Beat you to it, Bob!
• Medal cermony time! First we watch Shani
Davis get the gold medal for last night's 1000m speed skating.
Is there singing? No. Davis and bronze medal winner Chad Hendrick
both just stand there. It's not like he's
never done this before. He should know the words by now.
figure skating for THEIR medal ceremony. Will Lysacek sing? What
would Brian Boitano do, Evan? No singing, but at least he's
smiling and has his hand over his heart. Even better is that look
interpretation: "Silver? Whatever. Just give me my medal so
I can go drive my Mercedes around town and talk about my enemies."
So, the first full week of the Olympics comes
to an end. Is it just me or does it seem like there have been a
higher than usual number of technical difficulties, both with the
Olympics themselves and with NBC's broadcast? Drop
me a line and
let me know. See you tomorrow!