I Wanna Be
Sunday, February 21, 2010
The ice dancers' original dance program brings
out the cowboy in several groups, and the U.S. strikes gold again.
But what about that hockey game? It's Day 10 of the Vancouver Olympics!
• The first
event tonight is the Women's 1500m Speed Skating, and the first
racer we see is Canada's Cindy Klassen. She doesn't
place herself on the medal stand.
But wait! We're not done with
her, yet! It's time for some Cindy Klassen fluff. In 2002, Cindy
was so good at winning medals that her fluff piece requires the
background music to be Michael Jackson's "Don't
Stop (Till You Get Enough)." Get it?
while at a skating event, her sister was in a horrible car accident.
Long story short, Cindy gave up skating to go take care of her
That's honorable. Now she's back to try to get some medals, but
obviously tonight she was unsuccessful. She finished 21st.
In the meantime, while we were away, we got a new leader in Japan's
Nao Kodaira. That's right... we missed the current leader because
we were watching fluff. Egad.
And now in Tape-Delay-O-Vision, the Men's Super Combined. This
is the downhill portion of the event which was run this morning.
Nobody important crashes and the top 25 skiers finish within
2.5 second of each other, so NBC shows us the Americans and the
favorites because they are no doubt contractually obligated to
Over to ice dancing. We start with Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates
dressed as a cowboy and cowgirl. The theme of tonight's dancing
will be "country" music,
which isn't necessarily one branch of the two kinds kinds of music
AND western!"), but instead music that represents
the country the dancers are from. These two are dancing to the
Dixie Chicks, so I guess they hate George Bush. They're in first
place now, but that will only last until someone else skates.
Back to the mountains for a new event: Ski Cross! It's like the
snowboard cross that I like so much, but on skis instead of snowboards.
And what would a new event be without some new
event fluff? Cris Collinsworth talks in his serious voice to introduce
us to Chris Del Bosco using the Jimmy Roberts-like
phrase, "Sometimes the toughest battle is the one he fights from
within." Then the subtle musical strains of "Hurt" let
us know that this will be a drug addiction story. Chris started
using drugs at 13, got banned from the U.S. Ski Team by 17, and
by his 20s he once got so drunk that one night he fell
a creek, broke a vertebra in his neck, and almost froze to death,
but even then he still kept drinking. Personally I would have called
that a sign. Anyway, in 2006 he entered rehab and has been sober
for 3 years. Since his father was Canadian,
he was eligible
So here he is!
Following his fluff, Del Bosco wins his quarterfinal heat to
advance to the semifinals then --thanks Tape-Delay-O-Vision!--
wins his semi to qualify for the finals.
And just like that, we're
at his final! He's behind at the beginning, but starts making
a move toward the lead, then BOOM! Two jumps from
the end he gets a little off on the jump and wipes out, the only
wipe out we see in the ski cross event tonight.
So how is ski cross as a sport? It's okay, but I don't think
it's as exciting as snowboard cross because --sorry boarders--
better. Let me refine that statement; skiers are more precise.
When the snowboarders go down the course, they're frequently
may not be pretty, it does make for an exciting race because they
bang into each other more often. The ski crossers, by comparison,
are much more precise in both their
and their skiing, which leads to less conflict and less exciting
A now, just hours ago, we go to the slalom portion of the Men's
Super Combined. Andrew Weibrecht of the U.S. answers the question
we posed last night.
your skis. Answer: your time counts! Unfortunately for Andrew,
it's not going to count for much more than 11th place.
Steve Porino shows us the difference between downhill and slalom
skis. He notes that only one man has won both a downhill and a
slalom. And that man? That's right! It's Bode-time!
New-and-impoved Happy-Bode speeds through the course and finishes
in first place with six racers to go. I can't even convey how
refreshing Bode's attitude is this year compared to the 2006 games.
In Turin, I just wanted to smack some sense into him. Now he's
so cool and relaxed you just want to hang out with him. Is this
all because of his two-year-old daughter? He should have had kids
Swiss skier Carlo Janka gets hit in the face with a slalom gate
pole. I only mention this because in the slow-motion replay you
can see his whole face vibrate. Great camera work!
Now with one skier left, Bode is still in the lead with only Aksel
Svindal still capable of beating Bode. Will Friday's
fluff boost on Svindal carry over to today?
No! Svindal misses a gate
within sight of the finish line and Bode gets the gold!
Post-race Bode! He's so gracious and humble... are we even sure
this is Bode Miller? Maybe he's been taken over by aliens. It's
Pod-Bode! I guess those pods really aren't so bad after all.
Now I'm going to try a slightly different experiment on the Rockwood
Olympic Watch. This year being the 30th anniversary of the "Miracle
On Ice" U.S. hockey team, the most anticipated preliminary
round hockey game of the Olympics is the U.S. versus Canada. I
want to watch it. The problem? it's on at the same time as NBC's
main Olympic coverage. I can't just abandon the Olympic Watch so
I can watch hockey, can I?
It's technology to the rescue! In the "Miracle
On Ice" era,
this task would have literally been impossible. But thanks to my
DVR, I can now watch in chunks, skipping through commercials on
station while watching events on the other. My hunch is that I
can watch four hours of NBC and two hours of MSNBC hockey in just
over four hours without actually missing anything. Let's see if
I wasn't even halfway through the first paragraph of that last
post when the U.S. scored their first goal. Awesome! You know,
I bet if I skip through the replays, I can watch this hockey game
in a lot less than two hours, too. I did this a lot with NFL games
this year. If you skip the huddles, replays, and halftime, you
can easily watch a three hour NFL game in an hour and fifteen minutes.
Bah! Canada scores to tie it up. Stupid deflection. All the way
from the blue line, too. Nice shot.
Ha! Just like that the Americans get it back! The tastefully named
Brian Rifalski has scored twice in this game. Brians are awesome!
At the end of the first period, it's the U.S. 2 and Canada 1. Time
to use my DVR-Fu! Back to ice dancing!
The French pair of Isabelle Delobel and Oliver Schoenfelder skate
to a French country song which apparently involves a poor French
boy dating a can-can girl. It has a certain je ne sais quoi, but
I don't know what it is. That's a little French joke.
The brother/sister team of Sinead and John Kerr from Great Britain
are dressed as Canadian cowboys and dancing to Johnny Cash's "I've
Been Everywhere." Oookay. Here's my question. Is her tramp-stamp
part of the costume or is it real?
• The Russian pair of Oksana Domnina and
Maksim Shabalin are dressed in controversial Aboriginal garb. Apparently
some have called it offensive because certain tribes don't let
women wear red or they don't have outrageous
designs. If outrageous designs in ice skating costumes can generate
protests we'd better hope we don't get a lot of
from cowboys for being represented as wearing lots of glitter
The real question is how does this follow the "country" theme.
Shouldn't they be dancing to some sort of Russian country music?
I guess it doesn't have to be your own country. The people who
wrote the rules should have been more specific. Personally, I thought
their routine looked kind of sloppy. Maybe they should have spent
less time picking out leaves for their costumes and more time practicing.
But what do I know? Say the judges: first place
So now we're off to the mountain for the final two runs of the
2-man Bobsled. We first see the German sled that--
Dangit! Bob cuts
in and takes us away from the bobsled action to take us LIVE
to the U.S.-Canada hockey game, where the U.S. is
ahead 5-3 with just 30 seconds left. And that's how it ends.
The United States wins!
Well... I guess there's no point in watching
the rest of that MSNBC coverage I recorded, is there? Who would
have ever thought that
NBC would screw up my plans by showing me live events?
• After a commercial break, we go back
to the ice hockey arena with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth
for highlights from the hockey
game. Fluff or events? It was just a straight recap of the game,
so I'm calling it events.
Back to ice dancing? What happened to the bobsled? That's probably
pre-recorded anyway, so saving it for later doesn't matter. So...
The American team of Merrill Davis and Charlie
White has an East Indian themed
Tom Hammond, over
YouTube. That's it? I've
got more than that and I'm not even
an Olympian! Still, their dance is good enough to get them into
place! USA! USA!
The next pair, Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat from France
are also trying out a country theme while dancing to John Denver's "Thank
God I'm a Country Boy." But who designed their costumes? The
American and British cowboy costumes look like they were designed
by professionals. These French cowboy costumes
look like they were picked up in the Halloween aisle at Wal-Mart.
• It's Priceline Negotiator with Evil
Mirror! The only way this
If he would have been talking
to a bearded
And now the Canadian team of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir with their
traditional Canadian dance. They'll be dancing to "Take
they skate to something Spanish that is more percussion than
music. Of course they get a standing ovation, being the home
team. Their score: First place! Davis and White get knocked down
to second with only one pair remaining.
That pair, Tanith Belbin and that guy she dances with, are skating
to a Moldavian song. And they do... well. I guess. Again, I don't
know what I'm looking for in ice dancing. Every time Tracy Wilson
tells me to "look at that twizzle" I just get hungry
for red licorice. You know who they really need to have calling
this sport? Len,
Bruno, and Carrie Ann! After all, they've already
judged several Olympians.
The scores are in for Belbin and Agosto. The
judges say: Fourth place? Bah!
Back to bobsled. This time for sure! Here's some technical trivia
for you. Announcer Bob Papa welcomes us back to the bobsled which
we left earlier for the hockey update.
How would he know to say
if this was tape-delayed? The answer is that this audio hit was
a JIP, which is short for "Joined In Progress." Bob recorded
that line however long ago to be played back when NBC finally got
back to the bobsled event. If you ever watch a late-night replay
of a ballgame, they'll often use JIPs to get that event to fit
into a two hour window (they'll say things like "due to time constraints,
we move forward in the action"). Now you can talk like a TV insider!
We start with the U.S. team of Steve Holcomb and Curt Tomasevicz.
They need to slap each other! That's the only way to win! Ask
In fact, the
non-slapping U.S. team finishes sixth. The slappy Germans? First
and second. There's your key for the 4-man sled,
And now it's time for Pod-Bode to get his gold medal for the Super
Combined event he won earlier today. Will he sing? Old Bode wouldn't
have even considered it, but I've got a hunch that Pod-Bode will.
Okay, I guess that was expecting a little much.
Maybe he's not a pod-person after all. He did at least smile. Given
2006-Bode, I'll let that one go.
Now Bob is in the studio with Apolo Ohno. Using video review, Ohno
finds out that he actually got pushed by one of the Koreans in
last night's race. Even then it's not accusatory. It was more "hey,
look at that!" As I said last night, he's very gracious and
it would be great
four years. C'mon Anton! What else are you going to do? You can't
win another Mirror
We close with some Bode fluff. It's just a highlight reel, but
there's a lot of slow-motion and rock music, so it is what it is.
Leave it to NBC to find a way to surprise me
by showing more events. I'm hate to say this for fear of jinxing
the upcoming week, but I've actually been pleasantly surprised
about how little fluff there has been this year. Even today's four-hour-plus
broadcast only had 11 minutes, and six of that was in the first
hour. Join me tomorrow for more!