I Am Serious,
And Don't Call Me Shirley
Monday, February 22, 2010
An odd movie reference, tons of fluff, and features
on athletes who aren't even here make for the weirdest day yet.
It's Day 11 of the Vancouver Olympics!
• Oh no. And I don't
mean Apolo. Al Michaels has to do the show introduction tonight
Bob Costas himself
is fluff. Yes, I know we all knew that, but this is different.
Bob is literally flying around Coal Harbor in a floatplane so he
can land on the water and make a dramatic entrance for the beginning
of the show. This is more like the opening shot of "Survivor." Maybe
later we'll get to vote Cris Collinsworth off the island.
Bob's plane pulls
up to the pier and the bad jokes begin. Al says that Kareem Abdul-Jabaar
was at the controls ala "Airplane!", then calls Bob "Amelia
Earhart" as Costas gets off the plane. Not to be outdone,
Bob adds, "Or Wiley
Post." Does that mean Bob is
a one-eyed pilot known for dying in a plane crash? Doubtful, but
I do appreciate the Oklahoma-based shout-out.
Austria's Gregor Schlierenzauer is a rock star of ski jumping,
but most people call him by his nickname, Schlieri, for obvious
reasons. I'll bet you didn't think you were get any Austrian
ski jumper fluff, did you? Never underestimate NBC! He's already
won two bronze medals in Vancouver for individual ski jumping,
now he's trying for a team medal. He also has a clothing line
and sells photographs. I guess rock stars are different in Austria.
Coming up in four minutes: Michael Phelps. Michael Phelps?! He's
not even at the right Olympics! Are they adding one of those polar
bear plunges to the Winter Games?
Bob Costas interviews Phelps in the studio. Aren't there any athletes
from THIS Olympics we can interview? About the only newsworthy
thing that comes out of this is that Phelps says he won't swim
in eight races in London. I think we can give this entire interview
a giant "who cares?" It could have been more interesting
if Bob had asked if he was going to go hang out with the snowboarders
We finish the Team Ski Jumping. Austria is the winner. I know you
were all on the edge of your seat waiting for that one. Go Schlieri!
Tom Brokaw is in the studio to give us some fluff about an athlete
who isn't even here. Tom originally visited
know how far in advance these fluff pieces are prepared. Kevin
Pearce is the rare snowboarder who has actually beaten Shaun
competition, but he suffered a
traumatic brain injury during a training run and was in a coma
for six days. Because of all of this, he was unable to compete
We don't see any video of Kevin in his current
state, but Tom does
a a still photo
Kevin smiling with his family that was taken two days ago. But
apparently he still has a long road to recovery.
Is this all sad? Yes. But again,
why are we spending eight minutes of Olympic coverage covering
an athlete who isn't in the Olympics?
Now we're at the ice rink for the Ice Dancing free skate. The first
couple is Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier from Canada. One of the
songs they're dancing to is "Bohemian
Rhapsody." Given the Canadian
connection, how could they not
do the head-banging part of that
THAT would have been some ice dancing. Party on, Garth!
But before we see any more ice dancing, let's preview the start
of the Women's Figure Skating event tomorrow night. Must we? In
more tragic news for this Olympics, Canadian skater Joannie Rochette's
mother died the other day, and Scott wonders if she'll be able
the love that is showered down upon her. Ugh... I can hear him
writing the fluff story already. This is a fluff preview of fluff
Off to Whistler, for the Men's Freestyle Aerials qualifying runs.
They get two runs and, unlike the snowboard halfpipe, they both
count. The top 12 of 25 skiers advance to Thursday's final. Since
this isn't the medal run, everyone's expected to be a little conservative.
So don't expect any of the really good tricks to happen tonight.
In fact, back in the studio, Bob tells us we're not even going
to see round two in the primetime broadcast. If we want to see
that we've got to come back after your late local news. Look at
me. Now I'm even starting to talk like I work at NBC.
American Jeret "Speedy" Peterson is an adrenaline junky,
so he gets 30 seconds of fluff.
The brother/sister team of Sinead and John Kerr from Great Britain
are skating to Linkin Park's "Crawling," to
appeal to the younger audience. Wouldn't a better strategy be to
the the older judges? They do skate well, though. And what do the
old judges think of their young music? First place for now. I guess
the judges are nu metal fans.
The French pair of Isabelle Delobel and Oliver Schoenfelder start
out by playfully assaulting each other, because what makes a
theme for a skating routine than domestic violence?
Okay, the theme of the routine is the story
of their career together, so maybe the punching and tripping represents
kids. Given that she
had a baby three months ago, I can't wait to see how they represent
THAT on the ice.
They wisely leave the birthing segment out of
their routine and the judges reward them accordingly.
Russians Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski dance to a rocked-up
version of "The Firebird." Their costumes are great,
but I don't know if their skating was.
Flashback fluff! Back when Charlie White was 10 years old he got
interviewed by a local news station while going onto the ice
for a hockey game. They were asking him if he liked hockey better
than figure skating. He said his favorite was whichever he was
doing right then. Good answer! Now White and Davis, both students
at the University of Michigan, say if there's anything that
could top a Michigan football game it
would be an Olympic medal. Has Charlie BEEN to a Michigan game
the last few years? Trust me, there are a lot of things that would
top that, now.
Here's some alpine skiing fluff. It's really just a recap of the
events so far. First we weren't sure how Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller,
or Julia Mancuso would do. Then they all won medals. Yay, USA!
And they might win some more. Yay, predicting the future! And
this was four minutes of fluff! Boooooo!!
Finally! It's the last five pairs in ice dancing. I didn't know
if I was going to make it through all of the fluff to get here.
Ted Hammond says we'll get to see the last five couples without
commercial interruption. That at least explains why NBC's been
on their commercial breaks for the last hour.
The first group up is Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United
States, currently in second place. They'll be dancing to "Phantom
of the Opera." Shouldn't he be wearing half a mask or something?
They skate, and Tracy Wilson likes them. What
do the judges say? They like them, and they're in first place,
so everyone else will
be compared to them now.
Up next, Italy's Faiella and Scali. They were fifth going into
this round, so they don't matter. Ha ha! I kid! I kid! I'm sure
they matter to Italians. Learn to say "cinque," Italy.
And here come the Canadians, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Scott
says they "feel like all of Canada is on the ice with" them.
That's going to be some crowded skating. They'll be skating to
a Bryan Adams/Rush medley. No, not really. But wouldn't that
"Oh, Canada!" exclaims Ted Hammond at the end
of their routine. He's been saving that line all week. Well, they
WERE good. Tracy calls it
Will they beat Davis and White?
Yes, by a long shot. They're
so far ahead now that only they can win gold. Right? Maybe. They
tell each other that, but are they as good at math as they are
And now Tanith Belbin and that guy she skates with dancing to "Ave
Maria" and "Amen." They start from fourth place.
Tanith is at a disadvantage because it's going to be awfully hard
to skate once her hotness melts the ice.
and Ben Agosto dance well. Not well enough to get gold, but they
should be in at least third place for now. Let's see what the
Yep. Third place. I don't know how ice dancing
is scored, but I know enough to figure up probable scores! It'll
be up to the Russians to pass them.
Here's one thing I DO like about ice dancing over ice skating:
I don't have to listen to Scott Hamilton groaning and grunting
through every routine. I'm not looking forward to THAT in the Women's
Last up, the Russians Oksana Domnina and Maksim Shabalin. They
were third going into the last skate. They end up skating well.
not going to beat Virtue/Moir or Davis/White, but will they
Agosto? Psh! They get the bronze.
The big news is Canada wins the gold!
Which means we should get another national anthem sing-a-long
here in about ten minutes.
So, while we wait for the ice dancing medal ceremony, we get a
recap of yesterday's U.S./Canada hockey game, which apparently
was the most-watched
sports program ever in Canada. Good! That
means that all of Canada now knows that the United States has
Back to the ice rink for the medals. Hey, did you know before this
year Canada had never won a gold medal during an Olympics that
hosted? Funny how you don't hear that stat anymore. It's only been
a week since it was broken!
So, Virtue and Moir train in Michigan.
Do they know the Canadian national anthem? Yes, they do.
And so does everyone else in the building. Sing loud, Canucks!
Because in the hockey final, you're going to be singing the Star
Spangled Banner. HA!
It was the worst day for fluff so far this
Olympics, and you could tell just by the pacing of the show. Where
everything's been non-stop events for most of the Games, today's
broadcast just didn't get much of a rhythm going until the end.
For Tuesday, the 2010 Rockwood Olympic
Watch will just be an abbreviated
version. Since I have to work tomorrow evening, I won't be able
to time out four hours of coverage. I'll get in some comments, but
it will be a light day. See you then!