Don't Pay NBC's Bills
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Women's figure skating rules the night,
the U.S. men rule the day, and the accountants rule in programming.
It's Day 14 of the Vancouver Olympics!
money, money, monnn-ey... Money! That's what
tonight is all about as we lead off with NBC's meal ticket, Women's
Figure Skating. But we're not leading off with the actual events!
Oh no! First we're going to watch them warm up so Scott Hamilton
can talk about them! You might think I wouldn't call this events,
but watching athletes practice isn't fluff. It may be boring, but
it's not fluff.
And we start with that hotbed of figure skating, Turkey. I guess
we're going to see every single skater tonight. Money!
Via the magic of Tape-Delay-O-Vision, we head off to the ski jump
for the first leg of the Men's Nordic Combined. Two different Americans
are pulled off the start bar because the winds are too favorable,
giving them an unfair advantage over the previous jumpers. I didn't
even know they did such things. I guess having Americans in medal
contention alters your coverage.
But it turns out that both Johnny
Spillane and Bill Demong of the U.S. benefitted from the odd
weather conditions anyway, as the
two of them will be in the top six heading into the cross-country
portion of the race.
I've been watching ski jumping for I don't
know how many Olympic Games but have never found out as much
about the sport as I have tonight
thanks to the Americans being in contention. I don't know if
I should be happy for the new knowledge or upset because NBC
never bothered before. What the heck, I'll stay positive for now.
Off to the Women's Giant Slalom where Julia Mancuso tries to make
up for her unlucky draw in yesterday's race. She's in first for
now, but given how many good skiers are coming up after her, that
probably won't last.
American Sarah Schlepper primally screams in
the start house before pushing off, but yelling doesn't add
to her speed. Why would it?
If she wanted to go fast, she should have slapped someone. Just
ask the bobsledders.
Anyway, we see just the enough skiers to eject
Mancuso from the medal stand, plus the winners before we finish
NBC tries to stir up some trouble in a post-race interview with
Julia by asking her about Lindsey Vonn. Mancuso tells Todd Brooker
that the whole thing's been overblown. Really? I never would
NBC for generating hype, right Shani Davis and Chad Hendrick?
Over to the studio, where Bob tells us that the Canadian women
won the gold medal in hockey by beating the U.S. 2-0. Enjoy it,
Canada! Your men won't be so lucky!
But we can't leave without the "Oh,
Ya know, I've actually seen this
very thing before in person, so
I don't need to see it again.
Mary Carillo is back in the studio with what Bob calls
"Canadiana" (it's a play on "Americana"). Today Mary explores
the Canadian pasttime of logging. Well, at least this one is
in British Columbia. Quadra
Island is within a reasonable distance
of Vancouver, and Mary heads up to the area to find out about
logging. Yes, she's
a lumberjack and she's okay. Bob even makes that joke, later. She
learns about the whole cycle, which is good, though even if she
loses her day job, I don't expect her to end up rolling logs
on the river. The lumberjacks seemed to enjoy showing
her the ropes, however. I guess that makes sense. If they have
an actual woman up there with them, then none of them have to
dress up in women's clothing and hang around in bars.
To Cypress Mountain for tonight's Men's Aerial Final, where the
weather is clear but a hurricane is in the forecast! What? American
Jeret "Speedy" Peterson's move is called the "hurricane." See?
It's a joke!
I know I've said this before (last night, in
fact), but I love the camera work on this event. The live shots
slow-motion replays are spectacular.
to the ice for the lesser skaters. I know, I'm horrible. But admit
it, you don't remember any of them now, either.
One more run for the Men's Aerials. Will Speedy Peterson rock us
like a hurricane? Yes, I know I've made
that joke before. It's just once every four years, surely you
can't be burned out on it already!
Why is American Ryan St. Onge's picture
so bad? The picture on his identifying graphic looks like a mug
shot. Couldn't NBC get
a better picture than that? It didn't effect his jump, though.
He's currently in first place.
Here he is! Rockin' you like a hurricane! Speedy does the Hurricane,
which inspires lots of weather references from Todd Harris and
Jonny Moseley. But it puts him in first place, so I guess it
He's ultimately passed by Aleksei Grishin of
Belarus, but still manages to get silver. Good for him!
Back to the Nordic Combined, where Americans Spillane and Demong
are 1-2 halfway through the cross-country portion of the event.
I don't think NBC has ever shown this much cross-country skiing
before. I know this is the most I've ever watched.
One lap to go
and the U.S. is one-two with Austrian Bernhart Gruber tagging
along in third. They're so far ahead that barring a fall,
these should be the three medalists. The United States, which
had never won a medal in any nordic sport before this Olympics,
has a real chance of getting a gold and a silver in this one
with half a kilometer to go, Demong explodes away from Gruber
and Spillane follows him. I don't know if Gruber is out of gas
or just conceding defeat early, but he's not going to make it.
It's the United States for gold and silver!
And since all of that was actually this afternoon, we can go right
to their medal ceremony. With Americans in both the one and two
positions on the medal stand, surely they will sing, right? Well,
Spillane joins in about halfway through, but Demong just looks
shocked the entire time he's up there. I guess if I was going to
excuse anyone for not knowing the words, it would have to be the
Money! Off to the ice, where supposedly we won't have another commercial
break until all of the skaters are done. It does seem like they've
been front-loading the programming tonight.
Ah, "Carmen." Sandra Bezic lets us know we'll actually
be hearing this twice tonight. It's the lasting legacy of Katarina
Skating fluff! Kim Yu-Na from South Korea and Mao Asada from Japan
are famous. I'm not really sure I get what all of this is about.
It's mainly just clips of them over the last few weeks. I guess
they needed something to fill time so we didn't just watch the
The good side of no commercials: it gives you a better feel of
what it would be like to actually be at the event. The bad side
of no commercials: Scott Hamilton has to talk more to fill time.
First up, American Rachel Flatt. She's 17 and a senior in high
school. She's skating to the "Somewhere
In Time" song.
Maybe she's hoping that all of the judges are members of INSITE.
I think she almost looked too relaxed, but she skates a perfectly
clean program. She should be in first place now, but
the other five skaters are still to come.
What? She's NOT in first?
How does that work?
Miki Ando of Japan is wearing a Cleopatra costume. If she's skates
Like An Egyptian" I'm going to call in and vote
for her. What do you mean that's not how it works? Well, she skates
clean and moves into first, knocking Flatt down to third.
Next up, the favorite Kim Yu-Na of South Korea. How will she skate?
I don't know anything about figure skating, but I know a winner
when I see one. If she doesn't win gold here tonight, then
I'll officially apologize for every bad thing I've ever said
about Jimmy Roberts.
So now we're just skating for silver. First up for second place
is Mao Asada of Japan. She has a couple of small mistakes, but
I thought the jumps she landed actually looked better than Yu-Na's.
The judges like it, too, and put her in second place.
And now the fan favorite, Joannie Rochette of Canada. My prediction:
if she skates clean, she takes the silver.
With a choked-up voice,
Scott says she shows a super-human amount of courage. Shut up,
Scott! She was good, but she did have one
slip-up. I'm predicting bronze. Yep. Just three points behind
second. Told ya! If she would have hit that one missed jump, she
have had the silver.
Last up, 16-year-old American Mirai Nagasu. Ah-ha! So she's our
other "Carmen" skater! She skates well, but it probably
won't be enough to overtake Rochette. Let's see.
Fourth place. I'm
getting good at this! Too bad it's over for another four years.
While we wait for the figure skating medal ceremony, we get a quick
recap of the Women's Gold Medal hockey game. Canada still won.
Joannie Rochette skates up to receive her bronze medal. Tom Hammond
opines that we can only imagine her emotions right now. Really,
isn't that true for anyone? I'm looking at her, and I imagine
she's pretty happy to have won a medal.
Hey, Kim Yu-Na is singing the Korean national anthem. You know
all of those stories they told us earlier about her being the most
popular person in Korea? I don't think that will hurt that status.