Night Train, I Don't Love That Fluff
Saturday, February 27, 2010
A historic high for the Night Train, but an
Olympic low for fluff. It's Day 16 of the Vancouver Olympics!
• To Whistler we go for the Men's Slalom. But before we
even get to see the skiers, we get to see an army of volunteers
doing whatever it takes to get the slope's snow ready for the competition.
Team Rockwood member Sandy asks if they always have to do this.
I imagine that it's just because of the poor weather they've been
having, but I don't really have any idea. Does anyone know the
While we wait for Bode Miller to ski, let's do a little counting.
In 2006, I counted how
many cameras NBC used for their downhill
coverage (the count was 22). That's a much longer race than the
slalom, but let's count just for grins.
I count 11 cameras, including the
handheld cameras they use at the top and bottom of the slopes.
The slalom races themselves are
about 50 seconds long, so that's a different camera shot every
four or five seconds. If you watch a basketball game this week,
time how long they stay on that wide shot of someone taking
up the court. This doesn't really mean anything since they're completely
different sports, I just find it interesting.
The first American up is Ted Ligety, who's bringing the power of
neon clothing to the slopes. He won the gold medal in the Men's
Combined event in 2006. But not here! Halfway down the slope
on his first run he misses
Next up in Tape-Delay-O-Vision, Bode Miller! AAAHHH! He's out even
quicker than Ligety. One might even say he was out Ligety-split!
Okay, no one would say that. But he only makes it seven seconds
into the race before missing a gate. His post-race interview lasts
much longer and he honestly seems to have been grateful to be
here. Where was this guy in 2006?
Back to the studio with Bob and Lindsey Vonn. It's just an interview.
As usual, it doesn't get interesting until the end, when Costas
surprises the Law
And Order fanatic Vonn with the news that Dick
Wolf has cast her as a jury foreman in an upcoming episode. I'm not
going to tell you she was more excited for this than for the gold
medal, because that would be a lie, but she was clearly excited.
Cypress Mountain for the Men's Parallel Giant Slalom snowboard
event. I'd forgotten this even existed. So did NBC apparently,
as these are the bronze and gold medal matches and we've never
seen any qualifying runs. I guess there aren't any Americans in
It actually looks pretty interesting. Too bad
we only got to see these few races. Canada's Jasey Jay Anderson
we'll get to see another sing-a-long tonight.
It's the figure skating "Champions Gala." I'm starting
the fluff clock now. Tonight's going to be ugly. And not just because
we have to listen to Celine Dion in the first segment, which features
Canada's Joannie Rochette skating in purple light. Scott says that
she spoke to all of us with that performance. What did she say
to me? Fluff!
Next up in the fluff parade, Yevgeny Plushenko. Do you think he
has exhibition enemies, too? Which is more annoying? Scott singing
Plushenko's praises during the actual competition or him singing
Yevgeny's praises during the Russian's fluff? Trick question! Scott
Hamilton is the absolute of annoying and thus cannot be more or less
so in a given situation.
We break from fluff to see an actual event. What a revelation!
Off to the bobsled track for the 4-man event with America's Steve
Holcomb piloting the Night
Train. He's ready
to crash and burn, he'll never learn! Hopefully neither of
those is true. The U.S. hasn't won the 4-man bobsled since 1948.
Well, they're due
We see the US1 sled first. They make it through cleanly albeit
slower than yesterday. But after Friday's runs, I'm thinking just
making it to the bottom not on your head is a good thing.
Uh-oh. The Germany 1 sled has a lot of butt-slapping going on.
Let's see if this means better speeds like it does in the 2-man
bobsled. Nope! The Germans finish in third.
The Swiss are taking a different slapping strategy, with the driver
slapping his own thigh, then his own butt before pushing off. Maybe
it's like the secret
moves in Mortal Kombat. You just have to find
the right combination. Obviously the Swiss thigh-butt combo move
is no better than the butt-butt-butt German combo because
they finish in fourth place.
The Germany 3 sled tries a hand-hand-hand-head combo. That doesn't
To the speed skating oval we go, for the most unexpected Team Pursuit
event. It's not the event that's unexpected, but rather
the fact that the U.S. team of Brian Hansen, Johnathan Kuck,
beat the highly favored Dutch team yesterday to qualify for the
finals. It's the U.S. versus Canada for the gold!
They race for two miles and Canada wins by two
tenths of a second. The Olympics are cruel, aren't they?
And now that we've seen some actual athletic competition, it's
back to the ice for more fluff! Meryl Davis and Charlie White ice
dance to David Cook's version of "Billie
Jean." (And yes, I know it's really Chris
you need to chill!) Okay, this song is awesome, but the dancing
is still fluff.
follows them and skates all pretty-like. Even though it's boring
and un-athletic, Scott ruins it even more by asking, "How
do you make a Kim Yu-Na? You can't." Her parents did, Scott!
Back in time to Whistler for the second runs of the now American-less
Men's Slalom. In a competition with no U.S. component, how many
skiers will we see? I'm betting four. Let's see if I'm right.
up: Sweden's Andre Myhrer. He takes the lead. Next: Croatia's
Ivan Kostalic. And he passes Myhrer for the lead. Hmm... maybe
we're only going to see three skiers.
And three it is. Last to
go is Italy's Giuliano Razzoli. And he edges the other two for
the gold, leaving Kostalic in silver,
Myhrer for bronze. I guessed four skiers because I thought
NBC would show somebody crashing just to keep us guessing. Shows
what I know.
More fluff. Evan Lysacek, dressed as a waiter, dances to "Rhapsody
In Blue." You know, I can only hate fluff so much when it
features one of the best songs ever written. Of course, with Scott
Hamilton talking over it, the hate flows much more easily. Seriously,
Scott, Sandra, you both need to shut... up. Don't make me use the
popular internet acronym that is an even more strongly-worded version
of that. And I think you know which one I mean.
Into the Delorean we go so we can head back in time for the final
run of the 4-man bobsled. The US1 sled starts this round in first
place by over four tenths
Oh... but first we get some bobsled fluff. Steve Holcomb had an
eye disease called keratoconus and
was almost blind until he got an unapproved-by-the-FDA surgery.
But now he can see, so here he
is. Well thank goodness. On the other hand, if he had been blinded
he could have piloted one of Mary Carillo's
I wonder if
he could see that this was fluff?
You know, for a tape-delayed event, there sure is a lot of non-race
footage here. We could have watched two or three more sleds running
if NBC would cut out the fluff and interviews.
Since all of these sleds are now racing in reverse order, it's
hard to determine just how much they're gaining on the US1 Night
Train. My guess is that unless one of these other countries can
move into first by about a half-a-second, then all Holcomb has
to do to win gold is be upright when he crosses the finish line.
And just as I say that, the Germany 1 sled piloted by three-time-gold-medal-winner
Andre Lange takes first place by 0.76 seconds. That could be
to last sled is Canada 1. NO! They finish just a hundreth of
a second behind the Germans.
sled to go and it's loaded
like a freight train, flyin' like an aeroplane. The United
States 1 sled goes slap-free at the top and pushes off. And they're
into the sled clean! Don't crash don't crash don't crash...
And then they slap each other. Finally! That's
the key, bobsledders, do your slapping after the finish!
How tape-delayed was this? Well, the clock on
the wall behind the celebrating U.S. team says 3:35 p.m. Pacific
Time and it's about 9:35 p.m Central Time when I'm watching it.
Do the math! Show your work!
In a post-race interview with Lewis Johnson, Steve Holcomb says
that he hopes that their win takes U.S. bobsledding to the next
level. No offense, Steve, but what is the next level of bobsledding
above an Olympic gold medal?
And post-post-race interview, Lewis encourages
Team USA to do "The Holcky Dance." Well, I guess if you win the
first gold medal in your sport in 62 years you get a little creative
license. But clearly these sledders' strengths don't lie on the
And since all of that was really "x" hours ago (What? You thought
I was going to give you the answer? I told you to show your work!),
we immediately get to see Steve Holcomb, Justin Olsen, Steve
Mesler, and Curt Tomasevicz take
Will they all sing? No. But they all have their hands over their
hearts, and I think Holcomb is trying not to cry.
By the way,
NBC, that's a great, great shot with the back of the four sledders
wearing USA jackets in the foreground and the US flag in the
background. That'll make the post-Olympics clip show.
More fluff. Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir ice dance a little
comedy skit. She's a ballerina! He's a hockey player! He checks
the boards! Noooo... he doesn't.
Mary Carillo? Haven't we had enough fluff already? Holy SCTV, Batman!
We're on a quest! A quest for fun! It's all an analysis of why
Canadians are so funny. This is really just cross-promotion for
Saturday Night Live. And the best Canadian comedian they could get
for this segment was Martin Short? That's really kinda sad, I
must say. This is a joke!
Hey! It's Usher! Yeah! Why does this remind me of the Olympics?
We all knew something like the "Champions Gala" was coming, but
yet there's still never a way you can prepare for it. Well, I guess
you could change the channel, but that's not an option for me when
I'm doing this. One more day to go! USA-Canada hockey by day, Closing
Ceremonies by night. See you then!