SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2018
FUN WITH MATH AND GEOMETRY
It's math hysteria in PyeongChang.
- Day two of the PyeongChang games jumps right into the action with LIVE Team Figure Skating. What is team figure skating, you ask? Well, there was men's figure skating, and women's figure skating, and pairs' figure skating, and the Olympics wanted another variation to create some more advertising dollars, so they invented team figure skating. So it's a money grab. But at least it's live, so who am I to complain about live events?
- Announcer Trace Worthington says that this is the second time this event has been in the Olympics, the first time being four years ago in Sochi. What? I don't believe that. I would remember something like…
Oh wait. Lookie here. I made a comment about it being a money grab four years ago, too. Well, I guess I just blocked that out of my memory. Let's see if I remember this post four years from now when I've forgotten about team ice skating again.
- Ice skating now for Korea are Yura Min and Alex Gamelin, who were both born in the United States and applied for Korean citizenship so they could skate in the Olympics. If they win, does the US get a fraction of a medal?
- Mary Carillo is here for the first time in these Games to tell us about the heartwarming story of Korea's women's hockey team, which is combining players from both North and South Korea. She asks one player, Park Yoonjung, what she thinks about the meshing of two countries and she responds in perfect English about how they're all one Korean people. Why is her English so good? Yoonjung was born in Korea, but was adopted by a Minnesota family when she was four months old. She's an American citizen. Again, does part of any medal they win go back to the US? Well, the Swiss beat the Koreans 8-0, so that probably isn't going to happen. "They didn't win," says Mary, "But at least they played as one." Fluff!
- To short-track speed skating for the women's 500 meter race. American Maame Biney finishes second in her heat, but the best part is when they show a replay of her father in the crowd. He stands up and cheers the entire race while the woman seated behind him leans one way then the other trying to get a glimpse of the event she bought a ticket for. Tough luck, lady!
- Off to the mountains for the men's downhill. NOT! There are high winds, so it's being postponed until Thursday. Thus NBC is being forced to show us more live events. The horror! So back to the team ice skating we go.
- Americans Maia and Alex Shibutani are a brother-sister team known as the "Shib Sibs." The get 30 seconds of fluff on how much they trust each other. A lot, it seems. At least this segment was short.
- They skate very well, but Trace and commentator Tanith White are concerned about the tiny boxes under the score bug that change green (good), yellow (under review), or red (bad). They have too many yellows, says Tanith. I don't know what any of this means. Figure skating needs to have giant red X's like Family Feud if they want me to know when something bad has happened.
- During the Italian ice skater's program, NBC cuts to a high camera angle that I haven't seen before. This gives me an idea: why doesn't anyone ever install a Skycam in the figure skating arena? I'm sure there's some kind of fear of it dropping on the skater's heads, but I think that element of danger would be just the kind of boost this sport needs.
- Canadian's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skate to the Rolling Stone's "Sympathy for the Devil," the Eagles' "Hotel California," and Santana's "Black Magic Woman." Are they Olympic champions due to practice or due to secret deals with the occult? Finally, ice skating's dark underbelly has been revealed!
- Every time Tanith White says "twizzle" I think of this.
- While wrapping up the team skating segment, Trace makes a comment that he doesn't know if Virtue and Moir need any more practice. Why would they need to, Trace? They've already sold their souls.
- All right, brah! It's time for the Men's Slopestyle! Gnarly! How did NBC not hire Pepper Brooks to do color commentary on this sport? NBC had to have a graphic explaining math to the audience (a 1080 is three rotations, etc.). That's great, but let's take it up another level. They should express all of these rotations in terms of pi. "That was a six pi jump, Pepper! That's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him."
- Todd Richards, the actual analyst for Slopestyle, says that most of the names of snowboarding's tricks come from skateboarding. This leads me to the question, why isn't skateboarding an Olympic sport? They won't get as much air as they do here on the slope, but it sure seems like you could make a case for it.
- Seventeen-year-old American Red Gerard makes an eight-pi-pitch, four-pi-roll maneuver and gets the lead for the gold medal. Can he hold on to it? Max Parrot of Canada does well, and Richards lets us know "there's no need to break out the abacus." That's China, Todd. Wrong country. But abacus or no, it's not enough for Parrot. Red wins gold! Then he swears, because he's seventeen, so Mike Tirico has to apologize to the viewers back in the studio. I think America will forgive him.
- Wait, there's still more ice skating? Yes, because the first part tonight was ice dancing, and now we're watching the Ladies' short program portion of the team ice skating. This is all too confusing for me. Do we have the Family Feud X's yet? How about a big gong ala the Gong Show? Anyway, Tanith White is out of the booth and Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are in, so the rest of the evening will be FAB-U-LOUSSSSS!
- THE INCREDIBLES II HAD A COMMERCIAL AND WILL HAVE A SPECIAL PREVIEW ON WEDNESDAY!! Yes, I'm yelling in real life.
- While Lipinski and Weir are two-headed monsters. When they're not doing commentary, they're just goofy attention hogs. But when they ARE doing commentary, they are literally as good as it gets in figure skating. Weir is fantastic at breaking down exactly what the judges take off points for. Whereas I need a big red X to tell if anything has gone wrong, Weir can see a skate blade one-quarter of a turn (that's one-half pi) out of position. Weir the attention hog is a little annoying, but Weir the analyst is fascinating.
Only five minutes of fluff? Hours of live event coverage? American medals? C'mon! What more do you want? Great job, NBC!