SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2018
HOPE YOU LIKE FIGURE SKATING
Other sports exist in the Olympics. NBC will show you just enough of them so you believe that.
- Tonight: ice skating! Or at least, we're going to start off by reminding you that Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir still exist. Would it be possible to forget them? Doubtful. So instead, let's go to the luge!
- The best part of the luge coverage? NBC put a GoPro on a sled so we could see what the course looks like from the driver's perspective. I was surprised at just how much the blades on the sled move. You don't notice that during the actual runs. Great job, NBC!
- The United States men have never won a medal in single's luge, but Chris Mazdzer is in fourth place going into tonight after two runs. And with his third run he… sets the track record! Well, that's a good start, isn't it? So after round three, he's in second. This is NOT live, so can we assume that just because this is edited to show all the leader's runs that the US is in for a treat tonight? On to round four!
We only see two lugers before Mazdzer, and there's only one after him, so that's a good sign. And… yes! He's in second place! He'll get a bronze at minimum, and if Germany's Felix Loch hits a wall, he could get silver! Loch is the last to go, and he… hits a wall! Loch, who has won three other gold medals in Olympic luging, doesn't even medal despite going into round four with the lead. Congrats, Chris!
- Off to women's moguls, which apparently isn't high enough in the mountains to be cancelled by wind and low temperatures. But that doesn't mean the weather wasn't a factor. None of the American skiers even made it to the final round. This is when NBC is glad they're not broadcasting this live. Instead they can just show us the winners and move on the ice skating.
- French skier Perrine Laffont makes her run and is greeted at the bottom of the run by a crowd of people and a giant chicken. Oh sure, some of you will insist it's just a person in a chicken suit, but you don't know what's going on in those secret North Korean labs. Perrine's run is good enough to win gold. Perhaps it's a lucky chicken.
- We leave the giant poultry behind and head back to the ice rink for live figure skating. Well, after a minute of Adam Rippon fluff. He's the American man skating in tonight's team event. He's confident! Well, he is in the Olympics, I guess he should be. A stumbling Russian and a first-timer Italian skater go first, and then it's Rippon's turn. We'll see if his confidence is misplaced. Second place. I guess not.
- Canadian Patrick Chan follows Rippon and has a fall and a stumble. That means he finished behind Rippon, right? Wrong, novice-figure-skater-watcher! His jumps were more difficult, and Johnny Weir told us earlier that harder jumps count for more points even if you miss them. You know, just like rushing for a touchdown is worth more points than catching a touchdown pass. Wait a minute… never mind. Is it too late to bring in the big red X's?
- Andrea Mitchell asks Adam Rippon some questions in a post-skate interview and he provides his own fluff. He moved to LA and lived in a shoebox and ate apples off the street… or something. I could see Mary Carillo taking this interview and blowing it up to a heartwarming six-minute piece, but since this is a post-event interview, it doesn't count as fluff.
- Back up to the luge run to interview Chris Mazdzer about his silver medal. He's happy! Go figure. Then we hop over to the medal ceremony for Red Gerard who won gold last night in the Men's Slopestyle. Will he sing? It looks like he tries a couple of times, but doesn't know the words. That's something to work on for 2022, Red!
- On top of the mountain, now the women's slalom has been postponed due to high winds and cold temperatures. Steve Porino is the unlucky NBC correspondent who gets to do the live shot from the top of the mountain telling everyone how cold it is.
- Now let's watch "The Miracle on Snow." A bunch of people fell down right at the beginning of the Men's 30km Cross Country ski race. I'm betting one of those guys is who comes back to win. Let's see if I'm right. Ding! Sure enough, Norway's Simen Hegstad Krueger went from last to first to win gold. Not to discount this too much, but he fell right at the beginning. He had more than 29 kilometers (18 miles) to get back in the race, and he made it into first place with 5km to go. Maybe he's just better than everyone else.
- Back to the rink! Now it's time for the ladies' freestyle program, where I can be further befuddled by the scoring system. Tara Lipinski tells us that in the second half of the programs, the skaters receive a 10 percent bonus for their technical elements. Of course they do. The more I hear about figure skating's scoring system, the more it sounds like Calvinball.
- American Mirai Nagasu goes first and does great. Announcer Terry Gannon wants us to bask in the glory of this personal triumph for Nagasu, and doesn't want to hear about the technical or component numbers. Why would he? The second rule of Calvinball is that any player may declare a new rule at any point in the game! Points are arbitrary!
- Canadian figure skater Gabrielle Daleman is next to go. I declare her the winner because she's skating to "Rhapsody in Blue," the greatest song ever written. This is Team Rockwood's addition to the figure skating rulebook. She actually finishes second (so far) to Nagasu. This is acceptable.
- Another interview with Adam Rippon. Now he's telling Mike Tirico a story about eating In-N-Out Burgers with his friend because they were upset they didn't qualify for the last Olympics. He's goofy, but excited to be here. Regardless, this is still fluff.
- The "Shib Sibs," Maia and Alex Shibutani, get some fluff. They're their own video producers, they have their own YouTube channel, and they're Facetime pals with a Korean schoolroom. They're America's brother-sister sweethearts! Fluff!
- More live ice dancing! Commentator Tanith White says to imagine how hard a twizzle is, go stand in your living room, pick up your foot with your hand, then put the other hand over your head, and spin in place. Yeah… you know, Tanith, I'm just going to take your word for it.
- The rest of the night is just live ice dancing. I don't really have anything to say. It's live events! Team Rockwood approves.
I can't say I would have programmed three hours of figure skating into a four-hour show, but NBC pays the bills, not me, so that's their prerogative. At least it was events. See you tomorrow!