Can Shaun White be the Michael Phelps of the Winter Games?

  • Let's start tonight with some Shaun White fluff? When, he asks himself, did he get over Sochi? He never got over Sochi! Just like he never got over Macho Grande.
  • Enough of that, let's check out the speed skating. American Shani Davis will represent in the 1,500-meters. Shani spent a lot of time earlier in the Olympics protesting that he didn't get to carry the flag in the Opening Ceremonies. He should have spent that time resting. He finishes seventh here. Brian Hansen from Illinois skates next – or at least is edited to be next (this isn't live)– but doesn't do much better. Sixth place for him. The next two skaters are Takuru Oda from Japan and Kjeld Nuis from the Netherlands. Given this is tape-delayed, one of these guys will probably win gold. That's the only reason to show a race that features no Americans. Sure enough, Nuis blazes into first place with a track record. Next up is Korea's Kim Min-seok and Latvia's Haralds Silovs. Will home cooking get the gold? Well, no. But Min-seok skates well and is currently in third. A home bronze would be exciting for the home crowd.
  • The Google commercials with Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are cute. He still looks like Pee Wee Herman, though.
  • The last pair of the day features Joey Mantia, America's best hope for a medal according to analyst Joey Cheek. Unfortunately, this isn't the US's year. He finishes eighth. Korea gets a bronze, so they're happy.
  • You are looking LIVE at the Men's Halfpipe Final! Have I mentioned how much I like the skycap following the boarders down the length of the halfpipe? I like it a lot.

    Wow. I guess Shaun really ISN'T over Sochi. Out of 100 points maximum, he gets a 94.25 on his first run. Everyone else seemed to be skiing for position. Shaun is skiing to win.
  • Speaking of which, Mike Tirico interviews Shaun White in a bit of fluff. Maybe he needed to lose in Sochi, he says, in order to get to Korea. He rededicated himself, overcame some setbacks, faced some hardships… it's basically every comeback story ever written. Fluff.
  • Oof! Yuto Totsuka of Japan smashes into the edge of the halfpipe on the landing and falls 20 feet to the ground below. And since this is live, that means now we're in an injury time out while the medics attend to him. When you see all of these athletes making all of the incredible maneuvers it's easy to forget that what they're doing is incredibly dangerous. Shaun White cut his forehead open in his fluff segment. This was your live reminder it can happen to anyone.
  • A few boarders later, Raibu Katayama of Japan lands funny and… bites his tongue? Hit his chin on his knee? Whatever happened, he aborted the rest of his run. The Japanese team better be careful or they're going to not going to have any athletes left. Ayumu Hirano breaks the Japanese jinx and moves into first place with a 95.25! Shaun still has two runs left, but now it's a competition.

    And the Flying Tomato busts on a landing on run two. He's still in second place, but it's going to come down to his last run.
  • While we wait for round three, Dan Hicks and Bode Miller update us on the women's slalom. It ain't happening. Once again high winds have postponed the event. So tomorrow it's looking like it will be non-stop skiing. Not too shabby if you like live events!
  • More Tomato fluff. It's a clip show of his previous Olympic triumphs and failures. What will happen tonight? We'll find out live after the next commercial break!
  • Todd Richards, NBC's analyst for snowboarding, clearly loves the sport, which is good, but he almost always seems in awe of each boarder's first trick. I mean, they are awesome to me, but he really needs to give me some perspective. Not everyone can be awesome, Todd. If everyone's super, no one is.

    Katayama makes another run. He doesn't bang his chin this time, but while we wait to see how he did, Todd tells us that if we're wondering how the scoring works, "the bigger the number, the bigger the score." Thanks, Todd. I don't know if I would have been able to figure that one out by myself.
  • Hirano falls on his third run. Scotty James of Australia falls on his, too. Now it's up to Shaun White as the last boarder. He can't do worse than silver, but if he beats 95.25 he'll win gold and justify all of NBC's fluff programming tonight. Can he do it?
  • It sure looked good to me! Now we just have to see if it has a bigger number, and thus, a bigger score. 97.75! It's bigger! Shaun White wins gold on the last run! And that's great, but Shaun, don't drag the flag on the ground. That's a faux pas.
  • But now it's time for some more live ice skating. Shaun White won just in time for us to see the American pair of Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and her husband Chris Knierim skate their short program. Tara and Johnny said they didn't do too well, but they did skate to music from Moulin Rouge, so I'll give them a higher score. Not that my input means anything to the judges.
  • Back to the halfpipe for live Shaun White reactions at his not-medal ceremony. He's just running around crying and laughing and hugging everybody. And then he gets what all Olympic athletes work so hard for… a small stuffed Olympic mascot animal. Just give him the medal already!
  • Let's talk about women! Natalie Morales joins Mike Tirico in the studio to talk about the impact that women have made in the Olympic games. Did you know that the reason up-close-and-personal segments first appeared on Olympic broadcasts was to pander to women under the false belief that that was the only way they could enjoy sports? And here we are, decades later, with a fluff piece that celebrates women. Apparently nothing has changed.
  • Next up on the ice are the North Korean skaters, Kim Ju-sik and Ryom Tae-ok, skate to the North Korean national anthem. Or maybe it was something by the Beatles.
  • Reporter Tina Dixon interviews Shaun White post-celebration. He's still happy. Now NBC is just milking it. Fluff!
  • Why was the Tomato's interview fluff? When we come back from break we see highlights of the live figure skating we just missed because we were watching Shaun White smile. So we missed live events for an interview that could have been shown literally any time.
  • Chinese skaters Sui Wenjing and Han Cong perform to a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." Did you know there are over 300 cover versions of this song? I know this is at least the second time someone has used it at the Olympics. I wonder what the final count will be?
  • Andrea Joyce interviews the Knierim's and Alexa shows off the paper valentine Chris made her. Awwwww…. they're so cute! Still, fluff.
  • Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are performing to a cover of U2's "With Or Without You" performed by April Meservy and Aaron Esdon. Is my knowledge of music so good that I know every cover version of every song ever? No. I used Shazam. I just wanted to see if it could pick up the song over all the background cheering and Tara's commentary. And it did! How does that even work? I suspect black magic.
  • Say anything bad about most Russian athletes (dopers, cheaters, etc.) and I'll probably support you. But when it comes time to put some dancers on the ice and set it to classical music, man, does someone in that country know what they're doing. Tara and Johnny think they came off cold. Well, yeah… they're Russians. It's cold! The Olympic Athletes From Russia, Natalia Zabiyako and Alexander Enbert, are currently in sixth place.
  • The show is running long, so the last ten minutes were ad free! Can't complain about that!

Watching the ice skating pairs short program was kind of anti-climactic after seeing Shaun White win a medal on the final run, but I guess when you're watching live events, it would be bad form to complain. See you for more, tomorrow!


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