SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2018
THE KOREAN BALLAD OF JOHN HENRY
We're watching a night full of events, Lord, Lord.
- We start tonight with the Women's Skeleton, an pre-recorded event where Americans will have almost no chance. You know what I like best about the skeleton? Korea spent millions of dollars on the track and facilities and the teams spent millions of dollars in preparation, yet the way they stop the skeleton sleds at the end of the track is with a couple of rolled-up, foam-rubber mattress liners.
- LIVE at the mountain, Mike Tirico promises us a half-hour of uninterrupted skiing with the first run of the Men's Giant Slalom. The Team Rockwood timers are on, Mike! We're counting!
- The first three skiers get down fine, but skier number four, Austria's Manuel Feller, plows through the very last gate, flies off the course, and smashes into the barriers right in front of the spectators. But he did stop the clock! I mean, not officially, since he missed the gate and was off the course. But you can't deny he finished with style.
- Skier number six missed a gate at the top, then two skiers later, Italy's Luca De Aliprandini flies off the course and smashes into the snow fence. It looks a lot like he hurt his knee, so NBC takes an injury time out. That breaks Mike Tirico's promise because we only made it 20 minutes, but this is an acceptable excuse.
- Ligety! Ligety! Ligety! Ted is skier number nine down the mountain and… oof. He's over two seconds back. Well, at least he still has all his ligaments. Dan Hicks tells us that Ligety has the sixth fastest time so far. Well, he's number nine, and three people didn't make it down, so that means he's in last place. Ugh.
- For those of you who went to be early last night, you missed the upset of the games, Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic winning the Women's Super G. Don't feel too bad, NBC missed it too. So now Dan and Bode are doing some next-day analysis. The coolest thing was they had a video of Ledecka superimposed over the presumed winner, Anna Veith, so you could see just how close the two were. Ledecka won the over-a-mile race by less than a foot. Nice work, NBC!
- To the lower slope, for Men's Slopestyle skiing. This is just a qualifying round, so no medals today.
- America's Gus Kenworthy will be skiing his run with a hematoma on his hip and a broken thumb. He still ends up in fourth. Maybe if he gets a few more injuries before the finals he can actually win!
- Ski jumping! We're on the Men's Large Hill. Will we get to see the thrill of victory, or the agony of defeat? I don't know, but Norway's Robert Johansson should win just for his mustache. He doesn't win gold, but he does get a bronze. I guess he should have had more aerodynamic facial hair.
- Back for the finals of the Women's Skeleton. There are no Americans left with a chance at winning, so NBC will probably only show us five or six sliders, just enough for the winner not to be too obvious. I was wrong. We only saw four sliders. But one of them was the winner, Great Britain's Lizzie Yarnold, who is now the only British athlete to ever have two winter gold medals. That's pretty amazing.
- Oh no, it's… oh. No, it's not Apolo Ohno in the Men's 1,000-meter Short Track Speed Skating qualifying rounds, but he will be commenting on it. This is such a great sport. It has speed, power, strategy, and danger. What more could you want? John Henry Krueger of the United States qualifies for the final round. As you would expect. John Henry is a speed skating man, oh Lord. John Henry is a speed skating man.
- Back to slopestyle skiing. McRae Williams of the US dislocated his shoulder in mid-air! How do you even do that? Is there any American skier here who isn't hurt? Only the top 12 qualify for the finals, so he gets knocked soon after. But Kenworthy appears to have overcome his injuries enough to make it into seventh place.
- More short track skating, this time for a medal. It's the Women's 1,500-meter final. This sport is huge in South Korea and there are two Korean women in the final. You would think that in a seven-skater race, they should be able to get at least one medal. I'm just looking forward to the crowd going insane if they do. With about four laps to go, home-country woman Choi-Min Jeong makes an outside move so fast that she skates the last lap-and-a-half in the lead all by herself. The crowd probably didn't go as nuts as they would have had it been close, but it was still fun to watch.
- Next up is the Men's 1,000-meter final. It's John Henry trying to make good for America. They're off! And it's close all the way through, but with two laps to go, three skaters go down and John Henry is left standing to get the silver!
Oh when John Henry was a little tiny baby
Sitting on his mama's knee,
He picked up a skate and a spandex leotard
Saying "Skating's gonna be success for me, Lord, Lord
Skating's gonna be success for me."
John Henry made it to Korea,
Was the second-fastest skater in the land,
Went back home with a silver medal
There goes a speed skating man, Lord, Lord.
There goes a speed skating man.
- LIVE in the studio, Mike Tirico talks to the US men's figure skating team, Nathan Chen, Vincent Zhou, and Adam Rippon. This needs to be live? Couldn't they have taped this whole thing and put it online? There's nothing revealing here. It's just an interview, but it counts as the only five minutes of fluff for the entire night. Kind of a shame to end that way.
Only five minutes of fluff is still pretty good, but zero would have been better. In any case, who knows what will inspire Team Rockwood to poetry tomorrow? The only way to know is to come back and see!