SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2018
ICE DANCING VS. FIGURE SKATING, EXPLAINED
The differences can be explained in two simple sentences.
- Tonight is the longest broadcast of NBC's Olympics with five hours of coverage. Let's get right into it!
- At the sliding track, it's time for the two-man bobsled. The Canadians are the first team we see and they set a new track record! This has happened a lot this year. Setting a new track record really isn't that impressive when the track is brand new. As the first round ends, one other team has set a new track record. Expect more to fall in the next three rounds.
- To speed skating, where American Erin Jackson had never even been on ice skates less than two years ago, and now she's racing in the Women's 500-Meters. Less than two years ago I was making snarky comments about the Olympics on a blog. I've wasted my life.
- American Brittany Bowe ties for first! Or so you think. It turns out that even though the Olympics only shows speed skating times down to the hundredths of seconds, they actually keep time down to thousandths. So they check and Bowe is in first place all by herself! Or at least, she is until Japan's Nao Kodaira skates. Kodaira hasn't lost this event in two years, and she doesn't lose it here, either. Ultimately, Kodaira and three other skaters finish ahead of Bowe's time, so those thousandths of a second are meaningless.
- New sports, LIVE! Tonight is the debut of the Women's Snowboarding Big Air. It's sort of like the ski jump for snowboarders, except they also have artistic scores for the tricks they do when they're in the air. Like the other snowboarding sports, they'll do more than one run, but only the best score counts. After several runs, I have to say I'm underwhelmed. I'm not really seeing any jumps here that we didn't already see in the Slopestyle event, and at least in that we got more than one jump per athlete. Maybe they're all holding back on the first round today and they'll pull out all the stops on the second run.
- So, while we're watching the Big Air, did you watch anything this afternoon? I did! I wasn't planning on watching the Men's 15km Mass Start Biathlon, but the combination of skiing and shooting sucked me in. And it was worth it, because this nine-mile-plus cross-county race ended up in a photo finish! France's Martin Fourcade beat Germany's Simon Schempp by the length of his foot. And had the race been one meter longer, Schempp probably would have won because he was faster in the stretch. Skiing, guns, and drama! Excellent!
- Back to the bobsled for American Justin Olsen's second run. He finished the first run in 12th place because, he said, he was sloppy. This run was better. He's currently in first, but there are a lot of sleds that follow him.
Boom! The Germany 3 sled crosses the finish line on its side, as driver Nico Walther hit the last turn too wide. Remarkably, it doesn't affect his time because the finish line was right at the exit of that turn. Even more remarkable is he's in first place. And even MORE remarkable, there was a GoPro in the nose of that sled and NBC has the replay. This is like NASCAR on ice. All we're watching for is the onboard crash replays.
- LIVE skiing! Both Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin will be racing right now in the Women's Downhill. Wait! My mistake! This is the women's downhill TRAINING. Reporter Steve Porino tells us that Vonn and Shiffrin have two of the United State's four slots locked up, but the other two slots that the US has are up for grabs, and the US coaches determine who gets them. These practice runs could be the deciding factor. While I appreciate that NBC is making an extra effort to show us things that are live instead of pre-recorded, I don't know if training runs were what I had in mind.
- Back to Big Air! Meh. I'm still not that impressed, but this is just a qualifying round, so hopefully the real tricks will come tomorrow.
- Time to pay the bills! Off we go to ice dancing short program, LIVE! I know what you're thinking. You're asking yourself, what is the difference between ice dancing and pairs figure skating? The answer is really quite simple. In pairs figure skating, the emphasis is placed on technical perfection and athletic maneuvers. In ice dancing, the emphasis is placed on making the female partner look hot.
- The Shib Sibs are back and skate really well, earning them first place in the current standings.
- Gabriella Papdakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France are dancing through the streets of Montreal, because… you know, these fluff pieces get worse every year. There's just nothing here. The won a world championship in 2015, and now they're the favorites. And they work hard. And they want to win. And blah blah blah… So what? Every team works hard and wants to win. Where's the pathos? There's almost nothing in this story that sets them apart from any other skaters in this competition. This is like a weak video-editing project turned in by an NBC intern. At least Jimmy Roberts used to milk these things for false emotion. This fluff piece was the video equivalent of a middle school student padding his essay to reach 1,000 words.
- Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada are the first team to knock the Shib Sibs out of first place, probably because of their occult-based music selection.
- Papdakis and Cizeron have the same wardrobe malfunction at the beginning of their skate that South Korea's Yura Min had last week. Wouldn't you think that everybody would be double-checking their clasps given that it just happened to someone else? They still got second place, but for lack of a clasp they were denied first.
- We're back in the studio with Mike Tirico, Tara Lipinski, and Johnny Weir, and they're going to talk about K-Pop, Korean pop music. Everyone knows Gangnam Style (just look at the top of this page), but Tara and Johnny interview Eric Nam, an Atlanta native who now records K-Pop in Korea. Then they all go sing karaoke. Again, not a lot of substance here, but they don't do a bad job. Back in the studio on another subject, Johnny mentions he doesn't like short track speed skating because he's always worried about someone catching a blade in their face. That's the best part, Johnny!
I like that NBC showed live things today, but skiing practices and the Big Air just weren't that impressive. I'm wondering if the ski practice happened because of postponements in the alipine races, but I don't know if that was the case. Anyway, at least they tried. See you tomorrow!