Saturday, February 5, 2022
How to be hated by everyone.
Thinking of turning your back on your home country? Sometimes it doesn't work out.
- Tara Lapinski starts the night out with some fluff. What does it take to win? An edge! Both skis and skates have edges. It's all so edgy! And fluff. Let's get started.
- Like the Tokyo games, the time difference between the US and China will sometimes work to our advantage because early morning events can be broadcast live. So do we start with a live event? Nope! Instead it's women's short-track speed skating, the roller derby of the Olympics. Maame Biney of the US takes third in this 500M heat. The top two racers automatically qualify, but Biney can still advance if her time is fast enough. American Kristen Santos wins her heat and Biney's time is fast enough. Both skaters advance.
- Can we talk about the US speed skaters uniforms? Why are they mostly black and white? The Poles uniforms are national colors. So are the Russians, the Belgians, Japan… everybody! Why isn't the US in red, white, and blue? This is the same designer disease that plagues college football uniforms. Stop it! Use the right colors!
- New sports! The Mixed Team Relay in short track speed skating has five person teams (two women and three men) racing 500 meters each. The US got themselves disqualified in the prelims, so we'll have to choose between Canada, Italy, and Hungary as to who we want to beat China. Of course, since this one isn't live, it doesn't really matter who we root for. It's too late! China wins by half a skate.
- Terry Gannon joins Tara Lapinski and Johnny Weir for the skating events. Tara is excited that Terry has a single rhinestone on his black suit. Johnny is dressed like a panda. Not a panda suit, he's wearing all black-and-white and his hair is all gelled up like panda ears.
- Time to pay the bills! We are LIVE for the Women's Short program portion of Team Figure Skating. First up is America-born Zhu Yi from Los Angeles, California! U-S-A! U-S-A! Oh wait. She gave up her US citizenship to compete for China. Boooo! Skate for the country that brought you, Zhu! Yi falls, so now she's disappointed two countries.
- Tara tells us we can follow along with the figure skating judges with the handy scoring box in the upper left. Once again, Tara has far overestimated my ability to follow along with how figure skating is judged. Here's what I know: falling down is bad, landing is good. Beyond that I know nothing. Tara says green is good and red is bad. Two colors. Yeah, I can follow that. Now I know two things!
- Let's take a second to appreciate Terry, Tara, and Johnny. When they're in the studio, Tara and Johnny are complete goofballs. They look like they'd be a total dumpster fire. But the second they're in the booth, it's like a switch is flipped. They're perfect for commentary. They know when to talk and when to lay out. And when they do talk it's actually informative, not just filler like "they really need to land this jump!" It's rare that an announcing team works this well together. NBC should have put them in the Opening Ceremonies. Would that be a safe idea for NBC? No. But it would be more fun than the boring team they had last night.
- Mike Tirico takes us around the games. At cross country, the Chinese Uyghur athlete who held the torch last night (I refuse to say she lit the cauldron because that torch lighting was a joke) got to ski in her race. She finished 43rd. She was probably exhausted by gently placing the torch into its holder. The US and China curling teams exchanged Olympic pins. Make sure you sanitize those first, US!. Elana Meyers Taylor, American bobsleigher, has cleared COVID protocols and will be eligible to race. Good news!
- Now up, American-born Karen Chen from Fremont, California. U-S-A! U-S-A! Wait… which country is she representing? The one who brought you! Good job, Karen! Oof. She falls. The one thing I know is bad. Chen ends up in fifth.
- Russian Kamila Valiyeva skates a great program and Tara tells Terry, "She just doesn't miss. It's like she's programmed." Uh-oh. A programmed Russian athlete? That can't be good. Just be careful if she tells someone that she must break them after the next round.
- Will we have LIVE Men's Downhill? Not right now, says Mike. It's too windy! So instead we'll go to PRE-RECORDED Women's Snowboard Slopestyle final. An interesting feature on this is that a lot of the obstacles made of snow look like the Great Wall of China. Okay, the Chinese Communist Party is despicable, but this is pretty clever. Kudos to the run designer. And some more kudos to NBC's camera crew, who sent a boarder through the run with a GoPro to show us just how fast and how high the boarders go through the course. Very nice!
- In the official scoring language of slopestyle, there are three ways to score a landing: successful, fall, and "sketchy." I don't know if I can completely respect a sport that uses "sketchy" as an official term.
- Zoi Sadowski-Synnott wins New Zealand's first ever Winter Olympics gold medal. American Julie Marino wins silver.
- Back at the downhill… there's still no downhill. Windy! But maybe soon!
- With the downhill on hold, we go back to the rink for more LIVE Team Figure Skating. Except they're not ready. After all, there was supposed to be skiing in this spot to fill the gap. So how about some fluff for Vincent Zhou! His family was originally from China so this is special for him. Awwww! Fluff.
- Is there some kind of rule now that figure skaters must skate to a sad cover of a pop song? I guess it's moved on from just happening in movie trailers. Lighten up, people! This is supposed to be fun!
- Vincent skates. He finishes third, but there are still more rounds left for the rest of the team. I guess we'll see those tomorrow.
Overall, a pretty good day as far as fluff goes. I'm betting there might have been some high-quality fluff that NBC had in store for the Men's Downhill, but since the event didn't happen, neither did the fluff. Maybe they'll bring it in tomorrow. See you then!
Back to home