Will avoids COVID
That's What Xi Said

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The biggest Olympic name isn't even here.

But it is his birthday and he's so important that we've added a new category to the Olympic Watch.
  • We start tonight not with Mike Tirico, but instead with Craig Melvin. Mike is on his way back to the United States to cover the Super Bowl. Just in case you're wondering what the biggest sporting event in the world is, it's not the one you're leaving, it's the one you're going to.
  • How about some cross-country skiing? It's the pre-recorded Women's Sprint semi-final, a one-lap race of a 0.9 mile course. America's Rosie Brennan is in the first semi-final. She finishes third, which doesn't automatically qualify her for the medal race, but her time does. In semi-final 2, Jessie Diggins of the US, who won a gold in a team event in PyeongChang, finishes second in her heat. In the final, three of the final six skiers are Swedes, two are Americans, and the last skier is Swiss. Gold and silver go to Swedes, but Diggins makes history by winning the first-ever US individual cross-country medal by getting the bronze. Yay, Jessie!
  • We are LIVE at the Women's Halfpipe, where Chloe Kim of the US will try to defend her PyeongChang gold medal. These are just the qualifying runs, so don't expect to see anything spectacular here. All the good boarders hold back their good stuff. Today they just want to ski clean and finish in the top 12. Kim does and is the leader.
  • Mike Tirico interviews Shaun White. You're not the favorite, says Mike. How does that feel? Shaun doesn't like it. His body hurts because he's old. Can he compete with the young guys? He's being coy. You can almost see him wanting to tell all these young punks to get off his halfpipe. Fluff!
  • Enough halfpipe, let's go LIVE to Women's Slalom, where Mikaela Shiffrin will look to redeem herself after slipping on the Giant Slalom the other day. Interesting trivia: Mikaela's coach was the one who set the gates for this race. So we know who to blame if she doesn't win.
  • OH NO! I was joking when I said she could blame her coach, but five seconds into the race Mikaela mistimed the fourth gate and slid off the course. Now she's sitting on the side of the ski run with her head in her hands, stunned. And… still sitting. And STILL sitting. I mean, I sympathize with her situation, but she's been sitting on the side of the course for over nine minutes now. Don't the Olympic officials need to get her off the course so they can continue? Apparently not. They're running skiers down the mountain while she sits by the snow fence gettin consoled by her coach. We leave the event and Mikaela is still sitting there 13 minutes later. I don't know that I've ever seen anything like that.
  • Remember Nathan Chen's highest-ever-scoring short program from last night? No? Well, it was on late, so maybe you were sleeping. Not to worry! NBC wants you to see it tonight, so we're going to watch it right now. How do I categorize this? It's not really fluff because it IS an event, but do we want to endorse NBC doing endless replays of figure skating in the future? Team Rockwood will allow it this time, but let's not make a habit of this.
  • Steve Kornacki is back to point at screens and talk about numbers for the Men's Free Skate final coming up tomorrow night. Nathan Chen has a big lead and it will be hard for anyone to catch him. It takes three-and-a-half minutes to say this in a more complicated way.
  • Craig takes a moment to note the music playing behind NBC's Olympic coverage. Olympic Fanfare and The Olympic Spirit are written by John Williams. Yes, the Star Wars John Williams. Today is his 90th birthday. Should this be fluff? Possibly, but I will never consider anything John Williams does fluff, so we might need to come up with another category just for today. That's one minute of awesomeness.
  • Back to the industrial area LIVE for Men's Free Ski Big Air final. We missed American Colby Stevenson's jump because we were in commercial. Seriously, NBC, why not run a picture-in-picture commercial after each jumper while they're standing there doing nothing but waiting for their score? You'd get in twice as many ads and you wouldn't have to interrupt any action.
  • Speaking of Stevenson, Colby rolled his truck six years ago and broke a bunch of bones. He's standing next to a model skeleton to show us all the bones that were broken. A lot of them, it turns out. He's better now and says the accident made him a better skier. Fluff.
  • Norway has a skier named Christian Nummedal. Christian No Medal? That's an unfortunate name for an Olympic athlete.
  • Colby has a good second run with no broken bones. Isn't it weird he broke all his bones inside a truck and not by flying 30 feet in the air and landing on the side of the mountain?
  • Mikaela update. Lewis Johnson interviews her at the bottom of the slope and she's still broken up about not finishing the slalom earlier. Lewis says she sat on the slope for 25 minutes and listening to her talk, I can believe it. She still has three races to go in these games. I have to think that the next one is going to be a high-pressure situation for her.
  • Back to Big Air LIVE. Spain's Javier Lliso does his jump and after he gets his score NBC followed him behind the scenes. He went straight to a teleconferencing stand where he got to see his family. That's pretty cool. That's a little bit of consolation for China locking down the planet with a virus they failed to control.
  • Colby makes his final run and is currently in second place. Great job, Colby! Nummedal goes next and lands… on his face. No medal for Nummedal. Colby ends up with silver. Yay!
  • Medal count time! The US still has no gold.

You thought it was going to be Mike Tirico, didn't you? Don't overlook John Williams! See you tomorrow!

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