Thursday, February 10, 2022
Let it go.
Todd Richards lets his storm rage on, the Flying Tomato says you'll never see him cry, and the men's halfpipe snowboarders test the limits and break through. The cold never bothered us anyway in Beijing. Let's get started!
- We start tonight with Nathan Chen's medal ceremony. Oh wait. No we don't. We start with a repeat of Nathan Chen's winning free skate program from last night. I just said two days ago that I didn't want NBC to make a habit of replaying figure skating. Some people missed it because it was on too late? Too bad! I counted this as events the other night but tonight I'm counting it as fluff.
- Elton John tweeted about Nathan winning the gold while skating to his songs. Or, at least, his media team did. Do you think Elton John knows how to use Twitter? Or wants to? Talk amongst yourselves.
- Now we go to Chloe Kim's medal ceremony. What happened to Nathan's? That's a pretty big oversight by NBC, don't you think? They spend an entire week hyping Nathan Chen and then fail to show his moment of medal glory. Anyway, does Chloe sing? No, but she smiles. She's no Lindsey Jacobellis but she's got a few more Olympics to perfect that.
- And now for the last ever Shaun White fluff. It's just a bunch of video clips of him snowboarding. The Flying Tomato only gets one minute of fluff.
- And now, 30 minutes into NBC's coverage, we're FINALLY watching an event. We are LIVE at the Men's Halfpipe to see if Shaun White can get yet another gold. He's not the favorite tonight, but would you count out the man who's won three gold medals?
- Valentino Guseli of Australia was 10 months old when Shaun White won his first gold medal. Now they're competitors. Maybe the Flying Tomato should tell that punk kid to get off his halfpipe! After the first run, Guseli is in second place and White is in fourth.
- Kaishu Hirano jumps so high that commentator Todd Harris says he could see Hong Kong from up there. Is that free Hong Kong or occupied Hong Kong, Todd? He needs to be careful or he's going to get deported.
- Shaun sticks his second run and is currently in second place. When he walks back to the holding area, there are dozens of people all doing the same thing: holding up their phones and recording themselves while they fist-bump White. He may not be the leader, but he's the star.
- Ayumu Hirano does a bunch of fancy tricks and gets some big air while analyst Todd Richards gushes about his performance. "We may never see another run this good, ever," exclaims Todd. Ever? That seems doubtful. Todd claims this is the gold medal run and will score a 98, easily. Actual score: 91.75, good for second place. Todd proclaims the judges are in error. Who am I going to trust, NBC's analyst or a panel full of judges? Even after the break, Todd maintains he is right and the judges are wrong. Let it go, Todd!
- After another break, Todd is STILL talking about it. I'm not saying that Olympic judges can never be wrong, because we all know they can, but since Todd Richards gushes about everyone who makes a clean run, it's hard to see what is different about this time. I'm not going to Google Todd, but I imagine he looks like this.
- We're STILL talking about it. Now Todd is showing us the scoring breakdown for the six judges. Unlike Todd's prediction, no one had Hirano above a 96. And all the scores are pretty consistent. Even the Japanese judge only gave him a 95. I just don't see the problem here.
- Shaun's last run! Ever! Ohhhhh… he wipes out a landing in the middle. And since he's in fourth now, he will not medal. Obviously not what he was hoping for, but fourth place in your fifth Olympics ain't too bad.
- On Ayumu Hirano's last run, Todd Harris says the judges are probably thinking, "Did we get it wrong?" Why would they be thinking that? Can they hear Todd Richards whining from the announcer booth? Anyway, Hirano's run looks really good. Is it good enough for gold? I hope so, because I don't think I can take any more of Richards' complaining. It is! It's the heaviest run that has ever been done, says Richards. Ugh. Shut up!
- We are now LIVE for the Women's Super-G, where Mikaela Shiffrin gets another shot at gold. A bunch of skiers from Alpine countries are going first, but let's be honest, the only reason any of us are watching is to see if Mikaela can make it down the run tonight. She does! But she's a slalom skier, not a speed skier. She finishes eighth. But she finishes. She still has two more races where she could medal.
- Hey! There IS another American in this race. Isabella Wright finishes 21st, but this is her first race back after an injury. That's right, her first race back is in the Olympics. After she finishes, we get an interview with Mikaela. She said she was relieved to make it down the hill. I'll bet. She's in a much better mood than the other night. Wouldn't you be?
- Another American, Alix Wilkinson, is the 28th skier down the hill. Does she have a chance to win? No. She misses some gates about halfway down. She was going fast, though. I guess that's why she missed the gate.
- Realistically, you'd think that none of these later skiers had a chance to win, but in 2018 Ester Ledecka from the Czech Republic won gold after starting 26th. But that's the exception that proves the rule. None of these people are going to do that today, right?
- Keely Cashman is the last American down the hill. Also no chance, but go Keely!
- Two Swiss skiers and one Austrian fill up the podium. There are still chump skiers coming down the hill, but do they have a chance? No.
- Russian Crime Syndicate figure skater Kamila Valiyeva is suspended. Or not. Or she is. There were suspensions, appeals, re-suspensions and re-appeals. I don't even understand what just happened. Long story short, she could still be skating in the women's competition. Or not. No one knows.
- Shaun White gets his last ever post-race interview. He's emotional. He says he's going to ugly cry. Seeing the way he's reacting is going to get a lot of people ugly crying. He congratulates Ayumu without spending 20 minutes complaining about the judging. Maybe he could be NBC's 2026 analyst!
That's all for tonight from this kingdom of isolation where it looks like Xi's the king. See you for more tomorrow!
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