Al Gore should include the Vancouver speed skating rink in the sequel to An Inconvenient Truth

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OLIVIER MORIN / AFP/Getty Images

Bode Miller is a name that you probably vaguely recognize.

I don’t want to pile on Vancouver. I’m not looking for cheap shots, really.

But. When you choose to host the Winter Olympics someplace that is WARMER THAN HOUSTON, TEXAS, in FEBRUARY, you have to know that you’re going to run into a little bit of criticism.

Because of the lack of snow anywhere, the Alpine Skiing events were postponed until today, creating all kinds of havoc for the schedule and NBC’s programming, which is bad enough. But then? The speed skating rink? Up and melted for no reason I can figure. Maybe they turned the heat up too high? Lord knows I sympathize — I have my heat on any time it drops below 70. But I’m also not hosting the WINTER OLYMPICS IN MY LIVING ROOM.

So.


Canada! It is majestic! Like the Olympic theme song! There are goats!

Bob Costas begins the evening by telling us what is coming up, blah blah blah gracefulness figure skating blah speed skating, blah blah POLAR BEARS! Wait, MARY CARILLO AND POLAR BEARS?!? BE STILL MY BEATING HEART!!! In thirty minutes? I CAN’T WAIT FOR THRITY MINUTES TO SEE MARY CARILLO BEING EATEN BY POLAR BEARS! Damn you, time! HURRY.

First we have to get through some Alpine skiing. So, you might have heard, they had to postpone the skiing on account of zero snow. On account of the fact that Vancouver is warmer than Houston right now. TRUE. THIS IS A TRUE FACT.

Alpine Skiing is one of those deceptive events where an average skiier is like, “I could do that,” but then every once in awhile they hit an edge and a ski flies up and you realize that they are going roughly 700 miles an hour and you’re like, yeah, maybe not so much.

Bode Miller! Bode Miller is a name that is familiar! Bode, who is a famous name, does well, so yay, America! Some Norwegian follows, and here’s a question: why are these Alpine skiiers so huge? Bode is 6’2″, this Norwegian is 6’4″, some other American dude was 6’4″….Mr. T, who is 6’5″ always attributed his inability to ski to his high center of gravity, but now I’m beginning to think that he’s just a spaz. ANYWAY, the giant Norwegian beats Bode’s time, which Bode handles gracefully instead of weeping and throwing snow into the Norwegian’s eye, which is certainly what I would have done.

OH LOOK! Hockey is tomorrow! Well, have fun with that, Bobby!

A Swiss gentleman, Didier Defago, whose height is a MYSTERY, comes out of nowhere to beat everyone’s time despite (because of?) looking like a giant candy cane. NBC does a package on his teammate, Didier Cuche, the favorite in this event. Cuche had a bad fall! He broke his thumb.

WAIT.

His thumb? He broke his thumb? And we’re worked up about this? IT’S NOT LIKE HE BROKE HIS BACK THE WAY THAT ONE FRENCH MOGULS SKIIER DID. IT’S A DIGIT. I’VE BROKEN MY THUMB, AND YET NO ONE EVER APPLAUDS ME OR MAKES VIDEO PACKAGES ABOUT ME POWERING THROUGH MY BLOGGING DUTIES…

And in the end, Cuche doesn’t win anything. Because of his broken thumb.

HEY! POLAR BEARS IN 13 MINUTES!

And Bode wins bronze, but we all knew this already, because it happened at like 1 p.m., today, so.

Bob Costas shills more of this CGI’d viking nonsense. REJECT.

But on the other side of the commercial! Mary! Carillo! AND POLAR BEARS! Mary tries to explain to Bob how she went to Churchill, Manitoba to meet polar bears, but Bob is distracted by the video footage from the Opening Ceremonies playing behind Mary’s head, and is all “LOOK BEHIND YOU! LOOK! IT’S A GIANT CHRISTMAS YARD DECORATION!” but Mary is awesome and like, “Shut it, Costas. I saw the real thing.” ROLL IT, INDEED.

Polar Bears live in Canada! Mary interviews some young man named Dylan, which I know because it’s knitted onto his cap. Mary sells the Tundra Buggy, a giant bus on giant wheels, because of the giant carnivores. Things I learned: polar bears eat seals, polar bears are cute, polar bears have no business on time traveling islands. THANKS, MARY!

Snowboarding, dude. We watch some quarterfinals competitions, which you know, yawn, except for the part where we watch from the perspective of someone’s snowboarding cam! WHY DON’T ALL THE ATHLETES HAVE THESE? I want Luge cam, I want Curling cam, I WANT ICE DANCING CAM. Make it so, NBC.

Back at the desk, Bob yells at some chucklehead whose name I refuse to learn. If Bob Costas won’t learn this dude’s name, why should I? Chucklehead does this bit about how short 1/100th of a second is. SPOILER ALERT: it’s really not much time at all.

FIGURE SKATING, HOORAY! Last night I was under the impression that there were going to be medals awarded, and was sorely disappointed. Anyway. Our Americans, Cadyeeeeee and Jeremy are back on the ice for their “free skate,” and again, as they don’t fall face-first into the ice, I’m plenty impressed. Also, I wish I could dress like a figure skater everyday.

Question: Who buys the AT&T Team USA Soundtrack? I’m just curious.

Snowboarding semifinals. I want to care about this more, but would rather we just get on with it to the finals already. BUT WAIT, WHAT’S THIS? Are the Americans wearing blue jeans? FAIL. Or are those snowpants made to look like blue jeans? In which case, FAIL.

Bob has some stuff to tell us about speed skating — apparently, there’s been some sort of delay? Because the rink has turned entirely into water? HAVE I MENTIONED THAT THIS ENTIRE OLYMPICS HAS BEEN A CATASTROPHE? Seriously. They need to stop holding these games in third world countries already. NO SPEED SKATING FOR YOU.

Back to figure skating. SUGARLAND REPRESENT! And, ohbytheway, have you heard that Sugarland’s partner has job woes? Because he does. As does America. Amanda and Mark represent themselves nicely, and I have a proud for the greater Houston area (SU-GAR-LAND! SU-GAR-LAND! SU-GAR-LAND!), but come on. When the announcers are saying things like “No one has enjoyed the Olympic experience more than Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig,” you know, and I know and the world knows that the fix is in for China.

And because speed skating has been regulated to Conan’s former time spot, there’s suddenly a lot of time to fill. NBC resorts to playing a package about how the Canadian who finally won a gold medal for Canada on Canadian soil has a brother with cerebal palsy. Poignant. And NO, I AM NOT BEING SARCASTIC. Quit being so cynical, you.

We then go to the medals ceremony for the Men’s Moguls, and there’s a distinct “End of Star Wars IV thing going on, and I half expect Dale Begg-Smith to let out a wookie yell. Our hero, the Canadian, makes the crowd lose their minds. And Bob reminds us that this is the first time that “O Canada” will be heard in an Olympic games on Canadian soil, which seems like a lot of qualifiers to get so worked up aboot, but hey, that’s easy for a Texan to say, amiright?

Canada, Canada, you’re the best! –Lyrics to “O, Canada” according to Mr. T.

Annnnnd, back to figure skating. Hey! It’s that Russian couple that didn’t seem particularly interested in being at the Olympics last night. Guess what? Not much has changed. They still seem bored, and I’m still convinced Mr. T and I could do a better job.

OH! A package on the coach of the Chinese team. Apparently, he and his partner were laughed at in the 1980 World Championships, and he vowed revenge. He devoted his life to being a coach, so much so that he missed his son’s birth, and his wife passively aggressively named the child “far away,” but in Chinese.

The Canadian broken ankle team returns, and they fall, but I’ll give them this: remarkably tasteful outfits. Points for that, right?

A Chinese couple, Zhang Dan & Zhang Hao, apparently tore her knee ligaments the last time they competed in this event, so BE CAREFUL OUT THERE, GAH. There is falling. Which is sad.

The Russians who hate one another come out and she falls on her face this time, so at least when they go back to the shrink it won’t be all “Maxim ruined by future” this and “Maxim destroyed my chances for gold” that. Overall they do a good job, although that might be my sentimental attachment to the music from Love Story talking more than anything else.

The other Canadians skate to “The Way We Were,” because they used to be a couple? And now they’re not? Which, OK, but why is she wearing a Brownies uniform? Was she a Brownie when they dated? Canada Lady falls on her face again, and then again, which perhaps explains the breakup.

Hey, remember snowboarding? Yeah, I barely do, too. But American Seth Westcott, who won the gold in 2006, wins it again in an improbable race where he started out in 4th place. USA! USA! USA!

Chucklehead is back! Apparently, our Courtney Love wannabe, female snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis, fell in the 2006 Olympics on a fancypants move, which cost her the gold medal. For this crime, Courtney Love has to explain herself over and over again to Chucklehead, Bob Costas and NBC news.

Back to figure skating. The Russian pairs who dressed like water fowl are back, they fall all over the place and there is some weirdness where she rips open the top of her outfit and I DO NOT LIKE. Bring back Mary Carillo and the polar bears already.

WAIT. Call off the polar bears. My favorite harlequins have returned! Hooray! But despite getting off to a great start, Herr Skater falls on his face. Send in the clowns, indeed.

The Chinese team that is not the old married couple come out and do a lovely job to “Dream the Impossible Dream,” which is apt as there is no way they’re beating their countrymen. Even if they deserve to.

And then, finally, just as my attention is about to wane, Shen & Zhao, our presumed winners, and Old Couple, perform. They have a few minor mishaps that the announcers wring their hands over, but despite all the hysterics from the announcers, Shen & Zhao win the gold, so, you know, shut up, Scott Hamilton.

So! Tomorrow night is all about Bobby and snowboarding, alpine skiing, speed skating and male figure skating. JONNY WEIR FOR THE FABULOUS!

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