Desperately seeking skating


Smiley N. Pool /

Chronicle Olympic Bureau

Nordic combined? Well, now you know.

It’s that time: Olympic fatigue is setting in. Hard. Add to that dealing with a gas leak in the ol’ apartment, as well as a sudden and crippling stomach flu. Plus, my HD channel is not working, so I can’t even see the sparkly leotards in all their high-definition glory. Really, what it all means is I AM IN NO MOOD FOR WOMEN’S BOBSLED. Sigh. I must take inspiration from our Olympians and persevere and eat chicken mcnuggets or whatever.

You know what I do appreciate, though? Kicking the night off with women’s figure skating, live. First up is Australia’s Cheltzie Lee and her creatively spelled name. Her outfit is like a big, sparkly peacock. She skates a flawless routine, but it lacks that razzle-dazzle. She’s only really shooting for the top 24, so she can progress to the long program. She earns a 52.16.

Korea’s Kim Ju-Na, the favorite for gold, took a spill on her sensitive left side earlier today. Not good. Apparently skaters are more apt to land on their right side, so the left is just a tender, tender piece of meat unaccustomed to the icy bruises suffered by the right.

But first, women’s bobsled! It’s especially boring hard tonight due to snow on the track. Oh, and it’s qualifying heats? BORED. SO BORED. Some Americans, Germans and Canadians go fast. Others do not.

Back to figure skating, Turkey’s Tugba Karademir is up. She one tall glass of water, for a figure skater, right? 50.74 for her.

Time for ladies’ ski cross, which, as I’ve mentioned before, has TOO MANY POINTY THINGS for my taste. It’s the 1/8 final heat. Seriously. THERE IS WOMEN’S FIGURE SKATING HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. LIVE. Poor, poor world champion Ophelie David. She gets outsted in the quarter finals when she takes a tumble. Her adorable, adorably named daughter Lilou (who was wearing adorably piglet mittens) looked heartbroken. Poor thing.

Finally, back to skating. American Mirai Nagasu has recently learned her mother has thyroid cancer. CRYING ALREADY. Her parents would work around the clock in their restaurant and then take her to all of her practices. “Her mom wore clothes with whole in them so she could afford lessons.” SOBBING. Her routine has a lot of one leg in the air “look at my bidness” moments, which, coupled with clumsy camerawork always makes me uncomfortable. She also performs an awesome spin that involved so much yoga-like flexibility I can hardly describe the contortions utilized. Also, SHE WAS SPINNING SO FAST, SHE GAVE HERSELF A NOSEBLEED. She spins and twirls and bleeds her way to a 63.76.

I’m sorry, Costas, what is this Nordic combined nonsense? Part cross-country, part ski jump, you say? Our men’s combined team this year is U.S.A.’s first real shot at a medal in this event. It’s sort of like watching a race between two snails — slow, deliberate movements (at least compared to the other events we’re used to). U.S.A. gets a silver, but they put up one heck of a fight.

(SIdebar: These commercials for Minute to Win It? Is it really hosted by Guy Fieri? I hate that guy. Hopefully he can keep the barbecue sauce out of his goatee for the duration of this program. Awful.)

Costas promises a shocking when Dutch skater Sven Kramer gets DQ’d out of the 10,000m marathon speed skating event. Kramer’s coach told him to get into the inner lane, rather forcefully, except he was supposed to be skating in the outer lane. Kramer, who you recall has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, is not having it. He shoves his coach out of anger. Costas suggest that coach needs to enter the witness protection program.

Ashley McIvor wins gold for Canada in the women’s ski cross. Good for her.

First run men’s super G Alpine skiing. Sure. YAWWWWNNN.

Did you know Korean figure skater Kim Ju-Na is so famous? She’s like a rockstar. She’s all over billboards. And in commercials! But! She’s super nice and well-grounded. Until! It gets to be too much, what with the flashes and the cameras all up in your grill. So, she trains in Canada. Don’t feel too bad though, she makes $8 – $9 million a year.

GAH more bobsledding! Americans, Germans and Canadians continue to go fast and go not as fast. SO BORED.

OMG FOR REAL, it’s time for figure skating. Laura Lepisto of Finland is out there with a very cute sparkly, purple ensemble. Her music is a little more dynamic and her whole routine seems to benefit from the energy. But, seriously girl, close your dang mouth. Whatever, we’re not too invested in her. It’s the next two who are the favorites for the gold. (Lepisto gets a 61.36.)

Mao Asada of Japan is the only competitor with the triple axle. Let’s hope she busts that sucker out. Busts it out she does, right in the beginning and the trick goes off without a hitch. Wish I could say the same for her Moulin Rouge pink and black outfit. Not the best. But it’s a small complaint for a stunning routine. She blows it out of the water with 73.78. D-dang, son.

So here comes Kim Yu-Na, who we heard about all night, and we see her frantically wiping her nose. It was odd. Also, apparently, she’s James Bond in her short program. Alright. She nails all kinds of triples and it’s amazing. The commentators bring up her “strength and sensuality” which just feels icky. Even is she is 20, she still looks much younger. She breaks records with her insane score of 78.50.

Poor Akiko Suzuki of Japan stumbles on her first trick and has to touch down her hands to keep steady. Not good. According to the announcers, she’s also battled anorexia and it almost ended her career. Stay strong, Suzuki.

Switzerland takes the gold in men’s giant slalom. Norway takes silver and bronze. For those of you who care.

More tragedy back at figure skating. Canadian Joannie Rochette’s mother died suddenly of a heart attack just a few days ago. She’s decided to skate anyway. SAD. VERY SAD. And she skates a wonderful routine — sort of a sexy tango for one — and then she finishes and bursts into tears. AND HER DAD’S IN TEARS, TOO. AND NOW I’M GASPING FOR AIR, I’M SOBBING SO HARD. She’s speaking in French and all I can understand is “Mama … mama” and it’s so heartbreaking. She lands in third place with a 71.36. BRAVA.

I can barely compose myself enough to catch the next skater, but after that I’m back on board for American Rachael Flatt. Her saucy jazz routine is exciting to watch. It’s a 64.64 for her. Still in medal contention going into the free skate.

Italian Carolina Kostner was fine (63.02), if not a little boring. Japan’s Miki Ando ends the night with a medium routine that earns her a 64.76, landing her in fourth place.

Alright, kiddies, mama needs to lie down pronto. Thanks for ringing your figurative cowbells around my bobsled course of blogging.


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