Smiley N. Pool : Chronicle Olympic Bureau
We like it when our locals win.
Even though there’s no figure skating tonight, we’ve still got beefy bobsledders, Apolo Ohno and his hamster face, Lindsey Vonn and rival Maria Riesch roll down a mountain pulling each other’s hair (meow! hiss!) and we sit down with figure skating bronze medalist Joannie Rochette.
SIGH. Of course bobsled is first. This is the four-man. That’s a lot of big, beefy men in that one bobseld. Americans are first and go very, very fast. Their driver Steve Holcomb (not STEVE HOLT!) explains that the sled is heavy and they need to make it go fast. Got it, thanks. Germany is up next and they go less fast. More Americans and more Germans and some Swiss go less fast than the first group of Americans. Russians go down pretty much on their heads going a bazillion miles per hour and they seem unhappy about it. Considering they survived and were able to walk away from that, I’d call it a win.
HEY LOOK! It’s Jay Leno with another ORIGINAL and HILARIOUS bit about CURLING. Because, you know, no one has ever picked on curling before. And, of course, he couldn’t even be bothered to reference those pants. FAIL. SO MUCH FAIL ALREADY, LENO.
Back at Whistler, Lindsey Vonn will wear a mitten down the hill because of her broken pinky. Here’s a correspondent to demonstrate what a mitten is. Fascinating. And about that catfight between Vonn and Riesch? They are actually besties. Total BFFs. Riesch goes down and take the lead. Vonn and her mittens come flying down later, presumably to show Riesch her sticker book and braid her hair, but she knocks herself out of the race when she straddles a gate. In an interview, Vonn says she already got her gold, so WHATEVA, SUCKAS (in so many polite, pretty, blonde words).
Also already a winner in Vancouver, Apolo Ohno. Here he is talking about how perfect and amazing he was in Torino. Good for you, Apolo. He’s got two more events tonight, starting with the 500m, which is sort of awesome. It’s so short that it makes the skate super intense. Ohno clears his heat when two other skaters go careening off the track.
Unfortunately, there’s no such Ohno in women’s short track, which ends up being way less interesting to watch.
More watchable is this footage of Spring-native Chad Hedrick wiping the floor with the Dutch in the men’s speed skating team pursuit semifinals. Hedrick leads his team to victory and they’ll face-off with Canada tomorrow. They’re guaranteed at least a silver.
Skating skating skating … and here’s Apolo telling us how serious they are about short track in Korea. He says he’s been there and trained there and saw young kids doing skating drills at 5 a.m. Paging, Mary Carillo. I smell an assignment for you. Apolo cruises through the semifinal when the Korean in front of him spins out off the track. Hmm. Is Ohno booby trapping their skates?
More skating skating skating … oh dear. It’s bronze medalist Joannie Rochette, the figure skater who lost her mother a few days ago and always makes me cry. “The only thing I knew I could do at that moment to just you know feel alive was just get on the ice.” She’s such a trooper. She talks about being five years old and wishing she was an Olympic medalist. Now she is and her mother wasn’t there to see it. Crying. CRYING AGAIN. “I’ll have to try to teach [my father] how to cook, how to clean the house.” SOBBING. What a gracious, mature athlete. So happy she medaled.
It’s the 500m short track finals. You know what Canadian Charles Hamelin looks like? The sloth from those Ice Age movies. I’m sure he wont mind the criticism because he wins gold. Ohno spends the whole race in last place, until two other skaters go down and Ohno finishes in second? Again, ODD, no? But now the judges are reviewing the footage and Ohno may face a DQ. WHOA. Apolo gets disqualified. No medal for him here. HUH.
Women’s slalom again. It’s snowing. Hard.
Cris Collinsworth is talking to the love of his life, Apolo Ohno, about his DQ. Ohno pretty much says that the call was bad and Canadian judge DQ’d him so the two canucks could medal. Geez, Apolo, tell us what you really think. Watching the footage, there was definitely contact, but it didn’t look like too much like a push. Again, what do I know?
Sister of Vonn’s BFF Maria Riesch, Susanne Riesch, misses a gate back in slalom and gets disqualified. She hits the end of the course and throws herself into the snow and has a good cry about it. Go on, Susanne, let it out. Her sister does way better and earns the gold.
Some American lady, Katherine Reutter, becomes the first woman to win an individual medal in short track in 16 years with her silver in the 1000m. I almost feel bad about pretty much ignoring all her skating skating skating all night. Almost.
And yet that’s still not enough short track for us tonight, apparently. Apolo will be skating in the men’s 5000m relay. As will cutie J.R. Celski. It’s total chaos out there. U.S. stays in fourth for most of the race until Ohno pushes the Americans into third in the final laps. Pretty exciting stuff. So, Ohno and that hamster on his chin win a bronze in his last event for Vancouver; his eighth career medal.
YAY! Time for more bobsled! Here’s a fun fact! American bobsledder Steve Langston is from my alma mater, something I would have learned if I had paid attention to bobsledding at all. They flip over, but all walk away, which is good. Glad they are OK. Four-man bobsled seems way harder than two-man. And more flippy. Steve Holcomb and the other group of Americans set a track record on their second run. Their third and fourth runs will be tomorrow.
And speaking of tomorrow! Not only will Therese be joining me for Olympic viewing, but word on the street is Spartacus‘s Nathan and Nip/Tuck‘s Catherine may be joining as well. Plus! We may even have a special video segment for you.
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Chron.com.