That’s better. Now that the Olympic cauldron has been lit and the Games have officially been opened by Putin’s babymomma and some racist, I feel like we can properly enjoy ourselves some winter sporting.
Bob Costas and The Eye greet us in the NBC headquarters, or, as Bob Costas and The Eye himself describes it, Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. I think Bob Costas and The Eye are lonely. Bob Costas and The Eye warns us that The Eye is not improving, which is unfortunate for Bob Costas but hilarious for viewers. QUIT USING RUSSIAN VISINE, BOB COSTAS, IT’S JUST DANGEROUS FACE WATER IN A TINY BOTTLE, DUMMY.
Bob Costas and The Eye then outline what NBC has chosen for your primetime lineup:
- Men’s Snowboarding Slopestyle
- More Team Figure Skating
- Women’s Freestyle Moguls
Bob Costas and The Eye wonder will Americans win prizes? (Yes. We already know the outcomes thanks to tape delay and screaming headlines on CNN.com.) Let’s find out!
We begin with the Men’s Slopestyle Semifinals wherein 21 snowboarders are competing for 4 spots in the finals. And, as Todds reminds us, “odds-on favorite” Mark McMorris and his broken rib did not earn his spot in the quarterfinals — which Todds clearly thinks should have just been given to him out of common courtesy.
Ryan Stassel is the first American (who is from Truckee which is also in the Lake Tahoe region because that is where all the snowboarders come from, apparently) to compete, and he does a good job! At least by my uninformed, uneducated eye. But what do I know, the judges give him a 83.25 which does not seem very high. His second run earns him an 81.75. So Lake Tahoe, alas, shall not be represent.
Sage Kotsenburg of Park City (which is not in Lake Tahoe, so, you know, the exception makes the rule), who bears a remarkable resemblance to Spicoli and who SPOILER ALERT FOR THE THING YOU PROBABLY ALREADY KNOW we know thanks to tape delays and The Internet will go on to win the Gold in this event, is next for our purposes. But not before NBC shows us some a video bit that they already showed us on Thursday in which Sage Kotsenburg takes us on a slopestyle run. And not to think too much about this, but I am left with the same question I had on Thursday which is have NBC and/or Sage Kotsenburg never heard of GoPro Cameras? Instead of having Sage Kotsenburg holding the camera the entire time, couldn’t they have just strapped it on his helmet and given us a view not of his neck and head, but of what it is actually like from his actual perspective?
But whatever. My 9-year-old viewing companion is impressed, and I suppose that’s all that really matters. I choose not to show my companion YouTube videos from GoPros that might make him think less of this footage.
So, anyway, Sage Kotsenburg of Park City does his run and he does some nice, loose jumps like it’s no big deal — but what is really fun is that he actually pays attention to the rails, leaning back and running his hand along them as he slides over them, which I haven’t seen anyone else do. He earns an 89 on his first run. But on his second, he does some crazy jumps where he crosses his arms and grabs the board with both hands, something called the “Holy Crail,” and it’s pretty amazing and the judges give him a 90.50 because yes.
Hey, have you heard about this Mark McMorris kid from Regina? (Heh heh heh, you said “Regina.”) Here’s a whole package about how Saskatchewan is a low flat place with no mountains, just wheat, and how improbable that The Odds-On Favorite Mark McMorris would be from here. And then The Odds-On Favorite Mark McMorris walks through the fields of wheat, having defeated the Germanic tribes at Vindobona, and finally returning to his villa where his wife and son have been waiting for him.
Anyway, The Odds-On Favorite Mark McMorris is looking really strong in his first run until his very last jump where he falls on his landing because HE HAS A BROKEN RIB, Y’ALL. He scores a 55.50. But don’t feel bad for The Odds-On Favorite, Mark McMorris, because on his second run, he manages to stay upright the entire time, even tapping that giant nesting doll in the middle of the run, which, according to Todds is a Very Big Deal. And, no lie, in my notes I had written “GIANT NESTING DOLL ON THE RUN WHY” (but it was terribly misspelled because I am typing quickly and under the influence), and the very next thing is the Todds plotzing over The Odds-On Favorite Mark McMorris tapping the nesting doll, so I guess that answers that question. The Odds-On Favorite earns an 89.25 so everyone can just settle down about him going to the finals already, your trip to Saskatchewan to make that video package was justified.
Chas Guldemond, a.k.a. New Shaun White because I arbitrarily chose him to root for, manages to be just as successful as Old Shaun White in this event, falling all over the damn place and scoring a 13.25 and a 79.75 (even though he, too, tapped the giant nesting doll). Oh, New Shaun White, I am disappoint.
Speaking of Shaun White, because NBC can’t help but speak of Shaun White all of the time, how’s his wrist doing? Just fine, glad you asked.
Oh, and some Brit actually came in first place in the semifinals but who cares about him, right?
OH LOOK ANOTHER AD FOR MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN AND THIS TIME MR. PEABODY IS SKIING AND LEONARDO DIVINCI IS INVOLVED BOY THIS LOOKS GREAT.
We return to Bob Costas and The Eye in the Den of Loneliness, where Bob Costas and The Eye have tricked Apolo Ohno and a very drunk Cris Collinsworth to join them and chat for a while. Bob Costas and The Eye asks Apolo Ohno what it was like to view the Opening Ceremony from the stands this time, and Apolo Ohno glares at him for a moment before turning the conversation to that faulty snowflake in the Opening Ceremonies, boy was that ever embarrassing, right? Bob Costas and The Eye then inform us that Russian viewers were shown footage taken from a rehearsal in which the snowflake operated correctly because Putin.
Drunk Cris Collinsworth drunkenly interjects that he was at the Opening Ceremonies, too: “I was in the bowels of the stadium and I saw Shaun White! And the kids, they were taking the, whaddya call them, the selfkies? the seljies? the flippies? the selfies! the selfies, and he’s a rock star, that Shaun White, he cut his hair, you know…” Apolo Ohno tries to interject something about unity and representing something bigger than oneself and blah blah blah standing for something blah, while Cris Collinsworth smirks drunkenly and hiccups.
Bob Costas and The Eye try to talk about how the Opening Ceremonies showed Russian history (and glossed over the worst parts with a nightmare train and clowns) but Cris Collinsworth wouldn’t know about nightmare trains, because he “was in the basement with the kids and they were high-fiving and hugging and dancing and taking the selfkies, and yurrrr gonna talk about how we hate the damn Ruskies in week two, right Bob? ~hic~” And that is when Bob Costas and The Eye LITERALLY DISMISSES Drunk Cris Collinsworth and sends him back to his garbage hotel to sleep the vodka off because GO HOME, CRIS COLLINSWORTH, YOU’RE DRUNK.
Onto Team Figure Skating, and the Ice Dancing competition.
On Thursday, I admitted that I didn’t know the difference between Ice Dancing and Pairs, and I’m guessing that I’m not alone in that because one of our announcers, Tracy Wilson, helpfully explains that in the Ice Dancing Short Competition, the duos have to perform either a Quickstep, Foxtrot, Swing or Charleston, so they are literally doing Dancing with Stars dances but on ice. Got it. Thank you, Tracy Wilson! That was helpful!
The deal is this: so far in the Team Competition, we have seen Men’s and Pairs short competitions. We still have Ice Dancing and Ladies. After those take place, the top five teams will move on to the Free performances in each of those categories. As of right now, before Ice Dancing, Team USA is in 7th place. YOU BETTER STEP UP, MERYL AND CHARLIE.
Team France, Pechalat and Bourzat, ice dances first to a handful of Broadway songs and they are fine, nothing particularly memorable, though Tracy Wilson sneers that Bourzat messed up his twizzle — which is a real word that I did not make up, but I wouldn’t blame you for thinking I made it up, because “twizzle” is a remarkably silly word.
Team France earns a 69.15.
Team Russia, Bobrova and Soloviev, perform to “Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend,” and despite being “sloppy” and “not tidy” according to Tracy Wilson (SHADE), they earn a 70.27.
Team Canada, Virtue and Moir, ice dance to “Dream a Little Dream” and they are pretty good! They really look like they are dancing, much more so than the other two teams we have seen. However, they are slightly off on their twizzle, which worries Tracy Wilson. Despite not twizzling to Tracy Wilson’s satisfaction, the pair receive a 72.98 from the judges.
Finally, Team USA, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, perform to music from My Fair Lady, and they are just gorgeous. Elegant and smooth and lovely to watch, they have twizzled their way into my affections. TWIZZLE ON, YOU BEAUTIFUL FOOLS. TWIZZLE ON.
They receive a 75.98 and take first place.
U!S!A! U!S!A! U!S!A!
Speaking of U!S!A! U!S!A! U!S!A!, we return to Men’s Slopestyle for the 12 man final.
The Odds-On Favorite Mark McMorris is first and keeps up his tradition of falling on his mcmorris on his first run. He scores a 33.75. Because HE HAS A BROKEN RIB. He’s far more successful on his second go-round and earns a solid (but perhaps unfairly low) 88.75 on the run. I mean, I am not one to root for The Odds-On Favorite, but if I were a judge, I’d totally give him a broken rib extra point.
The Brit who came in first in the semifinals but whom we have heard nothing about since, Jamie Nichols, has a terrific first run that we are allowed to see, and scores a 85.50. NBC doesn’t bother with his second run, however, which Wikipedia tells me must have been something of a disaster because he earns a measly 46.50, so that’s the last we’ll hear of Jamie Nichols, British Snowboarder.
Max Parrot (pronounced like the wacky Presidential candidate, not like the tropical bird) falls on the third jump of his first run and earns a 47. But his second run is far more successful, he rails the rails and jumps the jumps and it is very very good! He is super good! But the judges only give him an 87.25 which will put him in fifth place. This hardly seems fair.
My inappropriate crush, Ståle Sandbech, had a disastrous first run, apparently, and earned a 27. But in his second run he performed a “perfect triple cork” according to Todds, and the judges reward him with a 91.75.
But it’s Sage Kotsenburg of Park City who, in his first run, does that rail thing I mentioned before and does the “Holy Crail” and my goodness is he good. He earns a 93.50. His second run is also pretty great, but only scores an 83.50, BUT WHO CARES, 93.50 IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE GOLD! SPICOLI WINS THE GOLD!
DUUUUUUUDE. (My Inappropriate Crush and The Odds-On Favorite Max McMorris take home the silver and bronze, respectively.)
Back in the Den of Loneliness, Bob Costas and The Eye tells us that Sage Kotsenburg not only won the first Gold in Slopestyle, he won the first Gold of the Games. Also, too, he was surprised to have even made it to the finals:
Whoa how random is this I made finals at the Olympics!!!
— sage kotsenburg (@sagekotsenburg) February 8, 2014
Bob Costas, The Eye and I love us some Sage Kotsenburg and his triple exclamation points. TEAM SPICOLLI.
And there is the first medal ceremony of the Games where My Inappropriate Crush looks like this:
And back to Team Figure Skating, to have our final competition before the herd is thinned: Ladies’ short program.
First up is Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond, who was born the same year I graduated college and now I need to have a little lie-down. She’s great, I’m old, she scores a 62.54.
Let’s talk about Ashley Wagner, Team America’s participant for half a second. Four years ago, Ashley didn’t make it to Vancouver, which, you know, sad for Ashley. So then four years later, she was expected to glide right onto the Sochi team. BUT PLOT TWIST: At the U.S. National Championships, Ashley came in fourth, and there are only three spots on the team. BUT BIGGER PLOT TWIST: Team USA chose to include her anyway, understandably infuriating the woman who came in third and who rightfully deserved a place on the team, Mirai Nagasu. However, Mirai Nagasu proves to be a better person than any of us, and chose to not formally protest the decision, but instead support the Team through passive aggressive facebook posts.
Ashley Wagner performs to Pink Floyd — which, oh brother, Pink Floyd — and she’s fine. She’s fine! There’s some discussion about her jumps, and whether or not she made it all the way around three full times, and in the end she scores a 63.10, which she does not appear to be happy with. Ashley Wagner may be a better than average figure skater, but she is a gold medalist in bitchface.
And somewhere back in the States, Mirai Nagasu smiles over the pins in her voodoo doll.
Next up is Russia’s Yulia Lipnitskaia who is 15 years old. Let me repeat that, she is 15 YEARS OLD. SHE WAS BORN IN 1998. I am past lie-down stage, and fully in the GO POUR MOMMY SOME MORE WINE, THIS LITTLE GIRL IS TWO YEARS OLDER THAN YOU AND ABOUT TO SHOW ASHLEY WAGNER HOW IT’S DONE. AND WHY AREN’T YOU AN OLYMPIC ATHLETE ANYWAY, I GUESS I’M NOT AS GOOD A MOTHER AS THOSE WOMEN IN THAT PROCTER AND GAMBLE COMMERCIAL. I SAID, WHERE IS MY WINE ALREADY?! stage.
I just do not have the words for this performance. If you missed it, do yourself a favor and go watch it. Now.
I MEAN THE HUMAN BODY IS NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THIS, YOU GUYS:
The child earns a 72.90, but she deserved all of the points.
The Japanese skater, Mao Asada, has a really pretty performance that is marred by a fall, poor thing. She is given a 64.07 by the judges.
Finally, the Italian skater, Carolina Kostner, performs to “Ave Maria: and it is lovely and she moves into second place after the crazy Russian child with a score of 70.84.
Which means that Russia, Canada, USA, Italy and Japan move on to the next rounds: the free programs. China, France, Germany, Great Britain and Ukraine? You are dismissed to go drink vodka with Cris Collinsworth.
We then move on to the final sport of primetime coverage (because there is some late night coverage, of course there is late night coverage, why should I ever be allowed to go to sleep, I AM SO TIRED AND THIS IS ONLY THE SECOND NIGHT, Y’ALL) Women’s Freestyle Moguls, where “the odds-on favorite” to steal a turn of phrase from Todds, is our own Hannah Kearney.
The top 6 skiers will compete; the score is based on a combination of technical skills on the turns and in the air and their speed; the highest they can score is 30; I am skipping the semifinals because YAWN. What you need to know is that Americans Heather Kearney and Eliza Outtrim; some Australian we never meet; Aiko Uemura, a Japanese “rock star”; and the two younger Delacour sisters from Canada, Chloe and Justine make it to the “superfinal.”
First up is Eliza Outtrim who scores an underwhelming 19.37 after a fairly quick run — she manages to get down the slope faster than the two who end up winning, in fact, but the judges don’t care for her turns or jumps, so she ends up coming in dead 6th. But fun fact: her cousin was a fencer in the Atlanta Olympics, and now you’ll never unknow that!
Japan comes down the mountain the fastest: in 30.46 seconds, in fact. But this only lands her in fourth place because she was kinda sloppy and didn’t get good air.
Delacour Dufor-LaPointe is the first Delacour sister to compete, and she earns a 22.44. The second Delacour sister, Chloe, does her run next, and scores a 21.66.
All that’s left is America’s last great hope, Heather Kearney, because Australian? What Australian? Heather Kearney gets off to a strong start, but after her first jump she puts a ski down a little wide on the first mogul and that’s all it takes for her to end up in third place with a score of 21.49.
Heather Kearney proceeds to sob her way through her interview: at 27, she knows this is her last competition, and she heartbroken to be ending her career without taking home a second gold medal. Excuse me while I pause to weep for her. OH WAIT, NO I DON’T. GET OVER YOURSELF, LADY. YOU WON GOLD LAST TIME AND YOU’RE GOING HOME THIS TIME WITH A BRONZE. GO ASK HEIDI KLOSER IF SHE FEELS SORRY FOR YOU AND YOUR BRONZE MEDAL.
I mean honestly.
There is a medal count by McDonalds who keep trying to encourage people to eat their medals like they are McNuggets but you should not do that because they are not McNuggets! They are medals!
But we are not done here, not at all. We go to late night coverage — something I’m not promising to keep up with, you guys, because momma has to sleep sometime.
More Team Figure Skating, which I fear is going to dampen my enthusiasm for other figure skating later in this process, as I already kinda feel like I’ve had my fill of figure skating. All full up of figure skating here! Thanks for all the figure skating!
Tonight we begin the second, this-really-counts-now-you-guys, Free Programs with Pairs.
First up is Japan’s team with the lady who looks like she is 12. They are just ok, and pull back from some of the bigger, more impressive jumps and throws that other teams will manage to pull off. They aren’t entirely in unison and she doesn’t land a throw and the announcers blather that this will be good experience for the pair because they sure as heck aren’t going to be taking home any prizes, come on now. They score a sad 86.33.
Americans Castelli and Shnapir go and goof up their performance to James Bond music, with poorly timed spinnies, some falls and a couple awkward lifts. Sigh. It’s not terrible — and God knows I’ve never put on ice skates in my life and I’m not in a position to judge — but the judges are in a position to judge, and they give them a 117.94 and the next to last spot.
And then there are the Italians. Berton and Hartok aren’t in sync at the beginning and have what the announcers assure us is a “shaky start” but all of that is forgotten when they perform what I am going to call “The Shocker”: a one-handed lift and spin, and that one hand of his is all up in her lady business. And now I see why these are the Olympics After Dark. Glad we put the kids to bed first. The judges, all hot and bothered, give them a 120.82 and a cold shower.
The Canadians are next and … wait … what is this, is this a DIFFERENT TEAM FROM BEFORE? It is! Is this allowed? Apparently, it’s allowed, and the Canadians, they are more fluid and charming than the other pairs that have come before. The lady Canadian, Moore-Towers, does have a fall, but the judges don’t find it that offensive, because they reward them with a 129.74.
Finally, the Russians, who are also different Russians from before. Prince Charming and Cinderella have been replaced with Gomez and Morticia Addams, which just makes sense. And it’s a weird routine, what with faux tickling and kissing and rubbing and the whole thing just creeps me out. Also, too, Morticia misses a jump altogether, but the judges are
in the Russians’ pocket so charmed by the snapping portion of the routine that they give them a 135.09 and the win in this category. I call however it is that you say shenanigans in Russian. проделки? проделки.
Bob Costas and The Eye are paid a visit in the Den of Loneliness by Sage Kotsenburg. Sage Kotsenburg is all, “Aloha, Mr. Hand,” before going on to explain that in the competition, he tried a “Back 1620 Japan” on his brother’s recommendation. Bob Costas and The Eye is all, “What is this crazy jibberish that you speak?” and asks for an explanation that really never comes. Something about a “mute grab behind the back?” The rest of the conversation is mostly, “It was sick. Sick! It was so sick. So sick!” I love Spicoli so much.
There is also some luge, but only like 5 minutes of it, and I’m not even sure what we are watching? Is this the competition? A qualifier? How many runs do they each get? How many competitors are there? I NEED MORE INFORMATION, NBC. We see the American, Chris Mazdzer’s run, but I don’t have any context for what is going on, so I don’t know what his time means? Is it good? I don’t know! I do know that it’s not as good as the Russian, Albert Demchenko, who goes 85 miles per hour, which seems like 80 miles faster than anyone should go on a sled, as far as I’m concerned. But then my DVR stopped recording because it was TIME TO GO TO BED NOW, so I check on Wikipedia to learn that the giant scary 85 mile per hour Russian eventually lost to a faster German, Felix Loch. Felix Loch, poor soul, appears to have been confused by those McDonald’s ads and thinks his medal is edible. IT IS NOT EDIBLE, FELIX LOCH. DO NOT EAT YOUR MEDAL.
So I leave you with this: some travel tips from the Sochi Tourism board (and where I shamelessly stole the title of this post); news that a trapped U.S. bobsledder had to bust his way out of his bathroom (#sochiproblems); and a story about gay protestors being arrested in Russia during the Opening Ceremonies, arrests that the IOC supported.
I’ll be watching tonight’s Team Figure Skating, Women’s Slopestyle and Men’s Downhill Skiing and pretending that I don’t know how it all ends already. Chill the vodka and caviar. Until tonight, comrades.
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Chron.com.