Welcome back to the Den of Loneliness, Bob Costas and The Eye! Yes, I know that you technically returned on Tuesday, but Bobby was manning Tubular HQ then, and I haven’t had the chance to properly welcome you and the remnants of your nasty dangerous face water infection back. We’ve missed you. Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira are fine, but they don’t make Mary Carillo down vodka shots on air.
and The Eye outline what we will be watching tonight:
- Ladies’ Figure Skating Short Program
- Men’s Grand Slalom
- Women’s Bobsled
- Apolo Ohno’s stupid little hamster beard doing yoga with Gracie Gold (wait, wut?)
We begin with the final Women’s Bobsledding runs where Summer Olympian and Gold Medalist in the 100m Dash, Lauryn Williams, seems to have gotten lost and wandered into a bobsled. And she’s doing pretty well! Really well, actually, and after the first two runs, she and her partner, Elana Miller, are in the lead. If they were to take Gold, Lauryn Williams would be the first woman to win Gold in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, which would be a pretty big deal!
But first they have to defeat the Canadian team, Kaillie Humphries (whose name makes me go cross-eyed with all those Ls and Is crammed next to each other) and Heather Moyse, who won the Gold back in Vancouver. “FUN” FACT (or what goes for a “fun fact” in sports coverage): Humphries is only one of two athletes in the event that wears goggles instead of the regular helmet visor. Maybe the Jamaican bobsledding team, who had their share of helmet issues, should have followed Humphries’ lead.
Also competing is Public Virgin, Summer Olympian and All-Around Controversial Figure Lolo Jones, who has ruffled some feathers by being chosen for the American bobsledding team. While she and her partner Jazmine Fenlator have essentially eliminated themselves from medal contention by the first two runs, it should be pointed out that 1. she and the aforementioned Elana Meyers won Gold in the FIBT World Championships last year so it’s not like she’s an untested newbie or anything and 2. she’s really, really, really sweet to her partner Jazmine in an interview immediately following the end of the Olympic race. While Jazmine is crying in disappointment for having come in 11th, Lolo tells her to buck up: it’s only her first Olympics, she’ll be back, she’s awesome. And then Lolo tells the interviewer that they are done here, because GO AWAY NOW. Good for you, Lolo! And as for everyone else, LEAVE LOLO ALONE.
But back to the competitors who are still in medal contention. We are introduced to Lauryn William’s partner, pilot Elana Meyers, who sports some incredibly strong shoulders, some bad driving skills and one very handsome fiance:
We also learn that Williams and Meyer’s sled had a catastrophic accident in training, and so they dragged out a backup sled they fortunately had the wherewithal to pack, and broke it down for parts (why they didn’t just use that sled is something someone with an actual knowledge of sleds would have to answer, I’m afraid).
As for the final races themselves, there’s a lot of running and pushing and people yelling “UUHHHHHHHHHNNNNNNNHHH” and then sledding, and some people hit the rim of the track and other people do not, and in the end Williams and Meyers lose their lead and the Gold to the Canadians by .10 seconds. Along with the Gold goes Williams’ chance to make Olympic history, oh well, I guess she’ll just have to comfort herself with a Silver in the Winter Olympics, boo hoo for her. The other American team, Jamie Gruebel and Azealia Banks impersonator, Aja Evans, come in third, but they don’t have any Summer Olympians on their team so who cares, right?
Back in the Den of Loneliness, Bob Costas visits with Apolo Ohno and his little stupid hamster beard (SHAVE IT OFF. I CAN’T LOOK AT YOUR FACE, APOLO. AND WHILE WE’RE AT IT, LEARN HOW TO SPELL YOUR NAME.) about Ohno’s visit with Gracie Gold back in Los Angeles.
6 Things I learned about Gracie Gold from Apolo Ohno:
- She lives in Los Angeles now.
- She used to live in Chicago.
- She likes to do yoga on the beach.
- Apolo Ohno is terrible at yoga.
- Her coach is the same guy who coaches Evan Lysacek and Michelle Kwan.
- Gracie Gold can get tense before performing.
1 Thing I learned about Apolo Ohno from his piece on Gracie Gold:
- Apolo Ohno is no Mary Carillo.
And before we get to the Men’s Giant Slalom, we learn that Russia has been eliminated from the hockey competition and a chance at a medal.
CONFESSION TIME: I had to look up what the difference is between Super G and Giant Slalom and Slalom because MY GOD, SO MANY SLALOMS. From what I understand, they all involve skiing between gates (those flaggy things). Slalom has the gates spaced closest together, Giant Slalom has the gates spaced slightly further apart, and Super G has the gates spaced the farthest apart. Also, in Giant Slalom, unlike Super G, the skiers get to do the run twice which just seems fairer. So much fairer!
What NBC thinks is important that we know about this competition is that American Ted Ligety is The Favorite. Also, he is from Park City. Also, in the off-season, he likes to do “car jumping,” which is a thing? I do not think this is a thing that anyone other than high school juniors who just got their licenses do, which is to say that is not a thing.
Also competing is Bode Miller, who apparently is competing in every event in the Sochi Olympics. For those of you watching live, look for him on the ice in the American Women’s Team against Canada this afternoon.
And so everyone goes down the mountain and through the slalom and it looks very very tiring and very very hard on one’s knees. The French have a couple of good skiers who put up solid times and win Silver and Bronze, but NBC doesn’t tell us anything about them, so who cares?
In contrast, here is the thing I know about Austria’s Matthias Mayer: His father, Helmut Mayer, won a silver medal in the Super-G in 1988. Matthias Mayer does not medal. And here is the thing I know about the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Bank: his son is named Albert for Albert Einstein and Alberto Tomba (Who is an Italian skier, which you knew, obviously, because, I mean, who doesn’t know who Alberto Tomba is, amirite, NBC? Alberto Tomba, regular household name, right up there with Michael Jordan and David Beckham. Why, it would have been downright insulting to fill that in for your viewers, NBC.). Ondrej Bank does not medal. And here is the thing I know about Bode Miller:
his brother is dead and mentioning his dead brother is a surefire way to make him cry which is not cheap and cruel but just straight-up jouranlisms his ski goggles cost $200 and his boots costs $700 and somehow when you add this altogether, his equipment totals $175,000. That’s a lot of $200 ski goggles! Bode Miller does not medal.
Ted Liegty wins the Gold because he skis at an impossible 73° angle. Like I said, it’s tough on the knees.
BUT LOOK OUT, EVERYONE, THE BIGGEST HAZARD OF THE RACE IS WAITING FOR YOU DOWN AT THE BOTTOM, AND SHE HAS A MICROPHONE: IT’S CHRISTIN COOPER, AND SHE IS HERE TO MAKE YOU CRY. Hey, Bode Miller! Oh, it’s your daughter’s birthday and that’s why you have her name on your gloves? Say, do you think that she is going to look back when she’s older and wonder if you loved your career more than her, so much so that you abandoned her on her birthday to go feed your own ego half a world away? Also, do you think your dead brother is proud of you? What do you think your dead brother would think of you as a father if he were alive today?
Let’s move on to Ladies’ Figure Skating, shall we? I don’t think Christin Cooper is allowed in the Iceberg Skating Palace, so we should be safe.
We are first introduced to the American skater to whom we had up to this point not yet met, a 15-year-old named Polina Edmunds. Polina’s mother is from Russia, and by the time Polina was 15 months old her mother had strapped her into ice skates. I’m not sure I was walking when I was 15 months old, which is probably why I’m not an Olympic ice skater today. That, plus the fact that I’ve never put on ice skates in my life.
Polina spends some time Skyping with her Russian relatives who have the bravery to declare they are rooting for her. You do know that Putin can see you rooting against Russia, don’t you, Russian Relatives? Hope you enjoy making nesting dolls up in your new home in Siberia!
Also, Polina’s high school is super proud of her and go so far as to paint her a banner and everything!
Tonight is Polina’s first senior international competition, which is a pretty big deal. As Polina performs to a bunch of cha chas, that idiot Tom Hammond burbles excitedly, “can you imagine being a kid back in California and being like, ‘THAT’S MY BABYSITTER SKATING IN THE OLYMPICS.'” Actually, no, Tom Hammond, I can not imagine that, because I sincerely doubt that an ice skater who is on the world competing circuit HAS TIME TO BABYSIT. I mean, Meryl Davis and Charlie White had to skip a year of college to be in the Olympics, that’s how much time it takes to prepare for these things; somehow I doubt Polina is making $40 watching 7-year-olds in her spare time BECAUSE SHE DOES NOT HAVE ANY SPARE TIME. Ugh. Where is Johnny Weir? BRING ME WEIR.
Polina does a perfectly respectable job in her big stage debut; she acquits herself nicely even if she is a little gangly and she needs to work on her lines a little.
But, Polina, some real talk, honey. Something else you need to work on is your outfit. While the dress is lovely, we need to talk about those tights that are some 15 shades darker than your actual complexion. You need to get real about how white you are, girl, because your momma is picking out the wrong shade of hose for you at Macy’s.
Polina and her coach Seth MacFarlane wait for her score, and seem happy with her 61.04, her personal best.
Next up is Kim Yuna from South Korea, the lady who won Gold back in Vancouver. After winning in 2010, Yuna did a reasonable thing, took a year off, and has only participated in 5 competitions since. And WHY NOT. What does she have to prove to any of you tired old queens, she’s the one who won Gold. But because she hasn’t competed much, she doesn’t have the rankings to go later in the program, which is why she is performing so early.
There is some hand-wringing by the commentators that Yuna didn’t look strong when she was warming up, but it was clearly all a hustle. Yuna was playing you and the judges, making you think that she wasn’t feeling great, and setting your expectations low. And then when it is time to perform to “Send in the Clowns” (blech) in her seasick green outfit (double blech) she blows you chumps away with her lutzes and her triple toes. SUCKERS.
The hustle works and the judges give her a 74.92, which will be the highest score of the evening.
Next up is America’s “Golden Girl,” (I hate myself) Gracie Gold, who is badgered by NBC about how she is handling the pressure, without once recognizing that they themselves are the ones creating the pressure. As a gifted, yet troubled, songwriter once said, NBC, “Take a look at yourself, and then make a change. Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na, Na Nah.”
Gold is a lovely, graceful skater and she has a lovely, graceful performance, but I have to be completely honest, I don’t remember much about it? I mean, literally, moments after it is done, I can not think of a thing to tell you about it because I’m pretty sure the Men in Black walked into my living room and zapped me with those memory device thingies, because I’ve got nothing.
Gracie scores a solid 68.63.
The other 15-year-old competing, that little Russian with the impossibly bendy leg, she comes out and does the same short program from the Team Competition, but she doesn’t quite stick it this time, and sadly for Yulia Lipnitskaia, she has a fall during her performance. Still, that girl sure can twirl. The judges give her a 65.23 because, seriously, that twirl at the end.
Oh, and here’s Yulia skating to RZA’s soundtrack for Kill Bill, why not.
That older Italian lady, Carolina Kostner, does her routine to “Ave Maria” that won her first place in the Team Competition, and maybe it’s just me, but the whole thing just feels so emotionally manipulative that I can’t care that much. The judges enjoy being manipulated, as Yuna clearly proved, and award her with a 74.12.
Y’all. Maybe this makes me unpatriotic, but I just can’t with Ashley Wagner. I CAN. NOT. There is just something about her smug tight little face that makes me want to punch her (I call this “That Taco Cabana Lady from the Commercials Syndrome”). She strikes me as the type of woman who would 1. be a Bachelor contestant and 2. be that one girl that makes trouble and all the other women go tattling about her to the Bachelor, only to find themselves being the ones eliminated during the rose ceremony. (She’d totally make it to the fantasy suites, but then be eliminated in that round, btw.) She comes out and does her Pink Floyd routine and it’s fine. I mean, it’s to Pink Floyd, and so if I were a judge she would have points deducted for “Using Pink Floyd/Santana/Rush in a Routine,” but these judges don’t have such high standards and she scores a 65.21.
And then we meet Ms. Mae Berenice Meite of France who comes out in a bright purple, one-armed outfit, prompting my husband to ask, “Is this the skater who performs to Prince?” I assure him that no, that was an American male figure skater when ERMAHGERD, SHE PERFORMS TO “THE QUESTION OF U” JUST LIKE JASON BROWN DID A FEW NIGHTS AGO, ERMAHGERD ERMAHGERD. I need to go lie down.
But first, I have so many questions!
- What’s the deal with ice skaters and this particular song?
- Do the ice skaters know that Prince has other songs?
- Like, he has so many other songs! I’m not saying that this is a bad song, I’m just saying that they should really look into his discography! Have they looked into his discography?
- How many people are carrying twins now?
AND SHAMEFULLY, MS. MAE BERENICE MEITE ONLY SCORES A 58.63 DESPITE PERFORMING TO PRINCE BECAUSE THE JUDGES DID NOT GIVE HER HER RIGHTFUL “USING PRINCE IN A ROUTINE” 5 POINT BONUS. For shaaaaaame.
The second Russian to skate is 17-year-old Adelina Sotnikova, who is wearing nothing more than a red slip and some flesh-colored gloves. What’s with the flesh-colored gloves? I can’t pay any attention because I am so distracted by those flesh-colored, ill-fitting gloves, but she apparently does well enough to earn a 74.64 and second place.
Finally, we are shown Japan’s Mao Asada’s routine because she won the Silver 4 years ago, not because she performs well. She falls down during what we are told is a tribute to her mother, and that is that. You get a 55.51, Mao Asada. Next time, don’t wear purple unless you’re willing to back it up with a little Prince.
And with that, we go back to the Den of Loneliness where we learn from the McDonald’s Medal Board that America is in the lead with 23 medals. U!S!A! U!S!A! U!S!A! U!S!MC!FLURRYS! U!S!A! Russia is right behind us with 22 medals, and Norway has 20. SORRY NOT SORRY, NORWAY.
Finally some links: So, as you might have heard, Pussy Riot showed up in Sochi, and as you might have also heard, they were horse-whipped by Cossacks. Cool, Russia. Way to be cool. And in lighter news, an Olympian found a wolf wandering in her hotel hallway; Sage Kotsenburg received a bacon medal; NBC can’t keep its flags straight; and no one has any idea what the heck “Hot. Cool. Yours.” means.
And here’s some Prince, because Prince is, as we’ve already established, magic.
I’m on Olympic duty again tonight (but I have a prior personal engagement, so this might be a little later than it usually is, FYI). We’ll be going crazy through more ladies’ figure skating, and a bunch of freestyle skiing, both ski cross and half-pipe. See you then!
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Chron.com.