Welcome to the first full day of sports (after the Cauldron was lit, because nothing should count before that, don’t @ me, that’s what the kids say these days right? because I am very old).
On our schedule: a whole bunch of figure skating, some AMAZING snowboarding and we check in on speed skating.
We begin with Team Figure Skating: Ice Dancing, which because of the time difference, was broadcast live last night even though it took place tonight. I’m going to have a hell of a time-traveling-related nosebleed by the time this is all over.
A quick refresher on how this Team Figure Skating business works: Each team is made up of Men’s, Women’s, Pairs and Women’s figure skating. Ten teams begin in the competition with short programs and then the top five perform free programs. The Men and the Pairs performed the other night before the Cauldron was lit, so I don’t consider their performances real. However, their scores were real, meaning that the first half of the first half of the Team Event is already over with by the time we arrive.
So, we have Ice Dancing (the silliest of the figure skating events — perhaps the silliest event in the entire Winter Olympics that isn’t Curling) and Women’s to get through to determine our top five teams.
A couple of notes about the Ice Dancing:
- They have to perform a Rhumba to “Latin rhythms”
- Our announcers helpfully explain that to create “Latin rhythms,” teams will often slow down popular songs to a weird speed
- Oh, hey, this is the first Olympics in which songs with lyrics are being allowed, so that’s something
- We are not given any of the rules, so we don’t know what the hell we’re supposed to be looking for
- Although I did pick up that they are supposed to do the “dreaded twizzle”
- And the lifts aren’t supposed to be longer than 7 seconds
- Also, again, Ice Dancing is profoundly silly*
As a warm-up, we are given the Israeli pair who as far as I can tell are fine, although they end up coming in dead last, so that goes to show what I know. Next are the Germans who the announcers insist do not have any chemistry. You can tell they do not have chemistry because their naughty bits stay very far apart. “You can tell how much chemistry people have by measuring the distance of their naughty bits” is also just a good rule of life.
Then the South Korean pair perform, and things become much more interesting. On live TV, and with the entire world watching, Yura Min has “a wardrobe malfunction,” when the back of her top pops open. Needless to say, my teenage sons and husband suddenly found Ice Dancing VERY COMPELLING.
This becomes something of an issue for poor Yura who has to worry that at any moment her yuramins could just pop right out, and it prevents her from completing the dreaded twizzles. And the announcer — I swear to God — wonders if the prospect of flashing the entire world was “a distraction” for Min. HMM. I WONDER. Min manages to hold it all together LIKE A GODDAMN HERO, but their score suffers as a result, coming in only above the Israelis.
But you know what, Yura Min? You and your partner, Alexander Gamelin, y’all get the Foolish Gold Medal in Keeping Your Cool, and you, specifically, win the Gold in Only Ladies Have to Deal With This Bullshit. Congratulations!
The next team to dance is Japan and the only remarkable thing about them is that Chris Reed needs to shave that sparsely populated goatee off of his face. Even my middle schooler is embarrassed for him.
America’s team are the Shibutani siblings — or, as the announcers kept insisting on calling them — the “Shib sibs,” which Mr. T protested sounds gross, and he’s not wrong. And, look, the Shib Sibs, they are quite good! They are technically very smooth and talented and the performance so far as I can tell — which is not far, clearly — is solid. But in a competition where the proximity of your naughty bits to each other is a part of your score, it’s MAYBE VERY GROSS to have your sibling as your partner. BECAUSE THAT IS SOME STRAIGHT UP TARGARYEN NONSENSE RIGHT THERE.
The Italian Ice Dancing team are in their 30s, which actually helps explain what Ice Dancing is for: it’s where old or failed skaters go to die. Before you start yelling at me, I will also say that the Italian team’s performance looked the most like dancing that we had seen so far.
Until. Here come the Canadians, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who won the Gold in 2010, the Silver in 2014, and the Silver in Team in 2014. They are formidable and they bring the sex, Tessa performing in a dress that is a deliberate wardrobe malfunction, what with its slit up going up above her virtue. As I mentioned in an earlier post, they actually were required to tame their performance, eliminating the move that I am fairly certain is known as the “Super Bowl Crotch in the Face Tackle”:
But even without the face-crotch tackle, Virtue and Moir’s performance is super steamy, and after the judges douse themselves with ice water, they give them all of the points. And I literally typed “are T…” when Google filled in for me “Are Tessa and Scott dating?” because everyone wants to know, and the answer is if they are not currently fucking, they need to just go ahead and do it.
Oh and the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” perform, but are they making the sex on ice? No? Then who cares.
The final event for the Team Skate competition before we shed some of the dead weight is the Women’s, and we begin with Team USA’s great hope: Bradie Tennell. And she’s fine! She’s fine. She’s not high score fine, she’s not come in first place fine, she’s “come in fifth place” fine. She’s fine.
Team France, on the other hand, sends out Maé-Bérénice Méité, who looks a lot taller than 5’6″ in her BADASS black and gold pantsuit — ARE FEMALE SKATERS EVEN ALLOWED TO WEAR PANTSUITS??? — and who performs to a version of Beyoncé’s “Halo” and “Who Run the World?” As announcer, Johnny Weir says, “COME THROUGH, MY LADY.”
Sadly, she does not come through, touching the ice on her triple triple and falling on the triple lutz. Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski explain that she has a tear in a tendon, SO IT’S KINDA AMAZING SHE’S EVEN HERE, BACK OFF.
I will let Leslie Jones have this one:
Maé Bérénice Méité, I hereby award you the Foolish Gold in Doing Beyoncé Right.
Germany happens. She falls some. ~shrug~
South Korea’s Choi Da-Bin gives a lovely performance that puts her in sixth place. ~shrug~
And then Italy’s Carolina Kostner, who, at 31 is nearly twice the age of some of her competition, comes out and gives a performance that prompts Johnny Weir to call her “an artistic unicorn.” REPRESENT THE OLDS, CAROLINA. She will eventually come in second.
The Japanese skater, Satoko Miyahara, gives a boring performance that somehow, to the surprise of my Figure Skating oracles, Lipinski and Weir, lands her above Bradie Tennell by a .01 point difference, which is some bullshit, BUT WHATEVER.
Canada’s Katelyn Osmond deserves extra points for those gloves she was rocking with her outfit — which was clearly the best. And for being ridiculously pretty. And for doing all of her training in a shopping mall ice skating rink.
But she’s not better than Olympic Athlete from Russia Evgeniia Medvedeva because AIN’T NOBODY BETTER than Olympic Athlete from Russia Evgeniia Medvedeva. The woman is a monster. The woman is a supervillain. The woman is going to win ALL OF THE GOLD MEDALS. She takes first place.
I am not giving you any Foolish Gold, girl, because you’ll have plenty of the real kind soon enough.
And with that, we have our top five teams, who will go on to perform the free program, beginning with Pairs later, not that I’m watching because Momma’s got to go to sleep:
- Olympic Athletes from Russia Who Didn’t Dope
- United States
We also had our first Mary Carillo sighting of these Olympic Games last night, as she went to the Women’s Hockey Match between Korea and Sweden. The reason the match was Mary Carillo-worthy is that the Korean Women’s Hockey team is, remarkably, made up of players from both South and North Korea. They are also terrible and lose 8-0. But still! History! Hope! Weird North Korean Cheerleaders Freaking Everyone Out!
We also check in with your New Favorite Speed Skater, Maame Biney.
- Is still in high school
- Is the first African-American woman to qualify for a USA speed skating team
- Wanted to figure skate but was too fast
- Was born in Ghana, you know, one of those “Shithole” countries our president isn’t too fond of
- Is giggly, and exuberant, and a delight to watch, on and off the ice
Last night she advanced to the 500 meter quarterfinals while her proud daddy cheered her on and we love her.
Also, the South Koreans won their first gold in Short Track Speed Skating in the most dramatic fashion ever, but since Lim Hyo-jun isn’t American, we don’t spend too much time on it, come on.
Last but BY NO MEANS LEAST, Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle. Alright, so in this batshit insane competition, crazy people strap on snowboards, do some rails and then do three big jumps into the air in an attempt to break their necks. They are given three attempts to break their necks, and their best score is the only one that counts.
When we check in on this event, Team USA’s only competitor, 17-year-old Red Gerard, is not doing great, Bob. His first run put him in the middle of the pack, but by the second run, he is in 11th place.
Out of 12.
And so Team Odell, watching from Foolish Headquarters, had written him off, while cheering on whoever could get the best air. At the time, it was Canada’s Mark McMorris and Norway’s Ståle Sandbech doing a number of amazing twist and flips in the air without falling on their butts or breaking their necks, which, again, I cannot stress, seems impossible.
In fact, this was Mark McMorris less than a year ago, having fallen in the backwoods, and unable to be rescued by helicopter for three hours:
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Apparently a lot can change in a week.. So so thankful to have my life! It was touch and go there for a second and I don't know how I can thank everyone enough for praying and sending healing vibes…. I hit a tree in the whistler backcountry a week ago and to be honest I was pretty sure I was going to die… @craigmcmorris @torsteinhorgmo @erinhogue @brandonkelly and @ryantiene saved my life by staying calm, building me a nest, and calling search and rescue🙏🏼 I will never take another day on this earth for granted .. 😌 Much Love❤
THIS IS A DANGEROUS SPORT THAT NO ONE SHOULD DO.
After the second round, Mark McMorris is in the lead with a score of 85.20, and, you know, good for him! This is a fantastic Olympic comeback story! Go Canada with your awesome sweaters!
But you know what is a better Olympic story? When a 17-year-old kid who was next to last gives the performance of his life in his last chance, scoring an 87.16, with some of the most dangerous of his competitors still left to go.
Things were tense at Foolish HQ, where one audience member happens to be a 16-year-old occasional snowboarder, especially when Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot …
even though “Maximum Parrot” is a FAR SUPERIOR name.)
… gives a tremendous performance with the flippies and the twisties and neither falls on his butt nor breaks his neck. And there is a long 2-minute wait for Red and Team Odell before we learn Max Parrot only scores an 86, guaranteeing that Red Gerard took the Gold, and wins the first Gold medal for Team USA in these Games.
“HOLY FUCK!” as Red himself exclaims.
Indeed, Red. Indeed.
And if you’re not convinced that you love Red Gerard yet, go read this New York Times piece about his win that confirms my approach to writing about sports:
“I’m pretty sure I saw a few of them shotgunning beers at 8:30 am.,” Gerard said, when asked what his family and friends thought. “I’m pretty sure they’re doing just fine.”
Gerard’s victory was a bit of an upset on a sunny but frigid and breezy morning at Phoenix Snow Park, where swirling winds threatened to push his 5-foot-5 frame around in the air as he performed high-flying tricks like a “switch backside 12” and a “front double 10 out of the side hit, into a backside double cork,” he detailed later, to a confused audience of reporters.
“Spins,” he said. “They’re just spins. A whole bunch of spins.”
Instead of posting a video of Red’s Olympic performance which will just be taken down by YouTube within 24 hours, I give you this COMPLETELY INSANE video of Red with his older brothers doing things in Tahoe that should — and I mean this in all sincerity — be completely illegal. I was blown away by his performance at PyeongChang, but this video puts that in perspective. Once you’ve spent some time doing flips over waterfalls and trying to start avalanches, a groomed Olympics course probably seems like not that big of a deal:
ALRIGHT. I’m off to rest my blogging arm for tonight’s events: More Team Skating (and maybe medals?); Women’s Giant Slalom; Luge; and maybe some more Snowboarding? It’s unclear. See you tomorrow.