Look, I don’t know anything about figure skating — in fact, true story: I’ve never put on a pair of ice skates in my life. I know that it’s pretty. I know that it’s hard. I know that there are fancy outfits. And I know that when the skaters fall down, that’s not a good thing because, hell, I could go out there and fall down.
And so in subjective events like figure skating, I generally trust that the judges are making their decisions based on rules and complicated scoring systems that I don’t understand because I am not a part of the sport and I tend to be irritated by those who would dismiss the more subjective events as less of a sport than a timed event, because shut up, you don’t know what you’re talking about any more than I do. The point is, I trust that there are rules that apply to these events; rules that might be tough or harsh, but that are put in place to give the whole thing order. Otherwise, what are we doing here? What’s the point? WHY NOT JUST HAND THE MEDAL TO PRETTIEST OUTFIT AND BE DONE WITH IT?
But I get ahead of myself.
Last night was supposed to be downhill skier Mikaela Shiffrin’s big night, but because Yondung the Korean goddess of wind is capricious, all downhill skiing events have been canceled for the last two days due to high winds.
But that’s fine, that just means more time with Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, who is wearing his fanciest Red Priestess anti-aging choker for coverage of the conclusion of the Team Figure Skating event.
The Pairs performed Sunday night — or maybe it was Saturday morning … tomorrow? Are they performing tomorrow? Whatever, the point is, we still have Men’s, Women’s and Ice Dancing, and you better bet NBC is going to cover every last, sometimes excruciatingly boring, moment.
The Men’s program begins with the most Russian looking Russian who has ever Russianed: Mikhail Kolyada, who performs to Elvis, complete with an Elvis in the Vegas Years jumpsuit. And I wanted to give him a Foolish Gold for this bold sartorial choice, but there wasn’t enough Elvis in the Elvis routine for me. Where were the hip gyrations? Where were the karate moves? Where was the shooting at TVs and eating fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches and marrying underage girls?
Also, too, I learned Another New Thing about figure skating last night: if a skater attempts a difficult jump, like a quad, but falls, he will still receive more points than if he instead pulled a triple and made it.
Which is exactly what happens with Kolyada who falls and stumbles and walks away with a score of 173.75.
Meanwhile, Italy’s Matteo Rizzo gives an elegant and fall-free performance to a Beatles medley and is handed a score of 156.11. This makes no sense to me, but who cares because, Italy, right?
Team USA’s entrant is your new favorite Olympic personality, Adam Rippon, America’s first openly gay figure skater, somehow, impossibly. In an introductory package, Adam describes himself as a “full-grown monster,” and I am SMITTEN.
Rippon is the athlete who created a little bit of controversy when, upon learning that Homophobic Vice President Mike Pence was leading the Team USA delegation at the Opening Ceremonies, he said to USA Today, “You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it.” He then said that he was not interested in meeting Pence at an informal gathering for the athletes ahead of the Opening Ceremony because fuck that guy: “If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick.” Pence’s office was so freaked out by Rippon’s comments, they asked the Olympic Committee to arrange a meeting between the two, but Rippon was like, “I SAID, FUCK OFF.”
But Pence wasn’t to be deterred, and Thursday, he tweeted the following:
Adam Rippon and USA Today stand by the story.
ANYWAY. Adam Rippon goes on to give a lovely performance (that Mother certainly did not allow Mike Pence to watch) to a Coldplay medley (Me: “Which Coldplay song is this?” My 13-year-old: “All of them.”), landing some amazing jumps and he does not fuck it up and fall a single time. But because none of his jumps them were quads — even failed ones — he scores 172.98.
Johnny Weir and I are both VERY DISAPPOINTED. Watch your back, Judges, because Priestess Weir might just send a shadow baby after y’all’s asses.
Before I say the next thing that I am about to say … it’s is going to be mean. I need you to know that I know this is going to be mean. But, y’all, Canada’s Patrick Chan’s eyes are too close together and I find this extremely distracting.
Almost as distracting as what turns out to be a DISASTROUS performance from Chan in which he just falls all over the place. And here’s the thing! Which is a bullshit thing! Because he lands the quad, the fact that he misses a triple and falls on a triple axle is inconsequential, and he is scored higher than everyone else, receiving a 179.75!
I think I hate this sport.
Finally, Japan’s Keiji Tanaka performs what Priestess Weir and I agree is a very messy routine, earning a 148.98, and essentially writing off Japan’s medal chances.
BUT THE BULLSHITTERY DOESN’T END THERE, because up next is the Women’s competition.
Team USA is first, represented by Mirai Nagasu, who, as it turns out, along with Adam Rippon, has been trying to get into the Olympics for a while now, only to just barely miss the cut-off for Sochi. In fact, according to Rippon, during the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremonies, the two bought some In-N-Out and ate it on her roof, but now they’re roommates at the Olympic Village SO SUCK IT JASON BROWN AND GRACIE GOLD WHOEVER Y’ALL EVEN ARE.
So the Big Fucking Deal with Mirai is that she is the first American woman to attempt a triple axel in the Olympics, and only the third woman ever, and GODDAMMIT, SHE MAKES IT. SHE MAKES IT.
And this is how big a deal this is, look at the people behind her in this gif, leaping to their feet:
Those are the Canadians. THAT’S HOW BIG A DEAL IT IS.
But not only that, Mirai also gives an otherwise graceful and fall-less performance. And so by the logic of the Men’s scoring, she should receive ALL OF THE POINTS, right? THAT’S HOW WE’RE DOING THIS, RIGHT?
She receives a 137.53 which apparently is 5 points higher than she’s ever scored before, which is terrific. And because she’s the first skater in this section, we don’t really have any context for what a 137.53 means, but unless the other women all do triple axles — multiple triple axles, in fact — she should have this in the bag.
Next is Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto who does some sort of weird tribute to the puppetry in Being John Malkovich. It earns her a 131.91, so not as good as Mirai.
Canada’s Gabrielle Daleman, also known as “The Triple Toe Queen,” and who is rocking some SERIOUS nails, gives a strong, grown-ass woman performance, and earns a 137.14, so not as good as Mirai.
Carolina Kostner from Italy bungles her routine, falling and stumbling in some of her landings, but still earns a 134.00 because no one likes puppets. Also, not as good as Mirai.
Finally, a 15-year-old Olympic Athlete from Russia, Alina Zagitova, shows up in a red tutu and some elbow-length opera gloves, and gives a stunning, inarguably gorgeous performance. She is a tiny skating terror who saves her jumps for the final half of her performance (which earns a 10% bonus, apparently), and is easily one of the most elegant skaters I’ve ever seen.
But ask me if she did a triple axel.
Go ahead, ask me.
NO, SHE DID NOT. ALINA ZAGITOVA DID NOT STICK A TRIPLE AXEL. SHE DID NOT EVEN ATTEMPT A TRIPLE AXEL AND FALL ON HER ASS. SO EXPLAIN TO ME HOW SHE SCORED A 158.08. BECAUSE LAST I CHECKED, IF YOU GIVE A GREAT PERFORMANCE WITHOUT ANY ERRORS, BUT YOU DON’T ATTEMPT THE MOST DIFFICULT ELEMENT AND SOMEONE ELSE DOES, EVEN IF THEY FAIL, YOU LOSE.
I definitely hate this sport.
I mean, look, Alina is beautiful and talented and she probably should have received the highest scores of the night and she and her co-Russian-in-evil Evgenia Medvedeva are definitely going to take the Gold and Silver in the Women’s Single Program, the only question is who is going to take what,. But why didn’t the rules apply here? In a subjective sport like figure skating, shouldn’t the rules apply to everyone equally? I could even see if she beat Mirai by one or two points thanks to that 10% bonus, or for artistic reasons, BUT 21 POINTS? BURN THE RULE BOOK, EVERYONE, BECAUSE THEY APPARENTLY NO LONGER APPLY.
Anyway. Bullshit. I call bullshit on all of this.
While we wait for the Ice Dancers to come out and finish this event once and for all, Adam Rippon gives an amazing interview to Mike Tirico in which he calls Tirico, “Mike” about 37 times, talks about how he declined Pence’s invitation because his mother taught him to stand up for what he believes in and also, too, neither he nor the other athletes needed the FUCKING DISTRACTION, MIKE, and says that before he performed he wanted to throw up and ask the judges for a Xanax or a “quick drink.”
He is the Olympic hero I have been waiting for MY. ENTIRE. LIFE.
Before the Ice Dancing begins, we are “treated” to an extraordinarily irritating video package about the “Shib Sibs” and how they have their own YouTube channel which NBC apparently thinks is remarkable, as if it’s still 2012.
Then back to the silliest event in the Winter Olympics: Ice Dancing.
Reasons to not care about Ice Dancing:
- They are announced by some lady named Tanith White
- Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski are nowhere to be found because they know this sport is nonsense
First to perform is Japan, and Misutā Moustache manages to fall — something that just doesn’t happen in Ice Dancing — so he and Keiji Tanaka need to just go sit down in the corner and think about how they have disappointed their entire country.
But before we leave Japan, QUESTION: Why do the Japanese, Germans and Team USA have the same coach? Why is this allowed? How does this even work?
Italy performs a routine based on Life is Beautiful, and I grant that Life is Beautiful was made by an Italian and I know we gave it prizes, but I thought we all kinda agreed that in retrospect, a film in which a guy clowns around in a concentration camp is maybe a little problematic? Didn’t we all collectively decide that? Anyway, they manage to not fall down and earn a 107.00.
The Olympic Athletes from Russia perform a routine in which a man “describes the world” to a blind woman — and we know she’s blind because the skater stares blankly in the wrong direction a bunch — but then, TWIST ENDING, he’s the blind one!
They earn 110.43 for this utter shlock that I definitely did not laugh at.
The “Shib Sibs” perform to Coldplay, because Team USA loves them some Coldplay. Their performance is clean and they do FOUR dreaded twizzles, even though they are only required to do two, because fuck you, dreaded twizzle, and it’s all quite lovely and doesn’t make me nearly as uncomfortable as the Rhumba as the whole sex element is taken off the table, thank God. They score a 112.01, putting them into first place.
Not that it can possibly last, because speaking of sex, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are back with a Moulin Rouge-inspired routine. And I keep talking about this and I keep getting it wrong, but THIS is actually the performance with the “Super Bowl Crotch in the Face Tackle.” It was never going to be in the short program because I am A Idiot who knows nothing about figure skating.
Anyway, Virtue and Moir actually include a variation on this lift, but tame it somewhat, making it is less: I-Am-Going-To-Put-My-Crotch-On-Your-Face-Now-And-You’re-Going-To-Like-It and more: Whoops-How-Did-My-Crotch-Get-On-Your-Face-Please-Excuse-Me-And-I’ll-Climb-Down-From-Here-Now.
Anyway, their routine is characteristically sexy and spirited and these two just are heads and shoulders and crotches above all the other teams because none of the other teams are fucking.
They 118.10, and win the Gold for Canada.
Silver goes to the Olympic Athletes of Russia — but NOT TO RUSSIA, BECAUSE GO SUCK EGGS, PUTIN.
And Team USA wins the Bronze.
And now I don’t have to think about Ice Dancing again for a whole week, yay, me.
As for the other sports that we spend a marginal amount of time on:
Luge. Luge is terrifying. Maybe not quite as terrifying as Skeleton, but it’s still really terrifying. And Americans? We’re not good at Luge. In fact, we’ve never won a single medal in Men’s Single Luge. Luge is HUGE in Germany, where, apparently, they use luge sleds to get around their country. In fact, if you look at who has won the most medals in luge, it’s literally:
- East Germany
- The United Team of Germany
- West Germany
Of the 129 medals that have ever been awarded in luge, 85 of them belong to one German or another.
And that’s why it’s a big deal when Chris Mazdzer of the United States manages to eek out a Silver medal, and what prompts someone in his cheering squad to lose all common sense, strip off her clothes and cheer him on thusly:
GURL, PUT ON YOUR CLOTHES. IT IS 9 DEGREES OUTSIDE AND YOU ARE MAKING ME COLD.
nyway, as I was saying while fully clothed: yay Chris Mazdzer! USA! USA! etc.
But Chris’ win and story is not just about nationalistic pride, it’s also a reminder that these international competitions are also about sportsmanship and international cooperation. If you’re looking to be moved, read this amazing story about how when Mazdzer was in a recent slump at the World Cup, a Russian athlete offered him use of his luge sled. Russians: they’re not all evil!
One last note about the Men’s Single Luge event, both of these men won medals in the event, but only one of them is Chris Mazdzer. Can you figure out which one?
Next up: Freestyle Skiing Women’s Moguls, the sport for those of you for whom doing aerial tricks on skis aren’t quite enough of a challenge, how about some moguls to add some excitement? Here’s how it will work: you’ll start off by skiing down a bunch of moguls, and then you’ll do a jump where you’ll be expected to do some sort of trick and then when you land, you’ll be back on a field of moguls and then when you get through those, how about you do another flippy thing again?
We join the event pretty late in the event with the final qualifying round, in which Team USA’s Jaelin Kauf — and the number one ranked freestyle mogul skier in the world — is knocked out of the finals by Canadian Justine Dufour-Lapointe, even though Kauf had a faster time and her trick was cooler but WHATEVER.
In the finals, Kazakh Yuliya Galysheva does a FREAKING AMAZING back flip for her second trick, but apparently she didn’t do as well on her moguls, because she comes in third to France’s Perrine Laffont and Canada’s Justine Dufour-Lapointe. But the real pisser is that the sixth skier, Canadian Andi Naude, goes careening off the course after not quite landing her first jump and doesn’t finish, which must have really stuck in Jaelin Kauf’s craw.
Anyway, I don’t have any gifs of last night’s event so enjoy this one instead:
Elsewhere, we learn that some Dutch dude, Sven Kramer, won Gold in the Men’s 5000 Meter Speed Skate, making it his eighth medal in the event, the most ever for anyone in the sport. But he’s not an American, so we don’t linger on this point for very long. But if he were American, we wouldn’t be able to turn on NBC without someone screaming SVEN KRAMER at us every five minutes. There’d be a Countdown to Sven Kramer window that would pop up during other events. He’d be invited to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo to talk to Hoda Kotb about what he was going to do in the upcoming Bejing Olympics…
We also learn that there is a 44-year-old woman on Finland’s hockey team and she has FOUR KIDS. I am the same age and only have two children and just the thought of playing hockey makes me need to go lie down. Anyway, she’s not American, so we don’t linger on this point for very long. If she were American, we would have endured a whole video package about her home life. There might even be individual video packages on all four children. And you KNOW Mary Carillo would be doing an entire segment on her.
But they’re not American, so who cares.
Speaking of not American, one Olympic story that certainly caught NBC’s imagination — AS I SAW IT LITERALLY THREE TIMES YESTERDAY — was of the Men’s 30 Kilometer Skiathlon, which happens to be the event I will be forced to participate in eternally when I eventually meet my eternal “reward.” They ski — cross-country — for nearly 19 miles — often uphill.
But it wasn’t the thrill of watching a bunch of dudes cross-country ski for an hour and fifteen minutes that made NBC replay the race every time I turned on the damn television. Early in the race, Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krüger was knocked down and run over and tangled up with two other skiers, only to somehow, miraculously, impossibly, not only make his way to the front of the pack, but he beat the next skier by 8 full seconds — long enough for him to have won a bull-riding contest while he was waiting for everyone else to cross the finish line. (I’m Texan; we measure all time in bull-riding terms.) And the point is, Skiathlon! Who knew watching people struggle across the snow in skis could be exciting? (Kinda?)
ALRIGHT, GREAT NEWS, BOBBY FANS! Bobby will be tagging in for me for tonight’s events which include: speed skating, snowboarding and maybe some skiing if Yondung will stop being such a bitch and chill with the wind. I’ll catch y’all over in my own personal challenge: The Bachelor. それまで!