We begin the night with a very brief look at Women’s Skeleton in which a bunch of crazy ladies send themselves flying down an iced track headfirst and hope for the best: the best being either winning an Olympic medal and/or not breaking their neck.
Lizzy Yarnold, the Skeletoner (?) from Great Britain who won gold in Sochi, and who was suffering an inner ear infection which left her dizzy after her second run, breaks the track record twice and wins gold, becoming the first athlete — male or female — in the sport to win back-to-back gold. Lizzy Yarnold wins the Foolish gold in Badass.
While we’re on the subject of sledding, Men’s Bobsled begins tonight and I am delighted to note that my cousin, Sam McGuffie, is on the team. To be clear, Sam is not my first cousin. He’s not even my first cousin once removed. He is my grandmother’s first cousin’s grandson, making him — I believe — my third cousin twice removed. I should also note that I have never met Sam, except possibly when our family had a giant family reunion when I was 12 or 13, but I’m not even sure he was born yet. So what I am saying is that I’m practically an Olympic athlete. Go Sam! Go Team USA!
He’s in this picture somewhere!Embed from Getty Images
OH BOY, MORE SKIING. Tonight we have Men’s Giant Slalom, in which literally 110 — 110! — skiers fling themselves down the mountain, twice. Their scores are added together, and the fastest wins. This all sounds easy enough, except that skiers start crashing all over the place and it’s a hot mess.
And I’m going to let you in on a little professional blogging secret here, but I recorded this and then fast-forwarded through most of the event, going back to watch the crashes and occasionally checking in to see if Bode Miller has made any other sexist comments. He manages to get through this event without doing so.
Some Austrian ends up winning the event long after I’ve gone to bed, with Norway taking silver and a Frenchman taking bronze — but not the Frenchman, Mathieu Faivreour, whom our skiing goddess Mikaela Shiffrin is apparently dating — he comes in 7th.Embed from Getty Images
As for Team USA, we didn’t have a terrific showing. Ryan Cochran-Siegle comes in 11th and Ted Ligety, the Team USA skier who won this event in Sochi, ends up coming in 15th. But cut the guy a break. He’s 33, he has a baby, he’s got grown-ass man things to worry about.
Onto something actually interesting: Freestyle Skiing Men’s Slopestyle, the one where guys on skis hit snowboard rails before doing three insane jumps, with the flippies and the twisties and the skiing backwards and I could watch this all night.
This is the qualifying event in which the guys get three runs and their best score will count. And it appears that they cleaned the rails of all the butter they smeared on them for the women’s event because everyone that we see manages to get past them without incident.
Here’s the thing about me writing about this sport for you: I am REALLY easily impressed. And I can’t tell the difference between a 1400 pretzel corker twin tip and a 1540 rightside knuckle grab, or whathaveyou, I’m just here for the flippies and the twisties and I am not disappointed.
For instance, Team USA’s Alex Hall looks great to me, and in fact, I’m ready to award him bonus points for being 6’4″, only an inch shorter than my husband and the idea of my husband doing any of this is HI-LARIOUS to me. But Alex doesn’t make the cut — in fact, when the qualifiers are over, he’s in 16th place, so shows what I know.
I will say that Team USA’s skiers who do make it to the final, Alex Goepper and Gus Kenworthy, are stunning to watch. They do the rails! and then they do the jumps! and then they do the flips! and then they don’t die! and it’s pretty spectacular.
Gus Kenworthy, it has to be noted, is the third openly gay athlete to compete for Team USA. Adam Rippon got all the attention because his event was first, but speed skater Brittany Bowe is also an out lesbian, and I regret not mentioning it in my post during her event.
And it’s super moving and gratifying to see his family and boyfriend cheering Gus on while waving rainbow flags.
You might remember during Sochi there were rumors that the Russians were poisoning street dogs, and that Gus Kenworthy adopted a couple of Russian puppies who he brought home with him. At the time, Gus wasn’t out, and it turns out that actually, it was his boyfriend, Robin, who did all the legwork on rescuing the dogs:
Robin, a photographer and videographer, was working in the Gorky media tent at the Sochi Olympics when he sent Gus a photo of a stray dog and her four pups who were hanging around, probably looking for food and attention. Gus was smitten; he left the village and took “a gondola and two buses” to see the dogs. Once he met them, he knew he needed to bring them home.
The Americans swept the inaugural Olympic Men’s Freestyle Skiing event — only the third time in U.S. history that Americans brought home gold, silver, and bronze medals in a single event at the Winter Games.
Afterward, the three skiers were sought after by media all over the world, but especially in the U.S. Gus went back to the states, and Robin stayed in Russia to work on getting the dogs out. By then, the Sochi pups were sequestered in a government building; Gus and Robin felt that the Russian officials didn’t want the dogs to leave because they had so much attention on them. Robin brought the dogs food every day.
And then Rosa, one of the puppies, died.
That may have been the catalyst for the Russians to release the dogs. With the help of Humane Society International, Robin brought the mother, now named Mamushka, and the three remaining pups home.
Gus and Robin later broke up, and the dogs went to live with Robin since Gus travels so much. But the dogs have their own adorable Instagram feed, so you can keep up with them there. Gus regrets not being out in Sochi and not being able to give Robin the credit he deserved for shining a light on adopting stray dogs, but he intends to bring attention to the dogmeat industry in Korea while he’s there.
And with that, let’s have a moment of Gus Kenworthy appreciation, possibly the most gorgeous athlete in the Games, because his time at the Olympics is done now that he came in last in the finals of Slopestyle:
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Sochi 2014 → Pyeongchang 2018. My life has changed a lot in the four years since the last Winter Olympics. One of the biggest changes (besides hitting puberty, apparently) was coming out. My friends at @samsungmobileusa documented my road to Pyeongchang and I think they did a really great job telling my story so click the link in my bio and check out the video (pt. 1 of 3)!!! ❤️❤️❤️
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Proud to stand amongst the millions of people across the country and around the world that marched today, in solidarity, to raise their voices in the name of equality, choice and kindness. So proud of my little city of Denver for the 100,000+ person turn out! My heart was as full as it's ever been to witness the unanimity. Watch my story for highlights and amazing signs from the march. We are democracy. We are united. We are America. #WomensMarch
Gus Kenworthy, you win the Foolish gold in Instagram.
As for who did win the Slopestyle: Norway’s Øystein Bråten took gold, Team USA’s Nick Goepper took silver and Canada’s Alex Beaulieu-Marchand took bronze.
Next event: Men’s Large Hill Individual Ski Jumping which for my money seems a lot less crazy than Aerials or Slopestyle. I mean, I would never do something like this, you couldn’t get me to climb up to the top of the jump, are you kidding? I’m just saying that while there is obviously a lot of danger, so much danger! in this event, these guys are just jumping in a straight line, and there is a very low chance if they crash they are going to do so neck-first. They are much more likely to take out a leg and end their career forever, which is terrible, but which I would take over being paralyzed or having a traumatic brain injury.
Anyway. A bunch of dudes ski jump. Some ski jump farther than others ski jump. “Well, he definitely came up short,” she says from her couch having watched a full five minutes of the sport.
Note: The person who definitely came up short was Kamil Stoch of Poland who wins the gold.
Andreas Wellinger of Germany wins the silver and Robert Johansson, who I am not convinced isn’t an Amy Poehler character in disguise:
… wins the bronze. He also takes the Foolish gold in Mustache.
The final event of the night is Short Track Speed Skating, which I approached with a long heavy sigh because I was pretty sure I hated skating races. As it turns out, I might just hate Speed Skating but love Short Track Speed Skating because this shit was EXCITING.
First up was the Men’s 1000m semifinal in which fives skaters skate around the rink some 10 times as fast and as aggressively (and sometimes passive-aggressively) as possible. Like any race, it’s all about conserving your energy until the last possible moment and jostling for the best position, but unlike most running races, there is a much higher possibility of a bunch of competitors accidentally slamming into each other and collapsing in a pile of sharp blades and spandex.
In the semifinal, we are introduced to Team USA’s John-Henry Krueger, a 22-year-old kid who does not give any of his competitors a fucking inch, and he wins his heat. However, Canadian Samuel Girard, took notes and in the final it is basically these two guys fighting it out over a very small slice of ice, while the other three skaters pull a full Three Stooges and take one another out. Girard wins gold, John-Henry wins silver and the other three doofuses should get nothing.
It was VERY EXCITING.
Next is the Women’s 1500m, which, because there are no Americans in the semifinal, we are only treated to the final. IT IS AMAZING. The women are just skating around skating around skating around with the favored winner South Korea’s Choi Min-jeong hanging out in the middle of the pack until there are only 3 laps left. At this moment, Min-jeong is like, “Alright, I’ve toyed with you fools long enough…” and pulls so far ahead of everyone else, that I’m pretty sure she laps them.
IT WAS VERY EXCITING.
She. Is. Astonishing. She should win the gold and the silver for this performance. She wins the Foolish gold, silver AND bronze in Not Even Having Any Competition.
With that, Mike Tirico fills the remainder of the time chatting with Nathan Chen, Adam Rippon and poor forgotten Vincent Zhou, the redheaded stepchild of Team USA’s Figure Skating group. Nathan Chen tries to reassure us that HE’S FINE, NO REALLY, IT’S ALL GOOD THAT HE COULD HAVE WON ALL OF THE PRIZES AND MAYBE HELPED TEAM USA DO BETTER IN THE TEAM EVENT IF ONLY HE COULD HAVE GOTTEN OUT OF HIS DUMB HEAD BUT HE DIDN’T, MIKE, AND HE’LL JUST HAVE TO LIVE WITH THAT FACT FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS, WHEN HE’LL DEFINITELY BE TREATED WITH THE “REDEMPTION STORY” VIDEO PACKAGE BY NBC WHICH IS ALWAYS A FUCKING TREAT, THANKS FOR ASKING.
As for Adam Rippon, Tricio asks him which celebrities have reached out to him because as A Gay, this is obviously the most important thing to him about these Olympics. Adam Rippon replies that he believes everyone is “a little trashy” (TRUTH), before name-dropping Reese and Brittany.
And with that, I’m passing the ski pole back over to Bobby tonight. He’ll have Ice Dancing, Speed Skating, Cross-Country Skiing (oof) and Bobsled with Cousin Sam on his plate. And maybe if he’s lucky, Mary Carillo will escape her North Korean prison cell and give us a package on why Korean skin masks are so superior.