Ice Dancing My Olympic Worries Away

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The only things keeping my little gay heart going these days are the new Queer Eye episodes on Netflix, Fergie’s national anthem and ICE DANCING.

Finally, after so much halfpipe (only full pipe for me, thanks!), I get a night that features not only an event I can get behind (sparkles! eleganza! tears!), but we actually saw the bulk of the event AND it was for medals. This is what I’m here for.

Sure, the ice dancing didn’t come until halfway through last night’s broadcast, but still! One half of a three-hour broadcast is much easier to swallow than three hours of a five-hour broadcast!

Not that NBC is doing a flawless job with these Olympics. (Do they ever?) I know we’ve often complained that NBC stuffs these broadcasts with so many recap packages reviewing the big moments we’ve seen in replays over and over. However, this year, I feel like I’m being thrown into events with almost no context whatsoever. Especially with events that span multiple nights or are judged using some complex algorithm that accounts for technical mastery, performance and sequins, I could use a little explainer.

So, it’s a little disorienting to return from commercial break and be dropped directly onto the rink for ice dancing. It would’ve been nice to have a little recap video of the short program, but, sure, whatever, just no more Lindsay Vonn training runs, OK? (Just kidding! We do check in with her for a bit, but I don’t want to talk about it!)

Anyway, ice dancing. I was SO BORED Sunday night, that I completely missed how France’s Gabriella Papadakis’ wardrobe malfunction I mentioned ever so briefly was actually a FULL-BLOWN nip-slip. To be fair, I am not the foremost expert on women’s nipples (though I could 100 percent ID Chris Pratt’s nipple out of a line-up), and the commentators did an admirable job downplaying the incident.

That’s why tonight everybody has their outfit like Krazy glued to their bodies.

First up are Great Britain’s pair. She’s wearing a (securely fastened) butterfly print dress that’s very much my aesthetic, and her partner is very, very hot. The routine is FINE. It’s basically what you imagine an ice dancing performance to be — slow and pretty. They get a 170.32 combined short program and free skate, but they’re likely not going to be in medal contention.

Next up are one of three U.S. pairs, Chock and Bates, taking the ice in a lovely blue ombre situation. They’re skating to — ugh — “Imagine” because “they wanted their skate to say something.” Skating to “Imagine” basically says your vision for world peace is little more than buying the world a Coke, or whatever. Hate it.

But then, in the midst of a really nice skate, they both go down. Hard. That’s it! Their chances are ruined. But they pick themselves up, continue to hit some of their biggest elements as the crowd cheers them on, and I am full-on sobbing on my couch.

It’s moments like these where I step back and think about how these athletes train their whole lives for this moment, they’re the best in the world, and they can just stumble a little bit, and it’s all over! And then they have to finish skating and flipping and spinning, and it’s beautiful. Sometimes I get a passive-aggressive email, and I’m wrecked FOR THE WEEK. I can’t even imagine. This is why I love this shit.

Chock and Bates earn a combined 175.58, and they’re likely out of medal contention.

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It’s time for our “Not Russian” Russian skaters. For their free skate, there’s some kind of story they’re going for that’s like The Miracle Worker on ice? I think she’s supposed to be blind? It’s obviously very lovely and moving, but also I can’t help but spending the whole routine screaming “DOLL, HELEN! D-O-L-L!” Tell you what, despite being blind, she sure do skate, though!

Wait, by the end, I think he’s blind? Was he supposed to be blind the whole time? Is she a witch? What’s happening?

The judges give them an impressive 186.92, but I still have a lot of questions.

The Italians skate, and they’re fine. She does one of those moves where she’s standing on his thigh, and I honestly don’t understand how everyone isn’t severing their femoral arteries and bleeding out all over the ice. (Although, that would be a perfect cold open for an episode of Ryan Murphy’s 9-1-1.). They get a 108.34. No medals for you. Ciao, bellas!

Our next American couple, the Shibutani siblings, are on the ice next. They do a very lovely skate to — ugh — Coldplay, but I know it’s good, because I find myself spontaneously applauding when they’re done. Now look, I know my mind is permanently stuck in the gutter, but this all just seems too intimate for siblings to be doing. It’s a little too Jaime/Cersei, A Song of Fire and Ice Dancing for me, you know?

The judges, however, are totally cool with it and award them a 192.59.

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France’s Papadakis and Cizeron are up next, and, just for a change of pace, he’s got his tits out for this one. Therese and I often can’t tell what’s a good performance in any given event, but you can always spot the GREAT ones. This was a great one. It is impossible to take your eyes off them. They break their own record with the highest number ever posted for free dance (123.35), landing them in first place, for now, with a score of 205.28.

This is the kind of Olympic moment I LIVE for. We just witnessed a spectacular, jaw-dropping performance from a team fresh off living their Olympic nip-slip nightmare, but there are two strong competitors to go. That’s drawmaw, mawmaw!

Americans Hubbell and Donohue are the first of the remaining two pairs. Instead of the sleepy/lyrical/COLDPLAY soundtracks we’ve endured thus far, these two do a very sexy, jazzy skate that immediately stands out. Unfortunately, he takes a small tumble at one point, resulting in a deduction and costing their spot on the platform. I’m not sure how it happened, but once they finish, you can see her tell him “Fuck. I’m sorry.”

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The final duo for the evening is the Canadian team of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Skating to a medley from Moulin Rouge, it’s every bit as good as you’d expect. They earn a well-deserved 122.4 for the free skate, racking up a cumulative score of 206.7 and earning the gold.

That leaves the Shibutani siblings with bronze and Papadakis/Cizeron with silver. I’m not suggesting that Tessa Virtue went full I, Tonya/Nomi Malone and snipped Papadakis’ strap before she hit the ice, but one has to wonder if things would be different if the French were able to give their all to the short program without that wardrobe SNAFU.

What else was on last night? Let’s see. We spent a lot of time on the women’s skiing halfpipe, but, I’m sorry, it was boring! Watching these halfpipe competitions is a lot like watching a fireworks display: You want to ooh and ahh at all the tricks, but it’s not really something you’re like invested in.

Skiing is a bit more exciting to watch, because they are spinning and flipping and flying through the air with four very pointy things strapped to their extremities, but I can assure you everyone made it to the bottom without being impaled. Not that I was rooting for that, of course, but it certainly would have been MEMORABLE. Instead, the most notable takeaway is American Britta Sigourney took bronze. (Canadian Cassie Sharpe took gold and France’s Marie Martinod nabbed silver.)

We also got to see the incredible bobsledding tie, but that was old news by the time it rolled around. Both the Canadian and German two-man bobsled teams finished the course in exactly 3 minutes and 16.86 seconds. The universe is a wild and wonderful place! It’s third time there’s been a tie in bobsled, the last being Canada and Italy in 1998. Before that was Italy and West Germany in 1968. So, if the pattern holds, Germany will tie with some other nation in 2028, somehow. Both teams get golds.

Tonight, I power through another night of Olympic coverage, including Lindsay Vonn gunning for gold in Alpine downhill (ugh), women’s bobsled, short track and ladies figure skating (hooray!).

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