Saturday, February 8, 2014

Day 2 - The Day I Watched Everything

Hello everyone! Make sure to check the blog every morning to see what I’ve posted about the previous day - don’t worry, I’ll make sure to post after the primetime coverage.


I had an interesting night. I watched the cauldron lighting three times, finished the blog, and went to be at 11:30. My alarm went off at 2am, and I turned over and grabbed my computer to watch the men’s Slopestyle final that started at 1:45am. To my surprise, the highest score had already been achieved by the United States’ Sage Krotsenburg in his early first run! I saw the end of the first run and the whole second run. It was pretty much hoping and hoping that everyone else wouldn’t be as good!


Kotsenburg seems like a very relaxed guy - kind of an “average” X Games athlete. I saw him interviewed on “Today” a couple of weeks ago, and he was very easygoing. Such is the life of a snowboarder if you’re not named SJ Shaun White. I’m very excited he won the gold!


But if you watched the slopestyle at all, did you see the GIANT snowboarding nesting doll near the track? May that thing never become animated.


The run itself was spectacular - especially that final jump (a 1620!). Being that this is a new event, I still have a hard time determining which slopestyle runs are spectacular and which are average (unless someone crashes or goes on their butt - then it’s easy). Of course, I still have a hard time determining figure skating scores. Some of the scores were only in the 20s and 30s (on runs I didn’t think were terrible), but Kotsenburg’s score was a 93! What a range!


I was expecting the Canadians to show more push here, but Max Parrot wiped out in his first run and didn’t get enough in his second, and Mark McMorris only could manage a 91 in his second run.


Fun Fact: grabbing the snowboard in the air gets you more points than flips.


I got to watch Kotsenburg’s medal ceremony later and viewed the medal outfit for Team USA. Clearly they are treating the US Olympians like they have gone into shock and need a giant metallic blanket to help them recover! However, the instrumental version of the US National Anthem is very good this time around - very powerful!


After Kotsenburg clinched, I went back to bed, but my heart was racing after watching the event, so it took a while to actually fall asleep. My alarm went back off at 4:30 to view the Speedskating men’s 5000m. In this event I was pulling for the Dutch, since the Americans really didn’t have any power in the “distance” speedskating events. Sven Kramer was the reigning Olympic champion (and had broke the Olympic record in 2010), and his race was awesome. He paced himself, and in the last couple of laps got faster. Most of the speedskaters by the last couple of laps were slowing down and falling behind, but Kramer was the opposite.


To my delight, the other two skaters from the Netherlands were also very good, and the rest of the field was very bad - even reigning 10,000m Olympic champion from South Korea, Seung Hoon Lee! Jan Blokhuijsen and Jorrit Bergsma took silver and bronze. Blokhuijsen even broke the Olympic record from 2010...unfortunately it had been broken in a faster time by Kramer!


That Netherlands sweep helps me a lot in my medals competition.


I had forgotten that the 5000m was one of the distance events, so I stayed up a lot longer watching that. I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until the ice dancing short program was almost over. Fortunately Meryl Davis and Charlie White were the last pair to go, and I caught that one. Their program (along with Ashley Wagner’s short program) got the Americans into the free skate against Japan, Italy, Russia, and Canada.


Not all of my nights are going to be that crazy, but it was fun to watch that stuff live!


Mini Blurbs


Today Bob Costas is reporting from… World 6 of Super Mario Bros. 3! (Thanks Matt!)


Today’s viewing roundup: men’s slopestyle, men’s 5000m speedskating, team figure skating - including ice dancing short program, women’s short program, and pairs free skate - men’s luge, women’s moguls, women’s skiathlon, men’s biathlon, men’s ski jumping, men’s downhill skiing, and women’s hockey. (WOW! I didn’t realize I watched everything today! That is a first. It’s impossible to do that in the Summer Games.)


Shout-out: My Dad and Rachel M. got my reference to the Broadway show The Producers  last night!


US Speedskating unis: I much preferred the powder-blue speedskating uniforms - not because of the color of blue (I hated that), but because it was very easy to pick out the US speedskaters in the races. Now their uniforms are very similar to several other countries’ uniforms.


Camera angles: I am enjoying all the ways that the speedskating events are shown. There’s the standard overhead camera, the close-shot rolling camera, the long-shot rolling camera, the rinkside stationary camera, and the tiny camera on the ice right after the skaters switch lanes!


What’s in a name: One of the Japanese speedskaters is Shane Williamson!


Name That Reference! In the NBC Primetime coverage of slopestyle, the commentator said after Max Parrot did his last run that “I would not want to be a judge right now. This is so heavy!” I wanted to respond with “Is there a problem with the Earth's gravitational pull?”


Empty seats: I never get upset at the empty seats in an arena. It’s something that people will probably bring up, but I don’t care. I just think to myself, “I should be in that seat. That seat is for me!”


Waiting for the ice to be resurfaced: While Americans would have a DJ and some funky dancing going on, the Russians had a six-piece oom-pah band and fully-clothed cheerleaders with pom-poms!


Sliding: When watching the first two runs of the men’s Luge, I noticed the three entrances for the sliding events. Bobsled is a flat, straight shot, Skeleton is a medium decline with a big curve, and Luge has the biggest decline! The reason for this is the push: in Bobsled and Skeleton you get a running start, while in Luge you push off with only your hands.


Mecca: Terry Gannon, the NBCSports announcer, declares the state of Michigan, “the Mecca of figure skating,” and says that Davis and White are both Wolverines (because they go to U-M, which they were also doing in 2010. Apparently they are on the 7-year track)!


German dominance: Felix Loch of Germany took the lead early on in the second run of luge, and no one could keep up with him!


Buffering issues: There was far less buffering in the middle of the night than there is during the day. I wonder why?


More figure skating: I actually turned my Internet coverage to the NBCSN coverage instead of the standard English international coverage so I could hear Terry Gannon, Johnny Weir, and Tara Lipinski’s coverage of the events. They are not as psycho-crazy as Scott Hamilton, and not as blunt and bland as Sandra Bezic. They are softspoken, which doesn’t get in the way of the skating, they give great critiques on jumps and spins (and costumes, in Weir’s case). They also shut up for long periods during the skates. Can they do the NBC Primetime coverage, too?


More cowbell: Just noticed the giant German cowbell in the team figure skating. Don’t know how I could have missed that! Too bad they got eliminated from the free skate.


Ice dancing in primetime: In the evening I got to view Canadian’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s short routine, and I liked it more than Davis and White’s routine because they are such enigmatic dancers. Moir and Virtue did mess up in the twizzles, though, so the fact that Davis and White got a higher score is a no-brainer.


Not your momma’s music: Many of the short program women’s skaters were dancing to more modern, rock music. Ashley Wagner skated to Pink Floyd, for Pete’s sake! Some of the other music was a little edgy, in my opinion. I don’t mind - it’s nice to not hear yet another version of “Carmen.”


Pair’s subs: Each figure skating team is allowed to sub two performers for the free skate, and to my surprise, Canada subbed out their pairs teams. The Canadian pair who did the short program had an incredible routine in the short program, but maybe their free skate wasn’t as up to par? The free skate team did a very good job, though.


The pair from the US had some falls and mishaps, but they came away with a personal best score! We really need to get our pairs skaters up to snuff. Come to Michigan - they’ll take care of you there.


Czech report: Returning from London, we have the Czech report! And what do you know, we have a medalist already! Jaroslav Soukoup took bronze in the biathlon 10km sprint. Keep it up Czechers!



Moguls: Hannah Kearney of the US was no match for the mighty Dufour-Lapointe sisters (sans older sister Maxine), who took gold (Justine) and silver (Chloe) in front of Kearney. In all three of her finals runs, Kearney had trouble with the top moguls in the second long straightaway every single time! At least she won bronze.


X-Country roundup: Ole Bjorndalen of Norway won gold in the men’s 10km biathlon sprint, and fellow Norwegian Marit Bjorgden won gold in the skiathlon, which is a mix of classic x-country and freestyle x-country. It used to be called pursuit, but no one knew what that meant, either! I don’t really get into cross-country skiing until Nordic Combined, where someone not from northern Europe has a chance to win.


That rounds up Day 2! My roundups won’t normally be so thorough, but I’ll do my best!




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