Day 7: When Bronze is Gold

He made it look easy.

He did everything as if it was second nature.

He rocked through the rails, and made me finally say, “So that’s what those are for!”

He dominated the jumps.

He did it without ski poles.

He...won bronze?

Yup - medal favorite Nick Goepper took the bronze on Thursday in ski slopestyle, and I couldn’t believe it. His first run in the finals was phenomenal (so much so I can’t stop italicizing everything), and I really thought I was watching the gold medal moves.

But it wasn’t meant to me. Teammates Joss Christensen and Gus Kenworthy placed in front of him, which I consider pure crap. No offense, team USA, for you, but for the judges who only scored him with a 92.4 in his best run. Really, judges? He landed and didn’t land on his butt, hand, legs, or head. He landed on his own two feet in the most perfect landing I’ve probably seen this entire Winter Games. And he did it three times!

He also accomplished something that my Dad and I were talking about on Monday. I said that I’d really enjoyed snowboard slopestyle, and he said that he did too. The only thing he didn’t like was the first part - it seemed like the boring part before the exciting jumps. I had to agree with him - most of the snowboarders chose to ride it and get off as quickly as possible to get to the jumps.

Not so with Goepper! He jumped up on one ski, changed to the other, and got off. He leaped up, made contact with a pommel-horse rail, making a large clang, and got off. He jumped on the highest wall and did a flip to the ground! He made the rail section look interesting, and I could understand why the rails were there. Other skiers did neat things, too, but Goepper was the best. (What’s wrong with you, snowboarders?)

I was in love with his run, which is why I can’t be too incredibly ecstatic that the Americans swept the competition. It’s too bad, however, he is only 19, so he can go through the Cycle and still come out in South Korea with that gold that he deserves!

(BTW, have you checked out his Twitter? He’s a pretty funny dude.)

Mini Blurbs

Tonight Matt Lauer is reporting from… the forest after a freeze-frost. (not my best)

Today’s roundup: team luge (live), men’s ski slopestyle, biathlon, men’s figure skating, skeleton, women’s speedskating, women’s and men’s curling,

Integration! The students today were reporters. They had five questions they were supposed to answer: Who is competing? What is happening? Where does this take place? When does this take place? Why is this happening? We covered team luge, which I got to explain to them (and did pretty well, considering I was only going by what I read that morning), and then watched in all its glory.

The kiddos did a pretty good job in covering the event. I especially liked their Why answers, which ranged from “It’s something different” to “It’s more exciting than regular luge” to “It is an interesting and exciting event.”

I had to agree with them; instead of waiting forever to find out the results after four (or two) heats, the race was done in about an hour. The three sets of sliders (women’s, men’s, 2-man) go down on their own, and at the end have to slap a paddle that is above the end of the track. If they don’t hit it, the race is over. If they hit it, the gate at the top will open, and it’s time for the next group to go! Touch the gate before it opens, and the race is over. So many factors, but it was awesome to watch. I was very impressed with this - and as I’ve said before, it’s fun to watch men and women compete together.

The Bowser Effect: I also had a little lesson in inertia today with the kids. As they watched the 2-man luge portion of the team relay, the kids were saying that the 2-man would be slower than the singles luge because the sled was heavier. It was hard for them to understand that the 2-man would actually be faster.

In the end, I asked, “Who’s played Mario Kart?” About half of the class raised her hand. “Have you ever played Bowser before, and how he starts out so slow because he’s so heavy?” They nodded their heads. “Well, remember, Bowser starts slowly, but he ends up faster than any other racer at his top speed. That’s what happens in 2-man luge!”

They might have gotten it after that. When all else fails, I bring in pop culture.

Biathlon, or Just Shooting? I watched NBC’s coverage of biathlon today, and pretty much they showed the shooting. Four rounds of shooting. No cross-country. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if an event is called biathlon, then more time could be spent on the second event.

Skeleton: In spite of team luge being so much fun, I enjoy skeleton a lot more. I don’t know if it’s because it’s more dangerous, or the start is less weird, or what, but it’s a headfirst joyride. Maybe it’s because the Americans are contending, and the Germans aren’t at the top.

Did you know: The Russians only had one men’s figure skating position. Evgeny Plushenko was that guy. So clearly Russia doesn’t have much of a comeback, which means it won’t be a Russian sweep in figure skating.

Since he’s out, I can point out that his free skate was simply a mix-up of his best programs. It was clear that this would be it, and there were even rumblings that he wouldn’t skate in the individual program - so this is it for Plushenko! But never fear - there’s always another way-too-good Russian waiting in the wings.

Dear Jason Brown: Find your quad over the next four years. You find that thing, you’ll be on the podium in 2018, because you’ve got everything else, kid!

It’s not often that I watch figure skating performances out of sheer enjoyment (I’m usually waiting for a fall), but I did that with Evan Lysacek and I did that with Jason Brown tonight. Plus he’s so happy!

(While I’m at it, Jeremy Abbot always looks like he’s constipated, and Patrick Chan always looks like he’s in a staring contest with the nearest person, IMO!)

On a personal note: I will not be posting a Blurb tomorrow (Calm down! Calm down! I can hear your cries of injustice and anger from here!) because of personal life stuff - and maybe we all need a break from my random musings now that we’re halfway into the Games. Never fear - I’ll be back sometime over the weekend with another post!


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