Saturday, February 15, 2014

Day 8: Oshie Oshie Oshie! Oi Oi Oi!

I was tired last night. Yesterday I had woken up at 4:30am Mountain Time due to a flight that I was taking at 6:45. I could have watched some live, events, but since I got up later, all I had time to do was get ready and go.


I allowed myself to know all the results, and as my brother was reading off the scores later in the day, I almost didn’t believe him. Kazakhstan wins bronze in figure skating? Belarus wins three medals? I had to check it myself before I could know it was true.


It seems like I didn’t miss that much yesterday, besides Noelle Pikus-Pace taking silver in women’s skeleton. I watched a bit of figure skating as we ate at an Applebee’s, and that wasn’t very impressive to watch. Even Jason Brown faltered a bit with his Riverdance routine, which was sad, but he’s got a few years to gain confidence.


Anyway, because I’d woken up so early, I was very tired by the time I went to bed, so I didn’t set my alarm.


My alarm ended up being my sister, who texted me. “I know you’re not big on hockey, but this USA Russia game is really exciting!”


She understood (and read) that I’m not a huge fan of the round-robin hockey matches, and won’t just turn one on for the heck of it. I had been thinking of waking up for the game, but was exhausted from my day. I’m very glad she texted me, because it alerted me that the game was pretty good.


I tuned in right in time for Russia to score its third goal, which eventually was disallowed because the net had been knocked out its hole (I was really confused for a bit there). In the NHL that would have still been in goal, but in international play that could not stand.


The shootout was very exciting, mostly because it never ended! I’m usually okay with shootouts, because in the NHL five shots are usually enough. In Olympic play there’s only three, and when the score stayed tied at 1 goal, it was clear it would need a few more rounds. In the end, it was 8!


T.J Oshie was a name I had never heard until today. Apparently he plays for the St. Louis Blues and has been in the NHL for five seasons. Now that everyone knows his name - not just NHL fans - I think I’ll be hearing his name quite a lot. Especially because it rhymes with “Sochi.”


I’m glad the US won - it was weird to root against Pavel Datsyuk (Team Russia’s captain! He must speak up more since he can speak in his native tongue), but the win will really help. Although I do not like their uniforms - I think the shield is nice, but it’s too small on the jersey.


However, Jonathan Quick’s helmet is awesome. Take a close look at that thing sometime. He did a great job in the shootout, even without the awesome helmet.


Mini Blurbs


Today Meredith Viera is reporting from… Minnesota! (I’m there right now - it looks like a giant sheet of ice.)


Today’s roundup: men’s hockey, men’s skeleton, men’s ski jumping, women’s cross-country, women’s short track, women’s alpine skiing, men's short track, men's speed skating.


Greek sighting: I saw my first Greek athlete competing today. Alex Kefalas ended up 23rd didn’t make it to the final round, but he still competed!


Czech balance: Two Czech ski jumpers ended up 18th and 19th, which is pretty good considering two other Czech ski jumpers ended up 27th and 28th.


Weather issues: Because of the weather, the rounds in ski jumping were a bit wonky, because the wind and weather forced the cancellation of the trial round. I was really pulling for 41-year-old Noriaki Kasai, a seven-time Olympian, to win gold! However, he did get silver, which is quite a feat for a guy competing against men half his age.


Off the tracks: Something I had never seen before happened in men’s skeleton today. It was evident after the third heats that the US would only come away with one medal, since the first- and second-place sliders were ahead by 1 ½ seconds (eons in sliding time). The third- and fourth-place men after the third round was Matthew Antoine and John Daly, and one of them was going to win bronze.


Daly went first in the fourth-round run, and as he was running down the grooved track with his sled, the sled actually jumped the grooved track right before he jumped on. Because he didn’t get it back on the track, his first ten seconds were atrocious. He slid to the left, swerved up to the right, and banged up against the track. He started in 4th and ended up in 15th.


An exciting finish: I watched the last two racers in the 4x5km relay of cross-country. Germany and Finland were neck-and-neck, and throughout the third leg Sweden was falling a bit behind. It really looked like a two-man finish. But at the end of the fourth leg, suddenly Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla made a mad dash for the finish, streaking past Germany and Finland and taking the gold.


Paper doll: As Swiss skier Laura Gut was heading down the super-G track in skiing, her skis started to skid near the bottom, where the snow was very soft. Christin Cooper, NBC’s skiing analyst, pointed out a time where Gut needed to position herself above her outside ski. To demonstrate this, NBC’s graphics department took Gut’s upper body and tilted it upward, as if they’d taken a paper doll, cut it at the waist and shifted Gut’s body upwards. My brother and I laughed at this, and even Dan Hicks, the announcer, exclaimed, “Where did you get that graphic?”
Was it really the suits? US Speedskating spent a lot of time at the beginning of the Olympics touting their “new” racing suits - with a hip, new diagonal zipper ,vents in the back, and a wing pattern showing the US flying down the track. They were the next big thing in speedskating and were going to provide the US with ample medal chances.


Well, a few days later in one of the women’s finals NBC showed that a patch had been sewed over that vent in the back to try and help the women go faster. The women weren’t close.


Today, the men ditched the new wing-suits completely and went with the suits they’d been using in other events, claiming that they would help their chances, and the wing-suits were slowing them down. Brian Hansen got seventh and Shani Davis ended up in 11th. Was it really the suits, guys? Maybe you’re just not good.


No one said: Apparently no one told the short track speedskaters that the 1000m final was on Primetime tonight - both Americans crashed early on. Good thing Apolo is still commentating - I and others probably would watch just to listen to him!


Who woulda thought - a Dutch medal in short track?!


Brother commentary: My brother would like to mention that he really likes the pictograms that NBC has been using behind the anchors.


That’s it for tonight! Hopefully tomorrow will yield more medals for the US.




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