Sunday, February 25, 2018

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 16

Read about Day 15 HERE!

It's done!

The XXIII Olympic Winter Games are over.

We all go back to our lives and forget these two weeks even happened.

We go back to our normal bickering and worry about the state of the world.

We hear about a sport called "curling" and go, "How dumb is that."

We find out a Winter Olympic athlete is going to be in town but respond with, "Matt who?" and "What Gerard?" and "What kind of a name is 'Kikkan'?"

The names will fade and the memories will blur and we'll think the games were in Pyongyang because we hear that name more often.

Right?

...Right?

...Right?

This is what usually happens. An Olympics draws near and we worry a bunch, they arrive and we can watch nothing else, they leave and we forget. It's a vicious cycle that these athletes we've watched don't deserve. Sixteen days out of 730? That's all our brains are allowed to provide?

I know I suffer from this - the first person I can admonish for their Olympic Amnesia is me. Even before these Olympics I found it very hard to get in the spirit. (Plus there was a snowstorm on the night of my Olympic party and only one family showed up - my Olympic enjoyment didn't start off on the right foot.)

But the more days passed, and the more started to come back to me. Twizzles. Marit Bjørgen. The tune to the Olympic Hymn. How much I love biathlon. It doesn't take much, and suddenly I'm staying up till 4:30 in the morning watching gold medal curling, analyzing whether a stone curled enough to prevent it from being knocked out of the house before the end was over. 

As I sit here watching NBC's coverage of the Closing Ceremony, I get worried. Is Olympic Amnesia about to strike again? Will tomorrow arrive and normal life will just take over again? Will I get a notification about cross-country skiing and just ignore it? Will I start unfollowing all those Winter Olympians because their tweets are no longer relevant to my current state of being? 

I can't let that happen! I won't let that happen

They always say that the Olympic Flame carries on even when it's extinguished from the host city's cauldron, and that saying finally resonated with me today. We can choose to move on to the next pop culture phenomenon and forget the previous one, or we can keep those things close by as we enjoy what comes next. 

Tokyo hosts the next Olympics in 2020, and things start ramping up this week as the Olympic Mascot is announced. Track and Field will be having its World Indoor Championships in the beginning of March, and even figure skating can't wander off too far because its World Championships are in the end of March!

The entire premise of The Olympic Channel was to keep Olympic athletes and events in the forefront of people's minds, and I appreciate how much they work to do that. Team USA sends its athletes all over the United States to raise money so they can continue to train their athletes at their various centers (including the one in Colorado Springs) and give them the best that they need. Podcasts and resident Olympic reporters give us information about the current state of host cities and athletes as they prepare for the next Games. 

There are many people trying to keep the Olympics from fading, and I want to join them. 

This Olympics was wonderful for me because I was able to share it with so many people. (Opening Ceremony party aside.) My students embraced my Olympic love and begged to watch certain things while screaming passionately for "their" athletes. Parents came up to me and stated how much they appreciated my Olympic unit and world-expanding topics. When friends and family heard an Olympic news story they knew they had to get my opinion on the matter.

More than that, I finally found a home in a Twitter family. I've been following the Star Wars Twitter for many years but felt like someone on the outside looking in. During these Olympics I found some friends with whom I could share stories and thrills! If something would happen, I would think, "What did Alison think about that move?" or "Which officiating job did Jill pick as her choice today?" or "I don't know when the curling team plays until Sarah tells me!" The ladies I met and the people that follow us made sharing the Olympics on social media so much more fun this year!

My reason for sticking with the Olympics longer than the Games themselves is twofold. First, there are so many great things that happen in between the Games that it would be a shame to ignore the events and the athletes. 

Second, the next Games are in Tokyo, and I plan to attend. The earlier I can start working out my trip, the more I can start to plan and save money. And if I happen to make plans, I can share them on my Blurb to keep everyone in the loop!

My goal is to continue the Olympic Blurb throughout the off-days by posting once a week about anything relevant to the Summer and Winter Olympics. If events are nearby, I'd like to try to get tickets. When events are shown on television, I will definitely be tuning in. When documentaries and history books are published, I'll try to read up and build up my past Olympic knowledge. 

It takes work, but I don't want this Olympic flame to die. The joy and passion I feel during the Olympics doesn't deserve to fade just because people aren't wearing bibs with the five rings on it. I deserve to have that joy and passion all the time!

I thank you for reading these Olympic Blurbs, and hope that you'll join me as I work to promote the Olympics (and the Paralympics too - let's not forget those start March 9!) and gear myself up to see the next Games in person. May the excitement begin!



My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes for lots of Olympic comments, or follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/blurbmusings. Check out my blog for other articles!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 15

Read about Day 14 HERE!



The Olympics always contain a pretty great collection of music - from the classics of John Williams' Olympic themes to the contemporary music used in routines and commercials. I remember in 2008 purchasing a lot of music on iTunes because I connected them with the Beijing Olympics - things like "Take Me As I Am" by Tonic, "Harder Better Faster Stronger" by Daft Punk, "August's Rhapsody" (from August Rush) by Mark Mancina, and "Rise Above This" by Seether.

This round of Olympic music had some great pieces, but also some stuff I never want to hear again! So I split my choices into the Love Its and the Loathe Its:

Love It!

  • "Yuri On Ice" by 梅林太郎

    This piece is taken from the Japanese anime of the same name. Yes, it's about the wonderful world of figure skating! It was performed by the Japanese pair in figure skating, Miu Suzaki and Ryuichi Kihara. 



  • "Arrival of the Birds" by The Cinematic Orchestra
    This is a British group who composed the piece for a documentary on flamingos! It was used for the free dance of Adam Rippon. 
  • "Nemesis" by Benjamin Clementine
    This song may be more remembered for both of Nathan Chen's disastrous short programs (both in the team and individual event) but I like this song anyway. 
  • "O" (Fly On) by Coldplay
    Combined with "Arrival of the Birds" this fit in perfectly. While Myxo Xyloto is their best album, this song doesn't come from it! I still like it. 
  • The OBS PyeongChang Theme Song
    This was the song that played if you ever started a live stream from the very beginning. They also played it intermittently through the broadcast and then sometimes at the end. I heard it on Day 1 and thought, "Oh man, I am going to hate this song in two weeks." I heard it dozens of times, but I loved it every time! I will miss it a lot. 



Loathe It!
  • Anything from Moulin Rouge
    The soundtrack was the music of choice for many figure skaters and I was pretty sick of it. But no offense, Ewan McGregor - I still love you. (Please be Obi-Wan Kenobi again!)

  • "Despacito" by Louis Fonsi
    This was the song for two straight ice dancers and I was done. No thanks. As a matter of fact, I'm not even going to link the real version. 
  • "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers
    I own the album this song came from - Hot Fuss - and I used to really enjoy this song. Then Samsung used it for their "Can/Can't" commercial that I heard eight million times over that first weekend and that was it for me.
    "Can!"
    "Can't!"
    "CAN!"
    "CAN'T!"
    "CAN!!!!!!"
    "CAAAAAAAAAN'T!!!!!!!!!!!"
  • All ABBA songs.
    Another commercial (for the Mamma Mia! sequel) that ruins not just a song, but an entire pop group! I'm not linking you to their songs. You can find them on your own. 

What were some songs that you adored or hated? Let me know!

Classroom Blurb

Yesterday I sent my kids home with their giant Olympic packets and mini booklet. The large packet had information on general Olympic information like the torch, the mascots, and the host cities, but also had stuff on different Winter Olympic sports. I also included a great segment I'd found on North and South Korea. 

Four years ago when I was teaching grades 3-5 I really tried to do some major geography with the kids and it was waaaaay too much. This time I kept it to continents and several major countries. As long as they could look at a globe and remember the basics I was okay!

I brought my Czech scarf that I'd purchased in the Czech Republic over and gave it to the child who had chosen the Czech Republic as his country to follow. He loved it! He promptly put it on and wore it the entire day! I pointed out to the kids on some of the Olympic events we watched that people frequently waved scarves to cheer their favorite countries. My kids said he would ask his grandmother to knit him one!

Mini Blurbs
  • Though many events have wrapped, I was able to see the stuff that was offered today:
    • long track speed skating
    • figure skating
    • bobsled
  • I was initially very excited for the idea of a "mass start" on the long track, but after watching it be done, I was very underwhelmed. It's sixteen laps long, but no one wants to lead! As a result the pacing is very slow and people keep bowing out of first place. One or two people will try to take over but then get tired in the end. They have points given out, but it doesn't seem like that points system is very effective - especially for the final race. They have points given out at intermediate times, but only two or three skaters actually bite. 
  • This is the only time when the long track speed skaters don't wear their hoods, and wear the short-track-style helmets instead. It was very odd to see towering Sven Kramer of the Netherlands wearing one of those helmets. 
  • I'm glad I didn't try to watch it live this morning - the replay had the semifinals and finals tagged so I could easily skip to those and miss on ice resurfacing and various other delays. 
  • I'm amused by the "Miracurl on Ice" pun given to the men's curling team. 
  • The figure skating gala was tonight, and I watched the whole thing for the first time. NBC likes to show two or three of the skates, but putting them all together made for a lovely presentation. I got misty-eyed because I'd watched all of these skaters compete, and now they were able to let loose and express themselves in different ways! 
  • One of my favorites was Javier Fernandez, who performed an aerobics routine featuring all the standard dance songs and several costume changes. Another skater with lots of costume changes and plenty of energy in his hip hop routine was Misha Ge from Uzbekistan. The pairs skaters from Italy did a routine on "Barbie Girl" by Aqua!
  • The only one that was pretty awkward was 15-year-old Alina Zagitova, who had on a slinky one-piece outfit and was writing on the floor at one point. I'll repeat: 15-year-old. 
  • At the end, all of the skaters go on the ice for a mass routine, and it wasn't perfect at all, but it was amazing to see all these skaters together sharing the ice and dancing away! I adored it. I have found a new respect for figure skating at these Olympics. 
  • The 4-man bobsled resulted in another tie! This time it was in silver. South Korea's Team Won and Germany's Team Walther ended up with the same time after four runs. Maybe by the next Olympics we'll be timing to thousandths of a second!
  • For the first time I watched some of the "Best of Team USA" stream online, and it was crazy to see some of those things, because it seems like they happened ages and ages ago when it was only two weeks! 
But as it always happens, the Olympics come to a close tomorrow. One more Olympic Blurb to go! (Maybe...stay tuned.)


My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes for lots of Olympic comments, or follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/blurbmusings. Check out my blog for other articles!

Read about Day 16 HERE!

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 14

Read about Day 13 HERE!



Let's do something a little different! I'm going to comment on all the events I'm watching tonight. Since it's Friday and I have nothing going on tomorrow, I'm going to try to stay up as late as possible. I might even stay up late enough to watch the gold medal curling match! (We'll see. I'm pretty exhausted.)

Men's and Women's Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom

  • Ester Ledecka from the Czech Republic is back to it - but this time, on one board instead of two. In the qualification rounds she took the lead and qualified for the final. 
  • To qualify, each snowboarder takes a run on both the red and blue course, with the times added up in the end. There's not really much difference in the tracks theselves, but because snowboarders face different directions depending on their preference ("goofy foot" means leading with the non-dominant foot), the two courses make a little difference to them - especially at the end of the run. 
  • Poor Michael Trapp. At the beginning of his first run the racer on the blue course didn't stop and went right in front of Trapp's lane! They gave him a re-run, but he couldn't recover and finished near the bottom of the pack.
  • Aaron Muss is a big man for a snowboarder! He's got a big beard, too - also big for a snowboarder. I enjoy supporting those who go against the norm - but alas: he didn't make it past the qualification rounds. 
  • Squirrel alert! One of the ladies had to dodge a squirrel in her path - she almost sliced the thing in half! The first instance at these Games where I've heard of animal interference. (I wonder what they do to prevent wildlife from waltzing in? In Breckenridge they had "crazy moose" warning signs if one was near.)
  • Ledecka was so serious through all the runs. While other athletes were waving and smiling at the camera, she would put up her snowboard and stare at it and wait for the camera to turn to something else. I think the pressure was really getting to her. 
  • Luckily, she was able to live up to those monstrous expectations and win a gold medal in this snowboarding style as well! That is absolutely incredible. I wore my Czech sweatshirt and wave my Czech scarf proudly!
4-Man Bobsled - Runs 1 and 2
  • Out of the four runs that occur, two of them are the most exciting: the first and the last. The first run helps people understand who run the dominant sleds and who is going to hit Curve 9 twice. Germany - unsurprisingly - has three sleds in the top six. 
  • Countries like Germany and Japan are good at many events in these Winter Olympics. But Latvia is known for one thing: bobsled. Their sleds are near the top of the board, and they pride themselves greatly in that power. Bonus: their singlets make it look like they're wearing steel!  (Check out the rivets on the seams.)
  • It is amazing to remember how "slow" the lugers went two weeks ago compared to the immense power and speed of four grown men pushing a sled. 
Men's Big Air
  • I might be coming around on the big air competition. Not entirely sure yet. 
  • I can't imagine Red Gerard winning the gold almost two weeks ago, going back to the States for a publicity tour, and then flying back to South Korea to compete in the big air!
Alpine Team Event
  • I'm glad I watched snowboard slalom first, because ski slalom relay is way better! 
  • NBC actually put up two great graphics about the event:


  • This event was fantastic. It was easy to follow, it transitioned quickly between matches, the competition was fierce, and the athletes really wanted it. I don't think it lasted more than 1 1/2 hours, and in the end Switzerland came out on top! 
  • There was a definite difference between how the women and men took to the gates. They were two-staked gates with a flag in the middle. The women would ski around them and largely avoided the gates, but many of the men used the "punching method" and would punch the flag as they skied past. Sometimes this backfired, and they would get their arm caught in the gate!
  • I would say that this event has entered my Top-5 of Must Watch Winter Olympic Events. 
Men's Cross-Country Skiing 50km Mass Start
  • The marathon of the Winter Olympics. 
  • I was able to access the website Reading A-Z before the Olympics and print out some great (and current!) informational sheets about the Winter Olympics, as well as a 20-page booklet that could be given to the kids. We read it today, and it mentioned how the 50km event has been in the Winter Olympics since it first began in 1924, and it took the winner, Norway's Thorleif Haug, 3 hours and 44 minutes to complete. Nowadays with the advancements in training and technology, the winner can finish in roughly half that time!
  • Each Olympics the 50k switches which style of cross-country it uses. In Sochi it was freestyle, and here it is classic style. I want to see the machines that make those grooves in the snow. They never break down when the skis go over them! (It also makes me think how they used to make them all those years ago!)
  • Once the racers started to spread out, it was a Fin and a Kazahk that were in the lead! Iivo Niskanen broke away at about 17km and didn't look back. He exchanged the lead a couple of times near the end with the OAR's Alexander Bolshunov, but with 1km left Niskanen just bolted and Bolshunov didn't have anything left. 
  • It's the first time in 58 years that a Fin won the gold medal in the 50k! And he had to do it as the conditions went from sunny to cloudy to windy and snowy. The mountains around PyeongChang have the same kind of weather changes as any mountains, apparently.
Men's Curling Gold Medal Match: USA vs. SWE
  • I didn't stay up for the women's hockey gold medal match and it got spoiled to me (by NBC, unfortunately). Since this curling match was on a Friday night/Saturday morning, I knew I could manage to watch it even though it started at 1:30 a.m.!
  • These teams are good friends with each other - they even FaceTimed yesterday! Two of the Swedes flew to Madison, Wisconsin for Matt Hamilton's wedding! This certainly isn't Team USA-Canada women's hockey rivalry. 
  • In the end, though, (pun intended...?) the two had a fierce battle. End 8 happened, and John Shuster got five points and that was it. Ends 9 and 10 were the equivalent of a basketball player running away from the defenseman who is trying to foul him and stop the clock. But even Sweden knew that nothing they were going to do was going to get them the points they needed. Gold medal Team USA!!
  • The crowd was awesome at the event, I must say. And I loved the shots at the bars around the States who were cheering along! 
  • Do I understand more about curling? Not really - I knew a bit already before these Games. But thanks to my buddies at Olympic Fever and Sarah Patton I learned about the players of Team USA, and I think all that background knowledge helped me appreciate the win and the journey even more. 
I'm going to bed! Don't wake me up for a couple of hours. 

My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes for lots of Olympic comments, or follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/blurbmusings. Check out my blog for other articles!

Read about Day 15 HERE!




Thursday, February 22, 2018

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 13

Read about Day 12 HERE!



The third and final weekend of the 2018 Winter Olympics is nigh, and my brain and heart are not ready.

My body, however, is pretty excited.

With two weeks of nonstop action, the body is bound to tire even when the brain is saying, "I love breaking down these routines and calculating scores!" and the heart is begging, "More Olympics - I love this stuff!"

It doesn't help that these Olympics (and the next two) are on the other side of the world, resulting in late nights or early mornings, depending on what you want to watch.

One of my students asked me yesterday, "So you just go home and watch the Olympics every day?" And I responded, "Yup!" But it did make me realize that not that many people suffer from Olympic fatigue because they watch far fewer events than me.

As I mentioned last night, I went to bed at a normal time last night and planned on watching my DVRed recording of the USA-Canada women's hockey gold medal match in the morning before work. I fully planned on doing that...until I woke up and went on the NBC Sports app to watch some other stuff while I got ready, only to have the entire plan fall apart when the front page of the app declared Team USA as the gold medalists and winner of the game.

See?



Well, so much for that. But it turns out that my DVR has been really messed up lately and doesn't let me fast-forward, so I guess it didn't matter too much anyway.

Am I still bummed that I didn't stay up to watch it? A little. But I was also wide awake and much more capable of teaching today than I might have been if I'd stayed up to watch the whole game.

Thankfully, I only have one more day of teaching during these Olympics, and then I can give myself a little more time to enjoy the Olympics and less time worrying about being work-awake!

Classroom Blurb

My kids did a technology assignment with Google Classroom and filled out some information about what they've learned during the Olympics. The kids love Chloe Kim and Shaun White and enjoy watching snowboard and bobsled. I did have some fun unique answers - one girl said her favorite athletes were Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot from German pairs figure skating, and another said Jessie Diggins!

The kids also were supposed to write about something non-Olympic related that we talked about in Social Studies the past two weeks. Some talked about maps and latitude and longitude, while others wrote about the North Korea/South Korea split and differences.

Two notes made me think a little bit. One child said something they learned was "Not everyone gets a medal." In a world where kids get participation trophies and medals when they play in a local sports league, it takes a bit to realize that doesn't apply when you become an adult.

The other note wasn't the first thing this child had written, but I encouraged him to come up with something a little different. What he came up with as his second choice was much more poignant: "It [the Olympics] brings peace by bringing people together to have fun."

Out of the mouths of babes, amirite?

Anyway, I printed out their writing, had them mount it on 5-ring-color paper (we don't limit ourselves to red, white, and blue in our classroom) and put them up in the hallway. I'm glad I got them up today so that people can read them tomorrow and Sunday (at church) while the Olympics are still happening!


Mini Blurbs

  • My eyes partook of these sports:
    • hockey
    • ski cross
    • Nordic combined
    • biathlon relay
    • curling
    • short track speed skating
    • figure skating
  • Compared to last night and tomorrow night, tonight seems to be a much quieter event list. I guess the organizers know better than to schedule too much against the women's figure skating free program. 
  • Biathlon had to deal with some snow and windy temperatures for the first time all Olympics, and it made a real difference in the course. At the shooting range, instead of athletes going in and shooting as fast as they could, they would just set themselves up and stand there for ten or twenty seconds before beginning to fire. I'd never heard such a quiet shooting range before! No one was going fast. 
  • South Korea suffered two wipeouts in short track speed skating tonight. The first was in the women's 1000m, when Shim Suk-Hee was trying to pass on the far side and ran into her teammate, Choi Min-Jeong, and took each other out of the race. And then in the men's 5000m relay the South Korean team tripped and fell and finished the race out of the medals! It sure was surprising to see a night of short track in South Korea when no South Koreans took gold. 
  • The kids and I have watched quite a few events at school, and today they got to watch the end of overtime and the shootout of the gold medal hockey game. But while they watched the replay on the SMARTboard, I was watching the live feed of men's curling on my computer screen. Team USA finished off Canada in the semi-final, and I got to see it! (And I also got to check out Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson's absolutely sick stick routine to get the puck past the Canadian goalie in the shootout. 
  • So how about the OAR curling athlete who got busted for doping? I remember watching Aleksandr Kreshelnitckii in the mixed curling last week, so I'm pretty surprised. He's not the first of these games - there have been two others. Japanese speed skater Kei Sato and Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic also got busted and dismissed from the Olympics. At this point that's not a big number, but it's bound to change the further away we get from the Games, unfortunately. 
  • Remember a couple of days ago when I wrote about the perfect race in Nordic combined? Well, put those Germans together on a team and they destroy the competition, which they promptly did today in the team Nordic combined event, winning it by one minute!
  • One of the Swedish ski cross athletes let them put a camera on her helmet during the competition so we could see what she is seeing on the course! If we could have more accessibility like this and the bobsled camera, I am all for it. It was very, very cool. 
  • Speaking of ski cross, I don't think I've mentioned that giant drop from the starting gate. I've never seen it so steep before! I wouldn't even leave the blocks!
Today might be a little lighter, but tomorrow brings bobsled, big air, parallel giant slalom snowboard, and the premiere of the alpine skiing team event which makes me so excited!


My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes for lots of Olympic comments, or follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/blurbmusings. Check out my blog for other articles!

Read about Day 14 HERE!




Wednesday, February 21, 2018

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 12

Read about Day 11 HERE!



I got my USA underdog!

Team USA's Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall won the gold medal in the women's relay sprint in the cross country discipline today, narrowly beating out Sweden's Stina Nilsson and Charlotte Kalla at the line. Nilsson had already taken gold in the individual sprint competition, but poorly timed her boot-thrust at the end of the race, allowing Diggins to triumphantly pose for the picture-posted-around-the-world.

And if you didn't see the photo, then I certainly hope you heard the call. I watched the live stream, which this time didn't allow for the American euphoria that ensued at the end. I've listened to the NBC call, made by Chad Salmela and Steve Schlanger, half a dozen times today, and I look forward to hearing it even more in the future. (I'm sensing this call to be in a prominent position when "Titan Spirit" is played on Sunday night.) 

The call made by those two rivals the men's 4x100m swimming freestyle relay from 2008, when Jason Lezak came from behind to out-touch France's Alain Bernard - something I couldn't believe when I first saw it, but is beautifully shouted out by NBC's Dan Hicks and (good ole) Rowdy Gaines. 

As a matter of fact, I even found the Diggins-Nilsson rundown so that if you haven't heard it, you can: 
If you're not aware, this relay is just two people taking turns around a rather short course (for cross-country skiing, at least). Each person goes three times around the track. Randall had taken the odd legs, and Diggins the even. If you wanted to get into cross-country skiing, (or may want people to start watching this sport), this is a great entry point.

The best part of this race is after they get to the home stretch, and even though Schlanger had said all three racers were "gassed," Diggins proves that she had a whole lot of energy left in the tank and absolutely blows past Nilsson with as much strength and fire as I've ever seen in a skier before. It was beauty!

While I give NBC credit for its amazing announcement of the win, I also blame NBC for spoiling it for me. As I was at school looking for things to watch before the kids started coming in the classroom, NBCOlympics.com's ridiculous yellow banner flares on the top of the screen. I have learned to glaze my eyes over and ignore it, but my eyes did read "Diggins Randall" and I had an idea that they had medaled in some way. I was not pleased by that.

Regardless, it is such a wonderful accomplishment, and I'm elated that the cross-country Olympic medal drought was broken by two women.

Classroom Blurb

The kids were able to watch that cross-country skiing finale, and they were pretty surprised that Americans had won! They are almost more invested in their country - or the country of their friend - than their own home country at this point!

We covered continents today in Social Studies, and they did a nice job correctly identifying the continents! (Though I did have someone name Australia as "South Europe" since we had just written down North/South America.)

The kids also read about the Miracle on Ice and did some really well-constructed Reading comprehension questions that went with it. Turns out that the anniversary of the Miracle on Ice is tomorrow. I think I might have to break out Miracle's final 30 minutes or find a really good quality YouTube video to show tomorrow.

Mini Blurbs

  • Stuff was watched, but not much, because it's Lent and we have church/dinner on Wednesdays. 
    • Cross-country skiing
    • Bobsled
    • Freestyle skiing halfpipe
    • Snowboard big air
    • Long track speed skating
    • Ski cross
    • Alpine skiing - slalsom (men) and combined (women)
  • Not on this list? Hockey. I'm sorry, but I have to teach a full day of school tomorrow. (I'll watch the DVR when I wake up in the morning - don't worry.) 
  • I learned this way back when luge was on, but Curve 9 on the Alpensia Sliding Centre has killed manyan athlete's dream the past two weeks. If a slider - luge, skeleton, or bobsled - hits Curve 9 poorly, it's possible to crash into the wall twice, and the momentum is lost completely. Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs were able to take Curve 9 smoothly today in their race for the silver medal. I wish they'd been able to take gold, but you can't stop Germany, apparently. 
  • There's only one sliding event left - the 4-man bobsled. Someday there will be a 4-woman bobsled, or - even better - a 4-person bobsled. (I hear they have to revise the sleds a little bit for that, but I'm patient - I'll wait.)
  • Ski cross was cool because it's basically downhill skiing - the form is exactly the same - except there's three or four other people going down the hill with you. Not sure which one has more crashes, to be honest!
  • Nico Porteous from New Zealand put down a 94 in his second run in ski halfpipe, which propelled him to the lead. Then Team USA's Alex Ferreira topped it with a 96. But Porteous still had one more run to go...but he totally gave it up, deciding not to do any tricks at all. I understand being happy to participate in the Olympics, but don't you want to at least try? 
  • So much of these freestyle competitions is playing it safe and landing a quality routine, but David Wise and Alex Ferreira threw it down in their third runs! That's what Porteous should have done. They were both incredible, and that's the kind of competition I want to see!
  • I enjoy snowb oard halfpipe, but since I'm a skier, ski halfpipe just speaks to me. (Even though I'd be too scared to try it.) The tricks are way better in the ski discipline! (If I ever went to the Winter Olympics, I'd go to some freestyle skiing events for sure.
What a wonderful day for Team USA women. I didn't even mention the bronze medal the speed skaters got in the pursuit! Let's keep the momentum going, shall we?

My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes for lots of Olympic comments, or follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/blurbmusings. Check out my blog for other articles!


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 11

Read about Day 10 HERE!



It can be very difficult to execute the "perfect race" at the Olympic Games.

So many factors come into play:

  • Your own health
  • The ability of your opponents
  • Weather or indoor environment
  • Judging bias
  • Teammate support
  • Any other unforseen circumstances
Any little twist or turn here or there could result in survival by the skin of your teeth or a loss! 

To accomplish that at the the Olympics is near-on impossible. 

But I think I may have seen one of those perfect races today. 

The Nordic combined large hill took place Tuesday evening. The results of the ski jumping portion determines where the athletes will start in the cross-country skiing portion later in the evening. Then it's an all-out race to the finish of a 10km course. 

At the end of the ski jumping on Tuesday, Japan's Akito Watabe and Norway's Jarl Magnus Riiber were in the first and second positions, while Germany's Eric Frenzel, Johannes Rydzek, and Fabian Riessle were in spots 4-6. 

Focus on those Germans. 

While Watabe and Riiber were battling it out in the first half of the race, Frenzel, Rydzek, and Riessle were slowly working together to push themselves up to the leaders. Yes, even though this was an individual race, they were working together

Eventually they did push up to the leaders, along with Finland's Eero Hirvonen and Austria's Wilhelm Denifl. This was when the teamwork came into play; when Hirvonen or Denifl tried to pass, the three Germans would spread themselves out over the course and block the other skiers. 

They were waiting for Watabe and Riiber to make a mistake. They had to wait until 2km were left, and the leaders left their right flanks open for the Germans. With that, the Germans stormed into the lead, causing Watabe to clip a ski and stumble to the back of the pack. (I believe the announcer said he'd "caught a crab" or something close to that.)

Riiber didn't have anything left after his fight with Watabe, and all the Germans had to do was use all their pent up energy to go to the finish, which they did, and swept the podium. 

It could not have been a more perfectly executed game plan, and it couldn't have been done if one or two of the Germans had decided to go their own way. They drafted, they blocked, and they inched to the lead, even when I was under the belief that they couldn't manage to catch up to the leaders. 

I had to tip my hat to the German athletes - they sure knew how to win.

Classroom Blurb

We watched the women's 3000m short track relay, and while I told them I was confused by the relay itself, several of them very seriously said, "well, the next person pushes the other one along!" Well, I know that, but I'm more concerned with what happens after that! How do the players on the team know which person is next? How do they find the time to go from the outside of the track back to the center? How come more skaters don't collide in the middle since there's so many there? 

All the kids could see was the skater actually on the ice - hopefully in the future they can learn to pan out and view the entire track. (I'm sensing a life lesson here.)

Mini Blurbs
  • I watched stuff!
    • Nordic combined (see above)
    • short track speed skating
    • figure skating
    • biathlon relay
    • alpine skiing
    • snowboard big air
    • hockey
  • My main Blurb was about Nordic combined, but I have to gush about the mixed biathlon relay that also took place! It was anybody's game...until France's Martin Fourcade showed up. Then no one stood a chance. Basically his teammates just had to make sure they were within striking distance when the fourth leg took over.
  • It was interesting to see that the athletes had extra rounds that they could use (three total) if they missed a target. It prevented extra penalty laps, but they also had to reload their gun every time they needed an extra. 
  • I can't decide if I like the efficiency of the women's downhill or not. Basically you watch for 45 minutes and it's done. Three days of practice runs for 100 seconds of execution.
  • It didn't take long for songs from Carmen to show up in the women's figure skating competition. I believe it was the fifth skater of the entire program? 
  • I was shocked to see Bradie Tennell fall in her first combination jump. She had been so natural in her jumps whenever I saw her, so it felt unnatural to see her fall!
  • How about some AC/DC from a female figure skater? The live stream announcer declared Ivett Toth the "headbanger from Hungary." 
  • I do give extra props to those figure skaters that skate in leggings and not a dress, and there were several tonight!
  • My dad is here tonight and it's been fun to watch some events with him. He's been telling me about his magical experience with watching the Olympics on the Canadian Broadcasting Channel (CBC) since he lives in the Ann Arbor area and cable over there reaches across the border. (I've written about my love of the CBC here before.) He also spent most of the evening trying to find video of Austrian alpine skier Franz Klammer, but it looks like the IOC has blocked most of the videos you could find online. (Apparently I need to look him up.)
That's my night tonight! What are you excited to watch over the next few days? I'm excited to see more relays! Bring 'em on!

My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes for lots of Olympic comments, or follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/blurbmusings. Check out my blog for other articles!

Monday, February 19, 2018

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 10

Read about Day 9 HERE!



When I say, "Kiss and Cry," do you know which sport I am referencing?

If you have some small understanding of the Winter Olympics, then you'd definitely say, "figure skating!"

And you would be right! Figure skating has a designated area affectionately called the "kiss and cry" area where the skaters receive their scores from the judges. It's basically called that because most skaters there blow kisses to the camera and cry because they're happy or sad about the scores.

Fun fact: the Puffs tissue company has sponsored this area for many years when it comes to U.S. national competitions - so it basically is begging people to know that these people blow their snot into Puffs when they cry - why shouldn't you?

Your answer would also be wrong! Be honest - what sport doesn't have a kiss and cry? Just because figure skating has a cute little area in their venue doesn't mean it's the only one where kissing and crying happens.

When athletes have poured their heart and soul into their sport, one of the first reactions - winners or not - is to cry. The focus has been so tight, the distractions have been so minimal, and all aspects of life have been so geared up that when the goal is achieved, all the emotions pour out. And usually that's with tears.

I've seen tears all over the place over the past ten (ten?!) days of the Winter Olympics. When Mikaela Shiffrin won her gold in giant slalom, there was no "kiss and cry" area. So she had to just curl up in a ball on the ground and cry.

When South Korea's Lee Sang-Hwa won a silver medal in the 500m speed skating event a few days ago, she seemed inconsolable as she skated around the arena with her flag. Her source of comfort was her competitor, Japan's Nao Kodaira, who had taken the gold. 

Team events and relays are fortunate enough to have teammates with which you can share the joy or pain. A team like the Norwegian ski jumping crew can console each other when they gain that glorious gold medal. 

Crying doesn't apply to victories - most of the time it applies to defeat. Maddie Bowman didn't put down a clean run in the ski halfpipe competition - she crashed in all three runs on her final jump. She was crying buckets when she came to the bottom and just wanted to get out of there. Some crying just needs to be done in private. 

Then again, sometimes everyone is your friend when it comes to tears. Shaun White was basically hugging everyone as he cried after his win in the snowboard halfipipe. 

Seeing these athletes break down in tears is a very humanizing moment, and it allows us as the audience to see how much was put into this Olympic journey. We only see the finished product, but it's been years and years of blood, sweat, and...appropriately...tears!

Classroom Blurb

Here are some pictures of the decorations I've put up in my classroom. I took these early on during the Olympics, so my American medal count is updated. (Though there aren't very many new additions from this, to be honest.)







Mini Blurbs

  • Today's list of the things that I watched:
    • ski jumping
    • bobsled (!)
    • ice dancing
    • ski halfpipe
    • hockey
    • long track speed skating
  • How about that men's 2-man bobsled, huh?! It is incredible that after four runs on a track, two teams could end up with the exact same time in the end. Neither the Canadian team nor the German team seemed to be annoyed by that fact - they were overjoyed to share it with their rivals! (After spending the entire season near each other, it's only natural that there would be a lot of positive vibes.)
  • The live stream commentator for the ski and snowboard freestyle keeps saying "stylie" instead of "stylish." I mean, come on, man; it's not even abbreviating the syllables or something like that!
  • The long track speed skating was fun again - it was basically the inverse of yesterday - the men raced the 500m and the women did the pursuit quarterfinals. The women of Team USA advanced in the pursuit, and the men's 500 was insanely fast! 
  • I'm very relieved the Latin short dance is over for ice dancing. That was enough rhumbas, salsas, and cha-chas to last me a lifetime. The free dance allows for so much more variety. (Thank goodness.) I won't be staying up to see it all tonight, though - I have to teach tomorrow!
  • I thought that the bird noise was obnoxious in the ice dancing venue last night - but someone has brought in a horn for the free dance!
  • Unlike other freestyle events, the women's ski halfpipe has been a lot of clean runs and top scores at the very beginning. Sometimes it feels like everyone is crashing and the person who wins gold is just the person to stay on top of their apparatus! Not so with this event. Bring your A-game or bust.
Tomorrow promises a lot of awesome events. The women's 2-man (2-man? 2-person?) bobsled starts in the morning (my kids are going to be thrilled!), and then there is the mixed biathlon relay, too! Two men and two women per country ski and shoot. That has shot up to priority-watch as I get ready for school in the morning. (If you're reading this in time, it starts at 6:15 on the live stream and you really should watch biathlon come on now!)

My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes for lots of Olympic comments, or follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/blurbmusings. Check out my blog for other articles!

Read about Day 11 HERE!


Sunday, February 18, 2018

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 9

Read about Day 8 HERE!


So... I am ill.

I have caught the 24-hour (hopefully) stomach flu. I ate several handfulls of Cheerios this morning and forced myself to eat some Mrs. Grass soup around 8:00 tonight. (If you don't know the Mrs. Grass brand, look it up.)

It's been frustrating because I've been distracted by my sickness instead of enjoying these Olympic games.

It makes me marvel at these athletes who are going to a different country and have to compete while being sick. Mikaela Shiffrin hasn't been 100% since after her gold-medal win earlier this week - she vomited right before one of her slalom runs.

Other athletes have to deal with the normal adjustments of adapting to a new country's water system. Some have no issues, and some have diarrhea for days. (Sorry - it's a bit much to think about.)

I can barely function today, and yet some people are competing while feeling worse than me! The best way to put it is that they are pushing aside those ill feelings and focusing completely on their event. Sickness tends to try to creep into every single thought, so the fact that they can ignore it is quite admirable!

And then there's illness that is definitely unavoidable. Team USA's Justin Olsen had an emergency appendectomy just two weeks ago! Some would say that an appendectomy would get them out of the Olympics. Not Olsen - he is competing in men's 2-man bobsled anyway. That's either very brave or very stupid - I can't decide which yet.

If a favorite ends up stumbling unexpectedly, it may be due to sickness that you don't find out about until much later. Keep that in mind before judging their performance, because at least they aren't sitting on a couch feeling sorry for themselves.

(Like me.)

Classroom Blurb

I wonder how many of my students will tune into some Olympic events this weekend? I'd say about half of them would actively search for it. We'll see on Tuesday!

Mini Blurbs

  • The stuff I watched today:
    • biathlon
    • cross-country skiing relay
    • ski slopestyle
    • BOBSLED!
    • long track speed skating
    • aerials
    • ice dancing
    • snowboard big air
    • ski halfpipe
  • Biathlon was a joy, yet again. France's Martin Fourcade and Germany's Simon Schempp bolted to the finish line and ended up in a photo finish - something I've been waiting for all Olympics! Fourcade ended up winning by a toe. There was a chance that there could have been a Germany sweep, but in the last two rounds of shooting the Germans started to drop. 
  • Cross-country skiing was also a lot of fun. (I must be getting old.) And Norway came from behind to storm into the lead in the finish. Kazakhstan ended up leading after the first leg, but unfortunately the couldn't hold on. 
  • Speaking of Norway, a Norwegian ended up winning ski slopestyle, which is not a common discipline for Norway to win! Team USA's Nick Goepper ended up with silver - the lone American to take a medal, which is different from last Olympics when they swept the podium. (It always happens - Americans dominate the new sport and then everyone catches up to make it exciting.)
  • The 500m speed skating on the long track is my favorite long track event - even more than the pursuit, which I used to love. Usually long track is about endurance and keeping track of how many loops around the ice. In the 500m it's just one and done, and that means the times are a lot closer together. Brittany Bow from Team USA ended up in a tie for the lead at one point, before other competitors pushed her off the podium. (Not literally - that would be mean.)
  • I know the IOC is introducing new events to be "hip with the times," but aerials and big air have to be some of the most boring events in the Olympics. I've already complained about aerials before, but the qualification round for women's big air was tonight and I expected more...big air! It's basically the last hill of slopestyle, and that's all the athletes can do. NBC was basically tweeting how giant the hill is, and it is incredibly tall, but it doesn't result in big air! It's pretty boring. (Though it did make me appreciate the complete slopestyle routine that athletes have to do in that event. The rails are - gasp! - important!)
  • I can't find her name online, but the female commentator in the ice dancing live stream made me smile today when one of the routines took place this evening. First of all, I love both the commentators on the live stream - they are informative and clever, and add in an element of fun when it counts. And when one group started with a song by Santana, she just exhaled, "God, I love Santana." 
  • What's worse than hearing "Despacito" in the ice dancing competition? Hearing "Despacito" in two routines in a row. I think that song is making me more sick.
  • I got to watch all of the bobsled runs today, and I was glad I started with Run 1 because it allowed me to see the elite sliders compared to the ones who were more average. Only 0.29 seconds separate the top five, which means it's anybody's game! I love bobsled.
  • They have now mounted cameras on several of the sleds so now we as the audience can see exactly what the driver sees down the slide. How exhilarating! Even when I watched a video of the Germans crashing at the finish line (yet still putting them in first place), I still firmly believe that I would want to do bobsled above any other Winter Olympic sport. 
I'm going to continue drinking lots of fluids and finish up this ice dancing competition. I sure hope I feel better in the morning!


My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes for lots of Olympic comments, or follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/blurbmusings. Check out my blog for other articles!

Read about Day 10 HERE!


Saturday, February 17, 2018

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 8

Read about Day 7 HERE!



I got reminded of something today, and it's important that I share this.

This morning I watched several events and caught up with the madness of last night's super-G when the Czech Republic's Ester Ledecka stunned the alpine world by winning the event, even though she primarily competes as a snowboarder (and will compete as a snowboarder next week at the Olympics).

I found myself excited for Ledecka, because she appeared out of nowhere and shocked everyone - even herself! Just watch the five minutes that surround her run; people were already congratulating Austria's Anna Veith on her win because the top skiers were in the top 20 positions or so - practically no one with a bib of 21 or higher has any chance of getting on the podium.

Usually.

It reminded me that if I'm looking for underdogs and upsets from Team USA, then I'm looking in the wrong spots. Yes, it's glorious when an American can medal, like John-Henry Krueger did in short track speed skating today when two of his Korean competitors were taken out by a Hungarian in the final. But there are so many upsets and enjoyable moments from athletes all over the world. It's very narrow-minded to focus only on one country, and I need to remind myself to branch out.

Even if the upsets come at the expense of the United States, it can only improve the competition and make things even better in the future!


Classroom Blurb

Yes, it's Saturday, but this weekend I am calculating the first week country points for the students so I can display something when they return to class on Tuesday. They've been guessing all week about who is in the lead, and I think they'll be surprised to see that Norway has way more points than they know!

I am dividing the medals up, so gold medals get three points each, silver gets two, and bronze gets one. That will definitely increase Germany's points, but Norway has quite a few already, as well.

I've found myself rooting especially hard for those smaller countries because I know my students have them as their choice. I got excited for Slovakia's Anastasiya Kuzmina when she dominated the 12.5km mass start in biathlon because I know my student is pulling hard for her. Any time Belarus does well (and they did in women's aerials) I am happy for the student that picked Belarus!

Mini Blurbs

  • Today's list of things I watched:
    • hockey
    • ski jumping
    • biathlon
    • cross-country skiing
    • short track speed skating
    • curling
    • ski slopestyle
    • alpine skiing
  • Cross-country skiing had a relay today - 4x5km - and had the first two racers do the classic style and the second two do freestyle. The OAR team was great in the classic style and had Sweden challenging. But then the final racers took over and Norway, who had been a bit behind the first two teams, gave way to Marit Bjorgen, and I knew she would dominate. Guess what? She passed both the OAR and Sweden and took home gold. 
  • Good news for Team USA in that event: they had their highest finish ever - 5th place! Sophie Caldwell had a terrible first leg and they were in 11th at the time, so give credit to the other three for pulling them out and resulting in a good race. (They've been on the cusp of medaling for many years now - will they ever make it?)
  • Ski jumping is a lot more fun when you watch the entire event. Sometimes it feels like certain events - ski jumping and cross-country skiing among them - take hours and hours to finish, when they actually don't. It's just that there are so many events for those disciplines that it feels like they're always continuing an event when it's actually a different one!
  • I was on the treadmill during the biathlon, and my energy was so high I was yelling at the top of my lungs during the race. Some quotable quotes included my glee when so many of the top 20 skiers shot perfectly in the first shooting area ("I love the Olympics!!") and cheering loudly for Kuzmina and Belarus' Darya Domracheva when I thought there might be a tighter finish than there actually was. (Biathlon mass start - another race to watch from start to finish that isn't as long as you think!)
  • Watching NBC's coverage of curling is a travesty - they cut down the ends so you only see the final six stones! Did you know that each end has twenty stones total? I was watching the OAR vs. Team USA in women's round robin and they kept skipping parts of the ends. How dumb. Don't watch their coverage - tune into the live stream and see it all if you're that into curling. 
  • I'm still reveling in men's figure skating. Two more thoughts:
    • I loved Adam Rippon's long program - especially his music choices. Combining "Arrival of the Birds" by The Cinematic Orchestra along with "O" by Coldplay was brilliant, and they meshed together so you couldn't even tell they were two pieces to begin with.
    • The costume choice for Yuzuru Hanyu was very smart. Because his jumps are so tight,  the position of the belt allowed the lower part of his tunic to flare out so he looked like one of those helicopter toys that you can shoot out and it spins back to the ground. 
  • BOBSLED STARTS TOMORROW, GUYS. BOBSLED! BOBSLED! BOBSLED! (I might be excited for bobsled.)
  • I wonder how fast the Olympic qualification time is, because there were some racers in tonight's men's giant slalom that were a whopping 12 seconds or more behind the leader. Usually it seems like someone is way behind the leader when in reality it's mere tenths of a second, but twelve whole seconds seems to be quite a gap.
  • Man, without figure skating the evening live events are pretty skimpy, especially when the men's ski slopestyle final and the second run of men's giant slalom aren't until after 11:00 p.m. Eastern time. I'm too tired to make it until 1:30 like I did last night. 
  • Thomas Bach sighting: women's skeleton. He's always talking to athletes! I might be biased in his favor because he does look a lot like my college's president, who also was very personable and always talking to students. 
  • Personal ski update: turns out the nearest place to wax my skis is an hour away, but it's close to the ski hill I was looking at earlier. Tomorrow is going to be sunny and 40, and the hill offers a discount for lift tickets after 3pm. I might try to sneak over there - I'm not sure yet! I might just wait till next weekend. 
A note: my buddies at the Olympic Fever podcast are doing a fundraiser during the Winter Olympics! They have only been going since September and would like to upgrade their equipment, website, and technology so they can be even more awesome in the future. You can donate at their website, like I did! 


My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes for lots of Olympic comments, or follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/blurbmusings. Check out my blog for other articles!


Friday, February 16, 2018

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 7

Read about Day 6 HERE!



UGH. MEN'S FIGURE SKATING.

How do you do it every time?

Every time I watch you, I am entranced. I adore your strength on the ice and your artistry. I love how you show emotion and stir up the crowd. I am enthralled by the connection between choreography, costume, and music.

Other ice events try their best to get my attention. Ladies' figure skating is your more popular little sister. Pairs is all lovey-dovey. And ice dancing is...well...ice dancing. (jk I love you too ice dancing.)

But men's figure skating always sucks me in. When entering the Olympics I always think I'm just going to ignore figure skating in favor of other events. But even while ignoring all the prepackaged NBC bits and their pre- and post-shows, I can't forget you.

I think what I appreciate about you the most is your mix of technical prowess and creative mastery. The best male figure skaters combine those two elements and make the audience feel like they were the one taking the journey instead of the skater. There have been times in the past two days where I have tears in my eyes (Nathan Chen's free skate) and can't stop smiling (Javier Fernandez, Adam Rippon's free skate) and can't believe what I am witnessing (Yuzuru Hanyu - sometimes he looks like a robot because his jumps are so mechanically precise!).

Yes, there are duds. Mikhail Kolyada of the OAR can't emote anything, and some programs feel like the skater is on the ground more than he is actually performing. And there's that nasty business about technical scores trumping artistry and allowing failed quad attempts to mean a higher score than a routine with no attempted quads. 

But even with that, I just can't quit. This is one of the only things where I will watch the competition - and I mean actually watch and not just glance over while browsing on my phone - and appreciate all the exhaustion that is being put forth by the skaters. The final skating group tonight was an incredible masterclass, and it was a joy to watch all of them give everything they had and leave nothing behind.

They've earned their primetime television position, and I can't show my appreciation enough. 

Classroom Blurb

We had Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey Day in the classroom today. I've mentioned it in previous Blurbs, but I put all the subjects for the day - plus a few fun things like Hangman, Mad-Libs, and Dance Party - into a box and let the kids pick out the order of events for the day.

Today I stuck in two "golden tickets," where whoever chooses the Olympic card gets to also pick which event we'll be watching! I had a list of Friday's events at my desk (women's snowboard cross, men's hockey, women's speedskating, men's super-G, etc.) so they could choose from that. 

But they kept picking different cards throughout the day - Math, DEAR Time, Dance Party (we did "The Chicken Dance"), Extra Recess - but by the end, no one had picked the Olympic cards! The last person had four choices: Clean Desks, Olympics, Olympics, and Science...and they picked Science. I was happy that we could still fit in Science before the end of the day, but bummed because I wanted to see what some of those kids would pick! 

In the end, we watched the final of women's snowboard cross as we finished our Art painting, and they were mesmerized. I was kind of disappointed there weren't any crashes to show the kids! (Should have shown them men's snowboard cross from yesterday when half the final group wiped out halfway through the race.)

Mini Blurbs

  • The watchlist:
    • figure skating
    • alpine skiing
    • snowboard cross
    • ski slopestyle
    • skeleton
    • cross-country skiing
    • aerials
    • long track speed skating
  • This didn't fit in my ode to men's figure skating, but between Adam Rippon's shirt and his song choice in yesterday's short program, I thought he was going to finish his skate by telling us about New York's hottest nightclub. 
  • I keep having a main Blurb topic that I'm ready to use, but then something happens and I pick something else instead. Don't worry - I'll find a place to use it soon.
  • A few days ago I was lamenting how moguls seemed to be the same routine almost every time, and I couldn't figure out the judging and how people could tell (aside from messing up) how one person performs better than another. Then aerials showed up today, and it's even more confusing! "This athlete is going to perform a full-back-full-full-double-full-back-full-full-full-full-flip-full." Basically they spin and flip and pray they find the ground. Gold medal!
  • I should feel bad for Lindsay Jacobellis for missing the Olympic podium for the fourth straight Olympics in snowboard cross, but then I always go back to Torino 2006 and remember how she decided to grab her board on the last hill to showboat her victory and then she wiped out and didn't get a medal at all, and I don't feel bad anymore. #Sportsmanship
  • The world has basically been yelling at me that Lindsay Vonn was racing today, and I didn't realize she would be the first one out of the gate! I almost missed her race - this is one of those events where it's one-and-done - but she almost wiped out near the end, lost precious ticks of a second, and failed to medal. So much for that.
  • My cat Quinley loves figure skating, too - she always goes up to the TV and starts scratching the ice. She rarely does that for anything else!
  • Two of the skeleton racers were born in the United States but competed in their home country - Adam Edelman (racing for Israel) and Anthony Watson (racing for Jamaica). When Edelman removed his helmet, he had an Olympic yarmulke on!
  • I have spotted Thomas Bach at several events - including men's snowboard halfpipe and womens super-G - talking to athletes and mingling around. This guy is awesome. 
  • Ski slopestyle was competed for the women tonight, and it is amazing the difference between ski and snowboard slopestyle. When the snowboard takes off, it tries to come down like an anvil. However, when the skis take off, it seems like they're gliding on the air! That might amount to my ski bias (don't get on a chairlift with a snowboarder that has a giant backpack), but the ski slopestyle just seems more graceful. 
It's past midnight and I should turn in. While I had five full days of school, the Olympics really made the week fly by! I made myself get to bed between 10:30 and 11:30 each night and still managed to catch up on the rest of the day's big events by 8pm the next day. Tonight? Not so much, but that's okay! All I have on the docket for tomorrow is Olympics!

My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes for lots of Olympic comments, or follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/blurbmusings. Check out my blog for other articles!

Read about Day 8 HERE!


Thursday, February 15, 2018

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 6

Read about Day 5 HERE!


My day was a little off because I had a lovely evening not watching the Olympics. (I know - shocker! "How dare you!") But when a Marvel movie comes out, you set your schedule to its premier. 

As a result, I watched a few things with my students this morning and then caught slivers of Friday events as I type this article. Not sure about medals, not sure about Americans, but the Olympics don't pause when I have a life - and I just have to live with that. 

Speaking of Marvel movies, Black Panther was a very well done movie, and sometimes it was hard to remember that it was a Marvel movie at all! And Danai Gurira is my new hero. 

Let's keep moving...

Classroom Blurb

After watchinAljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot win the gold medal for Germany in pairs figure skating and Team Germany win the luge relay, my kids are getting sick of constantly seeing Germany win gold medals. 

As a matter of fact, I had two students come to me with solemn looks on their faces and, in all seriousness, ask me if maybe Germany was "doing drugs" (AKA doping). I assured them that in an event like pairs figure skating it didn't make sense to do doping because it was based more on precision and execution, and they shouldn't worry about it. 

Clearly I need to branch out on my viewing choices for these kids, though let's be honest: Germany always does very well in the Winter Olympics. (And they weren't even in the lead in overall medals at the end of Thursday - that role went to Norway!)

We watched a few events and gave them a writing assignment to put together an article about something they'd watched. One was the pairs figure skating by Savchenko and Massot (and I made sure to put together difficult words on the board so they could copy them), one was team luge by Team USA, and another was Shaun White's gold medal in halfpipe. It was interesting seeing the stuff that they chose to spotlight in their short articles. 

Mini Blurbs
  • Today's watchlist:
    • figure skating
    • alpine skiing
    • skeleton
    • luge
    • biathlon
    • cross-country skiing
  • One of my dinner options today was a highly-ranked Asian restaurant on my way to the movie theater that did serve some Korean food, but the other menu choices seemed a little too mainstream for me. Instead, I decided on a tiny Vietnamese place, where I had pho and a bao taco. The pho was okay (I think I've spoiled myself with delicious Japanese ramen that no other Asian noodle soup can compare) but the bao taco was awesome! I wish I'd gotten four or five of those. 
  • That German pairs routine was amazing - they had moves I hadn't even conceived before. They deserved that gold, and I was a bit worried they might lose out. Luckily, I was wrong!
  • Team luge relay is an amazing event and it's a shame that it starts and finishes so quickly that no one really gets a chance to enjoy it. They only do one run each, but it's the slap of the giant paddle at the end that opens up the gates at the top that makes it so awesome. But blink and you'll miss it! It's also one of those mixed-gender team events that combines one female slider, one male slider, and one male doubles sled. They need to add more runs for this. I remember discovering this in the Sochi broadcasts and it immediately shot up to one of my favorite winter events. 
  • I watched a Snapchat story about Malaysia's Julian Yee and how he had to practice his figure skating routines in mall ice rinks because Malaysia isn't a cold-weather country at all. It was really great to see such a lovely routine, though it didn't rank as highly as some others. He still did a great job!
  • It doesn't happen often, but I'm watching men's figure skating and women's slalom, and at the same time I saw athletes from Georgia competing. Of all the countries, it was Georgia!
Tomorrow will be a lot of catch-up, but I'll do my best to deliver it all to you! (And you should go see Black Panther sometime, too.)

My name is Claire Nat! You can follow me on Twitter @CeePipes for lots of Olympic comments, or follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/blurbmusings. Check out my blog for other articles!

Read about Day 7 HERE!