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Showing posts from February, 2018

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 16

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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 per…

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 15

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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
Th…

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 14

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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.…

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 13

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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 meda…

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 12

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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 swimmin…

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 11

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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 healthThe ability of your opponentsWeather or indoor environmentJudging biasTeammate supportAny 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. 
F…

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 10

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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 cr…

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 9

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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 …

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 8

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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 t…

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 7

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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…

2018 Olympic Blurb Day 6

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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 watching Aljona 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 thei…