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.This is what history looks and sounds like. @jessdiggs and @kikkanimal win @TeamUSA's first ever gold medal in cross-country skiing.— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 21, 2018
You'll want your sound up for this... pic.twitter.com/86PQ4KQaH3
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.
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.
- Stuff was watched, but not much, because it's Lent and we have church/dinner on Wednesdays.
- Cross-country skiing
- 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!