The first weekend of the 2018 Winter Olympics is wrapping up, and I'm noticing some things that are pretty unique about these Games compared to others.
While NBC is declaring their primetime coverage to be "all LIVE!" it hasn't necessarily been that way. For example, Sunday evening in the States is Monday morning in PyeongChang, and while the coverage began at 7:00 p.m. here, the only thing that was going at 9:00 a.m. South Korean time was one curling match, and there was no way juggernaut NBC was going to air that.
Instead, they aired the final five (or so) runs of men's luge, which was amazing, but so condensed that it was hard to comprehend how insane that ending actually was. Germany's Felix Loch, as I mentioned last night, led basically the entire event since he started the first two runs so early in the lineup. I watched almost all of the second run and all of the third and fourth, so the fact that he hit the side in Turn 12 was absolutely stunning. I mean, it was still a shock for fans tuning into the 15-minute condensed version, but if you had been watching for 3-4 hours, it was insane that he missed the podium so spectacularly.
Not only that, but the United States finally got a medal in men's luge for the first time ever thanks to Chris Mazdzer's course-record-breaking slide in the third run. His glee was felt by all who had been following along. I feel like the short version on NBC was cheap. (Then again, I hate the Primetime broadcast for assuming American viewers are stupid and can't tolerate full events without a prepackaged profile about some athlete overcoming the odds, so I might be biased.)
NBC has also has gotten some windburn, literally, thanks to the crazy winds in the PyeongChang mountains postponing the men's downhill on Sunday morning and the women's giant slalom on Monday morning. The women's slopestyle also was postponed for an hour because of the same winds.
As a result, their prime coverage that is supposed to be full of live events featuring their top-marketed athletes ends up being a clip show of events that already aired on NBCSN while they wait for the figure skating to start. (Thank goodness that arena is climate-controlled!) If they're not careful, they may run out of Mary Carillo thinkpieces before the first week is done!
I can't put too much of the blame on NBC for the sudden dearth of live events in primetime. (But it's still kind of fun to do so.)
I decorated my classroom yesterday as I watched the women's 3000m speedskating, which is the only way to decorate the classroom, really. I have collected a lot of Olympic (and Winter Olympic-specific) bulletin board materials, and at this point I can't even put all of them up!
While I have a great amount of Team USA stars and banners, I try to balance that with flags of other countries to show the kids that we can be supportive of our home country while still respecting other countries. The last thing I want to hear is students yelling that another country "sucks" or "is stupid." This is my chance to give these guys and girls global awareness that they may never have had before!
- Today's watchlist:
- ice hockey
- figure skating
- cross-country skiing
- speed skating
- I got the empty-seat itch while watching things like biathlon and moguls and seeing half-empty stands. "Empty-seat itch" simply means that I wish that I was in those empty seats and how dare people don't buy those seats! As I mentioned on Twitter, I have the sad suspicion that in Tokyo there won't be many empty seats and it will be very hard for me to find tickets for events.
- I don't care how many golds he wins - if anyone mentions Sven Kramer to me, the first thing I will think of is how his coach totally messed up his lane changes in Vancouver in 2010 and he got disqualified and threw a hissy fit. I hope that's not the first thing he thinks of, too.
- On the opposite side of things, Loch may have lost in spectacular fashion in the luge, but he lost gracefully and my heart broke watching his father-coach console him at the end of the track. He still has a chance to claim gold later in the Games!
- If anything, the team figure skating event has shown the skaters to be human. Sometimes they are so laser-focused that they seem a bit like robots. But I just watched the Italian team cheer on their teammate Matteo Rizzo and jump up and down yelling and waving the flag. They're just like us!
- I need more of that overhead shot in the figure skating programs. It is beautiful.
- It surprised me in 2010 and it still surprises me today that more men don't attempt a quad in their Olympic programs. Evan Lysacek proved that you can win gold without a quad, but I don't think that would be the case anymore. Today, Adam Rippon and Matteo Rizzo both did not do a quad, and their scores were low because of it. And while the OAR's Mikhail Kolyada fell twice and finished on top of both of them. (This is where the new point system really works against artistry and for failure of big jumps.)
- FYI: the men did the 30km skiathlon today. Norway's Simen Hegstad Krueger ended up getting tangled up with two other skiers and fell right at the beginning of the race. But 30km later, he ended up winning the whole thing! I just want to show that to any sore sports and say, "Don't. Ever. EVER. Give. Up."
- I have Justine Dufour-Lapoint on my Olympic fantasy team, so I was really pulling for her to take gold in women's moguls. But it wasn't meant to be as France's Perrine Laffont won instead. They were both waiting at the base of the mountain for the final skier, but she messed up her final run. I was excited for Dufour-Lapointe to get silver, but I looked at Laffonte, and the only part of her body visible was her mouth, which was in a very broken smile. She was crying, and her reaction to winning gold was very moving!
- Slopestyle: men and women try crazy things and very often fail. (Seriously - they were falling all over the place!) Whoever does the sickest tricks without falling wins.
Moguls: men and women do basically the same tricks as each other and it's impossible to really tell when someone does better than another. Whoever is fast and does a slightly better trick wins? I don't know. It's confusing.
Tomorrow starts my Olympic viewing while teaching a full day's worth of classes! Might not be able to watch everything - the Gold Zone online stream will be my friend!
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 3 HERE!
Read about Day 3 HERE!