After posting at the Opening Ceremonies, I thought I'd do updates every day or so. I kept little notes as I watched. But I just couldn't justify the time. So... I'm going to just minddump my notes in what will probably be a couple of entries. It'll be a mix of impressions and rundowns.
Yes, I am an Olympics junkie. Both Summer and Winter Games. Always have been. Opening and Closing Ceremonies... I endure somewhat. But there is something about seeing all (most of) the athletes arriving, the host country putting up a good show, and then the happy party when everyone is done. Because most of the athletes are not taking medals home. They are representing their country and their sport -- and they really are "just happy to be there". No matter how rah-rah the NBC America First coverage is.
It Begins Last Sunday
Pairs Ice Skating -- It's both Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year. A Chinese couple is using a violin orchestral version of "Do You Want To Live Forever?" from Highlander. Or perhaps Valeria's taunt in Conan The Barbarian. (grin)
Men's Luge Singles -- New Math in operation. Before the death during training, the Whistler luge run was ranked as the world's fastest, with top speeds in the 90-95 mph range. Starting at the lower Women's start, and modifying one curve, was said to knock off 5-10 mph. Lock wins gold at age 20, youngest gold medalist in luge. He topped out at 94 mph. Let's see... 95 - 10 = 94. Yup. New Math.
Ads on NBC -- Keep Coal. It's American Jobs. vs. Switch to Natural Gas. It'll be new American Jobs. Self serving political energy ads anyone?
Aerials -- The problem with Moguls is that it's a sport predicated on "Watch This!" Which of course we all know is always prelude to disaster.
Agree With Frank Duford's NPR Commentary last week -- Current figure skating scoring has sucked all the drama and joy out of the event. You could look at a string of 5.8s and 5.9s and know who was better. Hell, bring back the East German judges. At least you knew where they stood.
Curling -- Have watched 3 matches so far, all 3 had 11 Ends. Just as I love extra value free baseball, I gotta love this. CNBC, MSNBC and USA getting the curling coverage, and they're doing a good job of explaining the sport to people new to it. Each team gets 73 minutes for 10 Ends. 8 rocks per end. How'd they come up with 73?
Women's Skiing -- Lindsey Vonn using men's skis for downhill and Super G.
Short Track Speed Skating -- is so nerve-wracking to watch. Anything can happen and anyone can crash or fall down at any time. Though I'm sure the Koreans hate him, I really like Apolo Anton Ohno. Much like an earlier generations Indy 500 cars, short track skates are offset with blade tips bent to make maximum contact with the ice while leaning over and turning. Apolo's inside hand glove has gold sliding tips. Oooh.
Women's Curling -- Last Sunday, USA v Canada. Came in on 3rd End, huge mistake for USA "airball". Cheryl Bernard scores 4 to go 4-1. Having the last rock in an end is called the hammer, which usually alternates between teams. Ah, but if you blank an end, take the hammer and not score with it, you get to keep the hammer for the next end. So not like having innings in baseball where one team always go second. Canada steals 2 more in 5th End, 6-1. You are entitled to concede after the 6th End. USA offers handshakes after 7th End, loses 9-2.
Hello? Hello? Is This Thing On? -- This is the second damned weekend of the Olympics, and there's too little on all these vaunted NBC networks. Hell, CNBC is doing fucking infomercials in the afternoon. You know, in years past the host network would put a whole TV guide in the newspaper. But our local newspaper has cut back so much, they aren't even including the Olympics schedules in the weekly Sports TV listings. And I'm not fighting with their websites, I'm just not.
Men's 15K Biathlon Mass Start -- Curling and Biathlon are my two favorite winter sports at the Olympics. I mean, cross country skiing and target shooting? What's not to love? Stumbled onto this race on NBC in the first 57 seconds. Yes! Russia Gold, France Silver (one of two brothers, this one had THREE penalties), Slovakia gets first biathlon medal, a Bronze. The Russian and the Slovakian are the only two to get through the shooting clean. The expected winner? Out of 10 shots, had to take 7 penalty loops -- finished 27th of 30 skiers. Expectations are grand, but at some point you have to have the competition.
Women's Curling -- Since USA conceded to Canada, got bonus coverage of Denmark-Great Britain. Madeleine Dupont of Denmark wins, 6-5.
NBC Fail -- Why doesn't NBC put up screen bugs about what is starting on the other NBC networks? They put up bugs advertising every other damned thing.
Nordic Combined -- US men get both an individual and a team Silver? Yikes!
... more anon...