Friday, February 19, 2010

More Olympic impressions

I was going to watch the men's ice skating finals last night, but couldn't stay awake, so I missed Evan Lysacek's - what must have thrilling, even tho they say he didn't do a quad (Interesting!) - gold medal-winning performance. The first Olympic gold for the US since 1988, when Brian Boitano won it. Boy, I still remember his performance. Powerful!

I was all set to watch those finals Wednesday night, but they weren't on. Didn't the pairs events - short and long - follow each other on successive nights? So anyway, Wednesday found me checking the official Olympic schedule (Which I probably should have done in the first place, huh?).

I found a bunch of curling events, none of which is being shown on NBC, but did you know that the US has a curling team entered and did you also know that our curling team won a bronze medal in Torino four years ago? I knew none of that!

Brian Williams had a nice piece on curling and our team* last night at 6:30, I'm pleased to say, and then this morning NBC (segment sponsored by P&G - are you enjoying their Mom commercials as much as I am?) explained the skeleton event. I called my daughter to alert her that this was coming up. When we watched the opening ceremonies together, we both said, "Huh?" when they talked about skeleton. We are now better informed. LOL

*Just walking down the street, you would never in the world identify a curling team member as an Olympic athlete. In fact, one of the team said as much (with a huge gleam in his eye) during that interview. His comment drew big laughs, as you might imagine.

Did I watch anything Wednesday night? Well, yes I did. I watched most of the men's halfpipe (snowboarding), which normally would hold almost no interest for me except I wanted to see what all the hoopla surrounding Shaun White was about. I saw. Impressive! When it was obvious that he had won and didn't really need a second run, it was fascinating to listen to all of the discussion up top with his coaches.

"What should I do?" he asked. "Anything you want," they replied. "Could I just go down the middle of the ramp on my board?" (It was obvious that he wanted to just revel in the moment and scream and holler and jump up and down.) "No," was their answer.

And so, after a few more minutes (when everyone was waiting for him to do something!) of celebration, he started down the ramp, executing - at the very end - his never-before-seen-in-world-competition yellow banana triple split combination. (That's not what it's really called. I just made that up. I've heard several names mentioned. Make one up for yourself, ok?) What a thrill!

My overall impression of men snowboarders, outside of the fact that their pants all look like they're going to fall down around their ankles, was that wild hair must be a prerequisite for the sport. I use the word "was" because, in watching the medal ceremony later, two of the three medalists' hair were not wild. Wrong again, Goldenrod. Teehee!

I also watched some of the women's downhill, the event Lindsey Vonn won, and was moved by her tearful collapse into her husband's arms afterwards. "The waterworks just would not stop coming," she said later. When asked what she thought her chances were - think she's entered in two more Alpine skiing events, she said she really didn't want to even think about them just then. Good for her! Really, some of the questions these reporters ask!! Guess they're required to ask them, but still .. ..

I was just checking the official schedule for today and note that there is a US women's curling team entered. Boo, Brian Williams, for not even mentioning them! They're competing right now against the Russian Federation (but it's not being shown) in session 5 of a round robin. Go, ladies! Later on today, the men will be playing session 6 against France. Go, guys!

Will NBC be showing any of the curling events? Maybe the finals, I haven't checked that far ahead. This afternoon, I will not be glued to the television set. Women's cross-country skiing. Boring, at least for me.

Tonight, tho, is a little different story. They'll be showing compulsory ice dancing, which is kind of like watching Peggy Fleming do figure eights. I'll watch some of that, mainly to familiarize myself with the competitors, but won't be glued to the set.

Also tonight (live) will be the men's and women's skeleton finals. Now that my daughter and I are both somewhat better informed, we'll be watching.

More later.


The Bug said...

The curling has been on CNBC - we've been watching it. So far the US hasn't been doing very well (I haven't seen it today). I don't think they've won a single event!

We didn't stay up for the skating either - but it was nice to wake up to the good news!

We did stay up for the half-pipe the day before - & like you I wasn't sure what it was all about. But you could sure tell a BIG difference between Shaun White's performance & the other guys - a man among boys in my opinion!

Can't wait to see what else happens!

Tammy said...

LOL...Goldenrod I LOVED reading this post.

I do know curling has been on in some form or another because my dad was watching it yesterday.

Goldenrod said...

I don't have cable, so don't get CNBC. Other than that, we're all on the same page. Go, USA!

Goldenrod said...

Btw, I HATE round robins. You never know until the event is almost over who advances and who doesn't, but from what you're saying, Bug, it doesn't sound good for our guys!

Arlene said...

Every 2 years I turn (temporarily) into a couch potato, alternating winter couch potato with summer couch potato.

I must admit to enjoying the Olympics more when athletes are competing for the actual country of their birth. Otherwise, what more are they than mercenaries, not a word one should ever want to be called. Worse still would be to have renounced one's own national identity and then to be a failure for the adopted country, having taken up a spot that should have been filled by an actual native of that country.

Luge has always looked super scary to me - way before this year's fatality. But then anything more athletic than bridge has always looked scary to me. I know my place: either at the bridge table or on the couch.

Goldenrod said...

Did you watch any of the skeleton events, Arlene? Face first on a pie plate. Shiversville!

I guess you're talking about the Japanese gal who competed in pairs skating - for Russia, wasn't it? I forget. And yes, they didn't do very well.

My understanding is that Russia, in order for her to be allowed to compete for them - and the female announcer for NBC commented on the fact that Japan did not offer this type of skating - forced her to renounce her Japanese citizenship, even changed the spelling of her name.

I don't know if I c/would have acquiesced to all of those demands. She must have REALLY wanted it! I wonder if she can ever go back 'home'? The criticism from her home country has been loud and long.

You say her place should have been filled by a Russian-born competitor. Did you mean 'could' have been filled, or did she actually force a native-born skater out?

I definitely agree that it is much more pleasurable to watch a native-born athlete compete and do well for their country, but my eyebrows are raised much less these days than they used to be.