Wednesday, February 17, 2010

ROCKIN' THE CORSET AS ONLY HE CAN: I'm not competent to discuss last night's men's figure skating short program (other than to say that I was left rather cold by Evan Lysacek's near-flawless performance, that I still [heart] Plushy and to repeat my tweet from last night that "Jeremy Abbott [was] turning triples into doubles and doubles into singles like Ryan Howard on the basepaths, pre-2009"), and Gretchen wasn't available, so we turn instead to the aptly-named Required Elements site for its liveblog to anchor our discussion of last night's event. with the video of every performance also available on NBC's site.

This post is open for your discussion of tonight's figures-free Olympics coverage as well; will Shani Davis finally find an event he likes?


  1. Re: Davis...apparently not.

  2. sconstant9:28 PM

    Report from someone trying intentionally to go from 0 to liking curling, after watching men's US v. Germany:

    1) Wow, the announcers really don't do a great job explaining this game.  I guess that's likely true of most sports broadcasts, but can we assume that the US broadcasters need to do a somewhat thorough job with at least the first few ends (look!  I'm getting the lingo) of the first match broadcast these games to the US?  Because they didn't.  On the other hand, it's somewhat fun to take the half-explanations they do give and the graphics and score changes and try to puzzle out the rules for myself?

    2) Curling takes a long time.  I recorded 6 hours assuming the curling would be 1.5 hours somewhere in there - it was about 3 hours.  I ffwded over commercials, but they played through them.  For a sport where every turn isn't strenuous, it's still being out there for 3 hours walking carefully on ice, doing the crouching throw then shout thing 25 times and the sweepy-sweepy thing 50 times.

    3) Still don't get why curling isn't co-ed.  Other conundrums: Why 72 minutes per side?  [snotty comparison to shuffleboard elided]?

    4) Kept getting glimpses of awesome pants on players in the next court over, but the announcers never commented (or maybe I missed it).  Luckily, the media has covered this story, as a search for "olympic curling pants" on Google news yielded the team (the Netherlands) and some lovely photos.,219748&cp=2

    5) There were some pretty cool moves where the movements of the throwing guy and the sweeping guys did make the pucky thing do some counterintuitive moving around the pucky things of their opponents.  (See?  I've got a hang of the lingo, like I said.)  And I do like the fact that there's a lot of good sportsmanship, with people ducking out of each others way and self-refereeing the game.  But while cool, I'm still not sure what pushes this over to Winter Olympic Sport.

    Got the first US women's match on DVR.  Will report back if I make it through.

  3. calliekl9:54 PM

    Those are some snazzy pants.

  4. OK, my bad. Could have sworn that ESPN had notShani winning that gold.

  5. kenedy jane11:06 PM

    I sat for something like an hour watching the US vs Swiss game/match/whatever.  I was reminded that once every four years I try to figure out curling and always fail miserably.  I enjoyed your description in #2.  I think you hit the nail on the head.  Excellent description of the action.

  6. The conversation between Shaun White and his coach before his victory lap ride was classic -- "should I just ride down the middle?" "Do whatever you want ... stomp the shit out of that thing."  And then the ride itself was just stellar.  (It's still not a real Olympic sport, though.  C'mon.)

  7. <span>It's still not a real Olympic sport, though.  C'mon.</span>

    It may not be a good Olympic sport, but not real?  Figure skating has been an Olympic sport since 1908; diving since 1904; gymnastics since 1896.  At this point it's pretty much established that twisting through the air to impress a panel of judges is a real Olympic sport.

  8. calliekl8:06 AM

    Shaun White said in an interview that his coach was giving him a hard time about being lazy and not stomping it when he didn't need to. His new trick looked incredible, and the fact that he had so little air at the end of the run and was still able to carry it off was impressive. It's what sets him apart.

    And snowboarding should absolutely be an Olympic sport, for the same reason that Ramar gave. Until the x games have as wide a following as the Olympics, this is still the largest stage for these people to be able to compete on.

  9. Y'know, I do find this "if it has gravity and flips, it's a sport" argument pretty compelling.

  10. Anonymous10:45 AM

    The snazzy pants belong to the Norwegians, and I want a pair. Badly.

    Curling does take forever. I usually watch the first two ends and the last two ends, and look at the scoreboard to see if something wacky happened in the middle that I should go back and find. I want to watch the whole thing, but when I'm trying to watch 10 hours of daily coverage in 2 hours, I have to be selective.

  11. Anonymous10:50 AM

    When you take rhythmic gymnastics out of the Olympics, then I'll entertain arguments about other sports not being real sports. Not until then.

    I love watching half-pipe. It's one of the few events where I watch every competitor instead of just the Americans or the front runners.  20 identical ski jumps for distance or endless cross country races are not entertaining no matter how objective or athletic they are. Sue me, I like to be entertained.

  12. Marsha10:50 AM

    Darnit, that was me wanting to be entertained.

  13. gGretchen11:39 AM

    Great article, Janet.  I'd be curious to see if real dancers are more or less into figure skating as a result of the new points system, which has been widely criticized for athleticism over artistry.  (Though I think that the judges in the men's competition are trying to signal that they want to see both -- which is why Lysacek's short program was right up there with Plushy's more athletic set of jumps.)

  14. Anyone else would have run a lazy "victory lap." But Shaun White pulled his BAZINGA new trick out of his ASS - AND scored EVEN HIGHER than the first run- that, my friends, is how to make history. He is the king.

    And what I loved more than anything was his unabashed joy afterwards, and his acknowledgement that the Olympics an uber-level of competition. No cool-dude posing. He let it all show and that was awesome.

  15. How. by the way, does someone determine that ski jumping should be his discipline?  "I like skiing, but not so much with the steering?"  How does one train for this in the early stages, and do it the first time?

  16. Maggie2:55 PM

    I would have been very bummed if Shawn White would have just "rode down the middle."  I could have watched all of the snowboarders just doing "straight air" the whole time - it was insane how much height some of them were getting.

    And I'd never have imagined how tense I'd be watching the cross country skiing sprints that I had DVRed from earlier in the day.  The bronze medalist FELL INTO A RAVINE during the warmup and still raced through 4 rounds...

  17. calliekl8:51 PM

    Have you ever seen a little kid who hasn't had any lessons ski? Straight down the hill, no turning... I think jumpers are just skiiers who never learned how to pizza.

  18. Marsha12:30 AM

    And again, that's me wanting the curling pants.