It’s day 6 of the Sochi Winter Olympics (or day 7, if you count the opening ceremony), and we have been reminded that Norway is very good at skiing. Also, there are a lot of Olympic medals for skiing events. By simple syllogistic reasoning, we can deduce that Norway has a lot of medals so far. And we’d be right. Well done, us. Gold star.
Here are the other things we’ve cared about over the first few days. YES, there are spoilers from this morning. I assume y’all were watching the Women’s USA-CAN hockey game, so nothing should be a surprise.
Hockey: Egads, the USA-CAN Women’s game was a contentious affair. The first two goals were scored on power plays, and the third goal went in after play was whistled dead. Technicalities. I could describe this game as two evenly-matched teams, where Canada’s savvy defense & transition play saved its bacon in the 3-2 win. Or I could sarcastically congratulate the refs on finally calling out Canada for too many players on the ice with less than a minute left. It would’ve been nice if they noticed things like that any time in the preceding 59+ minutes. Grumblecakes, say I.
Snowboarding: In the new event of slopestyle, U.S. snowboarders Sage Kotsenburg and Jamie Anderson took the first-ever gold medals. Meanwhile, the half-pipe was becoming a synonym for “after-thought.” Competitors claimed the conditions were so bad that the events should be postponed. That didn’t happen, and there were crashes a-plenty.
Figure Skating: The new Team event started the Olympics, and Russia dominated. We got more Plushenko, plus a new U.S. Olympic meme-face, but I’m not sure how I feel about the team event. It was fun to watch, but medals seemed pretty solidified after the first half of skating was done. Andrew will be writing more words about these events tomorrow. In the mean time…
Curling: By the holy fucking granite of Ailsa Craig, what the hell is going on here? The Canadian Men’s team has a losing record, the U.S. teams are a combined 1-6, and the U.S. Women’s team gave up a FREAKING 7-ENDER against the Eve Muirhead & the Scots! It’s enough to make an American reach for his strongest bottle of whisky from the isle of Islay! Or maybe I ought to break out the aquavit — Sweden and Norway are a combined 5-0 on the Men’s side. Meanwhile, the Swiss teams look pretty dominant, too. We’re only 1/3 of the way through the round robin games, but this is chaos. Even the Canadian Women’s team is defying the laws of physics in their dominance.
Skiing: NBC gave us some nice feature stories about Apline skiers Bode Miller and Julia Mancuso, the latter of which has won a bronze so far. Over in Freestyle, U.S. dominance seems to be on the wane, while Canadian moguls is on the ascendant — including Canadian sisters atop the Women’s event.
Ski Jumping: Polish jumper Kamil Stoch put on an aerial show with a pair of masterful jumps of the normal hill, taking the Men’s gold in that event. Ski jumping also finally joined last century, allowing women to compete in this category at the Winter Games for the first time ever. Who says the Olympics aren’t progressive?
Sledding: Skeleton and boblsed events have yet to start, though the U.S. Men’s bobsled team has given us some great images of these games. Meanwhile, the U.S. won a medal in the luge. I… I have difficulty recalling this ever happening before, and it turns out that’s because it never has happened. Ever. Congrats to Erin Hamlin, who earned bronze in the Women’s luge.
Cross Country & Biathlon: These events are like the Marathon and long-distance Track events at the Summer Games — there are a lot of races of varying distances (and therefore lots of medals to win), and they’re dominated by a select few countries. In this case, the dominant country rhymes with “doorway.” Traditionally thought of as boring sports, the announcer NBC working these events, Chad Salmela, is making them awesome. He provides understandable analysis and a ridiculous amount of energy & investment. His breathless broadcasting will be unmatched unless and until the USA wins a hockey gold.
Speed Skating: I could copy/paste the above paragraph here, and all I’d have to replace is reference to Norway (with a reference to tulips, instead). We’ve already had two all-Dutch podiums, as well as a controversial clock decision that caused teammates to trade their gold & silver medals with each other.
Short-Track Speed Skating: The demolition derby-style event is just getting started, and we already have enough footage of chaotic collisions to fill a Sportscenter highlight package. Apollo Ohno has retired to the broadcast studio, but his padawan J.R. Celski has stepped in. There’s also a former Korean skater whose now a Russian citizen named Viktor.
Bob Costas’ Eye: The USA’s comforting face of tape-delayed Olympic coverage, Costas fell victim to biological warfare. At first he soldiered through his pinkish, terrifying eye, but soon the infection spread, and Costas was put on the DL. Russia can try to put make-up on these Olympics, but they can’t cover up the puffy, infected visage of Pink-Eye Costas. The legacy of the Sochi Games here in the States will be that fifth Olympic ring and Costas’ left eye, neither of which could fully open up.
Check back for more recaps and inexpert reaction from folks half a world away from Sochi, watching online streams and delayed broadcasts when work and sleep allow!