In the last edition of Olympic Buzz, we examined why the United States seems fixated on total medals while the rest of the world bases success on the number of gold medals. Even NBC, through which 99% of America experiences the Games, uses a table based on total medals.
The unofficial answer, of course, is that the U.S. usually does better in total medals.
Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim of the United States perform in the team event pair skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. Associated Press
The effort to make things look good, no matter what, for Team USA was brought to amusing life with a breaking news alert from the U.S. Olympic Committee on Monday.
The first paragraph: “Team USA successfully defended the bronze medal it won in team figure skating four years ago as the event concluded Monday morning at the Gangneung Ice Arena.”
After winning bronze in the team event, the Knierim’s officially became the first married couple to win an Olympic medal together since Karen Lende and David O’Connor won bronze in the equestrian in 2000.
Now, this isn’t to diminish the accomplishments of the U.S. figure skating team. They did some remarkable things and also got to visit NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker on Monday night with their medals in hand. But, think about it. The goal was to repeat as third-place, bronze-medal champions?
GANGNUENG, South Korea — Alexa Scimeca Knierim was on the side of Olympic figure skating history Monday, but not before making sure it didn’t have a self-inflicted blemish.
How about this from the Dodgers, if they should lose again in the World Series:
“The Dodgers successfully defended their runner-up (silver medal?) position of a year ago as the World Series concluded Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.”
Olympic viewing guide: Tuesday, Feb. 13
And the Lakers could have sent this out after last year’s draft lottery:
An outfit that can do all that does not come cheap. (Let us not forget, as we learned this year: It also has to stay on.) It has been a long time since figure skating legend Dorothy Hamill won Olympic gold in a $120 homemade dress the Boston Globe described as “exciting as a bedsheet.” (In the interest of fairness: That’s roughly $444 in 2018 dollars.) Now, everyone agrees, it’s a multiple of that. Different designers have different business models, and different pricing systems, but generally you’re looking at $1,500 to $3,000 per garment. It is an insane amount of money. It is also, if you break down the labor by hour, hardly enough. A Longmire dress takes 120 hours, start to finish (she does not have assistants). Then add the $300 to $400 in crystals per dress. “Really, there’s a bunch of reasons people don’t do this,” she laughs.
KOAA 5 Olympic Coverage: Tuesday, February 13th
“The Lakers successfully defended their spot of getting the No. 2 pick for the third straight year as the NBA Draft Lottery concluded Tuesday in New York.”
Figure Skating 101: The different Figure Skating jumps, spins and spirals
This is not meant to criticize the well-intentioned writer or even the alert, because journalists who throw stones from glass houses often end up chewing glass. This is all about the mindset, and finding the most silver (or bronze?) lining in any prevailing cloud.
Given that NBC has about a gazillion hours of programming over several platforms, there are bound to be some missteps. But, hey, no one is going to give them a pass. Folks in the Netherlands are still chuckling over Katie Couric’s comments during the opening ceremony. She said the Dutch were so good at skating because when the canals freeze over people skate on them as a way of getting around.
Wasn’t Amsterdam’s red-light district originally built so skaters could see better at night? And who can forget the skate racks that sit outside the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank’s house?
The chief commercial officer of the Dutch Olympic Committee, jokingly tweeted: “Sure … Just like most Latvians use a bobsleigh to get to work & Austrian kids ski jump to school.”
The women got their chance Monday on the normal hill for only the second time in Olympic history. They still aren’t allowed to compete on the large hill. No surprise that Maren Lundby of Norway was the winner. She won seven of the 10 World Cup events this season. Sarah Hendrickson was the top American, finishing 19th of 30 jumpers.
Take a look at all the incredible looks below. And keep in mind most of us could never ― and will never ― attempt anything this difficult.
It does harken back to 2005, when female ski-jumpers were trying to gain entry but Gian Franco Kasper, president of the International Ski Federation, opposed letting women in, saying: “Seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view.” What he meant is the landings would be harmful to women’s reproductive organs. That was only 12 years ago.
Ireen Wust of (where else?) the Netherlands won the gold in the women’s 1,500 meters. It was her fifth career Olympic gold medal. She won by 0.20 seconds after losing the 3,000 on Saturday by 0.08 seconds.
But more interesting is the fifth-place finisher, Brittany Bowe, from the speedskating hotbed of Ocala, Fla. (Kids growing up there tried skating to school and work, just like the Dutch, but the lifeguards got tired of rescuing them.)
Monday was the first of four events for Wust. She was in Sochi but never got into the top five. Bowe, skating in the seventh pair, held first place until after the 11th of 14 pairs skated.
Martin Fourcade of France put the biathlon world back on its normal axis by winning the men’s 12.5-kilometer pursuit. He has now won six Olympic medals, three of them gold. But it was his eighth-place finish earlier that had everybody talking. Tim Burke, in his best individual finish in three Games, was the top American, 18th out of 60 competitors.
Laura Dahlmeier picked up her second gold of the Games for Germany by winning the women’s 10-kilometer pursuit. She was fourth in the world coming to Korea but was without a medal in Sochi. The top U.S. woman was Emily Dreissigacker, who was 47th of 58.
Canada won its third consecutive gold in men’s moguls. Mikael Kingsbury was the guy atop the medal platform. He was one rung down for silver in Sochi. Casey Andringa of the U.S. made the final group of six, but finished fifth.
The first two runs of the women’s luge are done and Germans are in first, second and fourth place with two runs to go on Tuesday. Erin Hamlin of the U.S. is fifth.
On NBC’s “Today” show, Kotb and Roker were wandering around Olympic Park and spotted U.S. figure skating legend and commentator Scott Hamilton. They started yelling at him. Nothing. Yelled some more. Nothing. Roker says: “Scott Hamilton ignored us.”
Living the Dream: Speed skating
Rob [email protected]@_Rob_BTwitter LogoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2018 CommentsComment Bubble Icon
The figure skating continues at the 2018 Winter Olympics on Tuesday, as the pairs short program takes place at the Gangneung Ice Arena.
The shorter runs ensure each partnership must produce close to perfection in their allotted time of two minutes, 50 seconds, with Russian pair Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov the standout couple.
The competition starts 10 a.m. local time, as viewers in the UK and Europe watch in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with ice skating fans in the U.S. tuning in on Tuesday evening due to the time difference.
David J. Phillip/Associated PressTarasova and Morozov will strike fear into their opponents at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, as the Russian duo stride forward on their quest for gold.
Representing the Olympic Athletes of Russia, the duo posted a tremendous score of 80.92 for their short program offering during the team event.
Their consistency usurped the challenge of Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, who scored 76.57 to place second.
The early look at the field should reflect what is about to come next, and Tarasova and Morozov are in a class apart.
Morry Gash/Associated PressThe pair are known for their accuracy and delivery of a quad twist, and they have all the tricks of the trade at their disposal to stun the crowds and impress the judges.
Tarasova and Morozov won the World Championships in 2017, and their form appears to be carrying through to the current Games.
The Russian duo have an irresistible chemistry and skill set worthy of being two-time European champions.
Germany’s Aljona Savchenko Bruno Massot could provide a significant threat, with the duo ready to pounce if the Russians make any errors on the ice.
Bernat Armangue/Associated PressSavchenko is a highly decorated athlete who is used to winning on the biggest stage and is a five-time pairs world champion.
There will also be a challenge from the United States, as Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim attempt to hit their best routine at the right moment.
The married couple have appeared composed on the ice in South Korea, and could scoop a medal, even if they fall short of the gold.
The free skating program is set to follow on Wednesday night in the U.S.