Friday, February 19, 2010

Down with Plushie!

Well, our boy Evan Lysacek got it done last night, and aren't we glad? Who says the Cold War is over. Down with Russia!

I kid. I have a soft spot for some of the Russian athletes. So: down with Plushenko! I've taken to calling him Plushie. It's far less intimidating. (Unrelated, has anyone noticed how all the "official" athlete photos look like mug shots? Even the very gorgeous women look like hell.)

Anyway, I thought the men's skating was pretty awesome last night. Evan and--my favorite--Johnny Weir skated beautifully.

But. Did you see Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic? Frosted blonde hair, skated to Gershwin's "An American in Paris"? Here he is. Did he remind you of anyone? Perhaps....this fellow? With the frosted blonde hair, who skated to "An American in Paris"....but better?

That, of course, is American Timothy Goebel, who won bronze in Salt Lake City, was ALSO coached by Frank Carol (Lysacek's coach, and formerly Michelle Kwan's), and whom I adored. And while we're on this trip through Olympics past, here's one of my favorite men's performances of all time, by 2002 gold medalist (and, I should point out, Russian) Alexei Yagudin. That was the first year that I remember quads being a factor (he landed two of them, flawlessly), and it was the competition that began my loathing of Plushie.

Ahhhhhh. Love it.

And lastly, apropos of nothing, here's a response to those (who shall remain nameless) who find NBC's coverage a bit, say, sappy:

"Without patriotic fervor and feel-good stories, the Winter Olympics are just a series of options for going down a mountain. That hasn't been interesting since Moses did it." (From Sports Illustrated. Hat tip to Jules.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Your Olympics moment of zen

Did anyone else feel a sudden urge to transfer their citizenship to Canada while watching Alexandre Bilodeau receive his medal last night? No? Just me?

(I can't seem to embed the video, so here's the link.)

I think Canada might have my favorite anthem of all the countries. I mean, technically I can probably only identify theirs and England's, but still. I got a bit verklempt.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Three days in

I've said this before, I think, but the thing that always amuses me about the Olympics is its ability to make you spend hours watching sports that you would never, ever, under any circumstances care about.

I spent three hours on my couch yesterday afternoon, glued to the biathlon coverage. Biathlon, of course, is the one with the cross country skiing and the shooting. It is not exactly thrilling, I have to say, but oh, the SKILLZ. These guys are racing along on skiis, heart rates presumably through the roof, and then they have to drop to the ground and shoot five targets--each the size of a silver dollar, as the commentators told us numerous times--before getting up an skiing some more. Can you imagine trying to hit a target that size with your heart beating wildly like that? I cannot. It is seriously impressive.

There are also, of course, the sports that are TOTALLY EXCITING, like the short track speed-skating. I cannot get enough. Obviously Apolo Ohno is part of the draw, but also the DRAMA! Did you see that race the other night where he got his sixth medal? The Koreans were going to sweep! But then they crashed! And Apolo and that adorable JR Celski kid medaled! You cannot make this stuff up.

And then last night, bless his heart, the Canadian moguls skier Alexandre Bilodeau brought home Canada's first gold medal on home soil, which may have been even more exciting than when Hannah Kearney won the gold for the U.S. in the women's event the previous evening.

Oh, the drama. Oh, the awesomeness. I love the Olympics.

OH! That reminds me, I never told you what twizzles are. As I was looking up an easy definition just now, I found this handy feature from USA Today, where U.S. ice dancers Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto show us some twizzles. Now you'll all be able to impress your friends during the ice dancing when you can identify the twizzles. (Can you tell that I like saying twizzles? I do. And, oddly, I now find myself craving Twizzlers. Huh.)