Ukraine won the women's 4x6K biathlon. As I've said, I enjoy the unlikelihood of this offbeat sport -- but enough already. It seems like biathlon won't end, and I'm not quite sure how each event is different. It's length and whether a relay or not, I guess, but it's hard to tell the different. So, it all looks like one big, non-stop, unending biathlon race.
I'm a bit surprised how little the uprising in Ukraine has been mentioned on the Olympics coverage. I know there's a whole lot of coverage I haven't seen, so maybe it's been mentioned during then, in the middle of the night. And I know that the games are in Russia, not the Ukraine. But they're next door, and also the Ukraine used to be part of the Soviet Union until 1991. After the race, in mentioning the biathlon winner, studio host Al Michaels did reference the country's relation to Russia and add, "I"m sure you know about all the troubles in the Ukraine right now,," but that's it. Hardly in-depth analysis. And I don't recall anything said during the primetme coverage. I don't expect a lot of coverage, but I really didn't think it would be so little
The U.S. hockey team again lost to Canada, this time the men's, knocking them out of the Gold Medal game. That makes two big losses to Canada in two days. Happily, Canada is made up of such nice people, because otherwise we'd probably be hearing a lot of "nyah, nyah, nyah's." The game was great, blistering fast, and close, with Canada winning 1-0 with a tip-in goal in the second period. A disappointing loss, but it's never a total loss when you get to listen to Doc Emrick call a game. The Gold Medal game is set for Sunday.
Probably my favorite speedskating event was held today, the team pursuit. (Today, it was the women's.) I like this for two reasons. One is that it's very similar to one of my favorite bicycling races in the Summer Games, so there's a certain familiarity. And second, the way it's done makes it the most watchable of the speedskating racees. Two teams line up on opposite sides of the ice, so a) there's no chance of crashing, and b) you can always see clearly who's ahead and by how much. Fun, too, is that the team that wins isn't the one who's leading skater finishes first, but whose last skater finishes before the last skater of the other team.
I've noted previously that the "freestyle" skiing/snowboarding events are not among my favorites, but I've learned to accept-ish them and watch a bit. But after a while, I've officially grown weary of them. I still watch a bit, but some things are best in small doses so as not to expose the emptiness. That's the biggest problem: for all the many freestyle events, there are only two kinds, as far as I can discern -- runs that have little hills that flip you up in the air and generally you do some sort of twisting, and slides that flip you up in the air and you do some sort of twisting. Some use snowboards, and some use skis, which are supposedly totally different, but which strike me as like using a teaspoon and a soupspoon and explaining that they're separate culinary experiences. The people are very talented, impressively so, But it's clear they're here not because these are Great Olympics Events, but because organizers wanted more events for the Winter.Games and to bring in an audience that wasn't watching in winter before. Otherwise, we'd see just as many skateboarding events in the Summer Olympics -- and not only don't we see just as many, we don't see even one. That's because they have plenty of events in the Summer, and a big enough audience, so there's no need to dumb things down. (It's bad enough that the Summer Games have rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming.) To be clear, there are other winter events that I find questionable -- and some, like ice dancing, that are for me unwatchable. But the problem with freestyle events is that there are So Many , and no matter how much they try to make each discipline seem different, in the end they're flipping in the air and twisting with boards on your feet. That's why they created the X-Games and the circus.
And Canada and Great Britain are playing for the finals in men's curling. Yes, they're still playing curling, the sport that won't end. But it better end soon, because if they do anymore sweeping of the ice, it'll be gone. At the moment Canada is leading 6-1 after the sixth end. There are three more to go -- I think?. Canada won the women's Gold Medal, and the announcer just said that "Canada is on their way to 'sweeping' the Gold medals in curling." I think he's been praying all day that the Canadian men would win so that he could use that line. No word if the Canadian team is preparing to go "Nyah, nyah, nyah..."