(This still isn't my favorite bobsled event. That's the four-man. That's the race which keeps my dream alive of being an Olympic athlete. More on that race when it hits the schedule.)
Last night, I prepared my dinner to be timed for the middle of Olympic coverage. I could sit there at the table and enjoy a fine meal while reveling in the Olympics. The prep was finished, served, I sat down and..."And now we got to Gangneung Arena for the short program in Ice Dancing." Noooooooooo!!! Aghh. So much for a Meal Well Planned. Before I could ruin my appetite, I quickly switched the channel. All that was on was curling, but though I was nearing my fill of that, it was far preferable, especially when trying to eat. Yes, yes, I know -- "But Ice Dancing is So Pretty." And so is the ballet, but it's not an Olympic Sport. I leave the required rhumba to others.
I was wary of watching today's "Olympic Ice," the hour-long segment of NBCsports that opens their 4 PM (Los Angeles time) broadcast and discusses All Things Skating when there's a competition on. And fulfilling my fears, they opened with ice dancing and spent 20 minutes on it. But then they moved on -- well, temporarily, shifting back to it later and there was an absolutely wonderful conversation with host Liam McHugh, Scott Hamilton and Brian Orser. Gold Medalist Hamilton and two-time Silver Medalist Orser of Canada were long-time competitors, but also clearly close friends of many decades, having performed together in ice shows for 17 years. And the friendship and rivalry came through joyfully. Mostly, they talked about Orser's move into coaching and his great success there, notably this year as coach of the Gold Medalist Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan AND the Silver Medalist, Javier Fernandez of Spain. He handles other skaters, as well, and talked about the challenge of dealing with different personalities and different cultures, saying the only way to make it work is focus on them for who they are, noting that Hanyu and Fernandez couldn't be more different. Hanyu, he said, is a little "spoiled," living at home, and having people doing things for him. Fernandez though lives on his own, makes his own meals and has his own social life -- and then Orser rolled his eyes and said, "Don't ask me about his social life." But it was the personal conversation between Hamilton and Orser that was so good, talking about being rivals, and some of that even still came through, especially on Orser's part (when talking about moves they did and gamesmanship, adding "You want to go now?"), though very warmly and good-naturedly. And then the show went back to ice dancing. Sigh.
Speaking as we were just above about curling -- given how much NBC has been showing, most on CNBC to the extent that I think the first "C" now stands for curling, I'm really surprised that they don't regularly have a short video to show that explains the rules. Perhaps they have such a video, but if so they may have shown in once and that was it. Maybe their feeling is that anyone who watches curling already knows the rules. And the point. But if so, that's a deeply flawed theory, since the audience of curling aficionados must be very tiny by TV standards, I'm sure. By periodically explaining what in the world is actually going on and why on earth the players are doing this (other than to get the beer afterwards), they might actually draw more viewers. In comparison, when NBC broadcasts ski jumping -- a sport pretty easy to figure out: jump, see how far you go before you land -- they have a graphic that shows how high the hill is in relation to the Statue of Liberty, and I've seen that four times already.
The women's hockey team -- another of my faves -- beat Finland handily, 5-0, last night and moved to the Gold Medal game which will be played on Wednesday. The game was close (2-0) in the second period, when the Americans blew it open when they had a two-person advantage due to penalties, and scored twice in about a 30-second span. They'd been doing badly this Olympics when having a penalty advantage, converting only 1 of 12. But having the two-person advantage was what they needed to break the ice. No pun intended. (For those who don't follow hockey, the team didn't have a two-person advantage for the full two minutes -- when the first goal was scored, Finland could bring one play back from the penalty box.)