We watch the Olympics all day so's you don't have to.
For the record, the NBC announcers are all knowingly pronouncing "PyeongChang" incorrectly. They're saying "Chang" as in "rang." In fact, though, it's pronounced like "awng." Chawng. NBC officials are aware of this, but they felt it would sound confusing to American audiences. On the one hand, if the Games were in Rome, they'd surely say "Rome" and not the Italian name of "Roma." On the other hand, when the Winters Olympics were in Turin eight years ago, NBC announcers usually referred to it as "Turino." That said, there's a difference between referring to a city by its name as used in the country itself, and simply pronouncing it correctly.
As I've noted, I like curling. But I have my limits. And coverage of it is spreading like weeds. I understand that NBC has paid A LOT for the broadcast rights to the Games, so they feel a need to put someone on TV throughout the broadcast day. But serious, it's hard to imagine that they draw much of an audience for Sweden vs. Japan in the curling quarterfinals. The best I can figure is that NBC has learned over time that it's best to have something, anything on so that people can click on NBCsports and know that there will be Olympic coverage on, rather than have to check program guides. Though that doesn't explain carrying it on CNBC on occasion. Perhaps they get great ad rates from beer companies...
During the U.S. National Figure Skating Championship, I wrote here about how amazingly great the U.S. men's champion, Nathan Chen, was. He was the two-time U.S. champion, the first to hit one particular quad in competition and was rock-sold consistent. So, it was quite a surprise when he fell repeatedly in the team competition and (after all experts said he'd be so angry at that and learn from it) fell repeatedly again in the men's short program.
It wasn't a particularly good day for the U.S. Those days happen. But Mikaela Shiffrin not only didn't win a Gold Medal in her specialty, the slalom, a day after winning the Gold in the Giant Slalom, but didn't get a medal at all. And Lindsay Jacobellis, perhaps the best women's snow boarder for years, who famously crashed in the last three Olympics (including when hot dogging in a race she easily had won), finished fourth and out of the medals in what is likely her last Olympics. (Happily, she at least has one silver medal.) And as I wrote earlier, Jessie Diggins had a chance to become the first U.S. woman to win the country's first women's cross country skiing medal, and came close but finished fifth.
In the ski jumping competition this morning, there was a Japanese jumper who was the oldest in Olympic history, at age 45. Apparently he's had a long and admire career, and is still capable, though his jump that I saw was far behind the leaders. It was great to see him there, though as I watched all I could think was why this is fine but officials were so outraged at "Eddie the Eagle" in 1988 and changed rules so that he (and others like him) couldn't compete. I do understand there's a difference -- this Japanese ski jumper has had an illustrious career in the sport, and Michael Edwards was brand new to the sport. And the Japanese jumper is still much better than "Eddie the Eagle" was. But neither were really especially competitive. To be clear, I'm happy to see this Japanese jumper today, he did a very solid job. I just thought the outrage at Eddie was too overwrought.
Johnny Weir is still doing a good job with his figure skating commentary, but he's risking falling into the Chris Schenkel Hole. Schenkel was the long-time announcer for ABC Sports who among his many hats was the anchor for figure skating for years, despite knowing absolutely nothing about it. As a result, he was often limited to telling the audience what music was being used and how much time was left in the skate. Johnny Weir has been talking much less during skates this Olympics than ideal, and seems to take great pleasure letting us all know, "He's got a Jon Snow vibe going here with music from Game of Thrones" when he recognizes what's being played. It's borderline pointless, but I'm okay with it as long as he analyzes a bit more during skates.
I'd have had more to discuss here, except for a convoluted day. Yesterday, on a long drive, a light came on my dashboard. I didn't know what it referred to until later. It turns out to concern a tire that needed air. I checked later, and one of my tires was near-flat. I filled it up with air today, and it was holding, but I wanted it checked out. So, I took it into the dealer -- the car is still under warranty -- it turns out that there's a nail in the tire. This is not concerned a Good Thing. Nor is driving on such a tire for a half-hour trip. They're in the process of fixing things, which will take a long while since I'm not first in line -- about 3-1/2 hours from door to door) hence the lack of Olympics coverage this afternoon. (Though happily I had the presence of mind to bring my laptop and a book.) Also worth noting: though the car only has 4,200 miles on it, Toyota -- and apparently most car companies -- don't guarantee tires when you buy a new car. When you replace the tire, yes, they're guarantee that, but the tires on a brand new car? Nope.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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