Home > olympics, sports > The Den Mother’s Olympic Update: Part 6

The Den Mother’s Olympic Update: Part 6

Friday, February 17, 2006, 23:00 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

Torino 2006Need… sleep… must… have… sleep…..

Here on Day 7, Olympic fatigue has set in. I’m not talking about fatigue with the Games themselves, which continue to be interesting and entertaining to me. It’s physical fatigue, from staying up until 11:30 or later the night before I have to get up early for work. I’m an eight-hour sleeper, and much less than that for more than a night or two turns me into a zombie. Yesterday, co-workers began saying how tired I looked.

It reminds me of the annual New England sleep deprivation ritual known as the baseball playoffs. Every October, I stay up to watch Red Sox games that are either elongated by pre-game ceremonies and extra inter-inning television advertising or scheduled to run in a west coast opponent’s prime time. Then there are the extra inning games. I remember back in 2004, when the Sox dropped three games to the Yankees and then kept winning must-win games at about 1:00 in the morning. There was a point when I thought, I really want them to win and keep playing, but dang, I need sleep.

This weekend is coming in the nick of time. I can catch up on my rest and be ready to go for the second week of the Games.

Down and Out

This isn’t a spoiler because the game was already televised: the U.S. women’s hockey team is out of contention for the gold. They were defeated by Sweden in the semifinal game this afternoon. The best they can hope for now is a bronze medal, for which they’ll have to play whomever loses the other semifinal game tonight, either Canada or Finland. According to recaps of the game, the Americans had a two goal lead early in the second period before the Swedes came back with two of their own in the next eight minutes. After scoreless third and overtime periods, Sweden won the shootout. It’s a heartbreaking defeat for the U.S. which had hoped for a gold medal rematch against Canada.

If our neighbors to the north win this whole thing again, I’ll never hear the end of it from my Canadian friends. I can hear Domenica now…

The Den Mother’s Day 6 Viewing

Evan LysacekThe men’s figure skating long program was my focus last night as Russian Evgeni Plushenko ran away with the gold medal. The competition wouldn’t have been close even if the judges hadn’t overscored him on program elements. That’s right, I was disappointed by Plushenko’s long program, which seemed like a disjointed menagerie of jumps and spins. Perhaps that’s the danger of taking such an insurmountable lead in the short program; you finish the job looking as if you’re bored. American Johnny Weir did pretty much the opposite of Plushenko, missing or omitting several key jumps but putting together what he did do rather nicely. For my money, the star of the night was Evan Lysacek (shown here) who would easily have medaled if his short program hadn’t been so horrible.

I now know what “snowboard cross” is, having watched the men do it last night. Think motocross on snow, though one writer likens it more to roller derby. Whatever. Multiple boarders simultaneously race their way down a course that provides barely enough room for all of them. The course includes jumps, banked turns, and lots of chances to wipe out (either alone or by taking down another boarder with you). Even though it isn’t anywhere near as fast as, say, an alpine downhill, the added element of having to navigate the other boarders as well as the course itself makes this a very exciting event and much more “Olympic” in my opinion than something like halfpipe. A Slovakian and a Frenchman finished 2-3 behind American Seth Wescott, who is also running a close second in the Den Mother’s Olympic Boyfriend Sweepstakes. And he’s from just up the road in Maine 🙂

Women’s skeleton. Madness. Insanity. Must have their heads examined. That is all.

Ski jumpingThere’s one more thing I’d like to mention by way of catch-up. For no particular reason, I decided to set my VCR Wednesday night to capture the late night coverage following the 11:30 news. When I popped in the tape, I found it contained (drum roll please) ski jumping. I love ski jumping! What I saw was actually one jumping segment of the men’s team nordic combined, the other two segments of which had to be postponed to Thursday. Remember when ski jumpers held their skis parallel in flight? It was done that way for about a million years until a Swedish jumper named Jan Boklov figured out that if he instead opened up the tips of his skis to form a “V”, he could jump farther. The aerodynamic sense of it was so simple that it was surprising no one thought of it earlier: make more surface area to catch the air, and you’ll stay up longer.

See all of Thursday’s results at the official Torino web site.

What to Watch on Day 7

For the first time all week, the NBC web site has it’s evening broadcast schedule broken down by the half hour. They’re starting at 8:00 (eastern) with the women’s’ alpine combined, which had to be postponed from yesterday due to snow. That’s right, a snow storm is paradoxically the worst condition under which to race. Fresh snow is too soft to run fast, visibility makes the bumps and turns of the course more dangerous, and even snow flakes hitting your face at 70 mph hurt. Also beginning in the first half hour be men’s skeleton.

Next up after 8:30 is figure skating’s compulsory dance. Ice dancing differs from pairs skating in that the couple must maintain physical contact almost continuously through the program, the man may not lift the woman above him, and there are no jumps or individual spins. It’s like ballroom dancing on ice, only the women don’t stumble on their high heels. Deep edges are very important, which means that the judges want to see the skaters really carve the ice with their turns.

Some time after 9:00 we’ll see women’s snowboard cross, in which Americans are once again favored to win some of the medals they should have been getting in skiing and skating but largely haven’t. All the above events will continue throughout the rest of the evening.

I’ve heard that the television ratings for NBC’s Olympic coverage have been horrible, and that may be because people don’t want to have to sit in front of their sets all night for the one event they might want to see. It’s probably smart of them to let people know when they can tune in to see what they want, rather than risk losing potential audience to whatever else they decide in frustration to watch instead.

Other Olympic News

New Olympic figure skating champion Evgeni Plushenko apparently decided to take the gold and run, which wouldn’t have been a problem if he hadn’t ended up in a minor car accident on the way to the airport. No word about whether he used his enormous gold medal as a form of body armor.

And that will have to do it for news tonight. Once again, I’ve waited until late in the day to post yesterday’s update, and if I don’t grab something to eat, I won’t be ready for my 8:00 date with the TV. But the weekend is here; I promise to catch up then.

Olympic Boyfriend Update

ChadIf I had known that Chad Hedrick would be doing David Letterman’s Top Ten list on Wednesday night, I’d have stayed up. The best I can do now is read it online. Pretty funny stuff, and can’t you just see him cracking that killer smile as he reads it?

Top Ten Good Things About Winning A Gold Medal
(Presented By Olympic Gold Medal Winning Speed Skater, Chad Hedrick)

10. It holds 10,000 songs
9. For one week, the government won’t tap my phone
8. As long as I’m in Italy, complimentary meatballs
7. It’s accepted as a one hundred dollar chip at any Trump casino
6. Flash this baby, and you’ll never have to serve jury duty again
5. Makes one kick-ass belt buckle
4. It’s the perfect counterpart to my 8th grade chess trophy
3. I’ve already been approached by “Skating with Celebrities”
2. I won a prestigious award without having to play a gay cowboy
1. It deflects stray gunshots from Dick Cheney

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