In Briefs: Olympics Liveblogging 2/24 (Updates Throught the Day)

JESSICA BADER: I’m very much looking forward to all of the short track events tonight. It’s so fast-paced and beautifully chaotic, and Plushenko’s figure-skating sour grapes are NOTHING compared to South Korea’s long-standing beef with Apolo Ohno.

DAN SZYMBORSKI: I’m extremely happy whenever they move from cross-country skiing to the downhill variety.  Is there a duller sport to watch?  It’s one of the few that looks like we’re watching work, not something that could conceivably fun.   Chin-ups are good exercise, too, but I don’t think I’d be interested in watching them during the Olympics.

DAN SZYMBORSKI: How long have they had those little blue swishes painted onto the snow by the gates?  I swear I don’t remember them from past Olympics and it’s been weighing heavy on my soul.

DAN SZYMBORSKI: You know how there’s the alpine combined and the nordic combined?  They need to have an everything combined, kind of a sorta super-decathlon.  I’d like to see which winter athletes can figure skate, bobsled, and ski cross.

DAN SZYMBORSKI: Fog, too much snow, too little snow, broken ice-making machines, broken transportation, various other technical problems.  Enough with Canada, the Olympics just run more smoothly when they’re handled by brutal dictatorships.  Minsk 2018!

JESSICA BADER: Plain old individual short track events, with 4 skaters flying around the track, is pretty crazy. The relay, with 4 teams of 4, is sheer insanity. It’s tough to really follow the action with so many moving parts, so I suggest just enjoying the mayhem.

JESSICA BADER: When I said mayhem, that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. The US team fell well behind its 3 competitors, but wound up with a medal because one of the South Korean skaters bumped one of the Chinese skaters, resulting in the Korean team’s disqualification (they would have won the gold). Let’s see, the judges deciding to disqualify South Korea, and the US moving up as a result? That’s going to ramp up the tension.

JESSICA BADER: That bobsled crash was frightening to watch. Thankfully, both of the bobsledders appear to be okay.

DAN SZYMBORSKI: I can’t tell the difference between the normal relay short-track bedlam and the broken rules relay short-track bedlam.  Luckily, bobsled is easier to understand – upside down = bad.

ZOË RICE: Oh yay Rachael Flatt! The American setting the bar high for the final 6. Yesterday she’s doing her school homework and today she’s skating a clean long program. She doesn’t have the natural grace and elegance of Kim Yu-na, but how ’bout some national pride for a job done well. Hoping for bronze! Of course that would likely mean instead of Joannie Rochette getting bronze. Hard to root against the skater who makes me tear up.

Oh wait, never mind. They docked her a whole bunch of points. Why’d they dock her a whole bunch of points? #Russianjudge?

And here comes Kim Yu-na. The tiny girl with the rabid attention of her entire nation. All of South Korea holds its breath. She’s so beautiful to watch… Don’t fall!

Kim Yu-na, finally filled with emotion after being so stoic until now–okay, I’m touched again by figure skating. Aw, you could hear Brian Orser saying, “That was so beautiful. It’s okay, you can cry. I’m so proud of you.” Wow. The highest combined score ever in the new scoring system. It’s like the Olympics crowned Kim Yu-na master of women’s skating. She was already South Korea’s biggest celebrity. Just major.

Oh for Pete’s sake. Now Mao Asada’s all, “Well here’s some 3 triple axels. Can you do one? Because here, I’ve got extra.” But interestingly! The skater most known for her jumps wins the *hardest jump challenge* and yet doesn’t back that up with the rest of the program. Like Evgeni Plushenko before her, she completed the hardest jump. But she did not skate the best program.

Fewer tears this time around for Joannie Rochette. For me, that is, not for Scott Hamilton. How can you not be happy for her?

And there you have it. With Mirai Nagasu’s clean, elegant program, the Americans are done figure skating. Every single one brought his or her A game to the Olympics. Whether the medals are gold, a la Lysacek, or not even a matter, we can all be proud of a slew of great performances from our team in these Olympic games. I truly enjoyed them all!

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