Days 3 and 4 of the Olympics (as measured by our trip, the only period of time where I care) have been quite fun! We started out yesterday at a hockey game. Guess who was playing?
That’s right, the Americans were playing! Which means, again, it really doesn’t matter who the other team was. We’ll just call them, “the enemy.” It was really cool that 2 of the 3 hockey games I got to see involved the Canadians (home team) and Americans (my team!).
One really interesting thing about this game was that it was WOMEN’S hockey.
I’ve gotta admit, when we were getting tickets, I was not too jazzed about the women’s games. We had tickets because my hubby wanted to see some (and they cost waaaay less than men’s games). But I discovered something: I prefer women’s hockey!
I made the same discovery in basketball (my university’s only real sport). Women’s games are just more fun to watch. They tend to play together more, their fundamentals are better, and they’re more controlled. And in hockey (international rules, at least) there’s no body checking or slamming players into the boards, so when players rush for a puck they are much more in control and stop before they hit each other, and then instead of a dog-pile of guys shoving each other into the glass and blindly feeling for the puck between their legs, they can actually…play. We could only stay for two periods of this game, because then we had to run to our next event, but the two periods were so much more enjoyable than my previous time at men’s hockey that I actually wanted to stay and watch a third! I guess my sports rule from my last post only applies to men’s sports. So my summary: good basic skills make up for the lack of body slamming or dunking.
Gotta agree with the Amazonians on this one.
Moving on to the most important event of the entire Olympics: FIGURE SKATING!
Let’s hit some highlights, shall we?
(I’m going to assume all you nice people in my computer are as in love with figure skating as I am, and talk about it at great length with lots and lots of pictures taken by yours truly. If you’re not, you can still oooooh and aaaaah over my mad picture taking skills. If you don’t even want to do that then who needs you you can scroll past this section, to where the photos are no longer of figure skaters.)
One of my first favorites was from Sweden.
He started his program as if he was in a straight jacket, and acted a bit stereotypically insane throughout. Maybe not the most politically correct, but it was very unique and engaging! And to add to the fun, he included music from Duck Hunt, Insane in the Brain, and…wait for it….the “House” theme song!! I love House. I think it’s something about the sarcasm and not giving a damn that appeals to me..you know…since it’s so unlike me.
Next notable was the USA’s Jeremy Abbott.
I am told by my sports-crazy hubby that Abbott actually won the US competition to earn the right to go to the Olympics..but he came into the long program in 15th place. Ouch. And then he fell a few times. Which, to be fair, was a theme of the night. In the first two groups (12 skaters) I think maybe 2 landed their first jump. I am not kidding. It was painful. Anyway, he ended up in..from my notes…8th? Which is not bad, but he was clearly disappointed in himself. He just couldn’t get it together here. I felt bad for him, I hate seeing the obvious pain of a talented athlete who knows he just did far from his best and blew his shot. So let’s move on to something happier!
Yes, he did. Javier Fernandiez, of Spain, dressed as a pirate and skated to the music from Pirates of the Caribbean. Complete with drunken footwork in which it looked like he was going to fall. He does a great impression of a drunk man. Makes you wonder about how he rehearsed…
Patrick Chan, from Canada, also stole my heart, skating to music from “Phantom of the Opera.”
I love Phantom. Love it. Grew up with it. Have seen it live three times (though the first I was pretty young and don’t remember much of). Own the original broadway score. This. Was. Awesome.
Next skater of note…Evan Lysacek.
Sound familiar? At all? Name tugging at your memory? Maybe because this, my friends, is the Olympic gold medalist. For the United States.
His program was BEAUTIFUL. Did not fall once. Did not wobble. Everything flowed. His flew across the ice but made it look so effortless. I didn’t get many pictures, because I was so enraptured, which is rare. Just GORGEOUS.
However, after him, there were still 5 skaters to go…
Next up: Nobunari Oda of Japan.
He skated to a collection of music from Charlie Chaplain films, and had the outfit and mannerisms to match. It was a really cute program, but also impressive. Again, a program that flowed together, every jump landed…..until one. When he fell HARD. And then got up and looked like he was limping. He called for the music to stop. What happened? When he landed, the lace on his skate broke. So his skate moved out from under his foot. He could barely move ’cause it was so loose. He had to go run to the side and get a new lace (who knew figure skaters got time outs? Not me!) and then to come back on and restart. He completed his program flawlessly and it was beautiful…but unfortunately the pause and the fall really hurt him. He came in to the long program in fourth, serious possibility for a medal. Ended in fifth. That would be hard when it was largely due to a fluke accident out of your control.
Next is your favorite skater and mine….Johnny Weird!
In all of the official programs and information they forgot the “d” in his last name. Odd. Anyway, he skated to “Fallen Angel,” and his costume was designed to match. I think he looks like a fallen angel, don’t you?
His program was beautiful. Another one. They weren’t all, promise, I’m leaving out the boring ones. But the crowd LOVED him. He got a standing ovation. Then his score came out and it was really quite low. He ended up 6th. That was the only time in the whole night the crowd booed, and they did long and loud! Weird took it well, though, smiled and waved and left. My guess is his program wasn’t too technically difficult, even if artistically it was beautiful.
And last but not and in my opinion least, Evgeni Plushenko!
He had a lot of beautiful jumps in his program. The first two he barely landed, but he didn’t fall. I thought he had way more jumps than anyone else, because, especially at first, it felt like that was all he was doing! There was no artistry, it was just slowly moving across the ice, jump, slowly move a few yards, jump, over and over. By 2 minutes he stopped jumping as much..and I don’t even remember what he did do. It was not beautiful. It was..cold. Very pretty jumps. But it’s not Ice Jumping. It’s Figure Skating. And his program had no soul. He lost by one point, and the stands went WILD! The crowd definitely favored Lysacek!
The really sad thing is that Plushenko was kind of an ass about getting silver. For example, here’s a picture of Lysacek getting his flowers after receiving his gold medal.
He looks so happy! He’s smiling and engaging the woman! Now look at Plushenko. He looks PISSED. And he was. He didn’t hang around on the ice with the other two, he took off his medal as soon as he got off the ice in full view of the crowd. Afterwards he made several disparaging comments about Lysacek, saying he didn’t really deserve the gold because he didn’t do a certain jump, and that the judges only gave it to him because Plushenko already had one. *rolls eyes* Oh please. I understand that right after skating he could look kind of upset on the ice. Even wanting to leave quickly. You just had some hard news, and now you’re in front of the world. But going out and making those comments? That’s just unexcusably rude to me. Grrr. Luckily Lysacek is taking it well, though it sucks for him that rather than getting excited coverage of the US finally winning a men’s figure skating gold again, he’s just getting asked over and over what he thinks about Plushenko’s comments. I wish the media would stop focusing on the whiny brat throwing a temper tantrum! But hey, that’s what the masses like…
Moving on, the medals ceremony was really cool.
Hearing the national anthem was quite moving.
::UPDATE:: So evidently I did a GREAT job recording the medals ceremony, because the IOC itself ordered YouTube to take it down. I had no idea I had so much talent!
I just find it extremely cool that we got to go to one medals ceremony, and it was one the US got gold at! So exciting.
Afterwards we left..and…funny story…at the base of our section was a figure skater signing autographs and taking pictures with fans! As we came down the stairs, the hubby (allegedly) heard several people say, “It’s Patrick Chan!” So of course, he turned to me and a Canadian skater we’d been sitting by and chatting with and said, “It’s Patrick Chan!” Loudly. So we go down to get our picture taken with him and ask him to sign our tickets. He smiles for our picture, and then as he’s signing our tickets, I decide to say something to him. But I know nothing about this guy and would not be able to identify him in any circumstance. Plus he doesn’t really look like a “Chan.” So I decide to keep it generic, and say, “I loved watching you skate. Your music was beautiful.” OK? If it was Patrick Chan, true! If not, it could be accepted as intended for that guy. Then the hubby chimes in, “Yeah, we’re big Phantom fans!” *facepalm* I glance at him, but he looks confident, so I shrug it off and look back at the skater…who is signing a name that does NOT look like “Patrick Chan.” Yeeeeah. Does this look like a “Chan” to you?
No. No it doesn’t. Turns out it was famous Canadian pairs figure skater, David Pelletier. He wasn’t skating in these Olympics, he’s now an analyst, and he stopped by to visit fans. Remember the scandal a few years ago that led to the change in how figure skating is scored? He was one of the skaters involved in the debacle. He and his partner won silver, and after the insanity, were awarded a dual-gold medal. So a cool guy nonetheless! But..next time…maybe my sports-nut of a hubby will stay to generic complements. (Love you, hubby!)
Today, just one event: Men’s hockey.
It was a good game, though it definitely felt a loooot longer than the women’s game of yesterday. It was close and well-played on both sides. Sweden vs. Belarus, so there weren’t many crazy fans for one side or another, the crowd was cheering for a good game.
Perhaps most importantly, I got some great pictures. Games go faster with a camera in hand!
The game was fun and restored my faith in men’s hockey…somewhat. Definitely enjoyable. Maybe not worth the unorthodox amount of walking/ascending/descending/walking/ascending/walking/ascending required to get to our seats, but once there, a good time!
It has been so amazing to be at these games and see actual Olympic athletes both in their element and outside of it! Just one more event tomorrow, curling, unless we decide to go to another women’s hockey game. We’ll see. We ended up not going to Colbert this morning because 1) I wanted to sleep and 2) I didn’t want to stand in the mud as part of a giant crowd of thousands for a minimum of 3 hours. I’ll watch it next week :-) So we’ll see how the energy level is tomorrow. I can tell you this: I cannot wait to be back to my BED where I can actually SLEEP (blessed sleep, I have missed you!) and my PUPPY!!! But this trip has been so fun, I haven’t even missed him much. And that’s saying something!