Olympics Recap: The brilliant wipeouts of Snowboard Cross. Plus: A touch of Seacrest!

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Image Credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

NBC’s primetime Tuesday coverage of the Olympics was filled with chilly thrilling spills, as crazy weather bedeviled crazier sports. The women competing in the Alpine Giant Slalom faced rough terrain, while the men competing in Snowboard Cross faced rough terrain and the fact that Snowboard Cross is basically a demolition derby without any safety protocols. Summer Olympians Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams crossed over into a whole new weather pattern, competing in the Women’s Bobsled (or “Bobsleigh,” as they call it in Westeros.)

That all led up to the exciting debut of the Ski Halfpipe…but that all led up to the reappearance of Ryan Seacrest, who was cryogenically unfrozen out of the refrigerator Bob Costas keeps under his desk and allowed to participate in NBC’s Olympics coverage due to contractual obligations his obvious skills as a sports-minded person who knows all about those sporty sports.

Let’s take a look at all the latest excitement from Sochi:

Most Fashionable Piece of Sportswear, Athlete Category
The bright neon-orange shoes worn by the U.S. Women’s Bobsled team, shown below on the feet of Jazmine Fenlator and Lolo Jones. Or rather, “Track Star Lolo Jones,” as the broadcasters constantly referred to her. Seriously, check out these shoes! It’s like they’re playing NBA Jam with infinite turbo!

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Jones’ status as a Summer-turned-Winter competitor was explicitly set up as a Big Story in the evening’s coverage. At one point, someone said: “Lolo Jones has been overcoming hurdles on and off the track.” Come on, guys, a Summer Olympics pun during the Winter Olympics? Although it’s hard to make a pun out of bobsledding. Like, “Lolo Jones has been making sharp turns on a steep incline on and off the track” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Jones and Fenlator ended the day in 11th place, but Lauryn Williams (who won a gold medal in the 2012 games) and her partner Elana Meyers were sitting pretty in first place at day’s end. The winner will be decided after two more runs on Wednesday. If Williams wins gold, she’d be the first person to win a Summer and a Winter gold medal since Eddie Eagen — who, curiously enough, also won a gold medal for bobsledding. THEORY: Could bobsledding become the new pre-retirement plan for Olympic athletes? Sort of like “entering the private sector” for politicians or “releasing a country album” for musicians?

Most Fashionable Piece of Sportswear, Non-Athlete Category
This hood:

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Notable mainly because if every winter is a Polar Vortex from now on, we’ll soon be living in a world where all-the-time hoods are acceptable in polite company, and we’ll need to know what stylish hoods look like, and that is a stylish hood.

Stud of the Day: Alex Deibold
Alex Deibold is a classic Cinderella Story. Before he was an Olympian, he was a wax tech. I barely know what that is, but I assume it’s sort of like starting out as an orphan in a Charles Dickens novel or a girl with glasses and a ponytail in a teen movie. Anyhow, Deibold came in third place after a wild day of Cross Crashes (more on that later) and this is how he celebrated:

Runner-Up Stud of the Day
Although David Wise appears to be roughly ten and one half years old, he’s actually the father of an adorable little girl. He is also the father of a Gold Medal in the men’s skiing halfpipe.

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He also enjoys unicycling:

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Stars! They’re just like us!

Single Best But Also Creepiest Piece of Olympian Paraphernalia
David’s wife Lexie was in the audience, and so was his daughter…or rather, a GIANT BLOWN UP IMAGE OF HER HEAD.

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Runner-Runner-Up Stud of the Day
Tina Maze dominated the Giant Slalom competition, trouncing Americans Julia Mancuso and Mikaela Shiffrin on her way to a gold medal.

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But truly, as impressive as her performance on the slopes was, the thing you really have to know about Tina Maze is this:

Olympian Name That Could Also Totally Be A Supervillain Alter Ego
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Sure, and I’m Jack Mystery. Welcome to the club. Meet my friends, Joey Conundrum and Felix Fakename.

Most Moving Thing Said By Anybody
This was Nate Holland’s third Olympics. The 35-year-old Snowboarder has competed in three Olympics, finishing 14th in Torino and 4th in Vancouver. He came into the Snowboard Cross with high hopes of finally earning a medal…which unfortunately got dashed when he landed a jump just wrong at just the wrong moment:

Afterwards, NBC got up in his face and was all like “Hey Nate! Nate, you lost! Your heart must be breaking right now! Nate! Nate!” And he turned to the camera and said: “Y’know, there’s something about these five rings that give me a lot of drive and ambition and joy. But they do…they cause a lot of heartbreak.”

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Then he flashed a sad little smile and stared into the middle distance, contemplating perhaps the agony and the ecstasy of the human experience.

And Now, To Cheer You Up, Here Is A Russian Snowboarder Dancing

Let’s Cast “Snowboard Cross Final ’14: The Movie”
IMPORTANT NOTE: Everything Besides Names and Final Rankings Has Been Totally Fictionalized.

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Fun-loving goofball Nikolay Olyunin, the forementioned dancing Russian, who ultimately comes in second place but gets the girl: Chris Pratt.

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Intensely chin-bearded Pierre Vaultier, who ultimately wins the gold medal BUT AT WHAT COST GREATNESS: Tom Hardy.

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Glamourous ladies’ man Luca Matteotti, haunted by memories of his emotionally distant father and the girl he left behind in Napoli: Michael Fassbender.

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Everyman Alex Deibold, a neophyte in the world of high-stakes Snowboard Crossing but a graduate student in the school of hard knocks: Channing Tatum.

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Stian Sivertsen, Frisky Scandinavian: Some Skarsgard or other.

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Walking triumph-of-the-human-spirit Paul-Henri De Le Rue, who was in a coma a month ago: Ryan Gosling.

Best Seacrest By Default: Ryan Seacrest
NBC decided to give Ryan Seacrest some real estate to do his Ryan Seacrest-y thing. The American Idol host/Kardashian wrangler/red carpet emperor hasn’t been featured very much/at all in these Olympics — at least not compared to his frequent check-ins during London 2012. But last night, Costas threw to Seacrest for an interview with Yuna Kim, the South Korean figure skating phenom.

Yuna Kim is a very famous star in her native country. See that sentence I just wrote? Now imagine that you don’t understand the words “famous” and you can’t quite conceive of the concept of a country besides America. In that case, you were the target audience for Seacrest’s ensuing video package. Seacrest took us to the All That Skate show in Seoul — which happened back in June. When Kim came out, the crowd roared. Seacrest was there, explaining that the crowd you were hearing was a real crowd. “You hear crowds like this for Lady Gaga, Beyonce, or Madonna, you know you’re in the presence of a superstar. Tonight? No different.” Oh, I get it! Yuna Kim is a very famous star in her native country!

Then the camera cut to Yuna Kim performing. Then it cut to Seacrest in the audience, smiling at the camera:

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Then Seacrest took some figure skating lessons from one of the greatest figure skaters alive:

Worst Seacrest Also By Default: Ryan Seacrest
Ryan Seacrest Interviews Yuna Kim: A Play In Four Parts. Inspired by True Events!

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Snarkiest Bob Costas Comment
“…Ryan Seacrest…”

Tonight’s Perfect Frozen Moment From The Frozen Ice Palace Where Bob Costas Has Been Imprisoned For These Olympics

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Elevator pitch for a new spinoff show: Little Boy Blue. After a bad case of pink eye grants him new powers of mystical sight, a beloved sportscaster is bedeviled by a devilish blue stick-figure boy that only he can see. Hilarity ensues as he tries to maintain his professional demeanor while Little Boy Blue (voice of Charlie Day) torments him. It’s Harvey meets The Great Gazoo meets Inside Schwartz! See a sample of the raucous fun above, as Little Boy Blue prepares to kick Bob Costas in the head.

AND NOW WITHOUT FURTHER ADO:

The Top Five Wipeouts in Snowboard Cross! Frankly, every time someone crashed, I grew concerned. I don’t like pain. The one time I ever tried snowboarding, I fell on my head and woke up here seventeen years later writing this blog post. But the English announcer kept on assuring the viewers that crashing was “the essence of Snowboard Cross.” Also, no one seems to have suffered any serious injuries. So enjoy!

5. The Jump-Tumble

4. The Canadian Tackle. 

3. The Flat Tire.

2. The Three-in-One.

1. The Victory Attack Hug!


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