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Olympics: What to watch today

The Olympics: So many sports, so little time. Need help deciding which events to watch? We’re here to help. Each day, we’ll give you our three picks for the most watch-worthy events. Here’s what we recommend for Tuesday, February 18: READ FULL STORY

Olympics recap: Ice Dancing With the Stars

By the power of high-speed lifts, a close hold, love from their moms, and quite possibly Disney movie mind-control, Princess Jasmine and Wiladdin Wonka a.k.a. Meryl Davis and Charlie White have become the first U.S. Olympic champions in Ice Dancing. Their training companions, the Vancouver gold medalists and non-Disney characters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, settled for silver. And Russian youth sorcerers Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov took the bronze after Monday’s finals in the Iceberg Skating Palace — indisputably the Planet Mirrorballus of Sochi, Russia.

Davis and White earned a score so high, it hadn’t even been invented yet. Never before could Ice Dancing have conceived of a 195.52. It’s a totally new number. Was the competition fixed? Sure, maybe. I am no ice dancing expert. But I do know Tessa Virtue could have easily fixed her damn bun: READ FULL STORY

Olympics preview: Torin Yater-Wallace talks new event ski halfpipe

Ski halfpipe, the ski version of the event that made Shaun White a household name, makes its Olympic debut in Sochi on Feb. 18 (qualification and the final stream live on NBCOlympics.com at 8:45 a.m. ET and 12:30 p.m. ET, respectively, ahead of NBC’s primetime coverage; the women compete Feb. 20).

Torin Yater-Wallace — just one of EW’s Athletes to Watch on Team USA — began skiing in his native Aspen before he was 2 years old. In 2011, at the age of 15, he was the youngest male to ever medal at the Winter X Games. He’s built a nice hardware collection since then, but his road to Russia was rough: He sat out the X Games finals last month to continue recovering from a long December that dealt him a twice-collapsed right lung, two broken ribs, and a total of three-and-a-half weeks in the hospital (including his 18th birthday). “I’ve never gone through that much stuff, especially so much that had to do with the trauma center,” he told EW before heading to Sochi. “With your lungs and your ribs, it’s all so close to your heart, you have to be so closely monitored. It kinda freaked me out, but I’m feeling really good now.” He won a test event in Sochi last year. Who doesn’t love a comeback story?


Olympics: What to watch today

The Olympics: So many sports, so little time. Need help deciding which events to watch? We’re here to help. Each day, we’ll give you our three picks for the most watch-worthy events. Here’s what we recommend for Monday, February 17:

10 a.m. NBCSN
Nothing like watching some high-stakes ice dancing live with your morning coffee.

1:30 p.m. NBCSN
This will be a tight race: Norway’s Tora Berger and Belarus’ Darya Domracheva are mass start biathlon rivals and are both competing in this event. Let the battle begin!

8 p.m. NBC
USA 1 driver Steven Holcomb and his brakeman Steve Langton are trying to earn America its first Olympic two-man medal in 62 years.

UPDATE: This event has been postponed to Tuesday, due to fog in Sochi.

8 p.m. NBC
It’s all downhill for U.S. snowboarders Alex Diebold and Nate Holland (above) and, in a different sense, for two-time Olympic champ Seth Wescott, who didn’t make the cut. –Clark Collis

Olympics recap: Emotional Bode Miller interview makes headlines, Meryl Davis and Charlie White lead in ice war

NBC’s primetime Olympics broadcast Sunday will be remembered as the night that reporter Christin Cooper made Bode Miller cry by essentially asking what he was saying to his late brother, Chilly, when he spoke to the sky before his run in the men’s Super-G. We’ve devoted a separate item to it, which includes Miller’s response to the backlash against Cooper, and you can read that here. I think it was a fair question — considering how open both Bode and his wife Morgan, who’s allowed herself to be mic’d during Bode’s events in Sochi, have been with NBC — but it shouldn’t have been asked then when Miller was already wiping away tears. It should have been saved for Matt Lauer to ask in the studio, when Miller and surprise Super-G silver medalist Andrew Weibrecht sat down with him for a chat that aired in NBC’s late-night coverage. READ FULL STORY

Olympics: Bode Miller explains exactly why he broke down in post-race interview

Emotions were high on Sunday as U.S. alpine skier Bode Miller tied for a bronze medal in the men’s Super-G — and dissolved into tears in a post-race interview with NBC’s Christin Cooper. Cooper initially asked him to put the medal into perspective at his age, 36, after his “turbulent year” and coming back from a knee injury. Then she asked what this medal in Sochi meant compared to his other five. Miller was the first to reference the April 2013 death of his brother, Chilly, who’d hoped to qualify for the Sochi Olympics in the Snowboard Cross event. He died of a seizure stemming from a head injury sustained in a 2005 motorcycle accident. Bode said this medal was a little different because of that loss: He wanted to come back and race the way his brother would. Cooper noticed Miller getting emotional and asked him what was going through his mind. Miller said a lot — it’d been a long struggle and a tough year. Cooper said she knew how much he’d wanted to experience the Olympics with his brother and asked what it meant to have such a great performance for him, if it was for him. Miller said he wasn’t sure if it was for Chilly, but that he’d wanted to come and — he struggled for words — make himself proud. That’s when he had to wipe away the tear we all saw fall. READ FULL STORY

Olympics recap: Oshie shines in Sochi, but Shani Davis does not

The biggest win for the United States on Feb. 15 was unfortunately not for a medal. Hockey fans got to watch the game of their life as the U.S. faced off against Russia, resulting in basically another Miracle. Except our eye candy was upgraded from Patrick O’Brian Dempsey to T.J. Oshie. The only other American win was a bronze medal in men’s skeleton. As expected, the Europeans cleaned up in ski-jumping and super-G. But Team USA suffered another crippling loss in speed skating, and one that we couldn’t blame on the suits. Conspiracy theories may now commence.

Let’s start on a good note and introduce the Olympic Stud(s) of the Day: USA hockey players T.J. Oshie (forward) and Jonathan Quick (goalie). These two single-handedly orchestrated the win for the Americans. Yes, Oshie is getting a ton of press for being the newest hockey hero, but if Quickie hadn’t been blocking pucks like a fiend, then we’d have lost way before the eighth round of a shootout.  READ FULL STORY

Olympics: What to watch today

The Olympics: So many sports, so little time. Need help deciding which events to watch? We’re here to help. Each day, we’ll give you our three picks for the most watch-worthy events. Here’s what we recommend for Sunday, February 16:

2 p.m. NBCSN
“Mass start” is what it sounds like: all 30 biathletes start the race at once. That alone sounds like an Olympic sport.

4 p.m. CNBC
Curling may be on like, every single day of the Olympics, but after they’re over, we won’t get another dose of them until four years from now so take advantage of them now. Plus, go U.S.A.!

7 p.m. NBC
Contenders include the Netherlands’ Ireen Wüst and the USA’s Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe, who took up the sport after seeing Richardson skate. Good thing she didn’t watch Breaking Bad instead. –Clark Collis

Olympics preview: In defense of Ice Dancing -- VIDEO

After curling, no Winter Olympics sport is more maligned than ice dancing, which begins Feb. 16. (Watch the short dance live on NBCSN, starting at 10 a.m. ET, ahead of NBC’s primetime coverage. The free skate airs live on NBCSN at 10 a.m. ET on Feb. 17, when medals are decided.) As you heard countless times during the figure skating team event, the greatest rivalry in the sport is between the USA’s reigning world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who’ve been undefeated in the last two years, and their training mates, Canada’s reigning Olympic gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. The gold medal could come down to a bobble in a twizzle — the traveling side-by-side spins on one foot that test their unison (and balance) — or a hesitation in a lift.

Arguing over whether ice dancing is a “sport” is futile. Those who say it’s not will always argue that there’s too much emphasis on the “artistic” side, which, granted, can result in catastrophically questionable choices such as that “aboriginal” program from Russia’s Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin at the Vancouver Games. Those who say it is will always point to the difficulty of the above mentioned twizzles and lifts and to the intricacies of skating that closely while matching steps down to the depth of a curve and to the height of a raised arm or leg. It’s the symmetry of the latter that makes Torvill and Dean’s “Bolero” program still hypnotic 30 years after they skated it to Olympic gold in Sarajevo.  READ FULL STORY

Olympics preview: Let the bobsledding begin!

Bobsled finally gets underway in Sochi on Feb. 16, with the start of the two-man competition at 11:15 a.m. ET. The first two heats livestream on NBCOlympics.com before making NBC’s primetime coverage. Medals will be handed out Feb. 17, after heats 3 and 4.

Steven Holcomb — who’ll also be defending his gold in the four-man competition that starts Feb. 22 — will be first down the track in USA-1 with Steven Langton. (The Jamaican team is 28th in the start order.) Why is bobsled good TV? “It comes down to hundredths of a second. You can watch and think, ‘Oh, this team’s going really fast,’ and they’re not. Or vice versa: You’re like, ‘Oh, this team is about to crash, they’re all over the place,’ and they come across the line and they’re winning,” Holcomb told EW at a Team USA event last fall. “It’s a very intense sport. Everyone likes speed. People like racing. Plus, like NASCAR, everybody likes the crashes; that’s what people want to see. You don’t tune in to watch cars go in circles — you want to see those crashes.”

Ask Holcomb — whose four-man “Night Train 2″ crew includes Langton, Chris Fogt, and Curtis Tomasevicz — what he’s hoping you don’t see on TV, and he has an answer for that, too: “This happens all the time, and I try really hard to minimize it, but you get to the bottom of the track and pull your helmet off, and you always have this weird, stretched-out, awkward look on your face — like it’s pulling your skin off. They’re really tight helmets,” he said, laughing. “I’ve gotten aware of it because I’ve watched a race on TV. So now when I see the camera, I’ll turn around to take my helmet off.”

Check out the full bobsled schedule below (all events will livestream on NBCOlympics.com, check TV listings). READ FULL STORY

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