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Olympics recap: Ashley Wagner gets redemption, Sage Kotsenburg a gold (plus the Top 5 reactions of the day)

NBC’s primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics continued Saturday night with Bob Costas embracing viewers’ description of his post as the Fortress of Solitude and announcing that he’s still wearing his Clark Kent glasses because of his pinkeye. But which athletes would end the day feeling like Superman? Here’s a recap: 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 Saturday, February 8:

TEAM ICE DANCE SHORT DANCE
9:30 a.m.
“But it’s Saturday,” you say, “I want to sleep in.” Valid point, but what better way to spend your weekend morning than watching people dance on ice better than you can dance on regular ground?

WOMEN’S MOGULS GOLD MEDAL FINAL
1 p.m.
American Hannah Kearney finished first in the initial qualifying round and the possibility of her getting the gold is looking good. Either way though, moguls is kind of like The Fast and the Furious except with snowy slopes and skis instead of roads and cars, so it should get your adrenaline pumping.

MEN’S SKI JUMPING, PRELIMS
2:30 p.m.
Expect strong showings from Switzerland’s Simon Ammann and Austria’s Gregor Schlierenzauer (gesundheit!). –Clark Collis

Ski jumping analyst explains why you should tune in (not just for the falls!) -- VIDEO

Ask NBC ski jumping analyst Jeff Hastings, a 1984 Olympian who’s provided commentary at every Winter Olympics since 1988, why the sport makes great TV, and he has his answer ready: “Falls!” he jokes. Actually, there’s more to it than that. “These guys are jumping out of a 20-story building and flying as far down the hill as possible — 200 feet is how far they’re dropping over the course of their flight,” he says. “It’s an amazing piece of physics and an amazing bit of courage to do it well.” With women’s ski jumping finally making its Olympic debut in Sochi — we’ll have more on that closer to the start of their competition on Feb. 11 — more eyes will be on the sport than ever. Before he left Sochi, we asked Hastings what we should be watching for when ski jumping gets underway Saturday, Feb. 8 (first up: men’s normal hill individual qualification, which will livestream on NBCOlympics.com at 11:30 a.m. ET and be part of NBC’s afternoon telecast starting at 2:30 p.m. ET).

The backstory you want to know: Japan’s Noriaki Kasai, 41, is competing in his SEVENTH Olympics. “He is unbelievable. It’s such a tough sport to stay competitive at because most people as they get older get wiser and realize that it’s not a sport you should be doing very long,” Hastings says. “So the move that you make at the takeoff, which is what decides how good you are really, is really simple. Anybody can do it on the ground perfectly. The challenge comes in doing it at 55, 60 miles an hour and knowing that if you do it perfectly it could be disaster: It is taking it right to the edge and a little bit over with the confidence being there knowing that you’re going to pull through the other side. So for somebody 41 years old, who’s been doing it for, I don’t know, since the Nixon administration or whenever, to be getting basically better… He’s a guy who’s sort of finished fifth to twentieth forever, but this year’s been finishing first to tenth. It’s amazing to me. And I can tell you, too, that the field is not getting less competitive. It’s not like the field is coming back to him. He’s doing something different, and I don’t know what it is, but it’s really impressive.” READ FULL STORY

Psst, Bob Costas: We know what accessory you need in Sochi...

As exciting as NBC’s first night of Olympics coverage was — Slopestyle! Evgeni Plushenko! Scott Hamilton yelling! Evgeni Plushenko! The Dufour-Lapointe sisters! Evgeni Plushenko!!! — it was marred by one unfortunate development: Bob Costas’ nasty case of pinkeye. Costas was a trouper to appear onscreen despite his swollen lid… but in the immortal words of Valerie Cherish, after a long day at work, we don’t want to see that.

The obvious solution? A series of festive eyepatches, designed to take advantage of whatever Costas may be reporting on that day (figure skating; gay-rights issues; surprise upset in the Quidditch finals). You know, something like this:

READ FULL STORY

Olympic flick flashback: 'Cutting Edge' star D.B. Sweeney on toe picks, broken legs, and awful sequels

In honor of the Sochi Games, PopWatch is taking a look back at a few of our favorite Winter Olympics-themed movies. First up: The Cutting Edge, the classic 1992 “hockey player meets figure skater” romantic comedy. We talked to star D.B. Sweeney — who played cocky ex-hockey star Doug Dorsey, opposite Moira Kelly’s snooty ice queen Kate Moseley — about the making of the film, the impossible physics of its climactic bounce-spin-throw (the “Pamchenko”), and its truly wretched sequels. Toe pick!

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First of all: Do you resent people still asking you about The Cutting Edge?
D.B. SWEENEY: No, it’s great. You hope people watch the movies over and over again, and this has become one of those movies for people. So it’s a great compliment to Tony Gilroy’s script, and Moira Kelly’s great performance, and what we all tried to do.

Did you and Moira have chemistry right away?
Well, I don’t know about that. What happened [was], I didn’t know how to ice skate, and neither did she. They sent us to Sky Rink in New York City, which was on the 10th floor of a building on, like, 9th Avenue and 50th Street. MGM rented out a space there for us to go skate. For three months, we skated almost every day together, and I would stay and play hockey. It let us get to know each other in a different way than a normal rehearsal process, and it was very similar to what the characters go through in the movie. I think it was just a very natural and organic way to build a history for the characters.

READ FULL STORY

MY Olympics begins when...

Today, the Sochi Olympics officially opens. (Watch the opening ceremony tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC.) But with competition getting underway yesterday, perhaps your Olympics has already begun. Finish this sentence: MY Olympics begins when…

For me it’s when…. figure skating commentator Scott Hamilton admittedly gets a little too excited in the booth. It happened yesterday during the team figure skating event when Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu stole the men’s short program with a showstopper (watch it here) that had his fellow competitors standing and Hamilton referring to his triple lutz-triple toe combination as “sick,” before realizing his target demo may not know the meaning of that word and clarifying that it had been “awesome.”

READ FULL STORY

Learn the essentials of ice skating in our Olympic supercut -- VIDEO

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Whether it’s a singles competition or a doubles, every ice skating routine has a beginning filled with anticipation, a middle filled with lifts, twirls, and the occasional fall, and an ending, complete with one final pose. Relive those very moments with our ice skating supercut, which recaps everything from the grace of the sport to the relief of completing a routine.

Watch our ice skating supercut below:

READ FULL STORY

Discover 'The Curling Effect' with our Olympic supercut -- VIDEO

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Curling is a winter sport that requires precision, focus, and, apparently, really distinct  facial expressions. So in honor of the Olympic fan favorite, we’ve rounded up evidence of what we like to call “The Curling Effect.”

Watch our supercut of curling footage below:
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Google celebrates Olympics and human rights in new homepage Doodle

Google-homepage.jpg

On the day of the opening ceremonies in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Google is celebrating the Olympics — and also equality. Instead of keeping the colors in the picture in the order of the Google logo, it arranges them in rainbow order, likely a nod to the flag representing LGBTQ issues.

Below the image, the search engine highlights a quote from the Olympic charter: “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

When clicking anywhere on the Doodle, Google takes users to the search results for “Olympic Charter.”

The first night of the Games took place last night, and, in addition to NBC showing highlights from new sports such as slopestyle and team skate, Bob Costas also discussed with viewers the many issues at play in the Sochi Olympics, including human rights problems.

Olympics recap: Slopestyle, Team Skating, and 'Frozen' Bob Costas, plus the Top 5 coveted items of the night

The Olympics began in earnest last night, despite the opening ceremonies not taking place until Friday. New events slopestyle snowboarding and team skating took center stage, and not even 24 hours into competition viewers have already got Team USA heroes — hooray, Jamie Anderson! — and disappointments — when you cry, I cry, Jeremy Abbott. Look elsewhere for your recap of the actual athletic performances; here’s all you need to know about the best television moments. (I’m looking at you, cutaway to a USA top hat.)

He’s Such an Elsa: We kicked things off, as always, with Bob Costas anchoring. But while the Internet quickly decided Costas was announcing from Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, I’m more inclined to think the NBC  folks took their set inspiration from current box office hit Frozen. Perhaps by the end of this week we’ll get Costas covering “Let It Go”? The Olympics are the time for dreams to come true, after all. READ FULL STORY

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