No offense to Bode Miller, but did you watch Ski Cross? The sport (which makes its Olympic debut this year) is a full-crazy mash-up of skiing style, snowboarding rules, speed skating ethics, and gladiator bloodshed. It’s like the downhill version of BaskIceBall, and although it may be impossible to look graceful or refined in Ski Cross, our hearts were stolen yesterday by one semi-crazy practitioner of this curious pastime: Chris Del Bosco, onetime drug addict, carpetbagging dual citizen, and a man who would not settle for bronze, even at the cost of his own redemption.
I’m not really a fan of NBC’s montage-flashback approach to the Olympics – cue the sad music and the sob story about the dead relative – but Del Bosco’s troubled backstory (A broken neck! A doping scandal!) provided a completely sensible introduction to his performance on the slopes. To a mere mortal like myself, it seems like only two types of people do Ski Cross: extreme-sport masochists auditioning for their own version of Raging Bull, and monolithic warrior-men like Michael Schmid, a Swiss colossus (6’4”, 231 pounds) who eats sasquatch for breakfast.
Schmid and Del Bosco had been winning their separate races all day, but Schmid was the clear frontunner. In his semi-final, Del Bosco came back from a brutal misstep, advancing by the skin of his teeth. In the final, Schmid quickly moved to the front of the pack, while Del Bosco held up fourth place. He executed some crazy maneuvers and was a sure bet for third, but instead of holding back and accepting the lowest podium, he sped up into the penultimate jump, thinking to leap ahead of the Mountain Who Rides.
You can see the result in the above picture: that terrible midair moment when his skis went in different directions. He was just a couple seconds from the finish line. He almost looks ecstatic, with his arms in the air like that.
Bode Miller looks like a less stubbly Chris Pratt and is one of the greatest ski racers ever. He tore up the Men’s Combined yesterday with a pair of beautiful runs. The match-up between Miller and the impeccably named Aksel Lund Svindal (a past Stud of the Day) ended with a minor meh, when Svindal skied off-course. Miller then celebrated the greatest moment of his sporting career by chewing gum on the gold medal podium.
Honorable Mention (that we totally called yesterday)
We here at PopWatch don’t usually pride ourselves on our brilliant encyclopedic knowledge of the sporting arts, but yesterday’s Studs of the Day, the Ryans of Team USA Hockey, beat Canada at its own game. (Special props to Most Valuable Ryan, Ryan Kesler, who scored the game-clinching goal.)
Olympic Stud of the Day… With His Helmet On
We here at PopWatch don’t mind blond hair and big chins, per se. But Andre Lang, who has won more gold medals in two-man bobsled than any other human being ever, looks like a fricking intergalactic bounty hunter with his helmet on. Before his last race, he flashed a thumbs-up to the camera, and his magnetic eyes could’ve undressed the world.
Who were your Olympic Studs over the weekend?