Andreas Kofler, Wolfgang Loitzl, Thomas Morgenstern, and Gregor Schlierenzauer helped give Austria its third gold medal of the Vancouver games and the 23rd medal overall in team ski jumping. Favorites going into the event, they did not disappoint, landing some of the highest, most entertaining jumps on the day, and finishing with a commanding 72.1 point lead over Germany. After initially scoffing at ski jumping (aren’t they just getting shot out of a cannon?), I was won over by the Austrians’ amazing body control and concentration. It’s also worth mentioning that they travel in a rock-star tour bus.
Specific stud points are awarded to the adorable Gregor Schlierenzauer. The team’s anchor soared 146.5 meters in his second and final jump, an Olympic record off the K125. By this point, Austria had already secured the gold medal, but Schlierenzauer still brought his stud game. Flying well past the finish line, albeit shaking a bit on the way down, he managed to stick his landing. Even though the judges reduced his score to 145.2, claiming his hand had touched the ground, he recorded two of the highest jumps of the competition. Schlierenzauer has already won a pair of bronze medals in the individual Normal Hill and Large Hill and has 32 World Cup titles. At 20 years old, he’s also the youngest member of the team, which makes his stud factor slightly inappropriate (yet completely legal!) and his dominance in the air that much more impressive. In a behind-the-scenes segment, “Schlieri,” as he is affectionately known, described his hobbies outside of ski jumping, which include photography (“snapshots of my life”) and designing his own fashion line (now available for purchase!). As Beyonce’s “Halo” played in the background (more bonus points), Schlieri described his new-found fame and notoriety: “Sometimes I’m feeling a little like a rock star…and yeah, I like it.” Yes, Gregor. We would like three Olympic medals, too.
Honorable Mentions: I’m an American girl, but I’ve always had a fondness for Canada (thank you, Degrassi). Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the red, white, and blue, but over the past week and a half I’ve fallen in love with the accents, the “aw shucks, who me?” attitude, and the overall Canadian-ness of Team Canada. Last night, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir‘s performance helped them become the first Canadian team, and first North American team, to win gold in ice dancing, and only the fourth figure skating gold medal winners in Canadian Olympic history. Together, they skated an elegant routine and raised the taste level in the music and costume departments from the previous night’s questionable choices. Tessa resembles the younger sister of Rory Gilmore, and both are cute as a button (did you catch when they checked each other’s teeth before taking the podium?).
Virtue and Moir’s American training partners Charlie White and Meryl Davis were good enough for a silver medal. While I very much enjoy White’s free-flowing golden curls, which have the ability to transport me to a warm, tropical locale and make me forget that it’s sleeting outside and we probably have two more months of winter, these two get stud points for the adorable vintage footage from their days of braces and pee wee hockey. For more on the ice dancers, be sure to check out Mandi Bierly’s latest PopWatch on Ice recap!
Best Stud Nickname courtesy of an NBC commentator: Michael “Uhrmann the German” Uhrmann, ski jump.
What about you PopWatchers? Did Gregor and his fellow flying Austrians capture your heart too? Do you think ice dancers are as studly as figure skaters? Let us know in the comments!