NBC’s primetime coverage of the Olympics on Sunday was all about the ladies. Jamie Anderson tore up the inaugural Olympic Snowboard Slopestyle competition. Gracie Gold took to the ice and gave a commanding performance…although not as commanding as Julia Lipnitskaia, the Russian skating superstar. Presumably both young ladies feel nothing but deep respect for each other as opponents, but let’s just assume for that they are the estrogenized figure-skating reincarnation of Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago, and this is all building up to an epic showdown in the individual competition. (Miley Cyrus will fill the James Brown role with a performance of “Party in the USA.”)
2014’s official will-they-or-won’t-they couple Meryl Davis and Charlie White performed a lovely ice dance, although now there are allegations about score-fixing, because we all know that ice-dancing is just a front for the mafia. (Which mafia? Oh, I dunno, maybe all of them.) Oh, and NBC sent Mary Carrillo to Siberia, presumably hoping she would just get the hint already. Mary discovered a whole network of ice caverns, containing a veritable ice king. What did this have to do with sports? Nothing. Everything.
Most Endearing Disappointed Reaction
Teenaged snowboarder Ty Walker couldn’t make the cut for slopestyle. Here’s how much that bothers her:
“Whaddaya gonna do?” she seems to be saying. “I’m 16, and I’m an Olympian snowboarder. I’m already cooler than like almost everyone who’s ever lived. I guess I’ll come back in four years and win then? Just think: In four years, you’ll feel really old, and I’ll be 20!”
Best Show of National Solidarity That Didn’t Involve Any Presidents of Russia
After Poland’s Kamil Stoch took first place in the ski-jumping competition, fellow Poles Jan Ziobro an Maciej Kot carried him away on their shoulders.
Best Show of National Solidarity That Involved At Least One President of Russia
After the Russian figure skaters scored the gold in the Team competition, they received a visit from skating fanboy Vladimir Putin. The longtime President went right in for a hug with Evgeni Plushenko. For a split-second, Plushenko looked straight into the camera while Putin whispered something in his ear. It was kind of like the last scene in Lost in Translation, except Plushenko has much better hair than Scarlett Johansson.
Best Fall Recovery of the Day
Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond took a tumble during her routine. But listen guys, we all fall down sometimes. Just once, wouldn’t you like to recover from a fall as quickly as she did?
Osmond and the Canadians wound up taking silver in the team competition, but Osmond will be back for the individual competition next week.
Best Argument for Re-Rebooting the Bourne Legacy Series As A Vehicle for Gracie Gold
Pay very close attention to how the figure skater begins this spin:
Did you see that kick? Now imagine the same thing happening, except Gold is being attacked by a lot of CIA assassins, and she defeats them all in hand-to-skate combat.
The Ryan Lochte Memorial Award for Most Likely To Get A Reality Show
Everyone’s heard of Meryl Davis and Charlie White. But have you heard of their moms? NBC has. NBC is using their Olympics coverage as an opportunity to soft-launch a new reality show — let’s call it Ice Dance Moms — about this cool pair of ladies who have seen their kids ascend to the peak of their sport.
They’re fun! They’re lovable! Their kids are definitely not dating, even though all of America wishes they were! This show isn’t even a show, and it’s already the fourth-best show on NBC.
Just For The Sake of Argument, Evidence That The Children of Charlie White and Meryl Davis Would Be A Perfect New Species of Humans
It’s like they just broke all three of Newton’s laws of motion and then invented five more.
Best Athlete Name That You Shouldn’t Say Out Loud Before You Hear The Proper Pronunciation
It’s pronounced “Vonk.”
Snarkiest Bob Costas Comment
So the aforementioned ice cavern that Mary went to is a tourist destination in Siberia, and I realize that even typing the phrase “tourist destination in Siberia” suggests a lot of magical thinking. However, when she was there, she met a fellow named the Lord of the Frost, who sort of resembled Asgardian Santa Claus.
Although he couldn’t speak English, the camera did catch him saying “It’s a living” in his native tongue. After the segment, Mad-Eye Costas couldn’t stop talking about this throwaway line. “If you’re the king of frost, and you’re from Russia, you should do Borscht Belt Schtick!” he cackled. That’s some harsh crit, Costas, especially since you’re spending the Olympics trapped inside of a gigantic ice luge.
Olympic Stud of the Day
Honestly, Jamie Anderson would have probably won this prize even if she didn’t take home the gold medal in slopestyle. The Lake Tahoe native wears a snowboarding outfit that makes her look like someone who founded a religion based on a Nirvana concert. She exudes a good-natured charm. She wears mantra beads. But she did win. And when she saw her scores, this was her reaction:
I initially mislabeled this as a Taylor Swift-esque reaction, but in terms of stardom, Anderson seems more like the Jennifer Lawrence of the slopes. She’s easygoing! She loves hugging people! After she won, NBC got all up in her face and was all like “Jamie! Jamie! We’re from NBC! Explain what was going through your mind while you won all the sports just now! Jamie! Jamie! NBC!”
And she turned to the camera and just said: “Russia’s been beautiful. The course was so fun. Life is good!”
Also, Jamie’s mom proudly waved a big red-and-yellow scarf which said “TEAM EVERY1.” Her daughter just won a gold medal, and she was rooting for everybody. Guys, I think the Andersons have come down from heaven and/or Tahoe to save us all.
The Top Five Faces Gracie Gold Made While Waiting For Her Scores:
After wowing the crowd with her inaugural Olympics routine, U.S. national champion Gracie Gold had to wait a weirdly long time for her scores to come onscreen. In those pregnant moments, her perfect smile gave way to a whole host of facial expressions which ran across the emotional spectrum.
Excitement, with just a hint of terror. Her smile hasn’t wavered, but her eyes are screaming. She seems to be thinking: “What could be taking the judges so long? The mystical creatures who raised me in that castle in the clouds assured me I had a grand destiny. Was it all for naught?”
Still no scores. This is no longer a smiling matter, but Gold is keeping her cool. She’s a patient parent who wants you to know she’s not mad, she’s disappointed. She’s a politician listening patiently to a question she doesn’t want to answer.
Still no scores? Now comes the fury. Someone will be punished for this. She’s Laura Linney in Mystic River, and you really don’t wanna be Marcia Gay Harden right now. She’s Regina George, and you don’t want to see her burn book. By way of comparison, here’s Gold juxtaposed next to known serious person:
Cabin fever is starting to set in. Every moment is infinity. Or perhaps the thrill of her impending success is so palpable that she can actually taste it.
The precise moment when her scores come onscreen. Her brow furrows. She’s doing the DiCaprio acting face. She’s thinking hard. That’s a look of pure determination. All I’m saying is: Watch your back, Lipnitskaia. The Russians may have won the team challenge, but Gracie’s ready for the individual competition. She’s a tough customer. What I’m getting at is: Her last name ain’t Silver.