All of these facts are true about me: 1) I hate participating in sports. Literally every sport–gym class was a living nightmare. 2) I find watching sports really boring. And 3) I LOVE THE OLYMPICS. I know, it makes no sense and yet every two years, for the two and a half/three weeks it’s on I become a sports watching addict. Now, this doesn’t mean I actually know anything about what I’m watching (so just like with the Super Bowl, if you are looking for insightful commentary on sports, this is not the place for you), but that really doesn’t matter to me. I’m moved by the spirit of the games. Or something.
By the way, do yourself a favor and follow SNL comedian Leslie Jones on Insta, Twitter, and Snap (she’s lesdogggg on all her accounts) because she’s basically me elevated to the nth degree. I could watch her watch the Olympics all day and NBC knows it so they’re sending her to Korea for me. Thanks NBC!
For some reason, the Team Skate and Moguls skiing (what is that?) started before the Opening Ceremony so I’m going to take a second to start there. My prayers/dreams have been answered and Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are back together to give the world’s bitchiest commentary. They came out strong, with Tara looking like she’s wearing a Christmas tree skirt and 100lbs of makeup while Johnny is wearing ALL OF THE SEQUINS in a not-quite-matching shade of red and possibly one of those hair pieces you use to pad out a bun. They also had bedazzled headsets because of course.
Skating is now letting it’s athletes perform to music with words which has given the world Chinese skater Han Yan performing his first skate to Christina Perry’s “1000 Years”. This is only notable because it’s the song I associate most with Twilight and this just makes me so happy.
Putting a damper on my Twilight joy are the skating categories being listed as men, LADIES, pairs, and ice dance. In case you couldn’t tell from my ALL CAPS yelling I am Not. Happy. about this. Why not men, women, etc? Ladies just feels so diminishing. Either go with the term gentleman for the men or call the ladies what they are: women. *Feminist rage! And while we’re on the subject: gentlemen, put on a skating outfit! You don’t have to go full Weir but I don’t want to see the slacks you got at Banana Republic while the women are in flouncy sparkle dresses with nude netting. Step your outfits up, some sequins around the collar isn’t cutting it.
Ok now let’s turn our attention to Mogul skiing, which until literally yesterday I didn’t know was a thing. The course looks like a bunch of little hills that the skier ping-pongs between before having to land two jumps. Insane.
The best part was one of announcers who sounded like he had been discovered fifteen minutes before air-time hanging out on the boardwalk waiting to catch a wave. He literally said the following words: “brah”, “that’s so rad”, “money”, “right on”, and “bro”. I now want only Tara, Johnny, and whatever this dude’s name is to judge everything forever.
All that excitement finally brings us to brings us to the Opening Ceremony! I love the spectacle of it and will literally go back and re-watch past years’ productions because I’m a nut. The ceremony is titled “Peace In Motion” and I’m not totally sure what that means but it sounds nice. There’s going to be a lot of pictures in this next bit because a picture is worth a thousand words and I don’t want to type that much. Begin!
This is part of the video package where we’re introduced to these five kids but I’m more just concerned that they went to go hangout on a frozen waterfall.
Now we’re in the live element of the show and get these puppet animals. I’ve seen The Lion King and War Horse on stage and honestly they did it better but it’s still pretty cool, if sedate.
Real talk, what is that animal? It’s a turtle shell with a lion head and possibly crane/lizard/monster head? Is it conjoined? I do not know.
In addition to a parade of animals I do and don’t recognize we got some dancers and a crane with a human face. Right.
Quick break to welcome the Prime Minister of South Korea and the President of the International Olympic Committee before some kickass female drummers! The ones in white stayed in a central circle while others in red listened to Beyonce and decided “okay ladies now let’s get in formation“, which they did.
Cleansing breath time because it’s time to see what fresh hell Ralph Lauren hath wrought upon this batch of Olympians. Below from left to right is the sketch Ralph came up with modeled on a female and male athlete respectively. Let’s start with the main issue: the gloves are heinous and fringed. Why. But really why. No, seriously I do not understand why 1) they are SO BIG, 2) look made out of a Carhartt jacket, 3) are FRINGED, 4) have the Olympic rings and flag on them, and 5) as of the time of this writing ARE SOLD OUT ON THE RALPH LAUREN SITE AND THEY COST $995. If you need me I’ll be over here on the floor.
The only positive thing I can say is the jackets had a built in heating component that kept the athletes warm as it was a chilly 28 degrees F before windchill that evening. Erin Hamlin, luger, carried the flag into the stadium leading a team of 244 athletes, the largest number of any country by far (do we always have to be the biggest at everything?) to the dulcet sounds of “Gangnam Style” by PSY. I’m like 95% sure that was a diss but I’m rising above.
TONGA! You are very handsome and muscular but I’m concerned about coconut oil and flipflop’s ability to keep you warm. Please tell me you got to change to sit in the stands.
A lot of teams 1) went with a really bright green and 2) totally clashed with their country’s flag. I’m using Hungary here as an example but there were so many other culprits.
No photos I found online are of the Jamaican team standing still. They came in dancing and looked like they were having the best time. The four women are competing in the bobsled race and have named their sled “Cool Bolt” as a nod to the movie Cool Runnings and Jamaican/fastest man basically ever, Usain Bolt. I’m in love.
BERMUDA! I admire the commitment to your namesake shorts but really. Go sit next to Tonga and see if he’ll share some warmth support.
Russia as a country was banned for doping, but individuals who are clean were allowed to compete as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” under the Olympic flag. It must be super weird for them.
Ok, even my skeptical cynicism had to chill out during the entrance of the Korean athletes. Do I think that this has “solved” the problem? No, North Korea is a humanitarian disaster that needs a radical overhaul starting at the top, but can I hope this eases international tensions? Sure. Why not.
The torch entered the stadium and was passed among several South Korean athletes before ending at two of the female hockey players in the joint South/North Korea team. An illuminated path emerged and I was like, “they’re not about to make them climb a massive staircase together, right?”
Wrong! You go girls that was as impressive an athletic feat as any I’ve seen so far.
Who’s at the top of the stairs? It’s figure skater Yuna Kim! The crows goes nuts for her (as they should she’s awesome) and for some reason she did not have to wear the puffy pants/jacket combo everyone else did.
She gets to light the cauldron through an exceptionally phallic spring system.
Lots and lots and lots of fireworks brings us to some pop-locking men in goblin masks and some fire drumming.
One of the most interesting sections was the prerecorded use of drones to form a snowboarder, dove,and the Olympic rings!
Remember those five kids? We’ve got a video package of them all grown up and demonstrating how seamlessly technology is part of their lives. There’s also this possible artistic sex robot.
Let’s bring four singers who have no interaction with each other whatsoever onstage to sing John Lennon’s “Imagine”. I would have voted not to, but no one ever asks me these things. How irritating. While the singing is happening a bunch of performers form a dove with candles. Yeah, I got the symbolism thanks.
Lots and lots more fireworks go off and that’s the end of the Opening Ceremony! The cauldron is lit, the games are open, the rings have been shown, now let’s get sporty!