Real talk, the US took a beating at the Olympics yesterday. Mikaela Shiffrin, Nathan Chen, and Lindsey Jacobellis all finished off the podium for their respective sports and it was painful to watch.
On that cheery note we begin with Women’s Slalom, which is essentially downhill skiing into a bunch of flexible poles as fast as possible while wearing helmets that look like the dental headgear I wore in middle school, but they pull it off better. Possibly because it’s not actually attached to their teeth. Mikaela Shiffrin of the USA was the favorite to win this event and the pressure on her was so great and her nerves so intense she was physically ill before her first run. Poor Mikaela. The commentators wanted us to know she listens to Eminem’s “Guts Over Fear” to pump herself up and they like the synergy between the song title and her being ill. Listen commentators, unless you are bringing the fashion drama I do not care about your word play. Mikaela eventually finished 4th and everyone was shocked.
The winner was Sweden’s Frida Handsdotter and during her run one of the commentators literally said “always the bridesmaid never the bride” in reference to her inability to beat Mikaela. Um are you kidding me right now? Could we use more sexist language while referring to women? Oh it’s not possible? Cool, good to know. The horrible train didn’t stop there for Frida. After she was declared the winner NBC got an interview with her and the reporter mentioned that Frida’s mother had died this past year and asked her how the emotions and experiences differed. WHAT? I’m going to go out on a limb and say one was horrible and one was amazing but won’t tell you which one is which. I’m not sure why Frida couldn’t have five minutes to feel happy about an accomplishment (where she was finally the bride) before having to be reminded of her mother not being there. Get it together reporter person whose name I didn’t even write down and wont look up in solidarity with Frida.
Men’s Skeleton, (which is essentially where the athlete goes face first down an ice shoot while laying on top of a cafeteria tray strapped to ice skates) was next and the star of the show was South Korea’s Yung Sung-Bin. He got the gold, but more importantly, his helmet is made to look like Iron Man and there is something so fun about watching pretend Iron Man do the Skeleton. Other people competed but they weren’t as fun to look at so…. I didn’t make any notes on them. If everyone dressed like a superhero I think the Skeleton would be more interesting. By the way, there are no breaks on these sleds, so at the end the athlete’s drag their feet along the ice to slow them down before running into yellow padding. I can’t believe they haven’t come up with a better way to stop yet.
Men’s Super G (downhill skiing that involves running into fabric tied between two poles called “gates”, while also doing some jumps for time) featured possibly every male citizen from Norway. Seriously, like 100 Norwegians competed in this event and you know who won? An Austrian. Go figure. Just like in the Opening Ceremony, there was a lot of lime green accents so apparently I now need to add that color to my repertoire.
Women’s Snowboard Cross is a snowboard race which was described by one commenter as NASCAR on snow, but it’s really more like those BMX races that involve a lot of hills and jumps. I know this because I’m an expert on everything in that last sentence. This event was supposed to be the redemption of Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) who fell down right before the finish line in 2006 earning her a silver instead of the assured gold. In the past two Olympics she failed to make it from the semifinals. Twelve years later, this was supposed to be her moment. And she came in 4th. Brutal.
Besides Jacobellis, the talk of the sport was Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic who was sporting a patriotic mustache and soul patch. Apparently she wears it for good luck; she had it on and won so she keeps wearing it. I would love to know what possessed her to draw one on in the first place, but I’m mainly glad she was allowed to wear it to compete. When she popped up on-screen I nearly had a happiness heart attack.
And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Men’s Ice Skating Short Program. Clearly I’m not covering everyone so go over to NBC if you want to see the full rankings list.
First up, Adam Rippon who is doing his most to make sure you know he’s the first openly gay Winter Olympics athlete. Not only did he skate in a maroon mesh, sequins, leather, and rhinestone covered shirt, he performed to Ida Corr vs Fedde Le Grand’s “Let Me Think About It“, turning the rink into a gay dance club. I loved it and I love him. Does he have a chance at a medal? Not really. Do I care? Not remotely.
Japan’s defending gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu came, saw, and conquered the hell out of that ice. Not only did he decide to wear a large gold cumberbund, he paired it with a white to blue ombre sequined shirt with several large necklaces. It was a stunning performance and he got a standing ovation from the audience and me on my couch. The crowd also threw what seemed like one million Winnie the Pooh dolls onto the ice–apparently he likes Winnie the Pooh? I don’t know that was sort of weird. He’s currently in first place going into the long program and he deserves it.
Oh Nathan. USA’s Nathan Chen has been hyped to be the next big thing in skating but he was a mess last night. Granted, he went right after Hanyu’s spectacular performance, which would give anyone extra jitters, but he didn’t even land the easier jumps in his routine. The only thing he had going for him was his Vera Wang designed outfit which was obviously an ode to the famous black and white cookie. Nathan finished 17th in the standings and unless he pulls off an actual miracle on ice he wont finish anywhere near the podium.
Mikhail Kolyada, one of the Olympic Athletes from Russia, clearly got wind of Nathan’s costume and wanted to outdo him so he told his designer more white, sparkles, and moody drama. I’d say he delivered.
Japan’s Shoma Uno is here and he wants you to know it. I love everything about this look: the purple around the (deep) neckline, the sequins, the texture of what looks like feathers, the velvet pants. It’s all working for me and clearly also for Shoma since he finished third.
Javier Fernandez of Spain came out to do a Charlie Chaplin inspired routine looking like the world’s fanciest maitre d’. It involved a lot of miming. His jumps were amazing and he came in second.
And finally, China’s Jin Boyang came out in essentially Adam’s shirt but in solid black and more subdued. His routine was performed to the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon soundtrack and featured a bunch of martial arts-y moves which was very impressive on skates. Maybe instead of Moana Disney should call Jin and have him do a production of the film on ice.
But who cares about all these talented people. How did the real stars look? Well, Johnny added some gold extensions to his hair and I’m not sure it was the right choice. It’s hard to see in this photo I stole off Twitter, but he has a GIANT neck ruffle/bow situation going on. Tara’s in a velvet halter dress that’s doing some weird optical illusion to her boobs while Terry is glad for one night of semi normalcy.
Here’s Johnny’s full look.
Better luck tomorrow team USA!