And the team competition has thus concluded! If you missed part one, you can catch up here. On Saturday, we got the men’s free skate and the women’s short programs, and the standings at the end of the night were “Russian Olympic Committee” (don’t get me started on how meaningless that is as a sanction), the USA, and Japan all pretty close in the medal slots, and then Canada and China in a distant fourth and fifth, respectively. Sunday brought the women’s skate, the pairs free skate, and the free dance, and it was pretty clear quickly that the Russians had gold wrapped up. (FWIW, I never thought the Russians weren’t going to win this.) The USA took silver, and the Japanese team (which is SO good!) took bronze.
Top level thoughts:
a. As usual, Kamila Valieva came out and murdered everyone else with her skates, even with a fall, as the first woman to land a quad in the Olympics, and then to go ahead and land two. She’s amazing, technically speaking. (Uh, leaving aside how Russian’s skating program seems to eat young women up and spit them out as soon as their center of gravity changes. I feel like every Olympics there is a new Russian powerhouse woman and then they are never heard from again.) Having said all that, I don’t love Kamila’s long program, artistically speaking. Is that allowed? Please don’t tell Johnny Weir. He would take a bullet for her. Anyway, the Russians also semi-destroyed it in pairs despite a truly hellacious fall from them as well, and their gold medal was well-earned.
b. It is funny to me how one minute, you’re eating honey mustard pretzels on the sofa in peace, the next minute you’re screaming, “HER SPIN IS TOO SLOW” through a mouthful of honey mustard pretzels. We’re all Olympic experts in something every two years.
c. I understand it increases people’s point total, but I am already a bit weary of people putting their hands over their head in their jumps. I also have a question for those of you who are skaters: If you learn to jump that way, does it feel harder than doing it the standard way? Or does it seem normal? (If flinging yourself through the air to land on a tiny blade can ever feel normal.)
d. This is the first time I’ve seen the Chock and Bates Daft Punk Alien/Astronaut Experience and I LOVE IT. (When I read the Wikipedia entry to write about the Nationals, it was not well explained.) Saturday and Sunday had a lot of stale-feeling programs for me overall, but theirs was so creative and weird and artistic. The ice dancing competition is going to be THRILLING!!
e. Is there a reason, do you think, that Team USA didn’t have Mariah Bell skate in this competition? I’m interested in the gamesmanship of who got to take part in this thing. As ever, please weigh with any intel.
f. Y’all, someone skated as Jesus. The Jesus.
g. Apparently, as of my typing this — it’s 9:30 p.m. Pacific time on Sunday night — Vincent Zhou has tested positive for Covid. (They are giving him a second test to see how to proceed, in case it’s a false positive.) The men’s competition starts tonight. WHAT IS GONNA HAPPEN TONIGHT???? Is the alternate gonna get to go?? (As far as I understand, he’s not in China, though — which seems nuts to me, why don’t you bring your alternates so they are there to….alternate for you? Like isn’t this the entire point of having an alternate?)
More thoughts, especially on costumes, in the slideshow. DISCUSS!