[ETA](Okay, I was confused before, but now I get it, and I'm going to explain it now so everybody knows that I know what I'm talking about. The short dance has a compulsory element that is determined at the beginning of each season. This season it was Finnstep, which is a kind of quickstep. That means that every team, in their short dance, has to incorporate the same Finnstep sequence into the short dance routine. Apart from that, they have a couple of options of other dance styles/rhythms that they can utilize in the routine, which include foxtrot, Charleston, or swing.)
Speaking of not beautiful, nothing against Ashley Wagner personally, but she doesn't move me at all. I don't like her skating and I don't like her choice of music. I don't know; I can't put into words what it is I don't like about her, except that I just don't feel anything when I watch her skate, except apathy tinged with annoyance. With that said, I'll concede that she did her job for the team competition, so that's something.
They didn't show the entire competition so I only got to see a few of Wagner's competitors, but I think every one of her competitors that I saw impressed me more than she did. Fifteen-year-old Yulia Lipnitskaya of Russia has virtually no emotional expression but she is preternaturally flexible and gets into some incredible positions in her spins. It's so refreshing to see someone doing something unique and original in that regard. I feel that Mao Asada of Japan has matured immeasurably in the past four years and it's a privilege to see her blooming into her full potential. And Carolina Kostner of Italy...One word for her performance: transcendent.
Castelli and Shnapir of the US have done well in both their portions of the team competition, but I was a little annoyed with them during their free skate tonight. They skated to music from James Bond movies, and Simon Shnapir's costume included a fake shoulder holster (at least, I HOPE it was fake). Given the threat of terrorism hanging over the Games, I felt that was in rather poor taste.
Tomorrow (by which I mean later today) we get to see newcomer Jason Brown give his free skate for the US team. It promises to be entertaining.
You know, I sometimes give Russia a hard time, and sometimes it's not entirely fair. But with all sincerity, I have to say that their entire figure skating team has stepped up to the challenge in fine form across all the disciplines, and they deserve whatever they get in the team competition. And the same goes for the US and Canada, as I predict that they're going to be the team medalists.
The slopestyle course for skiing/snowboarding incorporates a giant matryoshka doll, which I think is hilarious. I suppose it probably doesn't actually have a lot of smaller ones inside it, though.
I said before that I thought the US snowboarders' uniforms were prettier this year, but I'm not sure that I still think so. Last time their uniforms were designed to look like ripped blue jeans and a flannel shirt, but the iconoclastic effect was kind of ruined by the fact that they appeared to all be wearing the EXACT SAME rippled blue jeans and flannel shirt. This year their uniforms look more uniform-y, I just haven't decided what the overall effect is yet.
I don't know much about snowboarding, but it was clear to me that the guy who won the men's slopestyle gold, Sage Kotsenburg, was doing tricks that were way more creative and interesting than anything his opponents were doing. (I got his name off Wikipedia, so I hope the spelling is right.) And Mark McMorris of Canada won bronze with a two-week history of a broken rib. As I now work for an orthopedics office, I'm more sensitive about sports injuries, and so I'm not convinced he should have been competing in the Olympics at all, although I assume (or at least hope) that he did so with a doctor's clearance. With all that said, I respect any triumph over adversity, so my hat is off to him.
I'm kind of amused by listening to the snowboarders' interviews, because they all kind of sound like Janice from the Muppets. (Note to snowboarders: Please do not be offended; coming from me, that's a compliment.)
I've got to give credit to the Sochi Olympic Committee because they improved on Vancouver in the areas of giving prettier flowers to the medalists and getting a nicer arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Cheers on both counts.
I watched some speed skating today, and they were talking about new suits for the American skaters, and I thought, "Oh, be careful with that, because getting new aerodynamic suits caused huge controversies in the sport of swimming." But it does sound like the suits vastly improve the comfort level for the athletes, so for their sake I hope they get to keep using them.
I'm getting incoherent; think I'd better go to bed.