Important Things to Know About the PyeongChang Winter Olympics (No Bob Costas, Short Track Speed Skating Relay, Valentine’s Day)

I love the Olympics.

Summer, Winter, Whatever. I’m watching.

NBC did an awesome job during the Summer 2016 Olympics showing every event live and it looks like they are doing the same thing this year: how to watch the Olympics.

I understand those who wait until Prime Time Coverage sometimes get disappointed. But, it’s the 90s guys. Get on the internet.

Now that you know how to watch, here are some things to know:

1) Bob Costas is Not Hosting The Olympics

Everyone knew that one NBC mainstay would not be assuming his normal duties broadcasting during the morning timeslot for the Olympics.

But, I only just learned that PrimeTime stalwart Bob Costas would not be hosting the Olympics this year. He will be replaced by Mike Tirico this time around. Note, Bob Costas stepped down on his own to my knowledge.

He apparently was supposed to take part in the Super Bowl coverage this year instead, but didn’t because he acknowledges that football causes brain injuries.

Bob Costas was fun to have host the Olympics because it almost seemed like he hated it.

My googling skills have failed me here but two of my favorite Bob Costas Winter Olympics Memories are:

1) when he openly made fun of the Vancouver opening ceremonies as they were happening

2) After Simon Amman of Switzerland won both ski jumping events in 2010, Bob remarked:

Switzerland: neutral in terms of all global conflicts, but superior when it comes to ski jumping.

2) Watch the Short Track Speed Skating Relay

At 7am EST on Thursday, February 22, be sure to check out the 5000m speed skating relay final.

Before the days of Apollo Anton Ohno, I knew little about short track speed skating except that everyone fell all the time.

It was the peculiar cousin of the more popular Speed Skating, which is so much more popular, it doesn’t even require an adjective. Possibly because the US had stars in that sport like absolute bad ass Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansen, who is perhaps best known for falling a lot before finally getting his gold medal.

(Side Note: I once was on an airplane with Bonnie Blair and a speed skater she was coaching. They showed me her speed skates, because I was interested in the new clap skate technology that was becoming popular. One might wonder why two giant blades were allowed to be taken onto the plane).

Anyway, back in 2002, during my Freshman year at Duke University, I flipped on the Olympics in the commons room of my dormitory (Epworth for the Blue Devils out there). Airing was this peculiar event (the Short Track Speed Skating Relay) that is best described as organized chaos. And, I was immediately hooked.

The relay consists of four or five teams of four skaters who together circle the track 25 times.

All of the skaters are all skating at the same time in a hurricane of ever-increasing speed, but at any given time only one of the skaters on each team is racing.

There is no baton. Instead successive relay skaters start by being pushed on the behind by the previous speed skater.

And, I am doing it no justice, so it’s best to just watch an example

 

Short Track Speed Skating Relay

3) Don’t Forget About Valentine’s Day

With all the Olympics excitement, it can be easy to forget to buy those flowers or get that card or chocolates or whatever you do to celebrate. So here is your reminder to do that today.

And, my Winter Olympics Valentine’s Day story.

In February 2010, I had no special person and it was before my wild online dating days, so I didn’t even register that a particular Sunday that year was Valentine’s day.

I headed to one of my local haunts at the time called Barfly. Yes, the same Barfly that was recently in the news because Kit Harington got in a fight there. 

Because I’m a completely normal person, I ordered a brownie sundae to go with my Guinness.

When the bartender brought me the sundae she says to me:

I hope this fills the brownie-shaped hole in your heart.

Not knowing it was Valentine’s day at the time, this seemed like a very strange insult. But apparently she thought I was just drowning my sorrows of lost love and not just a lover of brownie sundaes.

 

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