Mandatory Coverage: Olympic Men’s HalfpipeBy Gregory Frank • Feb 18th, 2010 • Category: Features, Latest, Random
Okay, we can’t get away from it right now. The Olympics are on, and last night Shaun White fulfilled the NBC prophecy by becoming the golden boy once again. Sorry I didn’t tip anyone off to that spoiler right there. Not that it matters. Maybe you DVR-ed the events last night and you’ll get to sit through all the speed skating and 26-minutes of Lindsey Vonn sobbing. Oops another spoiler. NBC pretty much tanked the broadcasting with its tape-delays. The one highlight of the broadcasting was Todd Richards dropping the Double-Double with Tomato line. Meanwhile Bob Costas was back in the NBC control room, on the verge of having TR brought down for going rogue.
Dear NBC: Make your fucking videos embeddable. Last night’s actual short track event video here.
But there were some things worth seeing last night. I couldn’t look away from the short-track speed-skating relay qualifiers. I’ve seen some shit in my day, but nothing like a bunch of American men crammed into small circle with a handful of young Koreans boys, all pushing on each others’ butts. I should say I’ve never seen anything like that with spandex suits on. [choose your own next line]
• I actually had to call my mother and tell her not to watch, in case her epilepsy fired up.
• In the 1970s they called this kind of filth “art films.”
• I’m kind of surprised Nate Holland wasn’t there.
The foxy ladies of SBX. photo nbcolympics.com
The other highlight of last night’s broadcast was the presentation of the women’s snowboardcross medals. Seriously, you won’t be getting that kind of heat on the women’s halfpipe podium. It was Maelle Ricker, Deborah Anthonioz, and Olivia Nobs—gold, silver, and bronze, respectively.
Onto the men’s half-pipe show.
NBC decided we didn’t even need to see Mathieu Crepel, so there was no comment on the French mustache madness. I’m sure Brooke Geery cried into her JJ Thomas body pillow over that one. So people were dropping in, boosting and slipping out. A lot. The USA’s small wonder Greg Bretz sat on both of his runs, it a crap way to go down but he’s young and I suspect he’ll be back. People were yapping about Louie’s score being low, but I attribute that to too much flag waving. Kazu Kokubo tossed down easily the runs with an unmatched style-to-size ratio before slipping out on his final hit of each run.
Peetu took second, but let’s not be bothered by the his Finnishness. Then it was pretty much the Shaun White and Scotty Lago show. I thought it was pretty rad that NBC let its viewers watch both of their runs in their entirety. Scotty Lago’s has one of the best methods going right now and should really be seen by everyone. He went large and banged it down on his first run, only to be bumped into third by Peetu and sitting on his second run. Still it was great to seem him perform so well under the Olympic spotlight.
Shaun White secured his win with his first run, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. And in doing so he further exposed a rift among armchair pipe-jocks around the world. Do we love or hate Shaun White?
USA! USA! USA! Photo: nbcolympics.com
Yes, Red Bull built him a private halfpipe and foam pit. Yes, he has spent the last year doing nothing but practicing for last night. Yes, his runs can come off with a robotic stiffness. Yes, he swaddled in the arms of corporate America and all that is wrong with snowboarding. But you cannot deny that his run was so much larger than anyone else’s, His Whitesnake/Double-Double-with-Tomato/Tomahawk/CulebraBlanca/whatever you want to call it just raised the bar in half-pipe riding and he was honestly having a good time atop the pipe prior to his second run victory lap. He was doing what snowboarders are supposed to do, have fun. He got the medal he deserved.
I need to hang out with more female boardercross racers.