Thursday, February 10, 2022

XXIV Olympic Winter Games, Beijing 2022 (Paper Flags)

I am Nathan Chen.

Previous reports:


  1. Medals table at 9 Friday morning in Beijing:

    1. Germany 6 gold, 3 silver, 0 bronze
    2. Norway 5, 3, 4
    3. Austria 4, 5, 4
    4. United States 4, 5, 1
    5. Netherlands 4, 3, 1
    6. Sweden 4, 1, 2
    7. China 3, 3, 0
    8. Italy 2, 4, 2
    9. Slovenia 2, 1, 2
    10. France 1, 5, 0
    11. Canada 1, 4, 7
    12. Japan 1, 2, 4
    13. Switzerland 1, 0, 3
    T14. Australia 1, 0, 1
    T14. Czech Republic 1, 0, 1
    T14. South Korea 1, 0, 1
    T17. New Zealand 1, 0, 0
    T17. Slovakia 1, 0, 0
    19. Finland 0, 1, 2
    T20. Belarus 0, 1, 0
    T20. Spain 0, 1, 0
    22. Hungary 0, 0, 2
    T23. Latvia 0, 0, 1
    T23. Poland 0, 0, 1

    Athletes from Russia have been awarded 11 medals, but … you know ... of course.

  2. Snowboarding

    History per Wikipedia: "Modern snowboarding began in 1965 when Sherman Poppen, an engineer in Muskegon, Michigan, invented a toy for his daughters by fastening two skis together and attaching a rope to one end so he would have some control as they stood on the board and glided downhill. Dubbed the "snurfer" (combining snow and surfer) by his wife Nancy, the toy proved so popular among his daughters' friends that Poppen licensed the idea to a manufacturer, Brunswick Corporation, that sold about a million snurfers over the next decade. And, in 1966 alone, over half a million snurfers were sold. In February 1968, Poppen organized the first snurfing competition at a Michigan ski resort that attracted enthusiasts from all over the country. …"

    First Olympics: Nagano 1998

    All-time medals leaders through Pyeonchang 2018: United States 14 gold, 7 silver, 10 bronze; Switzerland 8, 2, 3, and France 4, 4, 4

    So far at Beijing 2022: Austria and Team USA have each won two of the seven gold medals awarded; Canada, Czech Republic and New Zealand, one each. Medals are still be to awarded in four events, including men’s halfpipe, which Channel 6 is showing live now.

    Team USA medalists: Lindsey Jacobellis of Danbury, Connecticut, gold in snowboard cross; Chloe Kim of Long Beach, California, gold in women’s halfpipe, and Julia Marino of Yonkers, New York, silver in women’s slopestyle

  3. There are 12 competitors in the men’s halfpipe final. Each gets three runs, and medals are awarded to the three top single-run scores (as opposed to totaling the scores of the three runs). Through the first six goes on Run 1, the top score has been recorded by Taylor Gold, a 28-year-old from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In a little bit, we’ll see another American, Shaun White, a 35-year-old from San Diego, California. White won the gold medal in this event at Pyeongchang 2018, Vancouver 2010 and Torino 2006.

  4. I don't know enough about this sport to really see much difference among the competitors, except some crash and some don't. White does not crash, but the judges do not see his Run 1 as medal-worthy. He's in fourth.

    Now we are down to the Pyeongchang 2018 bronze and silver medalists, Australia's Scott James and Japan's Ayumu Hirano ... James wrecks ... Ayumu Hirano, one of three Japanese Hiranos among the 12 finalists, is amazing--but wrecks!

  5. So, a third of the way through, Taylor Gold is in gold-medal position, followed by an Australian (not James) and a Japanese Hirano (not Ayumu).

  6. A third U.S. athlete is competing in the finals, 26-year-old Chase Josey of Hailey, Idaho, and he is outside the medals through two of three runs.

  7. On his second run, Switzerland's Jan Scherrer overtakes Taylor Gold of Steamboat Springs for gold-medal position, and then Gold wrecks on his second.

  8. Shaun White again ... lots of flippityflips and no wrecks ... he's excited ...

  9. Second place! It's the Swiss dude, then Shaun White and then Taylor Gold with three Runs 2 to go.

  10. But now the Australian and Japanese competitors who won bronze and silver at Pyeongchang have taken over gold and silver positions, respectively, so that leaves all three of the Americans on the outside of the medals going into Run 3.

  11. Shaun White's third run--and final run of his Olympic career--ends with a spinout after his second trick, and no Americans will medal in men's halfpipe.

  12. Japan's Ayumu Hirano overtook Australia's Scotty James for gold, and then Jan Scherrer of Switzerland takes bronze. Teary Shaun White finished fourth to much fanfare from the global snowboard community gathered at the Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou.

  13. Tony Kornheiser reported on his podcast this morning that NBC's Olympics viewership is down 50 percent. This perfectly aligns with my analysis at the HP--down exactly 50 percent since 2018 and down nearly 67 percent since about 2012.

  14. Wait until Paris in 2024. Those Olympics will be huge.

  15. It doesn't surprise me at all that the viewership is way down. The broadcasts are not as compelling even to me, for a number of reasons. The time-zone issue is huge, and I spend a lot of time anxious and frustrated that I'm either missing or rewatching something. The China issue is huge, and I spend a lot of time conflicted about whether I feel OK supporting any of this. The cheating issue is huge, and I spend a whole lot of time being angry at the Russians for doing things like doping a 15-year-old girl and the International Olympic Committee for allowing them to compete.

    Anxious, frustrated, conflicted and angry are not the feelings for which I typically seek the magic of television.

  16. The big deal for me is just that I feel the whole event/broadcast is kind of only Olympics-ish.

    The athletes don't seem to be so happy to be together as they usually seem to be at an Olympics because they're not as together as they usually are at the Olympics. The emotional exhaustion seems to bubble over every time one of them is interviewed--tears of joy, tears of sadness, tears of everything ... lots of tears. This has actually produced some beautiful moments of authentic TV; Mikaela Shiffrin, Shaun White, Nick Baumgartner ... I've really appreciated their generosity and naked vulnerability.

    The broadcasters don't seem to be so happy to be there together as they usually seem to be at an Olympics because most of them aren't actually there together at the Olympics. I woke up at 5:30 this morning in Madisonville and flipped on USA Network, and there already were poor Terry Gannon, Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir on the mike in Connecticut, probably Red Bulling their way commentary over remixed disco numbers. That's just a bad hangover.

    There's no going to and from commercials with bumpers of local street scenes; there are no kitschy filler segments on curious side dishes in the restaurants; there are no rumors of new romances kindled at the Olympic Village snack bar, and on and on. The snow is fake. We're getting dispatches like this. And this.

    Just not nearly enough happy.

  17. There is, however, still plenty of Faster, Higher, Stronger. Still plenty of U! S! A! ... U! S! A! ... I'm thankful Beijing 2022 is at least Olympics-ish.

    I fell asleep last night in the break between the second and third periods of the U.S.-Canada men's hockey. Canada had scored right off the bat in the game. But then the Americans scored the next three goals! But then, at the end of the second period, the Canadians got a penalty, and Team USA had the chance to make it an absolute rout! But then the Canadians scored a short-handed goal to close back to 3-2! It was exciting.

    But then--even still--I fell asleep. It was almost midnight in Madisonville, and I just couldn't keep my eyes open after a week of work and then thrilling with my daughter through the arduous Jacobelis/Baumgartner triumph in mixed-team snowboard cross in live prime time Friday.

    Thank you to Jimmy Roberts for the 411 a bit ago that (but then!) Team USA ended up holding on for a 4-2 win to open 2-0 in group play.

  18. Nathan Chen was amazing. I'm into the curling again. I really like the snowboard races. Team USA is up to third in the medals standings. I'm still here.

    But I get it that most viewers wouldn't be. I hope you are right, GoHeath, about Paris 2024 (and Milano Cortina 2026.