The judging at the Olympics is difficult to follow. Decisions are made for arcane reasons, and it’s hard for those of us watching at home to discern any consistency.
But enough about women’s hockey. Onto the medal updates …
Original projections: Norway 39, USA 35, Canada 30, Russia 26, Germany 23, Austria 22, South Korea 15, Netherlands 14, France 12, Switzerland 11, Sweden 10
If the rest of the projections were to come true, the final medal count would be: Norway 34, USA 30, Canada 29, Russia 29, Austria 23, Netherlands 20, Germany 19, Sweden 13, Switzerland 13, France 12, South Korea 10
Germany (-2 today, -4 overall): Strange to say Germany’s “down” when you see them ranked first at any news site that ranks countries by gold medals rather than total medals. And it’s not that a lot of German athletes are horribly disappointing. It’s just that they were projected for a lot of medals in particular events. Today it was doubles luge, where they picked up one (gold) instead of two, and Maria Hoefl-Riesch didn’t medal in the downhill.
South Korea (-1 today, -5 overall): Percentage-wise, they’re easily the disappointment of the Games so far. Projected for six medals at this point, and they’ve got one. Things aren’t going well in speedskating for the Korean team or …
USA (-1 today, -5 overall): Shani Davis was favored to win his third straight gold at 1,000 meters. He wasn’t even close to the podium. The better news: The snowboarders picked up the projected gold and bronze in the halfpipe, even if they weren’t exactly the projected names.
Netherlands (+2 today, +6 overall): Always good in speedskating, but now it’s getting a little ridiculous. They’ve won eight of a possible nine medals in the men’s events, then two more in the women’s races. That’s all 10 of their medals.
Switzerland (+2 today, +2 overall): Right on target with two projected medals coming into today, then an unexpected gold (one of the two) and bronze in the women’s downhill.
RIGHT ON TARGET
Australia: Projected for one medal so far, a silver in women’s halfpipe. And that’s what they got.
Funniest video: “Videobomb” doesn’t do justice to what Todd Lodwick did to NBC’s Randy Moss. The Nordic combined veteran walked behind Moss’s back when the commentator was doing a stand-up … about Lodwick. So Lodwick got in the camera shot behind him and punctuated the unsuspecting Moss’s report with a few gestures, shrugs and smiles. No one let Moss in on the joke until the end. See it yourself.
Best shot: See the curling recap to see how Canada’s Jennifer Jones hit something that would baffle a physicist. If only curling had style points …
Best finish: Switzerland-Latvia hockey … 0-0 … 0-0 … 0-0 … going to overti- … 1-0!!!
Best throw: Do Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir get credit for landing the first quadruple Salchow throw in Olympic pairs history? The official results say yes. Writers don’t seem to be sure. She made it around four times but two-footed the landing.
Best payoff from cattle sale: Kaitlyn Farrington’s parents sold cattle to finance her snowboarding career. Now she’s a gold medalist. And now she’s going to “dance her face off.” Sounds more painful than crashing in the halfpipe.
Best explanation of a tie: Olympic stats guru Bill Mallon tells us why it wouldn’t make any sense to do 1,000ths of a second in Alpine skiing.
Most pressing question for snowboarding pundits: In the slopestyle, some folks apparently complained that judges were giving more of a reward for clean landings than they were for big tricks. Is that also why Torah Bright is on the halfpipe podium and Hannah Teter isn’t?
Best explanation of unusual results: “(It) happens.” — Marit Bjoergen
Most quotable commentator: Johnny Weir. He and Tara Lipinski deduced that the French entry in the pairs competition was trying to portray an angel falling from heaven. “It’s not easy to grab someone by the hips after they’ve fallen from heaven.” Can he and Lipinski take over as American Idol judges?
Most well-rounded bobsledder: Johnny Quinn is a former pro football player and nationally ranked Halo player. You may know him from breaking down his bathroom door.
Mightiest fall: Norwegian cross-country skier Petter Northug dominated in Whistler four years ago — gold in the distinctly different events of team sprint and 50k classical, relay silver, and individual spring bronze. And he has been dominant in World Championships and the World Cup since then. This year? Dropped from his next event.
Worst officials: The referees didn’t cost the U.S. women’s hockey team the game against Canada today. The USA’s failure to match Canada’s intensity took care of that. But the officials just flat-out stunk.
Worst bureaucratic overreach: Take off that black armband, Norway!
Worst teammates: All is not well in German luge.
We knew it was warm in Sochi, but …: Maybe Lebanese skier Jackie Chamoun should put a shirt on. (OK, these photos were shot a while ago. But now people want to strip to show support for her. Anyway — the video in that link is absolutely NSFW.)