Observations and impressions as ugly Thursday gives way to Lindsey Friday.
Friday night’s highlight
Lindsey Vonn described herself as a caged animal. She missed the 2014 Olympics because of a knee injury and had to sit idle for more than a week at the 2018 Games before her first competition.
The waiting will end tonight.
Vonn will be in the field for the super giant slalom (8 p.m., NBC), or the super-G, as it’s more popularly known. There are more turns than in the downhill event, which is a much faster version of the giant slalom. Vonn was third in the super-G at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
She won two World Cup races the weekend before the 2018 Games opened and, at 33, is trying to become the oldest Alpine skier to win Olympic gold.
“In 2010, I was a much healthier athlete,” Vonn said. “But in 2018, I’m a much stronger athlete, not just physically but mostly mentally. I’ve overcome a lot. I know what I’m capable of, and I think I know how to handle myself better than I did.”
If she wins, she will cry. Even if she doesn’t, she’ll probably cry. Vonn was extremely close to her grandfather, who served in Korea during the war in the mid-20th century and helped get her started by building a mini ski slope when he returned home to Wisconsin.
Don Kildow died in November at 88.
“I feel really good, because it’s not really about me or my career,” she said. “It’s about my grandfather.”
Tomorrow it’s game time! I will give it everything I have with no regrets. This is for my Grandpa! I have bib # 1 and start time is 11am here so 9pm est. Watch it live on @nbc . #allformyGrandpa 🙏🏻❤️ #allornothing
— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) February 16, 2018
Also worth a look
The 2018 Olympics were supposed to be Nathan Chen’s figure skating coronation. That’s not going to happen.
He fell twice in the short program Thursday and is in 17th place heading into Friday night’s free skate.
Teammate Adam Rippon, who might not have the technical chops to win gold, stole the show with an exuberant program good enough to place seventh after Thursday.
“I might not be the best,” said Rippon, who used to train in Philadelphia, “but I’m the most fun.”
American Vincent Zhou is 12th heading into Friday.
Reigning world champion Yuzuru Hanyu, of Japan, is trying to win his second consecutive Olympic gold. He’s ahead of Spain’s Javier Fernandez and Japanese teammate Shoma Uno.
Hanyu’s score of 111.68 is an Olympic record for the short program. (By comparison, Chen’s score was 82.27.) The last man to win consecutive figure skating Olympic golds was American Dick Button in 1948-52, which was at the height of the Korean War.
Olympic gold medalists (since World War II)/
Men’s figure skating singles
|2010||Evan Lysacek||United States|
|1992||Viktor Petrenko||Unified Team|
|1988||Brian Boitano||United States|
|1984||Scott Hamilton||United States|
|1980||Robin Cousins||Great Britain|
|1976||John Curry||Great Britain|
|1960||David Jenkins||United States|
|1956||Hayes Alan Jenkins||United States|
|1952||Dick Button||United States|
|1948||Dick Button||United States|
This and that
*Mikaela Shiffrin decided not to enter Friday’s super-G, but she will race against Vonn on Tuesday in the downhill. That’ll be cool.
*Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin saw his first action of the Olympics, playing 4 minutes, 36 seconds in a 1-0 win over Germany. Dahlin, projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL draft in June, did not play in the third period.
*Patrick Thoresen scored Norway’s only goal in a 5-1 loss to Finland. Flyers fans might remember Thoresen’s making just about the ultimate sacrifice when he blocked a Mike Green slap shot during a 2008 playoff game against the Capitals with his, um, groin. Thoresen missed one game. Hockey players are nuts.
*Friday night’s men’s hockey game will be Canada vs. Czech Republic (10 p.m., NBCSN).
*The United States men’s hockey team will play the Olympic Athletes from Russia on Saturday morning (7 a.m., NBCSN). The Russians are playing under the Olympic flag after the country was disqualified because of a massive doping scandal. Russia beat Slovenia, 8-2, on Thursday. Slovenia beat the U.S. earlier in the week.
U.S. medalists (8)
Through 12 p.m. Eastern, Friday, Feb. 16
Mikaela Shiffrin (women’s giant slalom)
Shaun White (snowboarding/men’s halfpipe)
Chloe Kim (snowboarding/women’s halfpipe)
Jamie Anderson (snowboarding/women’s slopestyle)
Red Gerard (snowboarding/men’s slopestyle)
Chris Mazdzer (luge/men’s singles)
Arielle Gold (snowboarding/women’s halfpipe)
U.S. Team (figure skating)
And finally …
Watching NBC’s Hoda Kotb hug a disappointed Mikaela Shiffrin after an interview following Shiffrin’s fourth-place finish wasn’t nearly as nauseating as seeing Savannah Guthrie give a belated Valentine’s Day gift to Lindsey Vonn. C’mon, folks. Objectivity. Neutrality.
As late colleague Stan Hochman, the ultimate pro among sports journalists, surely would say, “It was a disaster.”