First off, I am loving snowboard phenom Shaun White. For years, no one has been able to touch this 23 year old in competition, and yet he remains totally grounded and humble. He took home the top honor in the men's snowboard half-pipe in 2006 and again this year with some of the biggest tricks the sport has ever seen. He's pretty much unstoppable. He knew before his second and final run on Wednesday night that he had won the gold medal. As he stood poised to take his final run anyway, his coach told him to do whatever he wanted. I assume his coach meant whatever tricks he wanted, because when Shaun said that he just wanted to ride down the middle of the half pipe, his coach said "No." White could have opted to essentially give his coach the middle finger and gone ahead with whatever he felt like doing and no one would have questioned him, because, ummmm HELLO, he's Shaun White, ruler of the half pipe kingdom. But at 23, the kid possesses something that other stand-out athletes his age lack...respect for those who know better and humility. He nodded his wild red locks, gave his coach a fist bump and proceeded to throw down the most ridiculous run of the Games.
With his last run, he showed the world that he deserved that gold medal. In a competition where he probably would have won just based on his reputation, Shaun White proved that he's actually really fucking damn good at what he does and that when he's at the top of his game, no one can even come close. Sure, he probably could have expected the IOC to hand him the gold based on who he is and that would have been OK , but nothing is further from the truth with this kid. Regarding his win, he was flat-out stoked. He reacted like he wasn't the favorite, like he didn't have a chance in hell. It was really touching and incredibly endearing. I love that as dominant as he is, he doesn't really know it. A LOT of athletes could take a page of the Shaun White book of how to win graciously and how not to be a dick and let your head get too big (*cough* the entire NBA *cough). I dig him and his style. Lots.
Evan Lysachek and Evgeny Plushenko...hmmm. Instead of tackling the Cold War of men's figure skating, I want to talk about what went wrong with places three through six. Third place and the bronze medal went to Daisuke Takahashi of Japan. Fourth was Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland, fifth place was Patrick Chan of Canada and sixth was Johnny Weir from the US. Takahashi fell during his long program. Lambiel fell during his long program. Chan fell during his long program. Johnny Weir skated cleanly and beautifully. But because he's probably become more famous for the outlandish antics and quotes he regularly gives to anyone holding a press pass than he is for his skating, he was judged VERY harshly on his program. Love him or hate him, the crazy fur-wearing queen can skate. Well. And he was robbed of a bronze medal on Thursday night. The look on Takahashi's face said it all. He was scared for his third place spot after Johnny's program. But that's the thing about sports where winners and losers are chosen by judges; if you turn them off by saying insane things in the press, they will fuck you. Its just a shame that it had to be done so blatantly at such a large competition.
Lindsey Vonn wins the latest award for making me tear up. Her reaction to winning her first ever gold medal in the women's downhill was something that all athletes who REALLY want it have felt. I couldn't not get emotional while watching. SO great for her.
USA vs Canada in men's hockey on Sunday. Since I'm sure to be hungover, I'll be camped on the couch ready to cheer on...well, that's the thing. I'm not quite sure. Five San Jose Sharks play for Team Canada, while only one plays for the US. The US are the underdogs here and everyone loves to see the favorites get toppled, but I'd kinda like to see Canada win it all on Canadian soil. *shrug*
That's all for now. I have things to say about Tiger Woods, too, but I need to crash. Check back soon for more sports and heated opinions from me.