Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Short Track Speedskating 1500m

Considering that Apolo Anton Ohno remains a big star of Winter Olympic games, it was no wonder that NBC hyped their airing of short track speedskating action during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. The first short track event was the 1500m, and Apolo did not disappoint, winning the silver medal. In a surprise ending, teammate J.R. Celski (at right), Apolo's heir apparent, captured the bronze.

Before his heat, NBC showed Apolo waiting for his turn to race. He had a chin hair wedge, which frankly in its current incarnation is not attractive. It was pointed out that Apolo is 20lb leaner that he was in 2002. You can really see it. He's all efficient muscle. You could also see in HD close-up that that camera needs to keep from getting that close. Some people are more attractive without a crystal clear view of their pores and skin texture.

Surprisingly, Cameraman did a upward jutting crotch shot. You very rarely see that with athletes that have revealing, form-fitting suits. It boded well for the Olympic coverage of the male athletes.

Needless to say, Apolo blew away the competition in his heat.

In another heat, it was J.R.'s turn. Cameraman didn't show J.R. under his helmet. J.R. is a cute kid from Federal Way, Washington - same as Apolo. Happily, NBC didn't show any visuals of J.R.'s horrible injury from 5 months before at the Olympic Trials, where he cut his thigh with his own blade down to the bone. It was surprising that they didn't show it considering that they showed the Georgian luger being killed. Maybe they were trying to do better.

Before the semi-final, Chris Collinsworth did a piece on Apolo. It showed Apolo Anton Ohno shirtless, doing his training. Yeah, he's fit. Even Collinsworth, talking about Apolo working out a lot, said "He's hot right now." At the track, Cameraman did a close-up of Apolo that was ostensibly to show his gloves, but it also gave another extreme close-up of Apolo's crotch. Cameraman is okay.

Finally J.R. was shown clearly, although actually it was in a Procter & Gamble commercial.

NBC then went back to their graphic ways as they showed J.R. from the previous September, sitting on bloodied ice as the blood pumped out of his leg. Should NBC's coverage get a V rating?

J.R.'s semifinal was a good race and you could tell that he was looking good for the final. He took the lead and would not relinquish it.

For the final, there was some concern expressed by the commentators about there being three Koreans in it. They are very nationalistic and would be likely to do team play, which is against the rules but difficult to prove. The fear was that if the three gained the first three spots during the race, they could position themselves to prevent anyone from passing.

Sure enough, towards the end of the race, the three Koreans managed to team up and take the first three positions. Fortunately, they outsmarted themselves, and on a curve, two of them crashed into one another and took themselves out. They left Apolo and J.R. to fairly end the race as 2nd and 3rd.

For Apolo, it was his sixth Olympic medal, and that tied him with Bonnie Blair as the American Winter Olympian with the most medals. For J.R., it was an amazing accomplishment for someone who had a skate blade embedded two inches deep into his leg muscle only five months before.

By the way, I really like the light blue and dark blue combination of the U.S. suits. It looks like the really cool palette used by Team USA in the 2002 games.