There is skiing, bobsled, snowboarding and speedskating on NBC’s agenda, but the centerpiece will undoubtedly be the figure skating gala, an event that counts for nothing in the medals race but that, for skating fans, gives them a chance to see their heroes skate to music with lyrics. Wild.
The medal winners perform in the gala, usually routines that are more ice capades and less triple-triples. There are no technical lists to check off, and few falls, which makes it a less difficult but more enjoyable event to watch. If you like skating. If you don’t like skating, nothing will make it more fun to watch anyway, so I can’t help you.
On the non-skating front, Austrians Mario Matt and Marcel Hirschner finished 1-2 in the final Alpine event of the Games, the men’s slalom. Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway took the bronze.
Ted Ligety, fresh off his gold medal win in the giant slalom, skied out on his second run in the slalom Saturday. Nolan Kasper was the top American finisher, in 13th.
In a stunning development … just kidding, in a complete foreseen development, the Netherlands won the final two speedskating gold medals, in men’s and women’s team pursuit. Both teams set Olympic records. Just another day at the oval for the Dutch, who can interchange skaters at will and still win.
Ireen Wust led the Dutch women’s team and won her fifth medal at Sochi. The Netherlands won 23 medals in speedskating, including eight golds.
But perhaps a new challenger is rising — Poland took the bronze in the men’s event and the silver in the women’s. The Polish team has won six medals in Sochi, matching its all-time best set four years ago in Vancouver.
South Korea took silver in the men’s event; the U.S. team, without Shani Davis, finished seventh. The Russian women took bronze; the Americans were sixth.
Vic Wild, the American-turned-Russian, won his second gold medal of these Games in the parallel slalom, then received congratulations from President Vladimir Putin.
Zan Kosir of Slovenia took the silver and Benjamin Karl of Austria the bronze in the final event at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
Julia Dujmovits of Austria won the gold in the women’s event, and a pair of Germans, Anka Karstens and Amelie Kober took silver and bronze.
It would be surprising if NBC didn’t at least mention in passing that the U.S. men’s hockey team lost the bronze medal game to Finland. It would not be surprising if NBC didn’t show highlights from the 5-0 loss.
And finally, you’ll see plenty of the four-man bobsled. USA-1, with Steve Holcomb at the wheel, is in fourth place after the first two heats, .01 seconds behind Germany-1. Russia-1 has a .04 second over Latvia for the lead.