Will we have controversy tonight?
Judging the women’s halfpipe was relatively easy. There was Chloe Kim, and then there was everyone else.
Not so easy in men’s halfpipe. Put yourself in the judges’ shoes and gaze upon Shaun White’s 98.50 qualifying run …
Twenty minutes to go.
Meanwhile, enjoy the pairs figure skating short program, which has just started, or check in on the first session of men’s curling, where the USA has snared the lead against the host nation.
More terms you might hear …
Spin direction: Frontside and backside give a general direction. Then if the rider ends up switching stances (left foot first vs. right foot), it’s either a switch-backside or a “cab,” which is shorthand for switch-frontside.
Grabs: In the women’s competition, we heard “mute,” “stalefish,” “nose,” “tail” and “melon.” We did not hear “beef carpaccio,” but I’m leaving this Wikipedia page open just in case I need to know what that is.
The best evidence yet that Shaun White has this under control …
… is the vote of confidence from Leslie Jones.
How do you watch this?
To an extent, it’s like figure skating. They get into the air and spin. One big difference is that figure skating uses “double” and “triple” to say how many times someone has spun around, while snowboarders require us to remember that a circle is 360 degrees. You’ll see references to 540 (one and a half times around), 720 (twice), 900 (etc.), 1080 (three), 1260 (etc) and the mythical 1440.
But it’s not just about the jumps. Judges are looking for a variety of tricks, including grabs and different stances. Amplitude (height) is also a big deal.
Last night, a few of the women’s competitors tried 1080s to match the brilliance of Chloe Kim, but they didn’t land cleanly and lost momentum. That’s made for the amplitude on the rest of the run. Also, of course, it’s more difficult to spin around if you’re not well up in the air.
(Look, we’re relying on the commentators, too. It’s OK. But you get the idea.)
100! 100 gold medals!
Possibly. The USA currently has 99 gold medals in the Winter Olympics. (All time, that is. Not in 2018. The Winter Olympics have expanded, but 99 in one Games would still be … something.)
So Shaun White (or possibly Ben Ferguson, and don’t rule out an upset by Chase Josey or Jake Pates) could raise that total to 100 in the next few hours. Or Australia’s Scotty James or Japan’s Ayumu Hirano could spoil the Americans’ party, leaving the 100th gold to Mikaela Shiffrin. If Shiffrin slips in slalom, maybe Jessie Diggins or Susan Dunklee winning the first U.S. women’s medals in their respective sports (cross-country skiing or biathlon) and the USA’s 100th?
Many paths toward history are possible in the next few hours. We’re going to watch the first one, with White, James, Hirano and company in the halfpipe.
Beau will be with us shortly. In the meantime, here’s how the women’s final finished yesterday:
A star was born on Tuesday morning in the Taebaek mountains as the American teenager Chloe Kim launched out of a halfpipe into the hearts of the world, delivering on her long-held promise with an Olympic gold medal.
The precocious 17-year-old from greater Los Angeles earned a score of 93.75 in her opening run at the Phoenix Snow Park. That was more than enough to clinch the title, but Kim managed to top it with a near-perfect mark of 98.75 on her third and final attempt with back-to-back 1080s, punctuating her arrival with the daring maneuver she remains the only female rider to have landed in competition.
You can read the rest of the report below: