ICYMI: Beijing Olympics Highlights for 2/18

FIGURE SKATING – NBC & PEACOCK

Tara Lipinski on Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier’s pairs’ short program (6th place): “That was electric, it was sizzling. They make sure that you never look away. They’ve only been together for two years, and you’d never know it. They’re so good on their own, but so much better together…they were so ready for this moment.”

Johnny Weir on Knierim and Frazier: “It was a terrific, tremendous skate, and exactly what they needed. The U.S. has struggled in pairs’ skating over the years for the most part — even in the team competition it was considered the weakest — but they came out in the team competition and today and delivered, and showed a renaissance of U.S. pairs’ skating. Brilliant.”

Terry Gannon on Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc’s pairs’ short program: “When the music starts, Timothy LeDuc will become the first publicly out non-binary athlete to compete at the Winter Olympics.”

Weir on Cain-Gribble and LeDuc’s performance (7th place): “This was such a majestic performance by Ashley and Timothy. Beautiful, iconic moments throughout…You can see how close they are to the leaders with that technical score, but it’s more than that here for this performance. They were truly exceptional.”

Lipinski on Cain-Gribble and LeDuc: “They were so prepared and well-trained for this moment. They made it look easy – that’s the most difficult thing to do in figure skating. But what I always say about this team, it’s their determination, ambition, that comes through into their skating. That energy is there, you feel it, it’s palpable.”

Lipinski on China’s Wenjing Sui and Han Cong (1st place): “That was so fierce, dramatic. They skated like they weren’t going to let a half a point go. Exactly what they did four years ago, lost that Olympic gold medal by half a point. They’re grabbing tenths of points, they’re stacking them up just in case.”

Weir on Sui and Han: “They skate as an extension of one another, which makes their skating feel so smooth, so velvety in comparison to any other team in the world. It’s like they’re skating as one person. With the pressure of being here to win China’s gold figure skating medal, the gold medal they lost for themselves four years ago, that was impeccable skating.”

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FREESTYLE SKIING – NBC, USA NETWORK & PEACOCK

Tom Wallisch on how the windy conditions at Genting Snow Park impact the halfpipe skiers: “It’s really unfortunate because it brings luck into the round…There’s no way to know if you’re going to be hit by a gust of wind…So, unfortunate conditions out there but for the most part, everybody rides in the same conditions. The wind is always happening…All of these riders just feeling so surprised and so thankful, it looks like, every time they get to the bottom of the halfpipe…We’re seeing some of the best athletes in the world falling on simple things just because of the wind…It’s just tough when the conditions dictate how good the skiing is that we get to watch.”

Tirico on the windy conditions: “If you were wondering, ‘Why not just push it back to tomorrow?’ We’ve checked. What we’re hearing is that the wind conditions for tomorrow are just as bad, if not worse, in terms of a forecast, and then you run out of window because the Games are coming to an end, so that’s part of why…But I heard Tom and Todd talking about it – ‘Can we wait a little while and see if it gets any better?’ — because as you can see at the end, the safety of the athletes was paramount there and perhaps a pause would’ve been called for no matter what the sport usually does.”

Todd Harris on New Zealand’s Nico Porteous’s gold medal: “The Kiwi brought the heat in the middle of the windstorm.”

Wallisch on Porteous: “Talk about technicality. There’s so much in here…Those 1620’s are just so incredibly hard. You go completely blind.”

Wallisch on Team USA’s David Wise’s silver medal, scoring a 90.75 on his first run: “Nails it! Top-to-bottom…David usually has to ride under the pressure, but not today.”

Wallisch on Team USA’s Alex Ferreira’s bronze medal-winning run: “Some massive trick combinations…The sheer technicality of this…Just so smooth, no hands down, grabs on every single hit.”

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BOBSLED – NBC & PEACOCK

Bree Schaaf on Team USA’s Elana Meyers Taylor/Sylvia Hoffman, who finished Heat 2 in 3rd place: “A beautiful run from Elana, one of the most talented athletes in the field. She missed out on the extra training that the other competitors got from being in Covid isolation. It took a toll on her physically and mentally, but Elana is back, and you can tell…now she has caught up.”

Meyers Taylor to Lewis Johnson on being named Team USA’s flag bearer in the Closing Ceremony: “That’s an incredible honor, and it’s very humbling and overwhelming to have that opportunity. I can’t wait to wave the flag, but tonight, I’m going to rest up and focus on tomorrow.”

Schaaf on Team USA’s Kaillie Humphries/Kaysha Love, who finished Heat 2 in 5th place: “Kaillie Humphries is the most talented bobsled pilot in the world…She has a great intuition and feel for these pressures.”

Schaaf on reports Humphries may be dealing with a calf injury: “She did load the sled four steps earlier, it looked like, than the first heat…The difference in times really can come down to that start if she is hurt.”

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