Adios, Olympics! 8 Unforgettable Things We Learned From Sochi
Alas, another Winter Olympics has come and gone.
— US Olympic Team (@USOlympic) February 24, 2014
And thanks to the Sochi closing ceremony, all anyone will remember from it are those terrifying, giant plush toys.
— Times of India (@timesofindia) February 24, 2014
Just kidding, there were dozens of amazing highlights from this year's Olympics. We learned that Gus Kenworthy is not only a champion slopestyle skier but also a champion puppy rescuer.
— SavourLife (@savour_life) February 19, 2014
And that luger Kate Hansen is really good at pranks.
And of course there were one or two sports highlights. For example, we learned that the Dutch are undisputed masters of speed skating.
If wars were decided via speedskating, we'd all be speaking Dutch.
— Supreme Court Haiku (@SupremeHaiku) February 21, 2014
And the U.S. women's hockey team taught us that it's possible to blow your chance at the gold in the last two minutes of a game.
That was possibly the worst display of choking I've ever seen in organized sports #USWomensHockey
— Brendon Boerm (@bboermIA) February 20, 2014
Here's a rundown of the eight best things we learned from this year's Olympics.
1. First there were #SochiProblems.
Oh, where to begin?! People will be talking about #SochiProblems long after they forget about the actual sport moments.
— Sochi Problems (@SochiProbz) February 6, 2014
Russia spent $50 billion to outfit Sochi for the Olympics, but you wouldn't be able to tell that from the state of the hotel rooms.
— Joe McDonald (@Joe_McDonald) February 17, 2014
Even worse for Russia's PR, a lot of those guests were journalists. No problem was too small to share on Twitter.
— Jon Sit (@heySITdown) February 19, 2014
And of course there was that tiny technical problem during the opening ceremony.
— Times of India (@timesofindia) February 8, 2014
There were also some serious legal violations.
— Emma Jacobs (@ecjacobs) February 24, 2014
The takeaway seems to be that you can never have enough preparation for the Olympics. And that you should never hire an electrician from Sochi.
— Aaron Wood (@azvibesports) February 18, 2014
2. Who can forget the Bode Miller interview?
— Carlos Olmedo (@C666O) February 18, 2014
It will be hard to forget when U.S. slalom Olympian Bode Miller broken into tears after NBC's Christin Cooper repeatedly asked Miller to talk about his dead brother.
NBC post-race interview with skier Bode Miller raises questions of media best practices http://t.co/ceadmYaKtq
— NewsHour (@NewsHour) February 18, 2014
A lot of people accused NBC of trying to create TV drama by manipulating Miller's feelings.
Just when I thought NBC couldn't be more pathetic. That Bode Miller interview.
— Richard White (@rrwhite) February 17, 2014
Did you see the Bode Miller Interview? Check out Keith Olberman's reaction to what he calls, "death treatment" http://t.co/aotNPyZR3L via
— Mr. Grouzes (@phsGrouzes) February 20, 2014
The takeaway is that NBC's coverage in general ticked some people off.
People also heaped plenty of scorn on Cooper, some demanding that NBC fire her. Shortly after the video aired, somebody inserted a nasty comment in Cooper's Wikipedia page.
Well, at least someone gave Christin Cooper's Wikipedia page an update after that shameful Bode Miller interview. pic.twitter.com/2tDsvzNxIT
— Dan Skinner (@soccerhaus) February 17, 2014
A takeaway for reporters is that covering the Olympics can be a mixed bag. And to the people altering Wikipedia pages: Go check out Miller's response to what you're doing.
3. And FYI, U.S. Ice Dancers can DANCE.
— Sanjar Mukhamedjanov (@uzsanjarbek) February 17, 2014
Ice dancing isn't a popular sport, but after the magnificent show by White and Davis, it could catch on among youth in the U.S.
@peterstetina Those ice dancers won the first US gold medal in the sport (and first world champ) and are great role models for kids too.
— Hungryseagull (@Hungryseagull) February 21, 2014
the fact that these two ice dancers from the US have been doing this together since they were 9 for 17 years blows my mind so much respect????????
— Marlee (@MarleeMenendez) February 18, 2014
4. Bob Costas' eye infection took center stage.
— Sarah Skar Karlan (@SkarSkarSkar) February 11, 2014
The NBC sportscaster's nasty double eye infection was really, really hard to ignore. People who didn't like the Winter Olympics still seemed to tune in to watch Costa's pink eyes.
@kylescheele I'd heard that Bob Costa's eye infection went viral.
— Cynthia Paap (@CynthiaPaap) February 21, 2014
— Carmen Schimmer (@CarmenSchimmer) February 21, 2014
Watching progress of Bob Costa's eye infection #BadOlympicEvents
— Drewdad (@tx_drewdad) February 20, 2014
Bob Costa's eyes make me feel like I can get an eye infection just by looking. Poor guy!!!
— Stephanie Lindo (@StephEvonneL) February 18, 2014
Bob Costa's eye infection is getting more press than the actual #olympics. It is also way more exciting.
— Jackson Kesy (@JacksonKesy) February 18, 2014
I'm more concerned with Bob Costa's eye infection than I am with the USA winning medals
— Taylor Anderson (@taydeanand) February 9, 2014
The takeaway for Bob Costas is to go see a doctor when you notice your eyes turning red and itchy. The takeaway for NBC is to not let a news anchor develop pinkeye in front of hundreds of millions of viewers. It's distracting.
5. The Russian hockey team totally choked.
Russia's hockey team failed to qualify for any medals. To say that lots of Russians were embarrassed by the defeat would be an understatement.
— SB Nation (@SBNation) February 20, 2014
Putin had a hard time hiding his disappointment.
— ??????? (@YopolisNews) February 19, 2014
Russia used to boast the best hockey teams in the world. But the country hasn't won a gold medal in the sport since 1992. Many Russians watched the Olympics this year to see their team regain national glory by winning at home. So losing on their home turf was especially humiliating. Fans were emotional after the game.
VIDEO: Angry Russian hockey fan tells reporter he wants to send team to Siberia to "mine for gold w/their bare hands" http://t.co/t3BlM3fQpY
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) February 20, 2014
So was the coach, who basically offered himself up as a sacrifice.
Russia coach after brutal hockey loss: "Eat me and I won't be here anymore." Know it's bad when he wants cannibalism: http://t.co/5FyeMv57wP
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 19, 2014
Russians are probably feeling a little better today since their country won the most medals. But the takeaway is that if Russia'a hockey team doesn't win a medal in 2018, the country will go ballistic.
6. Doping still doesn't pay.
— Amy Bee (@amyebarr) February 24, 2014
Five athletes were kicked out of the Olympic games after testing positive for EPO, a drug that enhances an athlete's physical endurance.
Case in point: the IOC decided that Latvian forward Vitalijs Pavlovs' diploma for placing 8th be withdrawn, athlete DQ'd from playoffs.
— Matias Strozyk (@MaStrozyk) February 23, 2014
Ukrainian skier Marina Lisogor tests positive for doping: http://t.co/QD45m27896
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) February 22, 2014
German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle has tested positive for doping and has been thrown out of the Games. 1st positive case here.
— Juliet Macur (@JulietMacur) February 21, 2014
"Italian bobsledder William Frullani kicked out of games for doping. http://t.co/HPZSn3Q9Mf"...smh I remember when sleding was a clean sport
— Luke Cygan (@Luke21Cygan) February 21, 2014
This was especially bad news for Sweden, which lost its power player Nicklas Backstrom right before a hockey game with Canada, which went on to win the gold.
Sweden's team doctor falls on the sword for Backstrom: "I’m responsible for Nicklas getting caught." More here: http://t.co/Tcsq30M7be
— RMNB (@russianmachine) February 23, 2014
The takeaway is the same as every year: Don't use banned stimulants if you're an Olympian! The IOC has a rigorous screening process for drugs, it's very difficult to fool it and if you're caught you can be banned from the Olympics for life. And side note: none of the athletes who used EPO at Sochi won medals.
7. It was a good Olympics for couples and siblings.
— hugh duthie (@hughduthie) February 14, 2014
Sometimes sibling rivalry can bring out the best in an athlete. The Dufour-Lapointe sisters, Justine, Chloe, and Maxime,won gold, medal and 12th place in women's moguls (that's freestyle skiing, for those of you who didn't watch this awesome event).
— crazyfedfan (@crazyfedfan) February 10, 2014
Couple Vic Wild and Alena Zavarzina took medals in men and women's giant slalom. There isn't really a metric for it, but they seem to have taken the gold for cutest couple of the Sochi Olympics.
Photos: True love: Vic Wild and wife Alena Zavarzina have some new jewellery to go with their wedding rings:... #... pic.twitter.com/3FAJNMQytd
— Alexandra photos (@Women2Date) February 24, 2014
8. Johnny Weir is fearless.
— Lauren O'Neil (@laurenonizzle) February 23, 2014
The openly gay NBC announcer won the hearts of viewers with his sharp commentary and unapologetically fantastic wardrobe.
— Big Bob (@FSBigBob) February 24, 2014
And his hair, which he used to make political statements.
i like to imagine all of johnny weir's outfits have been statements on international affairs http://t.co/9J06TzbSh7
— J.R. Lind (@jrlind) February 19, 2014
Weir was praised by many for standing up to homophobic critics in Russia by making no effort to conceal his sexual orientation.
Weir and his co-host Tara Lipinsky were incredibly popular with viewers.
If Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinsky don't wind up with their own daytime talk show something is terribly wrong..
— Gary Whitta (@garywhitta) February 20, 2014
Weir was so popular it looks like NBC may have him back in the spotlight again real soon.
"Johnny Weir Was So Fab During the Olympics That NBC Has Hired Him For the Oscars - http://t.co/mv7mSe06L8" LOVE IT!!!!!!
— Pat Cullen (@Buster_Hyman32) February 24, 2014
The takeaway is that NBC could use more commentators who can match Weir's fashion sense and onscreen charm.
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Eli is a freelance writer and researcher in San Francisco and the larger Bay Area. He previously worked for the San Francisco Magazine as an intern and fellow. At UC Santa Cruz, Eli was the managing editor for City on a Hill Press, the student-run weekly newspaper. He’s an early riser who completes more crossword puzzles before 6 a.m. than most people attempt all day. Follow: @eliwolfe4.