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Small Errors, Bigger Problem

In lieu of a preview this morning, plus the fact that I missed enough of today to not have sufficient things to talk about in retrospect tonight, here is a special feature vaguely outlining some random Channel 7 mishaps I’ve noticed over recent days, as their fatigue and the post-overhype period where serious Australian chances have disappeared takes over. Results for today’s action are still included at the bottom.

These observationswill go in increasing order of astonishing ridiculousness:

  • Long Hill?

Quick one first because I only saw it once and so can forgive it because people just make mistakes sometimes. On the night of the Men’s Large Hill Ski Jumping Channel 7 at one point advertised the ‘Long Hill’ as coming later, in graphic form so it is worse than a misspeak. Hardly egregious but pretty indicatively dumb and lazy.

  • Hamish has no idea about Aerials.

It should come as a surprise to noone that Hamish McLachlan knows nothing about anything. He seems a nice enough, if kinda creepy bloke, but he brings no charisma or experience and gravitas from any background of note to the job. He’s just generally mediocre and the definition of a boring white guy, and worse, just cannot find a way not to convey the vibe of privilege. The McLachlan family of AFL CEO Gillon and Hamish, whose background is in Sports Management business, is the silver spoon family of the powerful AFL/Channel 7 relationship. Alongside Basil Zempilas (who you at least get the idea worked his way to the top and is a professional commentator…but on the other hand is even more actively infuriating and bad at his job), Hamish is the worst side-effect of Channel 7’s cheap ‘chuck AFL guys at everything’ culture of sports coverage.

I guess this is more just an analysis of Hamish. Because the moment that prompted this was nothing egregious (especially given an overall package of unconvincingly naive hosting work these two weeks). It just kept kind of annoying me the way his combination of being bitten by the Channel 7 hype bug, and not knowing what he’s really talking about, kept influencing his promoting of the Men’s Aerials. Before Qualification he kept excitedly talking about how cool it will be to see David Morris’ much hyped quintuple twisting jump tonight in Qualifying…despite, as should go without saying, that obviously being an end game jump he wouldn’t pull out till the final. It was painful to watch Lydia Lassila’s face as she tried to explain that as politely as she could.

I was going to talk about Edwina Barthomolew as a separate point but I won’t for now. In truth she’s not too bad (though not nearly of Mel McLaughlin’s somewhat out of place professional standard) but she is also a random person without inherent sports chops or an internal industry background and gives off a similar vibe to Hamish, of general Channel 7 poster-child privilege and overall cluelessness. She is, unlike Hamish, clearly a well polished TV presented though. So we’ll see how she goes for the rest of the Games and no doubt beyond, probably into the Commonwealth Games.

  • Did Channel 7 record Basil commentating over old footage just to make it sound like they were hosting then too?

I’m not sure about this one. I haven’t researched deeply enough and it came from a brief moment in their Men’s Aerials promotion. I need to find Australian coverage archives of the time. But during a feature on David Morris, they replayed his silver medal winning jump from Sochi 2014 with Basil Zempilas commentating over it. Basil has been with Channel 7 uninterrupted for over twenty years. The problem? As reflected on extensively on this blog, Channel 10 had the Sochi rights, an effort that it has taken until direct Channel 7 comparison this time around for me to increasingly appreciate.

Did Channel 7 actually go to the effort of recording and/or compositing a Basil commentary over this footage and try to pass it off as ‘live archival’? For clarity, the snippet clearly featured him exalting ‘silver for David Morris in Sochi!” It wasn’t generic, it was a clear description of an event he didn’t commentate. It might not seem a horrible sin to some people but its just such an impropriety. They’re lying to us to further the already over-sold and false perception that by simply forking over the money they saved by having absolutely no other non-sporting content of any quality or production value, they are somehow an Olympic ‘authority’ and the ‘proper’ hosts. It is the principle of it more than anything, to reflect on the kind of mindset at play person to person at a network to feel like such a move was somehow necessary step without which their promotion of the event would be lesser.

  • The Super G debacle

This might be a bit harshly placed, but I wanted to link the Hamish and Basil stuff as a pair. As covered previously, perhaps the single greatest shock of these games was the Alpine Gold Medal to unseeded Snowboarder Ester Ledecka in the Women’s Super-G. That Channel 7 missed it live is ok. They had the good sense to cover the first 20 runners live, where the medals by all logic should have come from. I admit that my frustration over this situation is amplified by the fact that I myself considered it over and closed my laptop, thereby missing the run live. But later on Channel 7 chose to cross back to the event just to show later Australian Greta Small running. The leader’s reference time on screen through her run was now Ledecka, having been reigning champion Anna Veith last we saw according to this coverage. Not only did they not show it, they didn’t even mention or reference it once in this moment. They did show the run later but that only casts their earlier mis-step as a flat out spoiler. Yes both crosses were during brief breaks in a different gold medal event. How they used to those breaks to quickly cross for an Alpine update for fine. But how does noone think to show both the most important and geographically first element at the first available opportunity?

This situation is so important for me because it is the best single simple summary of both the Channel 7 jingoism, and fundamental Channel 7 incompetence. It’s subtle and casual viewers wouldn’t notice (meaning I guess its ok) but if you’re perceptive to it, every day there are constant little signs Channel 7 as a whole just do not ‘get’ what’s going on. Their Summer Olympics and other sport coverage is bad because of its hosting and saccharine sob stories, but they know when and where to cross to things. The Winter Olympics are constantly full of moments where a coverage team with internal expertise of the events involved would be able to sense and react a developing story and jump on it.

In this instance, nearly half an hour after the clear biggest story of the games, noone at Channel 7 was yet able to cotton on or have the thought occur to them to do anything but the no doubt originally planned token footage of an Australian running slowly towards the back of the field.

  • Speed Skating picture scandal

This one is my favourite because its just so dumb. At the very start of this article in reference to their small ‘Long Hill’ blunder I mentioned that mistakes happen and that I can abide them. So when the ‘coming later’ graphics said ‘Short-Track’ and showed an obvious picture of someone participating in Long Track Speed Skating, I was unsurprised and bemused but these things happen.

By the end of that day I was officially unimpressed as it kept being displayed. Once again we get to the fundamental level of competence and attention to detail on a games they don’t know about. The implication of the error not being fixed over a whole day is that literally nobody at Channel 7 even noticed the error. They appear to either know so little about the substance of the sports and just go through programming notions, or pay so little attention to their own coverage that they’re not even watching for errors, probably both.

All this was confirmed the following day, by which point I was aghast. As if taking the mickey, the following day advertised ‘Speed Skating’ with a picture of 3 or 4 people’s worth of skates clearly racing Short-Track. The confusion between the Short and Long track has occurred a couple of times since too and it is just sloppy.

  • Pumped Up Kicks

It might be last but this one is also the shortest complaint. It doesn’t need any explanation to be obviously egregious. On Friday, the day of the most recent brutal school shooting in America, Channel 7 used the (otherwise common and, if inappropriate lyrically, fair enough happy sounding habitually established song for such purposes) utterly inappropiate hit song Pumped Up Kicks as their overlap music when going to a break. The ignorance at play, of both content and context, is astonishing.

 

TODAY’S RESULTS

FREESTYLE SKIING

  Women’s Ski Halfpipe  
GOLD Cassie Sharpe Canada
SILVER Marie Martinod France
BRONZE Brita Sigourney United States

FIGURE SKATING

  Ice Dance  
GOLD Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir Canada
SILVER Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron France
BRONZE Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani United States

NORDIC COMBINED

  Men’s Individual Gundersen Large Hill/10km  
GOLD Johannes Rydzek Germany
SILVER Fabian Riessle Germany
BRONZE Eric Frenzel Germany

BIATHLON

  Mixed Team Relay
GOLD France
GOLD Norway
BRONZE Italy

SHORT-TRACK SPEED SKATING

  Women’s 3000m Relay
GOLD Korea Republic
GOLD Italy
BRONZE The Netherlands

 

MEDAL TALLY

No. Nation GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
1 Norway 11 10 8 29
2 Germany 11 7 5 23
3 Canada 8 5 6 19
4 The Netherlands 6 5 3 14
5 France 5 4 4 13
6 United States 5 3 4 12
7 Sweden 4 3 0 7
8 Austria 4 2 4 10
9 Korea Republic 4 2 2 8
10 Japan 2 5 3 10

 

 

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Pyeongchang Day 10 Results

By 11pm tonight, there still had not been a single Gold Medal awarded at these games. It was a strange situation but rather worth the wait.

The whole day was so leisurely and elicited some interesting emotions. The two starting events were the Women’s Big Air Snowboarding and Men’s Ski Halfpipe. For some reason the Ski Halfpipe doesn’t interest me as much as the Snowboard. Channel 7 definitely influences this but I’m not sure why. I’m not sure how much is simply them not showing it. I’m not sure how much is the lack of Australians (hence why they didn’t show it, but also I’m still into our guys and get drawn into that hype). Given all my criticism and dedication, I should be above being pushed away from caring much or getting drawn into apathy by Channel 7 ignoring an event. I know not to with my favourites like Biathlon. On balance, in the case of the Halfpipe in particular, it is because the Snowboard competition is so epic at the moment with the feats of White, James and Hirano. But I do sense I felt similar at this point last time. It might be (also Channel 7 focus influenced), fatigue with the hip new young Snowboard/Freestyle events, of which there are a lot and double ups in the case of Slopestyle, Cross and Halfpipe. The Snowboard ones always go first for that so I think get that unfair advantage, contributed to by how much more fitting the hip image being on a snowboard is compared to boring old skis. Moguls go early and aren’t doubled up. Aerials also are a one of a kind and they’re amazing. So they and the first three snowboard ones are awesome. I feel I get fatigued to the late Freestyle and Snowboard programs though.

This might hopefully explain why the Big Air didn’t excite me. It might be the camera angles but, though I get the impressiveness of the feat, it didn’t look all that big. The Slopestyle jumps kind of seemed more impressive, and those were full sequenced runs. All the waiting and standing around just for each person to go and do one similar looking jump got rather old for me in the Big Air, but we’ll see how it goes with the Final, with more spectacular jumps from the Men, and with time.

This fatigue, combined with some of the night events, gave me the first ever distinct feeling that we’re on the way home. Bobsleigh is always the last sliding sport. Ski Jumping became the first non-sliding sport to finish its whole program of events tonight. We’re already up to Semi-Finals in an Ice Hockey tournament. Speed Skating has hit the late-program short distance stuff. Only 3 medal events being awarded and the slowness of the day overall gave it that pre-ceremony last Sunday feel.

The realisation that we still have the best part of an ENTIRE WEEK to go was spectacular. That alone might have been the jolt I needed in what appears (and certainly is reflected in the attitude of today’s post) to have been a pre-games fading in enthusiasm. I’m so hype now for a huge week of action, some of it much different to what we’ve seen before.

As for those three medal events? In the Men’s 500m Speed Skating, local hero Cha Min Kyu took the lead by matching the Olympic record, only to be topped by a single hundredth by Norwegian Havard Lorentzen. That 10th gold took Norway clearly atop the medal tally, before their Ski Jumping team emphatically made it 11.

Germany managed a 10th though to keep in range, while Canada quirkily made it 6 gold medals in 6 different sports, showing their general Winter Sport consistency. But what of that maths? I’ve made reference to four gold-medallists on this three event night? That was the great drama of the night. After four whole runs of the Bobsleigh course, Canadian and German teams ended up in a dead heat for Gold. The Canadian sled, piloted by Justin Cripps, started mere hundredths ahead, dropped immediately behind with a bad start, pulled slowly in front but never by more than five hundredths, made a tiny late error, and ended up tied. Just five hundredths covered the podium, with the Latvians completing the closest three-sled finish in Olympic history.

 

TODAY’S MEDAL EVENTS

BOBSLEIGH 

  Two-Man
GOLD Canada
GOLD Germany
BRONZE Latvia

SPEED SKATING

  Men’s 500m  
GOLD Havard Lorentzen Norway
SILVER Cha Min Kyu Korea Republic
BRONZE Gao Tingyu China

SKI JUMPING

  Men’s Team Large Hill
GOLD Norway
GOLD Germany
BRONZE Poland

 

MEDAL TALLY

No. Nation GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
1 Norway 11 9 8 28
2 Germany 10 6 4 20
3 Canada 6 5 6 17
4 The Netherlands 6 5 2 13
5 United States 5 3 2 10
6 Sweden 4 3 0 7
=7 Austria 4 2 4 10
=7 France 4 2 4 10
9 Korea Republic 3 2 2 7
10 Japan 2 5 3 10

 

Pyeongchang Day 10

Today is a very unique day in the Olympic program for 2018. In medal terms it is the smallest day of the Games, with just three sets of medals to be decided. From start to finish the day is a bit less packed overall, but the main difference is that the afternoon period is full entirely of preliminaries.

A first-time event makes a debut appearance today, with Qualification for the Women’s Big Air Snowboarding. As this runs, the Women’s Ski Halfpipe Qualification and first day of the iconic Ice Dance event are running, while the Women’s Ice Hockey tournament reaches the semi final stage.

The emptiness of the day really comes in the evening, with only Curling on from 5:30pm to 7:00pm then nothing for three hours. But the night is busier than ever, with Curling and the second Ice Hockey semi overlapping all three medal events.

 

TODAY’S MEDAL EVENTS

10:15pm – 1:00am Bobsleigh Two Man
10:53pm – 12:00am Speed Skating Men’s 500m
11:30pm – 1:20am Ski Jumping Men’s Team Large Hill

 

Pyeongchang Day 9 Results

Having been absent through the day today and distracted and lethargic at night, I didn’t ultimately get to engage deeply in much going on today. This frustrated will be amply compensated for tomorrow with an uninterrupted full day with no commitments. Today saw the continuation of Germany’s stagnation and Norway’s ascendancy, now to the top of the medal tally.

Ice Hockey too is now officially reaching its  business end, with the Women’s Semi Finals tomorrow and the continually crazy Men’s Preliminaries.

The big controversy of the night of course was Australian Aerial Skier David Morris failing to advance in the final after landing his first jump but being pushed out of the Top 9 by Jia Zongyang. ‘JZ’s jump did not land cleanly and yet was still scored higher and it was clear Australian authorities were clearly unhappy. There’s always a couple of major judging controversies every Winter Olympics and after reigning champion Anton Kushnir shockingly (and probably wrongly) was underscored and missed the final in the same event yesterday, the Aerials is officially a prime candidate for the ‘big one’.

 

TODAY’S MEDAL EVENTS

ALPINE SKIING

  Men’s Giant Slalom  
GOLD Marcel Hirscher Austria
SILVER Henrik Kristoffersen Norway
BRONZE Alexis Pinturault France

FREESTYLE SKIING

  Men’s Ski Slopestyle  
GOLD Oystein Braaten Norway
SILVER Nick Goepper United States
BRONZE Alex Beaulieu-Marchand Canada

 

  Men’s Aerials  
GOLD Oleksandr Abramenko Ukraine
SILVER Jia Zongyang China
BRONZE Ilia Burov OAR

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

  Men’s 4x10km Relay
GOLD Norway
SILVER Olympic Athlete from Russia
BRONZE France

BIATHLON

  Men’s 15km Mass Start  
GOLD Martin Fourcade France
SILVER Simon Schempp Germany
BRONZE Emi Hegle Svendsen Norway

SPEED SKATING 

  Women’s 500m  
GOLD Nao Kodaira Japan
SILVER Lee Sang-Hwa Korea Republic
BRONZE Karolina Erbanova Czech Republic

 

MEDAL TALLY

No. Nation GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
1 Norway 9 9 8 26
2 Germany 9 5 4 18
3 The Netherlands 6 5 2 13
4 Canada 5 5 6 16
5 United States 5 3 2 10
6 Sweden 4 3 0 7
=7 Austria 4 2 4 10
=7 France 4 2 4 10
9 Korea Republic 3 1 2 6
10 Japan 2 5 3 10

Pyeongchang Day 9

So today is my first full day write off, where I will busy for a long enough period to say I ‘miss’ these Olympics for the day. But actually it doesn’t quite work out that way.

I am grateful that overall today is a bit quieter, with just 6 medal events planned. But I’ll only miss three of those. By 10pm I should be home, and from 10pm there is a packed schedule in which the Men’s Aerials is the main event, but Ice Hockey, Curling, Biathlon, DOUBLE Speed Skating for the first time, and BOBLEIGH for the first time, also feature.

 

TODAY’S MEDAL EVENTS

12:15pm – 5:25pm Alpine Skiing Men’s Giant Slalom
3:15pm – 4:45pm Freestyle Skiing Men’s Ski Slopestyle
5:15pm – 7:10pm Cross-Country Skiing Men’s 4x10km Relay
10:00pm – 11:30pm Freestyle Skiing Men’s Aerials
10:15pm – 11:15pm Biathlon Men’s 15km Mass Start
10:56pm – 12:00am Speed Skating Women’s 500m

Pyeongchang Day 8 Results

Tomorrow marks the first quidditch tournament of the season so I must sleep now. I will therefore keep this very brief and with a focus on results. I will reward with an extra post on Monday whingeing some more about Channel 7, because they’re just getting worse.

I’ll also add some more on today during the very early morning post before I leave, if I get time, if not tomorrow night. Suffice it to say things have been busy and wonderful.  The one really amazing highlight of the day worth talking about was the only Gold Medal effort I didn’t see. After the first 20 runners had gone in the Women’s Super-G, Anna Veith looked to have defended her title. The first 20 who run are the World’s Top 20 and few ever get even close among later runners. On this occasion, the 26th runner was Czech women Ester Ledecka, a former World Champion in Parallel Giant Slalom Snowboarding who will participate in that event later in these games, becoming the first ever to do an Alpine Skiing/Snowboarding double. This was her first ever Olympic event on Skis, and they were borrowed. She was seeded 26th. Noone was really watching, including me, with the event considered over. Yet by a single hundredth of a second she won the most remarkable of gold medals.

The feat pretty much deserves to be left there on its own, so for the sake of that and my own sleep, this will do. Here are the results:

 

TODAY’S RESULTS

FIGURE SKATING

  Men’s  
GOLD Yuzuru Hanyu Japan
SILVER Shoma Unu Japan
BRONZE Javier Fernandez Spain

ALPINE SKIING

  Women’s Super G  
GOLD Ester Ledecka Czech Republic
SILVER Anna Veith Austria
BRONZE Tina Weirather Liechtenstein

FREESTYLE SKIING

  Women’s Ski Slopestyle  
GOLD Sarah Hoefflin Switzerland
SILVER Mathilde Gremaud Switzerland
BRONZE Isabel Atkin Great Britain

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

  Women’s 4x5km Relay
GOLD Norway
SILVER Sweden
BRONZE Olympic Athlete from Russia

BIATHLON

  Women’s 12.5km Mass Start  
GOLD Anastasiya Kuzmina Slovakia
SILVER Darya Domracheva Belarus
BRONZE Tiril Eckhoff Norway

SKELETON

  Women’s  
GOLD Lizzy Yarnold Great Britain
SILVER Jacqueline Loelling Germany
BRONZE Laura Deas Great Britain

SHORT-TRACK SPEED SKATING

  Women’s 1500m  
GOLD Choi Minjeong Korea Republic
SILVER Li Jinyu China
BRONZE Kim Boutin Canada

 

  Men’s 1000m  
GOLD Samuel Girard Canada
SILVER John-Henry Krueger United States
BRONZE Seo Yira Korea Republic

SKI JUMPING

  Men’s Individual Large Hill  
GOLD Kamil Stoch Poland
SILVER Andreas Wellinger Germany
BRONZE Robert Johansson Norway

 

MEDAL TALLY

No. Nation GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
1 Germany 9 3 4 16
2 Norway 7 8 6 21
3 The Netherlands 6 5 2 13
4 Canada 5 5 5 15
5 United States 5 2 2 9
6 Sweden 4 3 0 7
7 Austria 3 2 4 9
8 France 3 2 2 7
9 Korea Republic 3 0 2 5
10 Switzerland 2 4 1 7

 

 

Pyeongchang Day 8

So we’ve made the middle Saturday. That means we’re basically half way, but it also means we get the official busiest day of the Games. I am satisfied as there is basically a similarly full load through the day and night but stopping and starting suddenly from 4:30 to 8:30. Very little happens in that period, which correlates exactly with when I’m out. To have 9 medal events in a day, go out for 4 hours, and miss none, is extremely satisfying.

Today is the start of the newer Freestyle events beyond the Moguls and Aerials. It’s always kind of weird and confusing when Ski Slopestyle (today) and Ski Cross in particular take place. Just because of where they occur in the games they tend to feel like the poor cousin of the Snowboard varieties, which is particularly strange given I as a general rule prefer the greater variety of movement and options in the ski sports.

The afternoon also features the second medal day of the Men’s Figure Skating and the first appearance of Lindsey Vonn in the Women’s Super G. Then tonight we get a real huge challenge. After the first Cross-Country relay, we enter a period where between 10pm and 1am, finals in Short Track, Biathlon, Skeleton and Ski Jumping take place, but all needing to be juggled in the coverage back seat, as Channel 7 will prioritise the Qualification runs of the Men’s Aerials.

Luckily the Skeleton and Ski Jumping business ends both come right at the finish, while Short Track finals are very quick and will always find their way into the coverage, albeit probably not live. That leaves just the Women’s 12.5km Mass Start Biathlon to be isolated and watched closely through the app as I always love to do.

 

TODAY’S MEDAL EVENTS

12:00pm – 4:00pm Figure Skating Men’s Single
1:00pm – 3:10pm Alpine Skiing Women’s Super G
3:00pm – 4:30pm Freestyle Skiing Women’s Ski Slopestyle
8:30pm – 9:45pm Cross-Country Skiing Women’s 4×5 km Relay
10:15pm – 11:10pm Biathlon Women’s 12.5km Mass Start
10:20pm – 12:25am Skeleton Women’s
11:11pm – 11:20pm Short-Track Speed Skating Women’s 1500m
11:26pm – 11:50pm Short-Track Speed Skating Men’s 1000m
11:30pm – 12:45am Ski Jumping Men’s Individual Large Hill