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ICYMI: Beijing Olympics 2/17 Highlights

ICYMI: Beijing Olympics 2/17 Highlights
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ICYMI: Beijing Olympics 2/17 Highlights

FIGURE SKATING – NBC & PEACOCK

Mike Tirico on the ladies figure skating event and Kamila Valiyeva: “It’s an event that’s supposed to be about grace, an artful skill with some of the most visually arresting athletes of the Olympics. But instead, figure skating’s women’s singles event has been surrounded by controversy.”

Tara Lipinski after Valiyeva’s performance: “I can’t imagine how tough this has been on Kamila and it makes me angry that the adults around her weren’t able to make better decisions and guide her and be there for her because she’s the one now dealing with the consequences and she’s just 15 and that’s not fair. But again, with that being said, she should not have been allowed to skate in this Olympic event.”

Johnny Weir on Valiyeva: “On a human level, I can’t imagine going through what she has been through, but that doesn’t change the fact that she should have been nowhere near this competition. Every athlete at this level knows and understands that if you test positive for a banned substance, you will not compete.”

Terry Gannon on the athletes’ reactions after the women’s free skate: “You started the evening, and actually the women’s event once we knew that she was eligible, shaking your head and saying, ‘I’m not sure what to make of this.’ And you kind of end it this way too.”

Lipinski: “I don’t even know what to feel or think. You’re watching her go through this pain. She’s 15…and all the other athletes, what they’ve gone through this week — the possibility of there being no medal ceremony or podium, that’s what every little girl dreams of when they think of the Olympics.”

Weir: “Every one of these athletes has given up so much of their lives for this dream and I commend all of the athletes that competed here cleanly, but it is heartbreaking to watch Kamila have to go through this. The people around her should have kept her away from this and shielded her from this, kept her from competing here.”

Weir on the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s ruling: “The court that ruled to allow Kamila to skate in this competition was worried about the ramifications on her mental health of not competing in this competition, and I wonder what they’re think now as to what just happened to Kamila Valiyeva.”

Lipinski: “I have never seen an Olympic ladies’ event like this ever.”

Gannon: “I’ve never witnessed any sporting event quite like this.”

Tirico: “Trusova was so animated immediately after her skate. It was hard to tell why but she remained so after several minutes, saying in Russian, ‘Everyone has one and I don’t,’ apparently referring to a gold medal. She said, ‘I’m not the first, I’m not the third, what do you want from me?’ Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto’s tears were of joy, the bronze medalist when everyone thought she was skating for, at best, fourth…as for how this is playing in Russia, some of the headlines in the newspapers tell a different story and have a different take on these circumstances, looking at Valiyeva, who finished fourth, as somewhat of a hero.”

Tirico closing tonight’s primetime show: “The story of the night is of course the women’s singles competition in figure skating, a competition that made so many angry this week, now leaving us empty and sad as well. It’s hard – almost impossible – to add proper perspective here without full knowledge of the facts, which in this case is going to take some time. But something undeniable is the harm to the person at the center of it all. A 15-year-old, standing alone, looking terrified on the ice before her free skate. This image, maybe more than anything else, encapsulates the entire situation: the adults in the room left her alone. Portrayed by some this week as the villain, by others as the victim. She in fact is the victim of the villains. The coaches and national Olympic committee surrounding Kamila Valiyeva, whether they orchestrated, prescribed, or enabled, all of this is unclear, but what is certain — they failed to protect her. Guilt by association is often unfair but it’s called for here.

“Russia has been banned from using the name of its country the last three Olympic Games because of the systemic state-run doping program that was uncovered after they hosted the Sochi Games in 2014. The deal that was brokered was supposed to ensure a level playing field, while giving clean Russian athletes a chance to compete, but that scenario totally broke down here. Now, a failed drug test from one of their athletes has tarnished one of the marquee events of the Games and taken away from every skater’s moment. In the name of clean and fair competition, Olympians, gold medalists from across the globe have spoken up and IOC president Thomas Bach, in his end of the Games press conference in the last hour, uncharacteristically openly criticized Valiyeva’s entourage for their ‘tremendous coldness’ at the end of her skate and said that those involved should be held responsible. But now, it’s time for the IOC to stand up. Whether it’s about blocking Russia from hosting events for a very long time, or stringent and globally transparent testing for Russian athletes going forward – if swift action from the top of the Olympic movement does not happen quickly, the very future of the Games could be in jeopardy.”

Weir on Alysa Liu (7th place): “Truly a tremendous free skate, and the emotion pouring out of her is what it’s all about. She has the pressure of an entire country on her shoulders — she is the skater that Team USA needs to be able to compete with the top skaters in the world…and she just laid down such a wonderful free skate.”

Lipinski on Liu: “She’s just absolutely radiant on Olympic ice.”

Gannon on Mariah Bell (10th place): “She fought for those jumps, she’s fought doubts, she’s fought time, and now she’s had her moment at the Olympics.”

Lipinski on Bell: “This was the exact Olympic moment she was hoping for. That was absolutely incredible. Each jump I felt my emotion growing…There is such a genuine, raw, warm emotion about her skating. It’s not just an artistic presentation, it’s like she’s sharing a little bit of herself with you.”

Bell to Andrea Joyce on her performance: “It means everything. Just to be here was a dream come true and coming here I knew that there were a lot of things that I couldn’t control, but what I could control was how I skated. I just wanted to have that moment and I had it, and I’m so excited.”

Lipinski on Karen Chen (16th place): “I love her instinct towards her artistry and her choreography, it’s so intuitive. She genuinely listens to the music, to every note…I will say she fought so hard…Obviously many technical mistakes there, but overall, I always have to note her artistry.”

Lipinski on the ROC’s Anna Shcherbakova’s gold medal over Trusova: “She has the edge in the component score, she brings more musical interpretation and passion to her performance.”

Weir on the ROC’s Aleksandra Trusova, who won silver:What she achieved in this program technically was out of this world on a level that we have never seen before.”

***

FREESTYLE SKIING – NBC & PEACOCK

Todd Harris: “It’s official. Eileen Gu – untouchable.”

Tom Wallisch on Gu’s gold medal in the halfpipe: “Both scores higher than any other woman in the field, she would have won the competition with either of them. That is a dominating performance.”

***

SPEED SKATING – NBC & PEACOCK

Bill Spaulding on Team USA’s Brittany Bowe winning bronze in the women’s 1000m: “It’s bronze for Bowe! Three Games in, it’s finally her time.”

Joey Cheek on Bowe: “This is the only race that has eluded her in an absolutely stellar career. She has been the dominant 1000-meter skater for years…What a fight for Bowe at the end. When you look at this race, you saw how focused she was, how driven. It’s something that meant so much to her in a career of dominance in the 1000 meters…Great skating.”

Cheek on gold medalist Miho Takagi of Japan who set the women’s 1000m Olympic record: “Blasting off the line…just cruising at top speed…and then perfectly executed corners. This is what we’ve seen from her race after race after race. These corners are just magnificent to watch.”

***

About Post Author

Sammi Turano

Sammi has been a journalist for over a decade, specializing in entertainment, lifestyle, sports and celebrity news. She is the owner of TVGrapevine and Football in High Heels and the Host of Grapevine in High Heels With Sammi.
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