Imagine being an Olympian. Just arriving in Sochi required a lifetime's worth of work, sweat and careful training—several years of preparation all boiling down to a series of moments. An athlete's life and legacy is judged and deemed worthy or unworthy based on a single performance.
Sounds fun, right?
Some Americans lived up to their big reputations; others faltered in the spotlight. We'll look at both, breaking down Day 2 of the Winter Olympics with a laser-like focus on our countrymen.
USA! USA! USA!
Worst Implosion—Skiing Edition
Bode Miller, though no Peyton Manning or anything, is a bona fide celebrity in the world of the Winter Olympics, where if you've heard someone's name before they are super famous. That means Bode Miller matters.
More than a mere celebrity, he was expected to medal in Sochi, culminating a long career with a final bow, one more podium, one last wave to an adoring crowd. He was the fastest skier in practice all last week. A gold was in his sights.
Instead, he flamed out, clipping two flags on his way down the mountain and finishing a disappointing eighth. The course, one Miller had complained vociferously about, going as far to say "it could kill you," was a factor.
Tricky DH today. Warmer temps, clouds and sun. biggest factor is always the "Olympic factor." Emotion and passion define winners.— Diann Roffe (@diannroffe) February 9, 2014
Miller, famous for taking both wins and losses in stride, looked crushed. This was his fifth, and likely last, Olympic Games.
Worst Implosion—Skating Edition
Jason Brown's long program was the talk of the skating community after the U.S. Trials earlier this year. On Sunday, he took his Riverdance-themed act to the world stage—and the results weren't pretty. He fell in spectacular fashion.
America's sweetheart Michelle Kwan, however, was able to find a silver lining.
1 mistake for @jasonbskates but I think he deserves a few extra points because of that smile.— Michelle Kwan (@MichelleWKwan) February 9, 2014
Brown finished fourth out of five skaters in the contest. The individual event is looming, and he will need to do better. Perhaps he should ask himself what Brian Boitano would do?
She'd probably prefer to be immortalized with "Best Air," but there's something about Jamie Anderson's smile that stood out.
Young, gorgeous and talented. Oh, and she can also fly.
Fellow gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg was totally stoked, bro.
Correction—he was spoiced. If you're like me and scratching your head, Urban Dictionary has the head's up:
Spoice is an exclamation of gratitude towards life. It's the proper word to use when you find yourself in a situation involving a multitude of positive things at once. You may only utter it with pure joy behind it.
Best Mr. T Impression
Johnny Weir is fantastic. This is known. But the skating legend took things to new sartorial heights with his epic outfit. That gold chain probably weighs more than he does, but Johnny made...it...work.
This was heaven. pic.twitter.com/5Baha1ytLB— Choire (@Choire) February 9, 2014
I love you, Johnny Weir. Never change.
Best Taylor Swift Impression
Taylor Swift's dancing is perhaps best described as "energetically bad."
So too American luger Kate Hansen. But the girl has spunk. You have to give her that. Her technique scores may suffer, but she's connected to her music, and you can feel her enthusiasm attempting to leap right through the screen.
We'll see if her sliding is up to the task. Hansen, the World Cup champion, struggled in practice today, but as you can see, that didn't get her spirits down.
Most Appropriate Name
Every Olympiad there's a teenage sensation who shows the relatively ancient 20-somethings what the future of figure skating is going to look like. That would, and should, be American Gracie Gold—if only an even younger Russian, Yulia Lipnitskaya, hadn't stolen her spotlight.
She finished second to Lipnitskaya in the long program during the team competition. If she continues to skate this well, Gold looks to be in the mix for, well, gold. Or silver. Bronze?
Any of the above would be a triumph for an American women's squad that seemed to be on a downswing this year.
The 18-year-old, who, according to Us magazine, prefers Cover Girl's Hot Passion lipstick to give her lips that perfect red sheen, has proven herself a force to be reckoned with, perhaps for years to come. Her first medal, a bronze earned with the rest of her team, is already in hand. Will that be the only medal she walks away from Sochi with? Stay tuned!