What to Expect at the Academy Awards

There’s a joke that there are two seasons in Los Angeles: Pilot and Awards. And the past three months have been a constant fete for Hollywood’s biggest stars with everything from the Golden Globe Awards, to the Critics Choice Awards (and every city’s critics choice awards), to the Makeup and Hairstylists Guild Awards and it all culminates this Sunday with the big kahuna – the Academy Awards.

Preparations are already well underway for the big day, and I know this because I pass through the intersection of Hollywood and Highland to get to work and the traffic has already been building up since last week. I’m not complaining (but I am). Here’s a photo I took while impatiently waiting at the red light. At least Ellen’s face was looking down at me. That white tent at the bottom is the beginning of the red carpet, which is pretty cool. I swear I’m not jaded about living in LA.

Photo Feb 25, 11 47 09 PM

So while the organizers are getting ready on the ground, we can get ready  ourselves for the night by prepping via the internet, as you do. Here are some things to look out for come Sunday during the like, 10 hours of programming that will be on your television all day.

Jennifer Lawrence looking like a flawless human being

jlaw cf prem

One thing I can always count on when talking about Jennifer Lawrence is that 99% of the time someone says they want to be her best friend. We all know how much you want to be J Law’s BFF. We ALLLLL want to be J Law’s BFF. But another thing I can always count on is Jennifer’s impeccable style, namely her red carpet looks. And we have Dior to thank for that. She’s been the face of the French fashion house for years, and just a few days ago, they released these new ads with Jen looking stunning as always. So what will she wear this year? Hopefully something easy to walk in…

I have the printed out and at my desk at work…

Lupita Nyong’o looking like a flawless human being

The one person who has a chance to keep Jennifer in her seat Sunday night is this ethereal human being. In case you didn’t know, Lupita is the breakout star from 12 Years a Slave (can you believe this is the first movie she’s EVER made?!). And throughout awards season, she’s proven that she belongs on the Hollywood A-list. I mean when she showed up to the Golden Globes in that Ralph Lauren red cape ensemble … CAN YOU EVEN? I mean we couldn’t, because both Molly and I named her our fave Best Dressed this year. She is the one person I am most looking forward to seeing come out of the limo and onto the red carpet on Sunday. And not to mention, she’s in the running to becoming the world’s most wanted BFF in 2014. I’m just saying J Law is probs gonna take a long vacay and we need someone to fill in…

Ellen Getting Away With Jokes About Celebrities

Ellen is back for her second time hosting, y’all! And it’s quite a contrast to last year’s host. Yeah, I’ll let you think about that for a second, because who remembers who hosted the Oscars last year? No? Nothing? It was this guy:

The thing about Ellen that very few celebrities have is overall likability. Neil Patrick Harris has it. Meryl Streep has it. Tom Hanks has it. These are all people that are more likely to elicit an ‘I LOVE them’ than an ‘UGH. The WORST’ from the general public. It also helps that Ellen has a daytime TV show that people love being on and have an overall positive reaction to. The A-listers sitting in the audience have all been on her show so they already have a good rapport with her. Aka, she can get away with a lot more than someone like Seth MacFarlane ever could. Case in point, the last time she hosted in 2007, she vacuumed the carpet underneath Queen Meryl‘s feet. And made Steven Spielberg take a pic of her and Clint Eastwood for MYSPACE. No one thought this was weird. Seven years later, I’m assuming she’s more comfortable in front of an audience like the one at the Oscars, so it’s going to be even bigger and better.

Dancing. A lot of Dancing.

When you think Ellen DeGeneres, a few things may come to mind: funny, talk show, lesbian, dancing. The woman dances every day on her show, so obviously she’s going to do it for the Oscars, right? I mean she already teased it in the trailer, so one can only hope she shows off her skills during the main show. Or at least has people do it for her. In this trailer, there are a number of So You Think You Can Dance alumni, so I’m hoping there will be a bunch on stage too. Also, I’m a loyal SYTYCD fan, so if they are there on Sunday, expect me to fangirl over them during the live blog.


Like most years, the Best Original Song nominees all take the stage to perform their nominated songs. This year is no different. All four nominees, U2 (Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom), Pharrell (Despicable Me 2), Karen O (Her) and Idina Menzel (Frozen) will be on hand to sing their respective songs, but I feel like it’s just more star-studded this year than usual. Plus Bette Middler AND Pink are performing, so expect some kind of aerial/scarf hanging down from ceiling type situation. Pink, not Bette. Although that would be amahzing. My guess is they’ll help out with the In Memoriam?

The Height of the McConaissance

Alright Alright Alright (expect him to say that and for everyone else to say it too). Matthew McConaughey has spent the past few years picking roles that isn’t just the lead that leans. He’s been ‘shedding’ his image from being a rom-com hero to a serious actor, and that’s how we got to Dallas Buyers Club. Folks have been calling this second phase of his life the ‘McConaissance’ and since he’s been winning almost all the awards he’s been up for as the HIV positive drug pusher,  all signs point to Oscar on Sunday – hence the apex of his reinvention. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

It could be Leo’s year and these memes will be irrelevant

Hey, remember all these memes about Leo not winning an Oscar all these years:

His role in The Wolf of Wall Street has been garnering juuusttt enough critical acclaim and awards this season that his odds to win a golden guy are better than ever. But let’s not jinx it. All I’ll say is if he DOES win, he better retroactively thank Kate Winslet in Titanic and announce his undying love for her.

Gravity vs. 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave Gravity no edit

It’s a showdown between Sandra Bullock floating in space for two hours and the guy from Love Actually escaping from slavery all because Taran Killam duped him. Each movie has 10 nominations, including Best Picture. If we’re looking at the statistics (which we are because I’m a nerd and love stats), Gravity has won 130 out of the 229 noms it has received this awards season, while 12 Years a Slave has pretty much double that with 208 wins and  409 nominations. A couple weeks ago, the BAFTAs (the British Oscars) named Gravity the Best British Film while 12 Years won Best Film. The thing to note about this is that for the past 5 years, every movie that has won the BAFTA for Best Film has gone on to win the Oscar in the same category. Basically what I’m trying to say is 12 Years a Slave is going to win. Based on the facts above and my gut. Just call me Olivia Pope.

Now that you’re prepped for the Oscars, we’ll see you back here on Sunday for our Live Blog (and big redesign day)!!!!


2014 Best Picture Nominees: Highs and Lows

Every year, I set out to watch every Best Picture nominee. And every year, I have regrets. Sometimes my regret is that I didn’t make it to all of the movies, and sometimes it’s that I did. But the good thing about seeing (almost) all of the Best Picture nominees is that I’m now an informed blogger – and can let you know the pros and cons of (most) of this years nominated films!

12 Years A Slave


Not to belabor the whole Lupita Nyong’o thing … but maybe you should all get ready to hear a lot about Lupita Nyong’o from the both of us. Her performance as the unfortunate Patsy will absolutely crush you. The audience has Solomon Northrup as a sort of guide throughout the movie – like Alice in Wonderland or Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, he’s somebody from “our” world (insofar as he wasn’t born in slavery and had never witnessed it firsthand). Patsy shows Northrup, and us, what it’s like when slavery is all you’ve ever known and you can’t imagine that you’ll get to leave it.

Let’s not forget about the bone-chilling performance by one of our other dream BFFs, Sarah Paulson, either. Chiwetel Ejiofor, too. Okay, everyone. The high point of this movie is everyone.


It’s not a reason not to see the movie – in fact, it’s why you should see it – but this really happened. We use this shortened narrative of “there was slavery, it was very bad, and then Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves” so often, it’s hard to think about all of the people that lived and died with no chance of freedom. Just go see it, okay?

You’ll feel a bit better after looking at IRL photos of the cast. See? Everyone’s OK now.

American Hustle


The Academy loves a good anti-hero, and this film is full of them. You will end up thinking that just about every main character is awful by the end of the movie … but you’ll also be thinking “man, I hope these awful people succeed!”


When you leave the movie, between the comb-overs, double-dealing, and all-around 1970s sleaziness, you’ll feel like you have a fine layer of disco grime covering your skin.

You can almost smell the patchouli.

Captain Phillips


Tom Hanks playing a smart, sensible guy who’s in near-peril (but it’s not Saving Private Ryan)? Using his cool wits to solve a near-impossible dilemma (but it’s not The Da Vinci Code)? And he’s at least temporarily stranded in the ocean (Cast Away)? Hey, why mess with what we already know works.


Some action sequences that were probably riveting in the theater had me reaching for my iPad or a magazine when watching it On Demand.

Dallas Buyers Club


Jared Leto, Jordan Catalano of my heart, owner of the loveliest ombre tresses, was brilliant. Rayon is funny, spirited, and kind – just like real people when they get sick, AIDs didn’t become her only character trait. You can see the personality that Rayon would have whether or not she was ill –  not just the HIV-positive, trans-woman version of a Lurlene McDaniel character.


Matthew McConaughey’s weight – low in the literal sense, anyway. While necessary to show that the protagonist was running his scheme as a very ill man, I just wanted to give him a hug and an Ensure. He was truly distressing to look at. But the Academy does loooove extreme weight loss or gain.

Why yes, this WAS a shameless way to insert a photo of shirtless “before” McConaughey.



I always love a good mind-bending space movie – I may have been the only nine-year-old who was really into the Jodie Foster vehicle Contact. But the real high is how the filmmakers created what is essentially a 2-3 person story that didn’t lose your attention for a second. Also, I appreciated that the special effects were impressive, but that I was so engrossed in the story that I wasn’t going “hey, look at those special effects!”



As Traci noted before, Gravity isn’t billed as a “scary movie” but it is unsettling just the same. It’s not just the dangers facing the main characters, it’s the way space movies remind you that you’re a tiny inconsequential speck in the universe and your time here  – even if long by our standards – is nothing.



There’s a lot to be said about Her’s timely message on technology and human connections – it’s sort of a modern parable. But, I actually want to talk about the production design. Her is set in the not-so-distant future, and the filmmakers conveyed that in the most brilliant way. Instead of making the film look futuristic, with silver space-suits and lots of metal, they made it look timeless. Everything is sort of mid-century and Danish modern, and the wardrobe features a lot of natural materials and high-waisted pants. This makes sense because fashions are always cycling in and out, so it’s plausible that in a decade’s time this 1960s aesthetic will be in style. Plus, this way in 10 years the film won’t look as dated as it would if the characters were dressed like it was 2013. Instead of a hard-edged computer age color palette – metallic red, cobalt blue, jet black – everything is in muted tropical tones, with a lot of coral, teal, and soft yellow. The whole movie I kept seeing details in furniture or clothing and going “hey! look what they did there!”

Even the operating system has a clean-lined mid-century look — almost like the Steampunk idea, but for the 60s instead of early 1900s.


(1) At some point in the movie, you’re probably going to think it would be fun to be friends with an Operating System, then realize that that seems really sad.

(2) The producer, Megan Ellison, is 28. TWENTY EIGHT. There is no reason to feel inferior, because she has some crazy family connections. Her father is a billionaire and she began financing films several years ago. Ellison clearly worked hard to take advantage of the plum hand she was dealt, so I don’t fault her a bit. But rather than feeling like you’ve wasted your life, remember that Ellison didn’t exactly rise from lower- or middle-class obscurity.



About ⅓ of my business contacts are in Nebraska, and they’re all very smart, no-nonsense, level Midwesterners. I like that in a working relationship.


My “high” was a generalized comment about Nebraskans who I know because I haven’t seen the movie yet. Maybe my “high” should be that it’s now available at Redbox, so we’ll all have time to rent it before Sunday.



Steve Coogan, in a remarkably straight role, proves that comedians often make the best dramatic actors. The script was dryly funny, and Coogan was believable as a wry journalist.


I don’t know if I saw this movie in a cinema that had smell-o-vision or what, but my theater smelled 100% like a combination of Old Lady and Church. That may be less a coincidence, and more that it was a Sunday morning show in a WASP-y suburb.

The Wolf Of Wall Street


LEO. Of course.


Yeah…I didn’t see this movie. I read descriptions of some scenes that I just knew I didn’t want filling up my head-space. Maybe when it’s on HBO or something, you know?

The Dawson’s Creek Virgin Diaries: Season 2

Welcome back to the second installment of my viewing of Dawson’s Creek for the very first time (in its entirety, as an adult). I covered season one last month, and here we are with season two. We left off with Dawson and Joey kissing for the very first time, but did their hormone-induced lip locking carry over to full out romance in season two? Let’s find out…

Episode 1

I failed to mention in the first post that Dawson Creek’s iconic theme song, I Don’t Wanna Wait, by the Queen of 90s indie rock/Lilith Fair Paula Cole is NOT used on the DVDs/Netflix streaming. It’s an even more ridiculous song called Hearts and Arrows by another 90s indie-ish singer (who was not as popular) as seen below.

Yeah, listen to those lyrics again, they make no sense. I just don’t understand why Paula Cole didn’t want to get royalties from this!! She’s probs too busy raging against the machine or something.

So we return and it picks up moments after they kiss for the first time.

Attention Dawson & Joey: What is wrong with you people? I’m so glad I didn’t watch this as a tween because I would have expected this to be what my teenage years was going to be. Guess what? It wasn’t. Why are kids so moody and indecisive? Make up your minds already. Don’t be idiots. We can’t date – We have to date – Should we pretend we didn’t kiss? – Do you want that? – I can’t pretend we didn’t kiss – ::They makeout::

Notable Quote: “Everyone comes from a dysfunctional family – it’s the ’90s. the only happy families are in TV syndication.” – Pacey to crazypants Andie McPhee

Episode 6

Joey’s a little bitch. She reminds me of Julie Taylor on Friday Night Lights throughout most of the series. And now she’s pulling a Julie by going for another guy whilst still dating someone else (although I am absolutely NOT comparing Dawson to Matt Saracen, because Matt was a near perfect boyfriend). JACK IS GAY DON’T GIVE IT UP FOR HIM. I mean we don’t know he’s gay at this point, but like, I know he’s gay.

Oh no – Dawson is pissed at Joey for essentially ending their relationship because she kissed Jack/’needs to make herself happy first’ and now we have to prepare for Dawson’s rage. Which looks like this:

Photo Dec 26, 10 10 53 PM

Katie Holmes running away is like Phoebe running. It’s awkward and should be much better for a ‘tomboy’.

Notable Quote: “How can it be over? We can’t just say I love you for the first time and have it be over.” Dawson to Joey (Guess what, you can and it is. Except it’s not because apparently this back and forth will last their entire lives/the rest of this series)

Episode 7

I’ve failed to mention that Michelle/Jen’s hair is short and … out of control. Even 1999 thought it was a bad haircut.

Photo Dec 26, 10 14 35 PM

In order to take a break from studying, the gang decides to take the ‘How Pure Are You Quiz’ from a girly publication that might be Jane magazine? Sample questions:

‘Have you ever been intimately aroused by a relative?’ ‘Experimented with bondage?’ ‘Engaged in asexual activity with a transvestite? A four legged creature?’ ‘Paid for sex?’ ‘Had an affair with a friend’s pet?’

THESE FOLKS ARE 16 YEARS OLD. When I was 16 I barely knew how to read let alone read these kinds of mags.

Chris (their rich classmate who invites them over to his mansion of a house to study/sleep with Jen) has a little sister who is the epitome of kids her age (i.e. ME) with a lack of fashion sense.

Photo Dec 26, 10 13 10 PM

Episode 9

WHYYY is Dawson so pleased with his parents having sex?? I mean, yeah it means there’s a chance for them to get back together and put divorce aside, but still. It’s his parents HAVING SEX. Let’s look at the big picture here, Dawson.

Photo Dec 26, 10 17 48 PM

Episode 11


“I don’t know where you come from or just who has the misfortune of being responsible for your existence, but you are a lying manipulative and cruel person and the fact that you are only 16 years old makes me feel more sorry for you than the any of the people in this room whose lives you are destroying. You’re pathetic.”

Episode 13

This guy takes Jen to a ‘party’ and I legit think it’s a key party for some reason, but it turns out to be a bible study?! LOLOLOL

Photo Dec 26, 10 20 27 PM

She’s All That star Rachael Leigh Cook is playing doppelganger Joey in Dawson’s movie based on his friendship/relationship with his BFF, and I can’t help but think she auditioned for the role but Katie Holmes got it instead.

Photo Dec 26, 10 18 58 PM

Also, how is it that the most sane and functional relationship involves an ACTUAL crazy person?!?! (Pacey/Andie)

Episode 14

Ah yes, the beginning of finding out that Jack likes boys. His asshole teacher forces him to recite his poem, in which he talks about romancing a dude, out loud in front of the class and basically Pacey defends Jack because he runs out of the room crying and completely embarrassed. And because Pacey’s the best, HE’S the one that gets in trouble but stands up for himself against the administration.


Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t James van der Beek more of the heartthrob in during this time? Or was it equal? I don’t really remember because I was too into Leo and the Backstreet Boys to notice. Anyways, Joshua Jackson deserves all the attention and awards.

In order to stop people from staring and talking about Jack ‘possibly’ being gay, her solution is to kiss him in front of everyone? Wrong decision yet again, Potter. And why does Katie Holmes always look like she crawled out of bed and straight onto set?

Notable Quote: “I’m trying to get a sneak peek of your online handle.” Dawson to Joey re: AIM, but clearly he means something else.

Episode 15

Grams vs Ty, the time you thought super religious Grams was going to side with the teenager about being against homosexuality, but in fact she just proved she’s the best and defended Jack/ the gays. Yay Grams!

“If Jack is gay, he does not need your judgement, young man. The Lord above will judge him, as he will all of us. What he needs from you, from me, from everyone else in this world is love and tolerance. If anything, that boy is feeling scared and alone and he will need the understanding of his fellow man to help him through this. Let’s save judgement for someone much more experienced than you.”

Oh PS, Jack’s gay for real, y’all. And if you’re watching along at home, everyone take a shot when someone even says the word ‘gay’.

Notable Quote:  “Are you part gay?” Joey to her now gay boyfriend, Jack.

Episode 18

WELL, here’s something I never knew happened – Abby gets drunk with Jen at the docks and she hits her head then falls into the water and dies, despite Jen’s best efforts to IMMEDIATELY JUMP IN AFTER HER. Abby was a bitch, but no teen deserves to die, obvs. I just never knew this happened!

just before she drunkenly hit her head and fell into the ocean…

Episode 20

Honestly the Pacey/Andie scenes are the best of the show. She goes completely mental and starts seeing her dead brother and locks herself in a bathroom while having a complete meltdown. Her deceased bro Tim is in the bathroom with her and while she’s crouched on the floor it looks like she’s about to make out with him…? But Pacey is the best and manages to convince her to get out of there and leave her dead bro behind.

Photo Dec 26, 10 23 06 PM

Notable Quote:  “Is this a French restaurant or French farce?” Dawson on the comedy of errors that happened in the fancy restaurant with his parents, Jen and Joey.

Episode 22

The season ends with Joey’s ex-inmate father dealing drugs yet again and Dawson is reluctant to tell her about her father’s dirty secret. Unfortunately, his cocaine dealing causes someone to throw a fiery brick into the family’s restaurant, burning it down to the ground. Everyone’s safe but Dawson finally tells Joey about the drugs, convinces her to turn him in and she vows she can never forgive him. Cue 10 millionth break up. Oh and Andie goes off to some mental patient rehab leaving Pacey (and Jack) back in Capeside.

Will Joey actually forgive Dawson or was she over it in like 2 minutes? Will Pacey stay loyal to Andie? Will Jack get a boyfriend? And will Jen pull her shit (read: hair) together?

Stay tuned for season three…

Why Adults Don’t Dress As Cool As Teenagers

I’m not sure when it happened, but I’ve somehow become an adult – sartorially speaking, anyway. The other day I was on a bus packed with teenagers, and as I was looking around I thought to myself “it looks like these kids all walked out of tumblr or polyvore!” Then, I realized that this probably wasn’t an exceptionally hip group of kids. It’s just that I wasn’t a kid anymore. I looked at my own clothes, and realized that if you saw me walking down the street anytime within the past decade, nothing would have seemed amiss.

I can remember being 16 or so, and thinking that even people in their later 20s dressed so boring. I was right, of course – but there are reasons for it. So, I hope all of those tumblr-y teens on public transpo take note: adults may not look as cool as you, but there are reasons they don’t follow every fad out there:

Adults Have Had Their Clothes Longer

Oh, this old thing? Bought it years ago!

This is the main reason, and it really is that simple — if you’re an adult, chances are there are more pieces in your wardrobe that you’ve had for a long time, thus you won’t look as trendy as a teen. It’s not because adults don’t keep up with the times, though. It’s because:

(1) Adults have been alive longer. Straight up.

(2) Teens are growing, so they have to turn over their wardrobe more regularly. With the exception of some sad old t-shirts and sweatshirts, a kid who’s, let’s say, 15 wouldn’t even be able to fit into clothes that are more than – MAX – 5 years old.  In contrast, as an adult who’s been the same size since I was 12, I can wear clothes from the old millennium. It’s pretty hard to look cutting-edge in an Ann Taylor sweater from 2005.

Adults Invest in Quality Pieces

I don’t think… they read… the book…

Obviously an adult can’t wear clothes from years and years ago if those clothes have fallen apart in the wash. Once you know you aren’t growing anymore, and once you have car payments and mortgages to think about, it’s time to get smart with your money. Most adults have realized this and, in addition to those cheap Target and H&M things that you just can’t pass up, you probably have some fairly solid pieces that have stood the test of time. Today I’m wearing a Brooks Brothers shirt that’s 4 years old and not showing any signs of wear yet, which is a lot cheaper than buying a new one from Dress Barn every year.  When you’re buying something that you intend to keep for up to a decade, you aren’t going with a trend piece. You’re going to buy a classic – thus, you will look tidy, presentable, and possibly even stylish — but not necessarily fashionable. My general system is that I’ll buy anything faddish on the cheap (I’m not too good for Forever 21), but I’m willing to shell out more money for things that will last.

Adults Have Jobs. And They Buy Clothes To Wear To Their Jobs.

Beef up those shoulders and get to work! Accessorize with a glass of wine. Always include a lit candle in presentations. – John T. Molloy

It’s perfectly acceptable to go to school looking casual (unless you went to Catholic school like we did — under our dress code, I dressed about the same as a 16-year-old as I do now working in legal publishing). But, for many of us with office-y desk jobs, you have to look a bit more buttoned-up at work. A lot of us buy pieces that can do double duty. I have some outfits that I could never, ever wear at the office, of course, and some of my work clothes would be too boring to wear on the weekend. Still, it’s a big plus when I can find a top that would look good with a cardigan and dress pants at work,  but that I could wear with skinny jeans and flats on the weekend. When you were 17 you probably didn’t think about whether your outfit would work for both running errands and running into your boss at the water cooler.

Adults Are Fat

Your hair also gets more permed. Of course, if this image were really accurate, at one point the woman would begin wearing a skirted bathing suit.

Okay, I kid. But still, I hate to break it to you, but after a while things just aren’t where they were in your teens. In case you think it won’t happen to you, consider this. I weigh a little less than I did as a (pretty small) teen, have an “athlete” body fat percentage (which is the only athletic thing about me, trust), and yet I cannot pull off things I did at 15 when everything was sort of magically where it was supposed to be. Everything’s a little sadder and weaker looking now. Sorry guys. Enjoy what you have while you have it.

Adults can remember wearing trends the first time.

Like I always say, a good lace frock with a sash never goes out of style.

You teens don’t know what it’s like yet, but someday you will. I see the neon, high-waisted shorts, crop tops, leggings and flannel, and think to myself “oh, that’s how I remember 1993 looking.” And that feels weird, guys. That feels really weird. Sometimes adults don’t dress cool because “cool” means dressing up as your own second grade class picture.

Adults Are Trying To Look Their Age


Between my stature and my freckles, I look like I should be playing Opie’s girlfriend in an episode of Andy Griffith. To be accepted as an adult, I can’t dress like a kid. In fact, I probably have to dress a bit older than my age just so that people realize that I’m in my 20s. And adults who are on the other end of the spectrum – who look older than their years – probably also shy away from faddish fashions, because nothing ages you more than trying to look like you’re still a teenager.

Okay. I’ll admit it. Some Adults Just Don’t Know What’s Cool.

You ever see those ladies in their late 40s who are still dressed like they’re smoking cigarettes in the girls’ room in 1985? That’s because their idea of looking cool is wearing what was cool when they were teenagers. Let’s face it, some adults truly just don’t know what’s in style, so to feel young they default to whatever was in style when they were kids, recapturing the same look. Although I would never say that your teen years are the best years of your life, I will say that it’s a time when a lot of people feel – right or wrong – like they’re on the top of their fashion game. Now you kids pipe down on the bus. The old lady in slacks and sensible flats is trying to read her book.

Goodbye, Sochi: Olympics GIF Wrap Up

Well folks, the 2014 Olympics have come and gone incredibly fast, just like Shaun White’s hopes of making history and winning another medal (too soon?). We’ve seen the highest of highs, the lowest of lows. The underdog stories and the stories of world champs falling from grace.

So how could we possibly sum up everything that’s happened in two weeks? With GIFs of course! Here are some of the best moments from the Sochi Winter Olympics in animated form. Hopefully this will tide all of us over until the Summer Games in Rio in 2016…

Remember the opening ceremony? I bet whoever was in charge of these olympic rings will never forget this for the rest of his/her life.

Poor Bob Costas. The man who helms the Olympics for NBC was down with pinkeye. Well, make that pinkeyes because it spread from one to the other and he had to sit out on like three nights of primetime coverage. But he eventually got better, and we got this gif out of it.

I was watching this live, when a man climbed a tree to meet U.S. Men’s Alpine head coach Sash Rearick, who was hanging out in some branches Katniss style to get a better view of the course. And an NBC correspondent had to get a interview, because, ratings.

There were 14 new programs introduced this year, including this one, slopestyle snowboarding. This is American Jamie Anderson who won us a gold medal and taught us about Tinder in Olympic village (but hardcore Olympic fans already know that the village is a hookup hotspot)

And one of the first viral gifs out of this year’s Olympics is courtesy of U.S. luger Kate Hansen. She was spotted rockin out with her headphones in right before she sped down the icy ramp.

When asked who she was listening to, clearly, it was none other than Queen Beyonce.

Another American who went viral – figure skater Ashley Wagner. Clearly disappointed with her low score, she forgot that cameras were on her and also forgot that the internet thrives on reactions like this.

This is probs my favorite. This is a real pic from American bobsledder Johnny Quinn, who got locked in his Sochi hotel bathroom. To escape, he used his bobsled (and NFL training) to break through the door like the Kool-Aid man. The best part – he got stuck in an elevator a few days later.

And then there was Russia’s Yulia Lipnitskaya. A 15 year old who stunned everyone in the free skate during the team competition, helping them earn a gold medal, and made her the youngest Russian winter olympics gold medal winner. But really, that spin tho.

The biathlon/any cross country skiing seemed to be the absolute worst sport this year. People were literally collapsing at the finish line. Hilarious but, you know, not.

The weather in Sochi was a big problem this year. One day it would be foggy and cold, the next 60 degrees. Literally warmer than on the east coast and its polar vortex. This didn’t help the snow conditions, and athletes were having problems with the icy/hard/slush terrain. But the Russians did their best to keep up appearances.

The halfpipe wasn’t kind to Shaun White either. He was hoping for his third gold medal in a row, but to no avail. wah wah.

This is Gus Kenworthy, silver medal winner in slopestyle skiing. But who cares about the medal. He made friends with the stray puppies who the Russians were allegedly killing off, but Gus did this and wanted to take them back home to the U.S. with him. I mean can you even.

Not to mention when Gus won his medal, he was part of a U.S. podium sweep with Joss Christensen (gold) and Nick Goepper (bronze).

This is American slopestyle snowboarder Sage Kotsenberg. He is doing a trick called the ‘Holy Crail’, which is obviously very difficult, but has a stupid name. He also credited ‘mad snacks’ and Fight Club for helping him focus before winning the gold. Clearly there’s no doubt he’s a snowboarder.

The Dutch have always dominated speed skating, but more so this year. 23 speedskating medals. 8 gold. They’ve won at least one medal in every single speedskating category. Basically it was a lot of orange on the podium in the speed skating center.

There was a rare tie for gold in women’s downhill skiiing, between Slovenia’s Tina Maze and Switzerland’s Dominique Gisin. But more importantly, Tina Maze is a pop star, model and all around A-lister back home in Slovenia.

And then there was the couples’ ice skating. Russians Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov brought the house down when they won gold. And also cast Angela Kinsey as Tatiana in her (eventual) made for TV movie.

I just included this U.S. skating pair of Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir (who obviously didn’t medal) because Simon and I apparently went to the same college. Go Lions!

This Swedish skiier, Henrik Harlaut, actually has dreads and XXXXL pants, and it’s really not surprising that he fell. Because COME ON.

Skeleton is probably the most badass sport, and Canada’s Sarah Reid has the best helmet to go down the ice giant ice slide.

Oh Evgeni Plushenko. The star men’s skater for Russia for… forever. He’s one of the country’s most beloved athletes, and won the gold in 2006. And even though he skating perfectly for the team competition and helped Russia earn the gold, by the time it got to his solo comp, his recurring back problem flared up and he decided to quit.

See- his back? He’s had surgery before, okay? We needed to see it to believe it. Anyways, he not only withdrew from the Olympics, but he announced it would be his last competition ever and officially retired.

Ah Jeremy Abbott. He fell, hit the boards, and stayed on the ice for a good 15 seconds. BUT THEN he got his ass back up and finished the routine. That’s the Olympic spirit, folks.

Meet rising star, American ice skater Jason Brown. Also the gayest of gays since Johnny Weir, and it’s a welcome addition. Also, this quote during the his program from one of the commentators: “He doesn’t have a quad turn, but he does have a ponytail that has its own Twitter account.”

And… this is Spain’s Javier Fernandez. Do with it what you will.

Women’s snowboardcross was an awesome competition to watch, as it was anyone’s game. In this GIF, the woman ahead is American Lindsey Jacobellis, who is a silver medalist from ’06, and favored to win again in Sochi after a failed attempt in Vancouver. Except she was so ahead in this race when one little slip up made her fall and her dreams to get another medal were dashed yet again.

If you’re wondering how Cool Runnings 2014 did (2-man bobsled of Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon), the Jamaicans literally placed last. Not a good trip for these guys.

But at least they got this catchy tune out of it.

Bode Gate: 2K14. Alpine Skiier Bode Miller, another veteran of the games, won a bronze medal in what is probably his last Olympics. Post his winning race, he spoke with a NBC correspondent about what the moment ment to him – especially since he dedicated it to his younger brother who died months before. He broke down and the reporter got a lot of heat for it, but Bode defended her. All’s good, he has his bronze medal, and NBC got its ratings scandal.

Belarus’s Anton Kushnir won the gold with this, and I’m just impressed anyone can physically fly that high and land and not die.

Guys, my new obsession is ice dancing. IDK why I never really paid attention to it before, maybe it was the whole Canada/USA rivalry this year, but it is fantastic. Speaking as a fan of dancing/former dancer, this is right up my alley. I introduce you to the ‘Shib Sibs’ aka Maia and Alex Shibutani, siblings who ice dance together, particularly to a Michael Jackson in this gif.

I think I’m starting to be obsessed with Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Like almost shipping them. Ugh, but they’re just so damn good. LOOK AT THESE TWIZZLES!


And the Canadian flag that turned out to be a poncho! Virtue and Moir weren’t able to get their second gold medal in a row and were bumped to silver, But hey, they have each other.

Of course, the folks who won were American darlings/Disney characters Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

And then Mary Carillo’s documentary about Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan’s ’94 debacle aired before the closing ceremony on Sunday, and Tonya Harding looks just as guilty as she did 20 years ago. Like I said on Twitter, “2014 Tonya Harding is like the mini-van mom in suburban detroit who got caught shoplifting at her local k-mart.”

Remember that fog and bad weather I was talking about before? Yeah, this was it. Right before this Olympian was about to ski down a mountain.

IDK if the fog effected Austria’s Kathrin Zettel, but either way, she ran into a pole and the flag covered her face. Then it moved down to her waist and was on her person for like 5 more slaloms. Oops.

So you know what’s even more impressive than being an Olympic athlete? Being an Olympic athlete in both the summer and the winter games. Remember Lolo Jones from track and field/hurdles? Yeah, she’s become a bobsledder. But didn’t win a medal here either.

Curling, guys. Curling. Still don’t get it, but good to know suburban high school history teachers can get in on the action.

NBC, always explaining sports to the viewers in layman’s terms, which I appreciate. Basically gold medalist Ted Ligety has super impressive almost unhuman-like angles when he skis down a mountain, and that’s why he deserves all the awards.

I have no idea what’s going on here, but this is amazing.

Andreas Nodl of Austria slammed Norway’s Jonas Holos into the boards and legit shattered a pane of glass. This is why I can’t with hockey.

Can you say sob fest?? This heart on the half pipe was in honor of women’s freestyle skiier Canadian Sarah Burke, who died in 2012 due to injuries sustained during practice. She was considered a pioneer in the sport and helped bring freestyle skiing to the winter olympics. Her ashes were spread on the halfpipe in Sochi. {x}

Talk about a photo finish – the men’s ski-cross QUARTERFINALS (aka not even the big medal run) included a huge crash at the end between Russia’s Egor Korotkov, Sweden’s Victor Norberg and Finland’s Jouni Pellinen. As you can see, there is one clear frontrunner, Switzerland’s Armin Niederer, but second place (the only other person advancing to the next round) was a three way tie. The Russian eked out from the other two – because he flailed his arm across the finish line first.

And the so-called ‘crown-jewel- of the winter olympics, women’s figure skating came to a head. That 15-year-old Russian spin girl did the impossible – she fell. Oops. No medal for her.

Ashley Wagner, still not pleased with her results, but at least she’s more aware of her surroundings this time.

And the final standings: she came in sixth. “Not bad!”

Gracie Gold, America’s hope for, well, gold, didn’t exactly live up to her namesake. Fourth would have to do.

‘Queen’ Yuna Kim, the reigning champ from Korea, as beautiful as she skated, she just couldn’t hold on to her title. But really, she is so good, it’s upsetting.

And I think Katy Perry said it best, but 17-year-old Russian skater Adelina Sotnikova came in like a Dark Horse. Pre-Yulia dominating during the team competition, Adelina was an expected frontrunner. But Yulia took the spotlight and all the pressure that goes with winning a medal for your country IN the host country, and Adelina was like don’t forget about me bitches. This girl took home the gold and Yulia is busy listening to One Direction and already focused on South Korea 2018.

Can we talk about these two? Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir served as figure skating correspondents (obvs), but their outfits and clear BFF-ness needs to be put on a reality show or something. Or he can just have her on his show all the time.

This is the worst GIF, but after my boy and the ‘next-Apolo Anton Ohno’ failed to win anything on his own, he finally got a silver medal in the relay with the other boys in short track. Gold in 2018, my friend.

Closing Ceremony: In which Russia proved they actually have a sense of humor. Well fucking played.

So here’s the thing. This bear was one of the Olympic mascots – but in America, we didn’t know that because they never introduced them on NBC. So when this dude showed up at the closing ceremony, I bet a lot of people were confused and concerned they had taken drugs at some point during the night. Anyways, he’s been nicknamed “Nightmare Bear” because he’s so GD scary and looks stoned all the time. But here, he’s just expressing what a lot of us Olympics devotees are feeling right now – withdrawal that the games are actually over.

And there you have it folks. 17 days of elite competition in Sochi are now over. Until Rio in 2016, Vlad Poots thank you for your attention and time. As the Russians say, “Spasibo!”

Live Blog: Ladies’ Figure Skating Final – Sochi 2014

Well, it’s the big day for figure skating, and everybody’s ready. Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski are wearing matching gold headbands. Lipinski looks like she has serious plastic-surgery face – like that cat woman you see in gossip rags sometimes – but it’s just the result of some over-aggressive contouring makeup from the folks at NBC. She’s a pretty girl. They could let up on the bronzer.

I’m not watching the Hunger Games, but I feel like I’m watching the Hunger Games. Weir does an admirable Claudius Templesmith, but Lipinski’s Effie Trinket could use some more drama in the hair department. Let’s start this thing.

Park So Youn

Country: South Korea


Really feeling the midnight blue skating dress thing with ice blue sequins. Not so princessy. Kind of a “Frozen” thing?


Classical music, but the dramatic kind, not the dreamy kind.


Is watching figure skating to see if someone falls the same as watching Nascar for the crashes or hockey for the fights? But I’ll admit: I hate watching people fail. Nothing would make me happier than a figure skating competition where every person is at the top of their game and the winners and losers are separated by fractions of a point.

The Good: Graceful, ballet influences? Pretty arms. The floaty non- jump parts. This one really gorgeous spin.

The bad: A few of those landings weren’t awesome; fell once.

Brooklee Han

Country: Australia (LOL no)

Screw this, Han was born and raised in the U.S.  Not Australian. I repeat: Not Australian. Our first carpetbagger of the night. I wonder if she can she compete for US after this in other Olympics, if she qualifies?


The red thing looks a little adult, like a weird abbreviated evening gown from 1994. It’s the v-shaped jeweled choker element. I know the French braid is a figure skating classic – reminds me of watching Nancy Kerrigan back in the day – but I like how clean it is.


This music – it reminds me of the Anne of Green Gables soundtrack.

Weir: A lot of people chose “pretty princess” music.

Lipinski, paraphrased: People play songs on repeat if it gets them going for jumps, etc.

Weir: What was that song you used to play?

Lipinksi: Pulp Fiction.



Fun fact: Brooklee is a violinist and an equestrienne, and now I feel inferior.  For lack of better way to put it, she’s a very emotional skater. You can tell she’s a musician because she really seems to get inside the music, though Weir feels like she’s just connecting jumps. Fall count: 1, I think?

Gabrielle Daleman

Country: Canada


The costume is very  Jasmine from Aladdin. I like it, even if it sort of reminds me of the middriff-baring prom dresses that people wore in the early 2000s. It’s a nice color. Sort of a peacock feather thing going on.I don’t know how I feel about this thing where the tights go over the skates so it looks like you’re barefoot but with enormous, deformed bladed feet. I sort of want them to bring back the classic white skates a la Sonja Henie. But I also know that if your feet and legs are the same color you get a longer line – that’s why so many short women are told to wear flesh-colored shoes – so I get it.


Polynesian Dances


It’s her first international event as a senior skater. Yet, she has an older feel than a lot of the skaters out there. No, she doesn’t look old for her age, but she looks more athletic and less willow-y and gawky than some of the kiddos out there. Gabrielle does NOT look happy with that performance. Just noticed she had jewels at the corner of her eyes. Cute.

Should we count how many times they say “kiss and cry?”

Elisaveta Ukolova

Country: Czech Republic

…however, she was born in Russia. Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore?


Lipinski: She’s starting with a very pretty dress.

And she is, really – floral beading. A nice change. But talk about old-school – I spy a scrunchie! Wow. I think scrunchies have survived in skating, dance and cheerleading long after they died in the real world. I’m not even opposed, but I don’t like the red scrunchie with the dark blue dress.


It starts with a really fun swing number, but then it transitions to a slower classical thing. It was a weird transition and frankly I’m not feeling it. One or the other, you know? It was fun to start with something up-tempo and a little different, like Polina did in her short skate (which I loved). Then it transitions back into swing. Hmmm. I see why she did this for figure skating purposes but I’m not into it.


Elisaveta fell on the triple loop. “Most beautiful technique” as she bursts into the air on her jumps. But, “sort of tripping,” says Lipinski. She fell again, and had trouble getting going after it (to me anyway). Very “meh” says Weir, because with her music she should be more ebullient. I agree. “A rough skate,” says Lipinski.

Anne Line Gjersem

Country: Norway

Why are people from Scandinavian countries so good-looking? Is it the high standard of living and healthy food? Seriously this kid is so pretty. First skater from Norway in 50 years, which is surprising to me on account of all of their ice.


I love this! It’s sort of magenta and pink, and looks very youthful and modern, for a skate costume. It’s sequined all over, but doesn’t have so many patches of heavy sequinning. With West Side Story the obvious choice would have been a white dress like Maria wears in I Feel Pretty, but the bright young number is kind of evocative of the red/pink the character wears in a lot of productions.


West Side Story “Everyone is expecting to see some West Side Story, and it’s just not happening.” – Lipinski. “She’s putting it to use, but there’s no connection between her face, her body, and this music playing over the loud speaker.” Personally, I’m just excited to hear a musical score that’s not Les Miserables.


I loved some of her quicker transitions between moves. She’s “really struggling on the flying camel spin,” according to someone who knows. “A little skirt ruffling, Johnny.” “A little cha-cha.” Felt like watching her work, instead of a performance, according to Weir.

Nicole Rajicova

Country: Slovakia (by way of USA)

Okay, but just so we’re clear, Nicole is from Long Island. So, I’m pretty sure that whoever wins, America really wins. However, my grandmother was Slovak and you really only hear about Slovakia during the Winter Olympics, so I like this girl. Nicole is totally trying to up her Slovak factor by changing her name from Rojik to Rojikova (in Eastern Europe surnames are gendered, but obviously once families immigrate to English-speaking countries, they drop this for logistical reasons).


Sort of a black and red Flamenco thing, complete with red flower in her hair. Dramatic, not what I’d have chosen with her coloring, but I like that she didn’t go with the classic “I’m an angelic ice princess” look.


Sassy classical? A little bit of a tango thing going on maybe? It’s different but not SO different. I like it.


She fell early on (they all seem to fall on that first big element, if they’re going to fall), but otherwise she had a lot of really graceful and clean landings. I think there was another wobble in there. Lipinski and Weir thinks she’s too in her head about it, thinking about what she has to do next. I do NOT like this one move she does when she just sort of picks up one foot to waist level for a second, like “hey, look at my heel!” Lipinski and Weir were NOT into it.

Kaetlyn Osmond

Country: Canada

“Skating is so popular in Canada, it’s amazing there haven’t been more champions,” the commentators say. “Every girl figure skates, every boy plays hockey.” If we’re playing the Canadian Stereotypes game, after all of the ice sports they then all go to Tim Hortons, where Mayor Ford is mid-crack binge, pay with a few loonies and toonies, then drive their snowmobile home to catch a few episodes of Degrassi. And they do it all so politely.


She is “portraying Cleopatra, if it wasn’t apparent”, according to Weir. It wasn’t, so thanks. Still, it’s a nice maroon dress with a lot of gold happening on the back.


The kind of heavily horn-sectioned classical that seems like it’s from an epic movie soundtrack.


She does a few Cleopatra-ish hand things, so that’s cool. There’s one fall, but also a lot of beautiful soaring elements. The choreography is more narrative and sassy than a lot of what we’ve seen so far.

Hey. What if we all just settled on one spelling of Caitlin and everyone had to use that from now on? Could we all just do that?

Elene Gedevanishvili

Country: Georgia

Underdog country! But, she’s lived in Russia, Canada, the US, etc to change coaches, although she was born in Georgia. Elene moved to Russia to skate but her mother was deported after Georgia-Russia tensions escalated.


It sort of looks like an ethnic Eastern European costume you’d see on a figure skating version of a Madame Alexander doll. Black brocade bodice, red skirt. Nice.


Evidently Elene carefully selects her music. Unsurprisingly, it falls into the “dramatic classical” category.


I really like the quickness of this piece. Just, really strong balletic connections between elements. However, the commentators feel like she “checked out mentally” after her first fall. I do not like how she came out of her last spin. They don’t like her attitude.

Kim Haejin

Kim Haejin actually has a normal number of legs.

Country: South Korea


Black, silver sequins, not the most interesting but pretty. She was doing a “black swan” thing so it worked, but could have been more dramatic. Evidently since the movie, more skaters are skating as the black swan than the white swan. Cool.


Swan Lake. “Her idol, Yuna Kim recommended it for her.” Guys, I want to talk about Yuna. She sounds like such a good supporter of the other South Korean skaters – really positive and encouraging, like a figure skating Amy Poehler. I like her. Like, Yuna doesn’t sound like that girl who would say “oh, that music would be GREAT for you” or, I don’t know, “your ass looks AWESOME in those jeans,” when it’s not true, just to sabotage you.


One really, really bummer fall where she hits the boards. She recovers well, and seems like a really athletic skater. Beautiful spins.

Kanako Murakami

Country: Japan

The Japanese skaters seem to have a really nice camaraderie. Kanako wore a blazer from teammate Mao Asada, an idol of hers, to her high school entrance ceremony. This is what I love about figure skating, Kerrigan-Harding stuff aside. Unlike in team sports, members of each country’s team are in essence competing against each other, so it’s heartening to see this level of support. You even see skaters from other countries commending each other’s performances on TV and twitter.


The one black mesh arm is fine, actually. Love the violet and black. Love the lightly sequined back. Do NOT love the odd crucifix/dagger/saber thing that’s sequined onto the waist. At all.


Very typical string-heavy classical. Hey, if it ain’t broke…


She does a “smack and nod” on the boards before going out to skate. Cute. “Nicely done,” according to Lipinski, and I agree. It was a mostly clean skate, very graceful. The judges agree. One spin looked under-rotated, but closer examination revealed that it wasn’t.

Zhang Kexin

Country: China


I guess black and red are THE thing this year? A little gray in there too. No complaints. A lot of sequins, but I really like that during spins.


It’s the floaty, stringy classical again.


WOW her jumps are beautiful. They look really high for someone who looks like a pretty short lady. She does a few slower spins, and I don’t know if those fare as well as the speedy ones in scoring, but it’s lovely. The commentators think she sort of “throws her arms around,” so I guess she’s more of an element skater and less of a dancer. You get bonus points (there’s a more technical word for it) for jumps in the second half of the program, and she gets them. They think she’s “too relaxed” and “marking her program, not performing it,” and I do see what they’re saying but I also really like her looseness and ease. In a classic Weir analogy, he says the performance is like “eating cavier every day” because you get accustomed to the amazing jumps. She seems a bit under-scored.

Mao Asada

Country: Japan


My personal favorite! A blue/violet/indigo/magenta feathery number.


Piano-heavy classical.


Asada was supposed to be a contender, but is 16th place going into this skate. This may be her farewell performance. It’s a great one to go out on. “She has a quick snap about her today,” says Lipinski. Mao triple axels like a boss. It’s just so FUN to watch her skate. Everything she does looks easy, even though today I was struggling just to make it across an icy parking lot without falling so clearly it isn’t. THIS is what I was talking about when I said that I like watching people succeed. It’s just so satisfying to watch everything go right. She hits every jumping pass. Crowd goes wild. She looks heartbroken, because even this perfect skate can’t make up for yesterday’s. If you’ve missed it, Asada has the ultimate human interest story in the skating event. She lost her mother while she was out of the country and couldn’t make it back home in time.


During the long resurfacing break between the second and third sets, I switched over to the Women’s Hockey final. Go USA! I almost started to tear up a bit when one of the hockey players talked about her disappointment when she realized that women didn’t play professional hockey, and her resolve to become an Olympic hockey player instead. Ughhh.

Apropos of nothing: when I was a little kid, I wanted to be the girl who skates around after a figure skating competitor, picking up the teddy bears and flowers that people throw onto the ice. I always did know how to dream mediocre.

Li Zijun

Country: China


You know, since this is the first cotton-candy girly pink skate dress we’ve seen, it looks really pleasantly surprising. She’s skating as Coppelia, so it’s fitting.


Coppelia, of course.


Zijun is selling the theme routine, because before they announced what she was doing, I saw her stiff arm movements and thought “hey, she’s doing Coppelia!” She’s a good jumper and very sprightly and girlish on the ice. The commentators would like it to build a bit more through the program – a bit bigger and more exuberant. She is a touch restrained.

Mae Berenice Meite

Country: France

Why does the English name Bernice sound so blah, when the French Berenice is so pretty?


Oh my goodness! This whole time I’ve been wondering “what if somebody just showed up in pants?” And then Mae did it! Leave it to a French lady to show some sartorial restraint. Didn’t Surya Bonaly compete in pants one time too? It’s actually a bit risky because judges don’t love when skaters go off-book. Weir loves the shoulders and thinks the pants work on her. Sort of a “Lady Gaga/Beyonce” structure to the body suit, according to Lipinski. I think she has the first funky nails I’ve seen, too. I like this lady.


The kind of smooth electric guitar that would play in the steamy scene of a tv movie from the early 90s. ZZ Top ends up in there. A potentially distracting number of music edits, say the commentators.


Mae falls on a triple loop. The music goes into a more rock-ish, clappy section, and the skating picks up a bit. Mae has some sassy choreo in there, and some high jumps as well. I’ve never seen a skater look so casual about landing such beautiful spins.

Akiko Suzuki

Country: Japan


Pastel, flowery, heavily sequined bodice. It’s gorgeous.


Very music box sounding. Perfect with the costume. It picks up into a rapid violin/ orchestral movement, then that unmistakable Phantom Of The Opera riff and a flowy string rendition of ‘Think of Me.” Phantom is probably second only to Les Mis as the most-used musical score in figure skating.


Akiko is a delicate, graceful skater. Her jumping passes don’t go so well – she falls once. Akiko is very expressive and does an excellent job of coordinating her face, and the amount of force with which she skates, to the music. Some of these skaters seem more like artists and some seem more like athletes. Akiko is a dancer. Her closing spin is fantastic.

Valentina Marchei

Country: Italy


Diaphonous black number with a ruffly neck. The skirt is slightly longer and it’s more adult than a lot of what we’ve seen. You know how Italian ladies (as in from Italy, not Italian-American) look so great when they’re in their 40s and 50s? Like, it’s a good thing there to look like a grown adult instead of a girl? Valentina’s definitely Italian in her wardrobe choices here. There are barely-detectable sparkles in her tights, which is a nice touch.


Nyah by Hans Zimmer


To go along with her costume, she starts with some moves that are … oddly sultry, for figure skating? I like that she sticks to the theme throughout the program. You see a lot of skaters open their program on some thematic choreography, only to drop it for a series of jumps later on. Marchei is definitely a performer. She’s more fun to watch than some of the flashier skaters.

Fun fact: at 27, this is Valentina’s first Olympics – how unusual is that in this sport? She has background as a speed skater and a gymnast, as well. The older I get, the more I root for the older figure skaters because it might be their last chance. Older is relative, of course — our oldest ladies are only  27 and 28.

Polina Edmunds

Country: USA

Flowy, asymettrical hemlined number in powdery-tealy-blue, with a nice jeweled neckline. It does a good job of making Polina look willowy and graceful – she has that look of a tall girl who only recently shot up and is still sort of gangly and gawky, but she can look pretty and lithe in the right clothes. She tends to go with more gussied-up hairstyles, but keeps it really sweet with pearls and jeweled flowers. I like it.


I can’t identify the first piece, but it segues into Vivaldi’s Spring movement from the Four Seasons. It feels cliche but I can’t remember the last time I actually heard it. She’s so young and innocent looking that it really suits her.


She starts off with a triple lutz-triple toe and some other combination that I can’t remember, except that it was beautiful. I can’t imagine being 15 and getting on the ice and doing anything other than puking (and falling, of course) but I see no nerves from this girl – until she takes a little tumble. Otherwise, she looks great. Her stage mom trained her well.

Does she remind anyone else of Emma Nelson from the earlier seasons of Degrassi?

And do this many people usually fall? It used to seem like a disaster that happened once in a great while, but it doesn’t even seem serious now – almost everyone has.

Nathalie Weinzierl

Country: Germany


A vivid, indigo-blue dress. The color seriously suits her.


Rhapsody in Blue? Yes! I like this! I get what she was doing with that costume. Some dude on the twitter feed calls it “the United airlines song” and I’ll take his word for it. I fly a lot of Southwest and Jet Blue, myself.


So, the jumps were a little glitchy, but the girl can spin. Weir thinks she has an “old-fashioned” jumping technique, and I’ll take his word for it. It was sort of just okay.

Yulia Lipnitskaya

Country: Russia


Red coat, because… well, you’ll see when we get to music.


Schindler’s List. There we go.


After a disappointing short skate, Yulia has to bring it here. I think this girl really deserves the buzz. I obviously don’t know much about skating, but I know who is and isn’t fun to watch. She isn’t just technically talented, she’s graceful and expressive as well. The crowd erupts when she lands the jump she missed in the short program. Oh no… she takes a heck of a tumble toward the end of the program. As always, she’s the best spinner out there. This was good, but not like what we saw from her at the team competition. I feel guilty, in a sort of a Hunger Games-y way, for getting entertainment out of an event that’s so much pressure on such really young kids. Her face when it ends just kills me. I know the skaters are here because they WANT to be here, but still.

Not gonna lie, Lipinski sounds a touch relieved that her spot as the youngest gold medalist might be safe. Yulia is first after her skate, but there is some big-time competition coming up.

Carolina Kostner

Country: Italy


Like her Italian compatriot, Kostner wears a sleek black number that says “I am a 27-year-old grown-ass woman. Move over children.”


Bolero. Whatever, I love it.


That was a hell of a skate to go out on! She keeps landing these jumps coming down on angles where I think she can’t possibly nail it, but she does every time. There’s a great joy and musicality to her program, especially after the jumping passes are out of the way. I don’t know what it is about this performance over the other ones, but I almost tear up a bit because you can see that she’s just out there pouring everything into this, and enjoying it. Damn, girl. Ya did good.

Fun fact: Carolina’s father was an Italian hockey player.

NOPE. As she leaves the ice her coach says “now do you believe in yourself?” and at this point the tears are real. She takes the lead and beats her personal best.

Adelina Sotnikova

Country: Russia


Dusty lavender with gold. A sort of Downton Abbey color combo. There’s some weird geometric stuff going on with the sequins.


Slower violins, moving into a rondo.


As we move further into the competition, you can see why these top skaters – Costner, Gold, and yes, even Sotkonikova – are the ones we keep hearing about. There’s just such a distinct difference between these later sets and the earlier ones. Less falling, for one thing. But more than that, these higher-scored skaters are so skilled at combining rhythm, grace, expression, story AND fancy jumps. It’s not just a string of lutzes. Adelina falters a bit after one jump but overall it is one heck of a satisfying program to watch. Her rotations are so darn quick! It’s even more fun once the jumping passes end and she can showboat a little, even seeming to encourage the crowd to clap. Adelina, like Carolina, is having fun out there. You can see it. The hometown crowd loves her. Holy crap, Adelina is only 17.

The lead is hers now. MAN. I think in the last group of skaters we can just get used to a lot of turnarounds. Do I think she was THAT far ahead of Costner? I guess I don’t know enough to judge that. There could be a home-court advantage, though Adelina was certainly good.

Gracie Gold

Country: USA


The girl knows what works for her. The ice blue and silver sequins, with her blond hair, is the perfect figure skating Grace Kelly look.


Sleeping Beauty


Gracie Gold – who, as every news outlet must note, has the best possible name for a figure skater – is graceful. Again, very easy to see the difference between this performance and the lower-scored competitors. But SHOOT. She falls. “Ouch,” says the commentator. “Ouch,” says the audience. “Whatever,” says Gracie, who continues to skate beautifully after it. But after the last two skaters, it’s clear that the fall is going to keep her out of the top spot.

Ashley Wagner

Country: USA

Could Ashley Wagner look any more like an Ashley? Man.


Wagner has said that she likes to skate as a character, and she’s going as Delilah. She explained that she went with yellow because it’s the most eye-catching color, and that it is. She’s a bit more “adult” than a lot of the kiddos out on the ice, so the skimpier costume works for her.


Samson and Delilah


By this point you probably heard that, if the US Team had been selected based on the Nationals (as it usually is), Wagner wouldn’t be on the team. There was some talk that Wagner was chosen because she’s a crowd favorite with some pretty serious endorsements, but the official line is that she was chosen because, other than Nationals, she was the strongest skater in the US. I really really want them to be right, so I hope she does awesome out there.

It’s good. The jumps are good, the spins are good, the character is evident, and it seems like Ashley’s having a blast. It’s not quite as clean as some of the other performances we’ve seen, but very good. She’s in 6th. Not as good as I’d hoped, but I’ll never be 6th best in the world at anything. But I bet when you are the sixth best in the world at something, all you can think is how close it is to first, but also how far.

Yuna Kim

Country: South Korea


A two-tone maroon (oxblood? magenta?) and black number. It’s nice, but not distractingly so. I like the clean, high neckline.


Piano-heavy jazzy classical. Some accordion (???) later on.


Beautiful. Even the Russian crowd is into it, and it’s seemed like they were trying to hold back their enthusiasm after Adelina skated so well. So clean and crisp! I have not seen anyone transition so quickly between jumps. The commentators say that it was “tight,” and once again I’ll take their word.

Okay — not enough for gold. The crowd is going insane. Our medalists are:

(1)Adelina Sonokava

(2) Yuna Kim

(3) Carolina Kostner

I cannot even be disappointed that the United States didn’t medal. All of the medalists were amazing. Adelina was a bit of an underdog after Yulia’s strong showing in the team competition. Yuna Kim proved why she is considered one of the best in the world. Carolina Kostner was possibly my favorite to watch – a really joyful skater.  The first ever Russian gold in ladies figure skating – in Russia. That was awesome.

Passing the Pickle: Preparing for Seth Meyers’ Late Night Debut

It started as a gift from Late Night creator David Letterman to his successor Conan O’Brien in 1993. Conan then gave it to Jimmy Fallon, and a few weeks ago, Jimmy gave it to Seth Meyers.

Yes, that is a giant pickle. A ceremonial torch, if you will (it all comes back to the Olympics, folks). When Conan gifted the odd item to Jimmy in 2009, he left a note that said, “Whenever you’re done, which won’t be for a long time, make sure you pass it on to the next sap. Knock ’em dead. Conan.”

With that, Seth became the next Late Night host, but he officially makes his debut on Monday, and one thing’s for sure – we’ll be watching.

Now if you’re not too familiar with Seth’s work or doubt he’s going to do a good job, here are a few reasons why I think he’ll be able to hold on to the pickle for a long, long time (stop, that didn’t sound dirty at all).

He’s Charlie Rose meets Stephen Colbert meets less enthusiastic Jimmy Fallon

Here’s the thing about Seth – he’s the straight man. Everything you need to know about him shows in the past eight years he’s been doing Weekend Update. He’s obviously funny, knows how to deliver a joke, but he’s smart – like intelligent smart. He’s into politics and can make a good joke about current events and then tell you in detail what he’s joking about. So don’t expect him to come out dancing with Justin Timberlake or singing with Bruce Springsteen. It’s a different kind of funny than his Late Night predecessor, and it’s a welcome one. The Fallon/Meyers duo will attract similar yet different audiences, but that’s exactly what NBC needs to draw in more viewers.

He knows how to bring the funny to interviews

You’ve seen him with Stefon (which is obviously scripted) but with real people, he has the goods too. Just watch him practice during a recent sit down with Ellen. And keep an eye out for Kanye – he’ll be a guest during Seth’s first week.

He can make politicians laugh

As previously mentioned, Seth is up on the world of politics. So much so that he was even tapped as the host of the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011. Basically it’s a chance for a comedian to spout out jokes in FRONT of the politicians they make fun of. It’s great. But if you can make them laugh, you’re doing a good job.

He can make athletes laugh

Because Seth is a well-rounded individual, he’s not only smart and up with politics but he’s a sports fan too. And that’s why he was invited to be the host of the ESPYs. Just look at all those athletes who could easily beat him up but choose not to because they know he’s funny and probably speaking the truth.

Fred Armisen as his bandleader

Happy Thanksgiving from Garth and Kat!

Guys. GUYS. FRED ARMISEN IS THE LEADER OF THE STUDIO 8G BAND. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. Before Fred graced us with his presence on SNL in 2002, he was a total rocker. In 1988 he was in a punk rock band called *Trenchmouth* and even played the drums for the Blue Man Group in Chicago in the ’90s. He showed his musical chops throughout his tenure on SNL, with characters like Fericito (one of my early faves), Ian Rubbish, and probably one of my all-time fave characters, Garth and Kat. Basically Lorne Michaels is slowly taking over NBC, and it’s fine.

A+ Writers/Crew

Listen up, nerds: this writing staff is great already and I haven’t even heard a single joke from them. Everyone on the staff has an impressive resume from Upright Citizens Brigade to Colbert Report to The Onion and of course, SNL. Namely, executive producer Mike Shoemaker (aka Shoe, aka former Jimmy Fallon & SNL producer aka guys who is friends with all the people I want to be friends with) Alex Baze (Weekend Update, Jimmy Fallon and now Head Writer for Seth), and John Lutz (from 30 Rock’s Lutz). Well played, Seth Meyers. Well played.

A+ Guests

The first week alone, Seth’s got some pretty solid guests. It’s very ‘Late Night worthy’ if that makes any sense. So there’s Kanye, writer Robyn Doolittle (Toronto Star reporter who wrote a bio about Rob Ford – see, politics, current events, etc.) Lena Dunham, Anthony Mackie (who is like Will Smith 2.0 in interviews), Kelly Ripa, John Mayer Trio (The Trio is back!), and Sir Ian McKellen & Patrick Stewart together!

But the guests I’m most excited about? His very first guest – Amy Poehler.

(If you’re new to this blog please refer to this post, this post and this post for our thoughts on Poehler) These two are best buds from back in the day, even before they co-anchored Weekend Update. Anytime they’re together, it’s like watching besties hang out and I cannot WAIT until he interviews her. Wouldn’t you want one of your closest friends to help you out on the first night of the biggest job in your life?

But wait – it gets better. The second guest on his show? VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES JOE BIDEN.

I CANNOT EVEN DEAL WITH THIS AMAZINGNESS. It’s Leslie Knope’s dream come true and it’s all happening IRL with Amy being on her BFF’s new talk show. Too much to handle, brain is already exploding.

In short, you should probably watch Late Night with Seth Meyers, because it’s gonna be good. If you don’t like it, wait a week and come back to me. If you don’t like it after that – we can’t be friends.

Good luck Seth! We’re rooting for you!!

Some People Just Look Better In Glasses

Even before I wore glasses, I was a glasses person. As in, during my second grade eye exam, I tried to fudge the results so I could get a pair [word to the wise: they can tell when you do that]. So, when years of higher education and internet addiction finally caught up with me, I wasn’t too bummed that I finally needed a prescription. Far from the dorky glasses stereotypes, I’ve found that I get more compliments on days when I wear my glasses. This just confirmed what I already knew — some people just look better in glasses.

Take, for instance, the following celebrities. They all look great with two eyes, but even better with four. For our fellow glasses-wearers, we’re also including our picks for which frames we’d recommend to our favorite bespectacled celebs – or just those of us who would like to look like them.

Zooey Deschanel

Our pick: Walker in Canton Blue from Warby Parker’s Spring 2014 Collection

Glasses are a staple in Zooey’s adorkable persona, and with her quirky, old-school sense of style we think she’d look awesome in these fun, colorful frames.

Idris Elba

um sorry rando girl, no one’s looking at you…

Our pick: Preston in Red Canyon from Warby Parker’s Palm Canyon Collection

 Smooth, sophisticated, and intelligent … and the glasses look really nice, too.

Tina Fey

Our Pick: Finch in Grenadine from Warby Parker’s Spring 2014 Collection

The petroleum industry owes Tina Fey a lot of money, because demand for plastic probably increased like crazy after she started wearing her black frames behind the Update desk. We’re sticking with her slight cat’s eye shape, but switching to a bolder color that we don’t think is too over-the-top for a no-nonsense funny lady.

Rashida Jones

Our pick: Duckworth in Revolver Black Matte from Warby Parker’s Palm Canyon Collection

Rashida really has fun with her glasses – she’s even been seen in some awesome clear plastic frames – but if you like her slim black frames, this is what we suggest. You still get the feel of the ever-popular chunky black frame, but in a size that won’t overwhelm smaller features.

Hilary Duff

Our pick: Kimball in Marzipan Tortoise from Warby Parker’s Spring 2014 collection.

How great are Hilary’s bold tortoiseshell frames? I think tortoiseshell looks great on everyone, but as a pale redhead I especially appreciate how the lighter tones are more forgiving on my complexion.  Like Hilary’s glasses, these ones have an exaggerated tortoise pattern for those of you who want marbled frames but don’t want to look like your grandpa.

Andy Samberg


Our pick: Burke in Sugar Maple from Warby Parker Spring 2014

If you have a narrower face like Andy, you may be tempted to go for teeny-tiny frames, but you actually have a great face to show off oversized, 70s-throwback specs.

Ryan Gosling

Our pick: Seymour in Whiskey Tortoise  from Warby Parker Spring 2014

I mean Ryan Gosling doesn’t need to ‘look better’, but I’m just saying he’s *that much* hotter with them on.

Donnie Wahlberg

Our pick: Winston in Cognac Tortoise from Warby Parker’s Palm Canyon Collection

See how these glasses have rectangular lenses and a slightly triangular nose? This is a great way to add some angularity to softer features without going all the way to being like “hey, I’m wearing shapes.”

Christina Hendricks

Our pick: Marcel in Plum Marblewood from Warby Parker’s Spring 2014 Collection

So, I do realize that Christina Hendricks and Joan Holloway-Harris (-Holloway again?) are two totally different people. Still, it’s hard to picture her in anything other than 60s style. For Christina, we’d go with frames with a 60s vibe (the slightly upturned corners) and a modern twist (an unexpected dipped bridge). We’re keeping her in multicolored frames (albeit subtle ones) – once again, a non-solid color is worth a try if you’re fair-skinned.

Of course, we couldn’t let the post go by without some gratuitous photos of our favorite glasses-wearing guys. We don’t really have any suggestions for these gents, except possibly that they wear their glasses more:

Justin Timberlake

Donald Glover

Matt Bomer

Anderson Cooper

Mid-Olympics Round Up: Bring Out The Tissues

We’re a little more than halfway through the 2014 Winter Olympics, so let’s check in on what’s happened so far. Obviously we can’t report on everything, but one of the main reasons I love the Olympics is that it is the one event in the world that gives everyone the opportunity to come together in one place and compete in the spirit of the common passion of sports. It’s a reminder that even if your home country is at political odds with another, at the core, we’re all humans, who have common goals, common dreams, common passion to be the best we can be.

So in saying that, I love hearing the stories behind the athletes – where they came from, how they got to where they are today, and most importantly anyone who’s embodied the Olympic spirit. Here are some of my favorites from the Games so far.

The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development  of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity

– Olympic Charter {x}

Paying it Forward: An American, A Canadian and a Russian

Russian cross country skiier Anton Gafarov had multiple – multiple – crashes on his skis during the semifinals, but decided to keep going on a broken ski despite the fact he had no chances of winning. On his last fall, his ski was literally in bits, but a man came running out with a new ski, took off the tattered one, replaced it with a fully functioning ski and the Russian went on his way. 

The catch: it wasn’t a member of Team Russia that helped him out, it was former American Olympian-turned-Canadian coach Justin Wadsworth who lent a hand. Justin’s wife, Canadian Beckie Scott, is also a skiier, and during the 2006 Games in Torino, Beckie’s relay partner Sara Renner was in a similar situation to Gafarov. She snapped her ski pole and was struggling to finish the race, until Norwegian coach Bjornar Haakensmoen came out and lent her a ski pole. Sara ended up taking home the silver, while the Norwegian skiiers took fourth.

What did Justin have to say about his act of kindness? “I wanted him to have dignity as he crossed the finish line.” Pay it forward indeed.

Sister, Sister: Tracy  & Lanny Barnes

Tracy Barnes overcame a feat many athletes strive to do, which is qualify to represent your country in the Olympics. She did so during the trials, but ultimately decided to give up her spot – to her twin sister Lanny.

Lanny came down with the flu during the Olympic trials, causing her to miss out on her chance to compete in Sochi. But after a lot of convincing, Lanny finally took Tracy up on her offer to take her spot in the Winter Games, just a month before heading to Russia. Tracy wasn’t even planning on attending the games, but her sponsor, Advanced International Technology, bought the plane ticket and Tracy was able to cheer Lanny on every step of the way. With a story of compassion like this, it doesn’t even matter she placed 64th.

Screenshot 2014-02-17 23.47.19

Flip Pride: Michael Christian Martinez

It’s fair to say the Philippines doesn’t have a large contingent representing them in the Winter Games. In fact, this year there is one man reppin the country of my people, and he is 17-year-old figure skater Michael Christian Martinez, and the first person from a southeast Asian country to rep in figure skating.

Michael grew up practicing in an indoor ice rink in one of Manila’s malls, essentially teaching himself how to skate by watching YouTube videos of Patrick Chan, a fellow Olympian and star Canadian figure skater, and Michael eventually won a spot to compete in the Olympics.

But in case you didn’t know, being a professional athlete can be expensive. His family was running low on funds – they even put a mortgage on their house in order to pay for his training, and after the destruction of Typhoon Haiyan last year, sending a kid to Russia for the Olympics wasn’t the first priority on the government’s ‘To Do’ list. That’s when the IOC (International Olympic Committee) stepped in and provided funds through its Solidarity program, which provides aid to athletes who need financial assistance to go to the Games.

Michael made his way to Sochi and during the practice rounds, he got a little help from his idol, Patrick Chan, who decided to take him under his wing and give him a few pointers. Thanks to Michael’s perseverance, faith and hard work, he managed to place 19th in the qualifying rounds. That means he is in the top 24 – making him eligible to compete for a medal on Friday. One thing for sure is that no matter what the end result is, he’s going home a winner.

Dust Yourself Off And Try Again: Jeremy Abbott

One of the most admirable things about Olympians and athletes in general is that they’re stubbornly unflinching in their craft. In other words: they don’t give up. Clearly it takes years and non-stop training to get to a place like the Olympics, so it is absolutely necessary to have that drive which keeps you going.

And this was proven by figure skater Jeremy Abbott last Thursday during the men’s short program. The 28-year-old American was one of the favorites going into the competition, but on his very first jump (a quadruple toe loop-triple toe for those in the skating know), he landed horribly wrong, slamming his hip on the ice, and consequently bouncing into the boards. See this gif for all its agonizing glory:

Abbott was on the ice grabbing his hip and wincing in pain for a good 15 seconds and just as it looked like he was about to have the medics come over, he stunned the entire arena and got back on his feet and picked up his routine. The Russian crowd went wild, even clapping and cheering him on throughout the rest of his performance, and he flawlessly executed the rest of his jumps and spins and axels and sochows (sp?).

He finished 15th out of 29 skaters, but it was that camaraderie and support that everyone in the crowd gave him that will be unforgettable for years to come.

Cool Runnings: The Jamaican Bobsled Team

We all know the story (or at least seen the classic 1993 movie) about a group of men from Jamaica who make their unlikely debut in the Winter Olympics in the quest for gold. This year, two-man team Winston Watt and Marvin Dixon qualified for the Olympics, the first since 2002. However they did not have an easy time getting to Sochi.

First off, like Michael Christian Martinez, funds were low. They had to raise money just to get to Russia, so they turned to a crowdfunding website and raised more than $120,000 in just two days. And then once they got there – they couldn’t even train in the sliding center because of lost luggage. Winston and Marvin arrived in Sochi before all their sliding gear and were forced to miss out on their first practice runs.

Luckily, all their gear arrived, but not so luckily, the Jamaicans weren’t able to pull a Cool Runnings at the 2014 Olympics. They came in last place.

The Veteran: Bode Miller

Bode Miller isn’t a n00b to the Olympics. In fact, if you’ve been following the Olympics at all over the past 10 years, you know he’s one of the best in the sport. In fact, he’s the most decorated U.S. skier in Olympic history, with six career medals, including his latest in Sochi.

So here’s the low down on 36-year-old Bode. He won two silver medals in Salt Lake City (’02), went off the rails in Torino (’06) when he was favored to win, but failed to medal in any of his five events (and then went off on a weird tangent on partying and drinking, showing off douchebaggery galore and proving he’s the ‘bad boy of alpine skiing’). He returned to Vancouver in 2010 to win three medals, one in each color.

And that brings us to October 2012, when Bode married pro beach volleyball player Morgan Beck. Four months later in February 2013, his ex-girlfriend, Sara McKenna, gave birth to their son Samuel, his second child (because obviously he has another kid from a previous relationship). And then last April, his 29-year-old brother, Chelone, himself a Sochi Olympic hopeful in snowboard cross, died of an apparent seizure stemming from a previous accident.

And when Bode tied for third place in the Super G competition on Sunday, his bronze medal win proved to be extremely emotional. You may have seen that NBC Sports reporter Christin Cooper has taken a lot of heat for ‘pushing’ Bode to talk about his late brother, which brought him to tears. Both NBC and Bode have defended Christin, and to be honest, I have to agree. The interview was right after he won the medal and a lot of emotions were flying high, especially on his part, and she was just doing her job as a reporter.

Anyways, with everything Bode has gone through in the past decade, especially being the ‘bad boy’ of the sport, Sunday’s outpouring of emotion proved that again, he’s only human. Athletes and Olympians are just like us, and many of us can relate to have both the best AND the worst year of your life. Bode’s journey just happened to be projected on the world stage.

The Proper Age To Give Up Your Winter Olympic Dream

Remember watching the Olympics when you were a kid? There was a whole world of possibility! You could watch any sport and wonder whether maybe you had some innate gift for it and would be competing for your country in 20 years.

As you moved through your later childhood and teen years, your dreams had to die bit by bit. You’d realize that you weren’t even the best hockey player on your school’s team, or you’d fail to qualify for regionals in track. Maybe you shot up to a stocky 5’10 and realized you wouldn’t be much of a gymnast. Or maybe you didn’t get that far — maybe, by age 12 or so, you came to realize that you’re just … not athletic.

And yet, every two years – at the summer and winter Olympics – I start to get a little ahead of myself. Just like when I was five years old, I watch the events and wonder if maybe it’s not too late.

Well, friends, I’m here to kill those dreams. I’ve done a little research, and it looks like if you haven’t started most Winter Olympics events by a certain (usually young) age, you’ll never be using “next-level Tinder” in the Olympic village or wearing your country’s weird Cosby/teacher sweater in the Parade of Nations.

Obviously, there are exceptions to all of these. There really are savants who can take up a sport and be at a competitive level right away. There are also some people who are so preternaturally athletic that they’ll excel in any sport you throw at them. Of course, if you’re already skilled in a closely related sport, it’s also not that hard to take up a new one. Generally, though, there are timelines for these things:

Alpine Skiing, Freestyle Skiing, Ski Jumping

I guess with most downhill and … I don’t know, fancy, jump-y?… skiing events, it’s less the exact age that you start, and more that (1) you begin fairly young, and most importantly (2) you ski regularly when you’re young, not just on a once-annual ski vacation. Most Olympians started skiing – at least regular, bunny hill skiing – by the time they were six or seven. A skier could theoretically start later, but most Olympians came from skiing families and their parents weren’t going to wait until they were 11 to put them on the slopes.  Coming from a family that skis means that you got to ski regularly during your childhood – and definitely teen – years. A kid whose parents maybe took them to the slopes in sixth grade, then went once a year or so after that, just isn’t going to develop the necessary skills.

Cross Country Skiing, Biathlon, Nordic Combined

The great thing about cross-country skiing is that even very young children can start. It’s tougher than it looks, and competitive-level cross country skiing has massive energy demands and uses pretty much every muscle group. That being said, a very athletically inclined, very fit person could probably begin cross country skiing and move up the competitive ranks even if he or she started in early adulthood – if they were the very rare case, and put a ton of time and effort into it. If you’re interested, the US Ski Team website can point you to USSA Clubs that will introduce you to recreational and competitive Nordic skiing. At the very least, you’ll pick up a fun hobby and work on your fitness.


If you’ve followed the US bobsled team this year, you know that track star Lolo Jones joined the team after beginning training just last year. Of course, she falls into the “preternaturally athletic” category, so … you know. But I bet you’ve also seen Cool Runnings, right? If not, what were you doing in the 90s? Find it on Netflix or get it at your local library. Please. Those guys were from Jamaica – so, you know, not the snowiest – and began practicing on dry land. However, like Miss Jones, these fellas were pretty athletic to start with. The real problem with bobsled (bobsleigh, I guess?) is opportunity. You probably don’t have the equipment, training, climate, or local interest to start. But if you can get together all of those things, and are already a strong, fast person, and ideally have citizenship in a country that’s not very competitive about winter sports, you just might make it.


Curling is the one sport that all of us can look at and think “yep, I can do it.” Truly, you could start curling at a pretty advanced age and make it to the Olympics. It’s not a sport that relies on the sprightliness of youth, and the physical demands don’t require years of conditioning. Nevertheless, there is a certain skill to curling, and it will take a while to develop the knack for it. If you join a local curling club and get serious about it, curling is a sport that doesn’t necessitate childhood training. That doesn’t mean that anyone can do it – just that if you’re going to be good at it, you can start as a grown-up.

Figure Skatingtumblr_n0sqxsYNw41rtfj70o4_400

Are you old enough to be reading this post? Like, your mom isn’t reading it aloud to you because you’re still getting Hooked on Phonics? Then you’re probably too old for this one. Most figure skaters took to the ice by – at the latest – upper elementary school (and that’s only if they’re really, naturally good at it). It’s a sport that can put a lot of wear on you, which is why you don’t see a lot of figure skaters competing after their late 20s or early 30s. By their teens, most serious figure skaters are putting in early mornings on the rink, and possibly getting home schooled. True story: when both my sister and I expressed interest in figure skating, my dad brushed us off with “okay, but you’d have to move to Texas to do it.” Why Texas? Who knows. We only wanted to skate for fun, but if you’re a serious competitor, you could easily move cities or states for the sport once you’re in high school. The only scenario I could see where someone could start figure skating in late childhood or early teens is if they already were already a very solid regular skater, and were skilled in dance, acrobatics, or gymnastics besides. And frankly, even that is a stretch.

Ice Hockeytumblr_mjc9a6Ttru1qzlfumo1_500

Take it from someone who lives in the cold, white north: most competitive hockey players get really serious, really young. Most hockey players start to skate when they’re really little, and are on teams by the late-single digits. Frequently, hockey players will join competitive regional club teams rather than their high school team. Of course, there can be exceptions. A very good team athlete – maybe at field hockey or soccer – who also knows how to skate very well could maybe join their high school team and get pretty good. That would be a rare case indeed, though. A kid will usually be competing pretty seriously by junior high. However, most of those rag-tag kiddos in The Mighty Ducks hadn’t put on skates before, and they were competing against the best hockey teens in the world, so who knows?

Luge and Skeleton

Sad yet true sign of my misspent college years: while watching the luge competition, I thought to myself “hey, this is just like an ice luge! But with humans!” Then I realized that I’m an idiot. According to the United States Luge Association, there are many levels of team participation, with hundreds of athletes trying out every year. It is best for kids to start luge by age 10, and it generally takes about 8-10 years to develop skills to compete at the international level. British athlete Lizzy Yarnold recently said that you cant start bobsleigh or skeleton until age 16. Evidently skeleton star Amy Williams didn’t begin until she was 19 or 20. The skill set just isn’t as fine-tuned as that for luge.


What I said of skiing is basically true for snowboard. Most athletes start young and practice regularly. The only difference here is that, at least in the past, a lot of snowboarders would start with skiing as kids, then go into snowboard later in their teens, already having developed the center of gravity to, um, get down a mountain okay. That’s changed a bit, and more and more people have begun snowboarding in childhood. Still, a very talented skier could begin boarding as a teen, turn out to have a gift for it, and be at international level by their 20s. In theory. Sometimes. Once again, hitting the slopes twice a year will not get you there.

Speed Skating

In countries where speed skating is a big deal (Hello, Netherlands. You’re made of canals), kids start on the ice practically right after they learn how to walk. If you’re from a less speed skating-heavy country, and are already a darn good skater thanks to figure skating, hockey, or just lots of practice and natural talent, you could put off competing until a little later. Speed skating is a sport of the young, though – the “masters” level starts at age 30. Ouch.

In conclusion, at least there’s still curling, right?