2018 Winter Olympics Drinking/ Exercise Game

There’s nothing like the Winter Olympics to remind you that you are not, in fact, an elite athlete. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun… or work on your fitness. If you’re having a raucous Olympics party, A) invite us and B) feel free to play the drinking game version (responsibly, and without driving, and you can use water). If you’re feeling a little less-than fit watching all of these grade A humans, dip into our exercise game instead!

One Sip OR One Set of Mountain Climbers (* A set is what you say is a set!)

You wouldn’t know what the event was called if they didn’t tell you, but it could be described as going down a mountain.

You wouldn’t know what the event was called if they didn’t tell you, but it could be described as doing tricks on snow.

You wouldn’t know what the event was called if they didn’t tell you, but it could be described as doing tricks on ice.

NBC kindly lets us know about The Grinch, a movie coming out in a year, or Mamma Mia, a movie coming out in some months.

You find yourself trying to do what the athlete just did in your living room (turns out I can only land a single lutz in my socks)

You spy an athlete’s parent or significant other.

You cry.


One Huge Gulp OR One Set Of Bicep Curls

An Olympian is tenuously connected to your hometown (e.g., grandparents live there, went to college for a few semesters, etc).

Rachel Platten and/or Fight Song.

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You see the Korean Handmaid Cheerleaders.

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An Olympian has a personal mascot (e.g., Hanyu with Pooh),

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An athlete collapses to the earth after finishing.

Johnny Weir’s outfit is extra even for him.

You see the Olympic mascotImage result for pyeongchang mascot

You ship it.

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Take a Shot OR One Set Of Bicycle Crunches

An Olympian is from your hometown, for real.

A Russian is of such a higher caliber than the other athletes that it feels like they’re doing a different sport.

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A competitor has what you, personally, consider a baby name. So all those toddlers named Mikaela grew up over the past twenty years?

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Yep. Definitely a grownup.

The announcer is so fired up that they’re shouting like their house just exploded.

There’s innuendo about the Olympic Village.

You see the Korean Handmaid Cheerleaders’ minder.

You’re watching at a time that you consider totally bonkers.


Pour A Little Out For Your Favorite Team/Athlete Who Was Robbed OR Sun Salute

An Olympian is over age 30.

An Olympian who’s roughly your peer is now the commentator.

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Leslie Jones sighting

A commentator says the exact opposite of whatever you just said about the event.

The human interest footage includes clips of the athlete doing their sport as an adorable little tot.

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A competitor has a sibling who is also competing in the games.

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The human interest footage tries to make the athlete seem like just a normal person (like an average teen, family man, grad student, etc).

An Olympian is not actually from the country they represent.

Scandinavian Olympians and coaches are knitting.

Chug OR Two Sets Of Burpees

An Olympian is over age 40

The commentators repeat whatever you just said

An Olympian has a sibling who is also competing in the games… for a different country.

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An Olympian is not actually from the country they represent AND their connection to the country is something you, personally, consider pretty weak (e.g, it’s where their husband is from).

There’s a team from a counter-intuitive country (e.g., Jamaican bobsled)

There’s a competitor who clearly isn’t qualified to be there (this “Hungarian” “skiier”)



Adam Rippon, America’s Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone, but most especially to America’s newest sweetheart, Adam Rippon!

If you have been following the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, you will already be familiar with Adam as the fiercest figure skater and ready-for-the-runway glamazon bitch, always ready with great eyebrows and a witty quip for Andrea and all of us.

If you haven’t, perhaps a little explanation is necessary.

Adam Rippon has been on the figure skating scene for a long while, but at 28 these are his first Olympics. Bummed we didn’t get to watch him in 2014? Don’t be. It’s the DGAF-ness that comes in your late 20s that makes Adam so endearing. You want examples? We’ve got examples, Valentines.

Let’s start with skating. If you missed this performance in the team event, get ready to have your heart ripped out of your chest and triple-axele double-toe double-looped across the ice. YouTube is I guess being very strict about Olympic vids but just go to NBC.

Also the scoring was a little garbage (in the words of Johnny Weir, first place skater Kolyada was “oatmeal”)  but we all know that figure skating’s scoring system needs work.

Adam’s not concerned, though. He came to play. And he’s going to celebrate later by going to Target, which is pretty darn relatable:

Adam has supporters all across the globe, but a few famous ones include Elmo:

And let’s not forget Reese Witherspoon, because all Adam wants to do is maker her proud. Olympic figure skaters, they’re just like us!

Reese was very proud indeed, and Adam dedicated the medal to his mom, “but more to [Reese] in a way, because she has more followers on Instagram”:

He calculates that Reese has probably spent, like, three minutes of her life composing tweets to him, which is a pretty big deal when you think of how busy she is with the next season of Big Little Lies and the spring Draper James collection, among other things.

Adam is Olympic roomies with Mirai Nagasu and their friendship is everything. They’ve been friends for a decade and during the 2014 Olympics they were eating hamburgers on a rooftop waiting for their time to shine.

I have seen brides and grooms watch their spouses walk down the aisle with less love and pride than Adam watches Mirai skate with.

Although every Olympian needs supporters, you know who the real motivators are: haters.


A few haters have reached out to Adam over Twitter, and our precious glamazon bitch ready for the runway has a few words for them:

My favorite thing about Adam, other than his sense of humor and general cheekbone situation, is his confidence. He encourages everyone to be who they are:

I mean. This is a man who skated after singing Rhianna’s Diamonds in an exhibition, and it was GOOD. He explained that he is always changing it up, “always trying to keep these bitches on their toes.”

Believe it or not, Adam is the FIRST openly gay athlete to qualify for the Winter Olympics. There have been other athletes who weren’t out at the time they competed, and this year’s Olympics also feature out skier Gus Kenworthy. They’re certified cuties:

In case you’re wondering if that tweet was directed at … anyone … in particular… the answer is of course, yes.

Mike Pence is in Pyeongchang ‘supporting’ the U.S. athletes, and also believes that you should shock gay kids into becoming straight sad gay kids. Does Adam have anything to say to Pence? Not particularly, no.


Basically, Adam is using his platform to raise the voice of others who are affected by Pence’s views – saying “right now I have a voice and I think it’s really important for me to use it” – but these Olympics aren’t about Pence. They’re about athletic, hard-working attractive people who are much funnier on social media … and being America’s sweetheart:

Adam has also used his platform to highlight the body image issues and disordered eating common among male athletes in the figure skating world.

Anyway, vice presidents aside, at the end of the day a gay athlete is just like a straight athlete with better eyebrows:


So, should YOU go to the Olympics? Adam highly recommends it if you ever have the option.

As for Valentines, I’m afraid Adam already has the best one in all of South Korea, saying “nobody loves me as much as I love me; so I guess I’ll just be my own Valentine tomorrow.”

On this February 14th, let’s remember the truly important thing:

Happiest of Valentine’s Days to our beloved runway-ready Glamazon Bitch.

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.

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?

1990s Figure Skaters: Where Are They Now

Figure skating will always be a sport of the 90s for me. First of all, you have a soundtrack of smooth soft-rock and soaring pop ballads for the routines. I know you can use modern or classical music, but when I think figure skating I think Celine Dion, or music from Beauty and the Beast.

Then, you have the sequined, fancy costumes. And finally, the shellacked hair, often with permed, hairsprayed bangs. Not to mention the pre-2000s pop culture nods to skating – Ice Castle, The Cutting Edge, this one episode of 90210 I probably wasn’t supposed to be watching.

Somehow, it’s been 20 years since many of these skaters first graced the ice. As part of our Sochi 2014 coverage, and in celebration of the most 90s-tastic sport ever, we present 90s Figure Skaters: Where Are they Now.

Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan was your classic, girl-next-door skating champ — if the girl next door to you was an internationally ranked elite athlete, that is. You may remember that Kwan probably should have made it to the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, but the spot went to Nancy Kerrigan instead. But in 1998, Kwan won silver in Nagano, and four years later she took the bronze in Salt Lake City — all at the age of 17 and 21, respectively.

So what’s Michelle up to these days? Get ready to be really, really impressed. She has worked as an American diplomat, earned a master’s from Tufts, and works for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural affairs. She recently married Clay Pell, of the Pell Grant Pells. You can listen to her figure skating commentary during the Sochi games.

Oksana Baiul

Ukranian teen Oksana Baiul took the figure skating world by storm in 1994, a year that was to figure skating what 1996 was to gymnastics. Competing on injected anesthetics after a blade-induced injury, then 16-year-old Oksana took gold in women’s singles. Shortly thereafter, Baiul turned pro and toured in one of those Champions on Ice tours that were all the rage at the time. After falling on some rough times – she was charged with driving while intoxicated, and attended rehab – Oksana made a turnaround (a triple toe loop, if you will) and began designing clothing for the Oksana Baiul Collection, starred in an ice skating musical (no, really), and even appeared on the Celebrity Poker Showdown. As recently as 2012, Oksana was still making occasional figure skating performances. She is planning a tour for 2014, and working on an autobiography.

I still think of Oksana Baiul every time I hear the Gin Blossoms song “Found Out About You,” because at age 7 I started mentally replacing the title lyrics with “Oksana Baiul.” I’m not sure if I misheard it or was just a weird child.

Brian Boitano

Today, as in the early ’90s, Boitano maintains a higher profile than most of his peers. Boitano ‘Tano triple lutz-ed onto the scene in the ’88 Olympics, winning Gold with his namesake move (which you may have seen at the men’s singles portion of the team competition in Sochi). Remember how he wiped ice off of his skate blade after his triple axel? Basically the skating version of brushing your shoulders off.

Boitano then turned pro, winning an Emmy for his turn in Carmen on Ice, because it was the late 80s and that’s sort of just where we all were as a people. He then re-upped as an amateur and competed in the 94 games, to so-so results. He may be more famous for what happened after his Olympic career. He inspired the South Park tune ‘What Would Brian Boitano Do?,” starred in the Food Network show “What Would Brian Boitano Make,” and has made several TV and film cameos — including one of my personal favorite skating films, Blades of Glory. He now has a series on HGTV, “Where Would Brian Boitano Live” “The Brian Boitano Project.” He came out in 2013 and was part of the U.S.’s Gay Athlete Dream Team that was sent to stick it to Russia.

Katarina Witt

Once lauded by Time Magazine as “the most beautiful face of socialism” (you cannot make this stuff up), Witt rose from East Germany to become a mid-80s superstar. Decades before little Yulia Lipnitskaya performed a routine as the girl in the red coat from Schindler’s List, Witt… also performed a routine as the girl from the red coat from Schindler’s List. After taking gold in Calgary and Sarajevo, Witt started a professional career – only to return to competing for the 1994 games. She spent the 90s touring in skating shows, making cameo performances, publishing an autobiography and posing for Playboy. These days, Witt seems to be focusing on acting. After her skating farewell tour in 2008 (at age 43!), she appeared as a judge on  TV skating show, and most recently starred in a German TV movie. Her website lists numerous TV hosting gigs and stage performances, as well as the formation of the Katarina Witt Foundation, which helps children with disabilities.

Surya Bonaly

Bonaly brought a sense of athleticism to figure skating – as a former gymnast, her jumps were ridiculous. Competing for France, Surya failed to medal in the three Olympics in which she competed (1992, 1994, 1998) but many believe that she was totally robbed – particularly in the Nagano games, when she landed a backflip on a single blade and placed 10th. However, she did win silver in World’s for three consecutive years, so the judges weren’t always completely against her.

After the Nagano games, Surya turned pro and toured with Champions on Ice until 2007. A year after that, she proved she could still land that backflip in a gala performance. She has also appeared on TV, both in cameo performances and on the French version of The Farm.  Just last month, she skated in Holiday on Ice in France and modeled for DPM stores. Now a U.S. citizen, Bonaly lives in Las Vegas and campaigns for PETA.

Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan

So much of the Harding/ Kerrigan scandal was due to forces outside of the skaters’ control. Basically, Harding seemed like the blue-eyeshadowed, crispy-permed bad girl who would shoplift from Contempo Casuals after cutting class, whereas Kerrigan had the wholesome vibe of Sandra Bullock and the patrician features of Jackie O. Harding could have been classy as Audrey Hepburn, and Kerrigan may have been a Jerry Springer-watching potty mouth for all we know, but public opinion is a tricky thing.

We all know the story: Kerrigan gets kneecapped, Harding’s ex-husband was behind it, Harding claims she knew nothing about it, and a TV movie was born. But what happened next?

Harding had some tough times – being effectively ousted from the skating community and having forgone education in order to skate, she had trouble finding work. You probably remember her stint in celebrity boxing, or the Jeff Gillooly sex tape. Harding has appeared as a commentator for TruTV, and – after a few run-ins with the law – has married, had a baby, and hopefully cleaned up her act.

Kerrigan, first of all, is a bit of a secret sass factory, and I love it:

Okay, so like just about everyone else on the list, Kerrigan toured in skating shows after her Olympic run. She also has appeared as an ice skating commentator on Entertainment Tonight, and has had a few tv and film cameos. She was once again dragged into controversy in 2011, when her brother was charged with the manslaughter of her father (he was ultimately convicted of assault). She is married and has three children. Kerrigan now supports several charities, and will be commenting on the Sochi games for NBC/Universal.

Sarah Hughes

One of her greatest achievements may be growing out that Dorothy Hamil haircut – anyone who’s had short hair knows that’s no easy feat.

Not exactly a 90s star, it has nonetheless been 12(!) years since Hughes won gold in Salt Lake City, and I think we’re due for an update. Not long after the games, Hughes enrolled in Yale. After taking a year off to tour professionally, she graduated in 2009 with a degree in American studies. She is currently providing commentary on the Sochi Olympics, and works with the Figure Skating in Harlem program.

Kristi Yamaguchi

You probably know the drill by now: Olympics -> professional tours -> charity work. Well, that’s pretty much the case with Kristi, too. After winning gold in Albertville in 1992, Yamaguchi toured with Stars On Ice. In 2000, she married hockey player Bret Hedican and had two children, who I assumed learned how to skate before they could walk. Kristi always seemed like the classy smart girl of the early-90s  figure skating circuit, and I think maybe she really was. She started the Always Dream Foundation, focusing on childhood literacy, and wrote a successful children’s book, Dream Big, Little Pig. Yamaguchi also wrote a few figure skating books for adults — including (no lie) Figure Skating For Dummies.  Kristi’s reality TV career is soaring — the winner of Dancing With The Stars, she also hosted the reality show Skating’s Next Star, had her genealogy traced on a PBS show, and has had cameo performances on a number of TV programs. Yamaguchi even has a fitness DVD out for all of us figure skating-wannabes.

Tara Lipinski

In 1997, tiny Tara became the youngest person ever to win the U.S. Championships, and later, the World Championships. The next year, she took gold in Nagano. Moreover, she had those round brush-curled bangs that everyone in my sixth grade class wanted. After the Olympics she went professional, toured for a few years, and started experiencing hip problems. Fortunately, she was able to fall back on a career of guest appearances on every late 90s- early 2000s family-friendly show you can think of. Lipinski is now a spokesperson for The Boys And Girls Clubs of America and works with Make-A-Wish. She is a regular figure skating commentator – including now, for the Sochi games. And, Tara still puts on the skates from time to time, including a Big Lebowski-inspired routine on Jimmy Fallon.

For you fans of those ‘Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln, Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy’-style coincidences: Lipinski was a 15 year old figure skater in 1998 when she won gold in the Winter Olympics. Today, Yulia Lipnitskaya is a 15-year-old figure skater – born in 1998 – who may be poised to take a medal as well. Yulia is a Russian teenager, and Tara skated to music from Anastasia … a cartoon about a Russian teenager. Crazy stuff. Okay, not really.

Jeni Meno and Todd Sand

This husband-and-wife duo were the darlings of the pair skating circuit. They actually got engaged on the day of their performance at the 1994 Olympics! It was like a cheesy movie we all totally would have watched in the mid-90s, but real. Despite missing medals in their two Olympics competitions (’94 and ’98), the pair won bronze and silver at a few Worlds competitions, and regularly crushed the U.S. nationals. After turning pro and touring for several years, the couple settled down and began coaching. Jenni also appeared on the tv show Skating With Celebrites, which I imagine was like Dancing With The Stars, but with more falling. The Menno-Sandses have two adorable ginger sons, Jack and Matthew. From what I can tell they have bypassed the Sale-Pelletier curse, and are still married.

Nicole Bobek

Nicole Bobek, like Dunkaroos or those rings you could pull your t-shirts through to tie it off to the side, is one of those 90s phenomena that we all kind of remember, even if it’s been years since we thought about them. Nicole only competed in one Olympics (1998), placing 17th due to injury, but she made good showings at U.S. and Worlds Championships for several years there in the mid-90s.

Other than Tonya Harding — who many Tonyas probably blame for tarnishing the entire population of Tonyas – Bobek was probably the biggest ‘bad girl’ of the figure skating sport. She smoked, she slacked off, and she wore flashy costumes and hairdos. As a teen, Nicole received probation for her part in a home invasion (she stole money after breaking into a friend’s garage). It only got worse from there. In 2010, she was convicted for her part in a drug ring after being charged with conspiracy to distribute meth. No, I have no idea why a former teen figure skater plotline wasn’t written into Breaking Bad, either.

This marked a turning point (a salchow, let’s say) for Nicole. She went back to the ice, has performed in a number of benefits, and started teaching. As of last year, she was working on getting her GED, and fellow skaters were impressed with her dedication and positive attitude. Bobek also performs as an acrobat. This has to be my favorite comeback story of all of our former Olympians.

Rudy Galindo

You probably best remember Rudy as a two-time World Champion, or from his pairs career with Kristi Yamaguchi. Well, things have come full circle (let’s go with… half axel. Haven’t used that one yet), because now he coaches Kristi’s daughter. Awww! As you may have guessed, Galindo turned pro in 1996, and toured for several years. He also appeared on Yamaguchi’s reality show, Skating’s Next Star. The first openly gay figure skater in the U.S., Rudy announced that he was H.I.V. positive in 2000. He supports several AIDS charities — his brother died from the disease — and other than a few hip replacements, Galindo is in good health.

Irina Slutskaya

Slutskaya had a surprisingly long competitive career, skating in her first European championship in 1996, and completing her last Olympics event in 2006. She won gold, silver, and bronze medals on the international stage, with some interruptions for serious illness – including a kidney transplant in 2002. Since her last competition, Irina and her husband have had two children. She is a tv presenter – mostly for skating programs – in Russia. Slutskaya still performs on ice, and competed -and won bronze – in the Medal Winner’s Open in 2012.