It’s finally here – the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games! As two Olympics-obsessed bloggers, we could not let the occasion go by without a live blog. Join us at 7:30 EST for what is promised to be a magical journey through 1000 years of Russian history, followed by athletic people walking in stupid national outfits.
This live blog will have everything you could possibly want, from Hunger Games analogies, to a Spot The Gay Propaganda contest, to fun facts about your favorite and not-so-favorite athletes — so do yourself a favor and come back tonight! And be sure to follow us on Twitter during the ceremonies – @cookiessangria – for all the snark and fangirling that we can fit into 140 or fewer characters.
PS: Keep refreshing this page every 5 to 10 minutes or so for live updates!
M: We open with shots of Russia, which looks so much warmer than it is here (in upstate NY). Suck it, Russia.
Highlights: those Russian dolls, ballerinas, VODKA, some sort of marmalade, snow, giant furry hats, soldiers goose-stepping… you know, the stuff you’d expect.
A voiceover informs us that “snow has become the (something) of the young.” I obviously missed a word there but I assume that it was something like “sworn enemy” or “thorn in the side,” if my experience is worth anything.
Who knows what the skater is who “skates like her name is her destiny?” If I skated like my name was my destiny, my name would have to be something like Always Falling or maybe Dolores. (Because Dolores means ‘pains.)
After that 7-minute intro, I feel like the kid in the theater when I went to see The Lion King in 1994, who asked “is it over?” at the end of the long-ass Circle Of Life Thing, when Rafiki lifted Simba up on pride rock.
Katie Couric is freezing. Bitch, you’re from New York. Wear a coat.
T: DID A WATCH COMMERCIAL ALMOST MAKE ME CRY? LIKE AN ACTUAL COMMERCIAL SELLING AN OMEGA WATCH. Ugh, the Olympics, I can’t.
M: They’re talking to Barack Obama! Aww Bummer. Billie Jean King isn’t there because her mom isn’t well, but they do bring up our favorite feature of the US Olympic tactic: our Coalition of our Finest Gay Athletes.
Speaking of which: gay athlete dream teams. Mine would definitely have Boitano and Billie Jean King, and I think I’m going to add Abby Wambach on there, definitely Jason Collins. Greg Louganis is gay, right?
T: Re: Pres Obama’s gay athletes speech, I’m just gonna leave this here.
M: How many of those tiny American flag lapel pins do you think Obama has? Just one that he rotates a lot? Or is it like when they’d show Doug Funnie’s closet, and he has a whole drawer full of the same thing?
T: I’d like to imagine he’s akin to Doug Funnie.
“We like to smile once in a while” Barry O throwing slight shade at Russian politicians.
M: Vladimir Putin makes that Freshman Boy In The First Row Of The Football Picture face, probably. Because that’s the manliest face I can think of.
T: If you missed it last night, Bob Costas explained that he has an infection in his left eye, which is why he’s wearing his glasses.
In other news, this is why I love the internet:
M: We’re talking to Maria Sharapova, who evidently used to live in Sochi. She’s revisiting her childhood favorites, including the Sochi Circus. I call shenanigans. Nobody likes the circus. Particularly not this circus, which has horrible dancing clowns and bears. Amazing somebody who was exposed to such horrifying Soviet Circuses in their formative years would grow up to be so normal with such a cute sweaters.
Also: “I’m going to become a roly-poly!” is my new favorite exclamation while eating some crazy sort of dinner.
Google docs just asked if by “horrifying” I meant “terrifying.” I MEANT WHAT I MEANT GOOGLE.
M: Gracie Gold was just interviewed. She looks like a porcelain doll.
T: J.R. CELSKIIIIIIIIIII MY BOY!!!!! FILIPINO PRYDE Y’ALL!!!
OK, He’s like tooooo young, but still so cute!
M: Is he the one they just called the “new Apolo Anton Ohno?” Because our 15-year-old selves might have a thing or to to say about that. [Readers: we had weird crushes on AAO during the Salt Lake City games, during an era when we were probably supposed to be into Justin Guarini or Aaron Carter.]
T: Yes, Yes he is. I wouldn’t say our AAO crushes were ‘weird’ PER SE. But I will share this excerpt from my LIVEJOURNAL of a brief convo Molly & I had on AIM around the ‘02 Olympics/AAO Fever.
M: Hey, as long as what you’re sharing isn’t a photo of us in the early 2000s, playing MASH in study hall with AAO as the ‘husband,’ that’s cool.
OH HEYY now you can all go back in time and instant message me on AIM!
T: Also: NEVER FORGET. AAO 4EVER IN OUR HEARTS
M: Speak of the ANGEL, AAO is a correspondent. He looks remarkably smooth faced. Was that creepy of me? Whatever. The soul patch is still there, though. The only thing worse than that facial hair configuration is the fact that it’s called a ‘soul patch.’’
ok this opening video with the creepy girl:
Old Russia wasn’t real big on beard conditioners I guess. That frizz.
Meanwhile in North America, children watch, like, Caillou and stuff.
M: This little girl is a “fearless acrobat.” No shit. She is flying through the air. The competitions haven’t started yet, but I think I have my Olympic hero.
We’re still at the “volcano and a lone horse” part of Russia’s history” so I think we have a while to get to the Space Race and stuff.
And does anyone remember the London opening ceremony? It looked a lot like this, down to the life-sized rustic village.
“They waited for seven long years and this is what they’ve been waiting for this is where the olympics belong… This is what happens when youre this ambitious in a show like this.” THE SHADE MATT LAUER THE SHADE
M: Matt Lauer didn’t even TRY. Somebody’s still mad that he had to hide under his desk during nuclear bomb drills in grammar school. THANKS RUSSIA.
Also, these rings, even the ones that did open, look like those fake tattoo chokers/armbands that you could buy at The Icing or in vending machines in the early 2000s.
M Vladimir Putin looks a lot less manly when he’s wearing an overcoat and isn’t wrestling a rabid bear or whatever.
Is this the Russian national anthem? It’s been going on for like 10 minutes. I’ve been making up fake lyrics and singing along. Sample lyrics: “inside my staaacking dolls my vodka is theeere/ I drink it, I drink it, / I’m COLD!” Clearly I don’t remember much about Russia from all those Poli Sci courses.
T: Did that go on like a tad too long? Our National Anthem is like a minute long. that doll stacking song was approx 10. (okay, like 5)
M: Lauer just promised “Razmatazz”. Gay propaganda alert! By the way, we’ll be documenting instances of Gay Propaganda as they occur. Nice try, Russia. But congrats on all the Space you’ve been doing.
So, the athletes are entering in Cyrillic Alphabetical Order.
T: I’m loving this technology that makes it look like the athletes are coming out of their country from a projected map on the floor. HOWEVER, I feel like this is going to make the country intros very long…
M: I haven’t seen such a good use of a lit-up floor map since Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego.
T: What in the actual fuck are those lady volunteers holding the country names wearing? LADY GAGA??? GAY PROPAGANDA.
M: They’re obviously the Capitol residents of this Hunger Games.
Why hasn’t Andorra won an Olympic medal yet? Their knit woolens look so cozy and winter-y!
M: Let’s talk about all this techno for a second. I don’t think techno is a term any more. It’s like when old ladies call tv shows “programs” or “stories.” So this “house music,” whatever.
WAIT. Instead let’s talk about Bermuda’s bermuda shorts and knee socks. Brrrrr.
T: Is it embar that it didn’t occur to me until now that the country of Bermuda was the namesake/inspiration for BERMUDA SHORTS. Ugh.
M: Nope. Just occurred to me as well. Literally thought “why are they wearing Bavarian short pants?”
M: Hey, everyone. How’s your self-esteem? Pretty good? You feel like an okay, human-looking person? Well don’t look at the Brazil coalition, then. Damn Brazil. Their country’s main export is Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriends.
T: Oh Venezuelan flag holder is NOT kidding around and he is literally jumping around waving the flag. You do you, Venzeuela.
M: He’s like the Roberto Benigni of flag wavers.
Life IS Beautiful, y’all.
M: Germany. GAY PROPAGANDA. Their uniform is a rainbow.
T: And Meredith Veira REALLY wants you to know that. NOT gay propaganda (probs gay propaganda)
M: I realize I probably called Meredith Veira Katie Couric earlier. In my defense, white ladies all look the same.
T: “If you’re asking yourself, ‘Are there any athletes competing from Staten Island, New York?’
NO ONE WAS WONDERING THAT, MATT LAUER. NO ONE IS EVER WONDERING THAT.
M: Also Matt Lauer, I think that the Israel people can stand near the Iran people. We’re all grownups here, it’s not like Israel stole Iran’s prom date and now they’re both invited to a mutual friend’s Sweet 16.
IRELAND. Step up your game. It’s called the emerald isle, not the baby-poop-green isle.
T: Are we to assume all Spainards are in Gryffindor, per their uniforms?
M: Yes, Spaniards are automatically sorted into Gryffindor.
M: And is it just me, or is Russia trying its hardest to make its image be “country run entirely by Slytherins?” I know you’re not all like that, Russia. Let your Hufflepuff out.
M: Aww Canada. Look at your toggle coats and toques. Makes me want to get a double-double from Timmy Ho’s and watch a Leafs game. (Hi, I basically live in Canada).
T: Legit said, ‘WHOA’ outloud when I saw a sea of Canadians. Robin Sparkles would be so proud.
M: In case you missed it, there are three French-Canadian sisters competing in skiing (or something like that) and I’ve basically decided that they’re the Haim of winter sports.
M: Latvia = Hufflepuff. There we go.
T: All we need are the Ravenclaws.
M: Greece? But no. Their shade of blue isn’t studious enough.
I’m sure everyone watching has already noticed this, but there’s a crawl along the bottom of the screen that shows you what countries are coming up so you know whether you have time to go get a snack or use the bathroom. I just noticed it.
M: “It’s a good time to bring Apolo Ohno back in” —> First smart thing Matt Lauer has said all night.
M: Mexico’s flag guy is, among other things, a pop singer known as “Andy Himalaya.” THAT WAS A TRUE THING THEY JUST SAID. He hung out with Andy Warhol.
T: That’s like Hannah Montana shit right there. Or more like if Cher decided to compete in the Olympics in like… lip-syncing and woman who most looks like a drag queen competitions.
M: I just decided my Andy Himalaya/ Hannah Montana name is going to be Molly Malawi. Also I see what you did with the gay propaganda there.
T: The guy from Nepal admitted he’s going to place last in cross country skiing… That’s the spirit!
M: Fun fact: I help teach English to a class that’s like 50% people from Nepal. Not a ONE of them gives a shit about the Olympics. Glad it goes for the athletes from there as well.
T: No. NO. Why would you ever use Sia’s Breathe Me in a commercial? I IMMEDIATELY START CRYING WHEN I HEAR THAT SONG. Thanks, Six Feet Under.
M: I was going to ask if it was for Six Feet Under reasons or just because of like, life feelings. Glad you clarified. And I agree.
T: I thought the show itself was meh, but it’s all worth it for that last like 10 minutes. And by ‘worth it’ I mean, ‘an ending that will make you cry like you’ve never cried before and think about your life and life choices and question everything’, then yeah, worth it.
M: Considering I’m the kind of person who will wake up in the morning and my first, fleeting thought will be something like “one day, me and everyone I love will grow old, if we’re lucky, and eventually nobody will know we existed”… I do NOT need to watch or think about that montage ever again. Thank God we’re back to the athletes in silly costumes and the ladies dressed like church windows carrying the country signs.
T: Matt Lauer just described the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding controversy in ‘94 “colorful”. Well that’s one way to put it.
Update on the fail of Olympic proportions:
M: Who are those two people dressed as human snowballs doing the “push it” dance? Just randos? Okay.
Poland seems to have an 11-and-a-half year old competing, judging by her braces. Ugh, youth.
M: Slovakia’s flag guy is roughly 7 feet tall. Meanwhile, my grandmother was Slovak and I’m so small that a bus driver thought I was a middle school student the other day. Not fair, but now I know which ancestors I can’t blame for my height issues.
T: Oh man I just got the chills. USA! USA! USA! I’m just gonna say it: Shaun White is hot now. The red carrot (or whatever the hell we were calling him in 2010) had the horrible hair but he looks sooo non-douchey now!
M: You can order Gracie Gold for 3 monthly payments of 39.99 from the Ashton Drake collection.
I am SO BUMMED for the girl who broke her leg yesterday, but I’m glad she made it to walk with the team. See, this is the real reason I’m not usually a huge sports person. When they showed the losing team at the end of the Superbowl, I had tears in my eyes. Basically our collective cry count for these games is going to be off the charts.
M: Anyone know who the athlete is with the enviable, Ron Swanson-y mustache? Or the lady with the Zooey Deschanel bangs? Or the one with the dip-dyed Gay Propaganda rainbow hair? This all makes me love America so much.
M: Chinese Taipei (read: Taiwan)’s uniforms are those big jackets they give you when you go on The Maid Of The Mist in Niagara Falls
T: Matt Lauer Fun Fact #205: There is no word for ‘ski’ in the Timor dialect.
M: Ukraine’s uniform looks like camo for if you were trying to hide in a field of Vera Bradley bags.
Finland is also hoping to catch a glimpse of the falls on The Maid of the Mist. Fun Fact: The Canadian side is better.
T: Go Philippines! I totally missed how many Filipino athletes there are. It’s very Cool Runnings to see them at the winter games.
M: Do you have any idea what they’re competing in? A Cool Runnings thing is possible, but I could sort of see the Philippines having like figure skating prodigies.
T: No idea. Let’s say biathalon. Or like… winter table tennis. Not a real sport.
M: Not YET. They just said those dancing snowball vest people have been dancing nonstop for the past hour. They zeroed in on one guy who looked like Rory and Lorelai Gilmore at the end of that dance marathon. Rough gig.
Matt Lauer just told us that YOLO means “ you only live once.” Shut up, Lauer.
M: Jamaican Bobsled Team!! We love them so much. I just want to give them all a hug (mostly, that one guy near the front could basically do whatever) (I mean what?).
T: ^What she said. Every word.
Okay, I’m saying it now: I want to go to Tokyo, 2020. Maybe by then I’ll be (34 YEARS OLD HOLY SHIT) and have enough funds and time off to go to Japan.
M: You know what? We’ve both been obsessed with the Olypics since like 1996. I think both of us need to make it happen at some point. By this point it’s safe to say we’ll never get there as athletes. Not that that was ever an option. I’m surprised I never failed gym.
ICYMI, the Russian men are wearing these light blue shearling-lined jackets with red slacks. I like it. The Russian women are dressed like Santa Clauses.
M: Now they’re doing the history of Russia thing. Really good production values. We’ve seen some Jesus-looking people, villagers, now we’re in powdered wig times. And we skipped right to some clean-cut Bolsheviks. Didn’t really get into that messy Romanov stuff. Basically bypassed World War II and the yuckier parts of the Soviet era. Saw some guys building bridges. And here we are today.
T: Apparently all (if not most) of these actors in the History of Russia video are super popular actors in the country. Can we just have the Games back in the U.S. so I can see a montage of Poehler as Martha Washington, Idris Elba as MLK Jr., Bryan Cranston as Walter White??
M: Tina Fey as Betsy Ross, Jennifer Lawrence as Eleanor Roosevelt, Oprah as herself…
T: WAIT GUYS. I saw this on Tumblr earlier and did I miss it or did NBC just fail to show this?!
M: I mean… it looks like that scene from Parks and Rec when they try to walk across the ice. Why didn’t we get to hear Matt Lauer’s opinions about that?
One of the greatest moments in TV history
Our girl Elisavetta/ Lubov is back. This child is going to have weird-assed dreams for the rest of her LIFE thanks to this. As in, I still sometimes dream that I’m back in a childhood production of something like Meet Me In St Louis and have to know all of my lines from 20 years ago. Imagine these visuals all up in your subconscious.
M: I cannot deal with this ship on the ocean thing that’s projected on the floor. It looks like a beautiful woodcut illustration. Okay, Russia. Good work.
There’s more goose-stepping, so if you’re drinking when you see a Russian stereotype you can go ahead.
T: The projections are so good I didn’t know if this Russian army of fake band players was real or not.
M: Now you have me wondering if everything has been a projection. It’s like the first Olympic games to take place in the Matrix.
T: THE PERSON WHO DESIGNED THE COSTUMES FOR THE MATRIX DESIGNED THE COSTUMES FOR THIS BALLET PORTION.
M: Consider my mind blown! This segment is probably a big part of my Olympics love. It’s technically a sports event, but I get to watch ballet and such. This War and Peace segment is just beyond.
M: And Russia REALLY out-Russias itself, with an ominous depiction of a “propaganda train,” which travelled delivering Bolshevik literature to peasants. Maybe Russia is a lot better than the U.S. at acknowledging ugly parts of their history? I mean we held our Olympics in ATLANTA for goodness sake, and I think our presentation of U.S. history was just like “we had an awesome revolution, and then we had some westward expansion, and now we’re AMERICA!”
[Obvi there are pros and cons of the changes wrought by the Bolshevik revolution but this is mostly a live blog with jokes and gifs, so…. that stuff is other places on the internet.]
T: I’m just thinking that that “propaganda train” is really making the Hunger Games parallel to new heights.
M: Yeah is this like a district 3 sort of thing with this manufacturing and cars and stuff? Are these Olympics the one where they make all of the old retired Olympians come back to compete?
T: Tick Tock This Arena’s a clock… (For those keeping score, we’re already mentioned Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Roberto Benigni so far. Just to remind you what kind of blog we are.)
M: Just so we’re clear, the rush to the cauldron (it’s a cornucopia, don’t kid yourselves) is going to be BRILLIANT. My money’s still on USA but who knows, maybe Latvia’s scrappy this year.
T: Definitely sending J.R. Celski a sponsor gift…
T: You know, if Meredith, Matt, and rando guy I didn’t pay attention to who it was, weren’t telling us about the explanations of what’s happening and the history, I honestly think I’d be pretty lost. Not just for this opening ceremony, but for all across the board. Or like, just not have enough historical knowledge to understand why a giant steam train is flying in over head or why a little girl is floating in the air.
M: At the very beginning, they showed a portrait of some kind of queen, and my first thought was “hey, wasn’t she the one who died banging a horse?” so I’m right at your level. By the way, that story’s like a 300-year-old urban legend. Also, don’t Google “queen dying banging a horse”. Nothing good will come of it.
Russia has a low age of death for men, so Putin wants the birth rate to go up. Wait what? As a general rule, it’s best not to talk about a country’s official birth policies if you want them to seem all fun and charming.
Fun Fact: this Olympic chairman was born and raised in Michigan. This is just his Russian guy impression.
T: Update date on the Filipino athlete: His name is Michael Christian Martinez, he’s 17, a figure skater, and the first person to represent the Philippines since 1992!
M: Awww, he wasn’t even born then!
M: Can somebody transcribe this speech? On one hand it sounds like he’s seriously sticking it to Russia about the whole homophobia thing, but there was some nebulous wording in there. It sounds like he just said that we should not use the athletes to further our human rights agendas. He’s correct, of course. We should use them to sell shoes and cereal instead. Thank goodness we have these weird dancing jellyfish costumes now so we don’t have to think too hard.
T: I look away for like 2 minutes and suddenly it’s Finding Nemo on Ice out there.
M: Are they even dancing anymore, or just twirling around in their weird rope-light skirts?
T: Russia’s all, ‘we have your attention now. we showed you our propaganda train. we’re gonna do whatever the fuck we want now. that’s how it works in this country.’
Also, I feel like we need to pick who our potential Olympic crushes are this year. 2012 was all about Nathan Adrian:
This year, my rubles are on Eddy Alvarez:
M: How did I let myself forget about that? I’m guessing there will be some kind of muscly, attractive speed-skater? Or a skier? Sometimes the snowboarders can trend a little bro -y.
I’m sorry. Did they rent Cinderella from the Magic Kingdom of Euro Disney? Aww shoot. She’s singing that damn song.
T: But really, is this a traditional Russian ball gown? Hold up – Anastasia, she was Russian, right?
M: Yeah. RIP. (… or IS she r’ing in p?). Did Russia dress this lady like the dead Romanovs just to show that’s what they can do if they don’t like you?
This damn song. It doesn’t even have a discernible melody.
M: Yes, Russia. Yes. Congratulations on outer space.
M: On the serious, my inner six-year-old really wants these Lisa Frank jackets all of the torch passers have.
T: The fourth person to get the torch, Alina Kabaeva, is romantically linked to Putin. Please refer to the unicorn picture above for my reaction to this.
M: Whaaaat? I guess this shouldn’t be surprising.
You know, for a bunch of world-class athletes, everyone is jogging SOOOO SLOW.
T: Seriously. But also, this is why they have athletes do it. If you asked me to carry it (which, I mean I would), I’d still be near the Tron-like dancers taking my time and walking that shit at a leisurely pace.
Wasn’t there a year where there were problems with the torch lighting? Or is that just my constant fear every opening ceremony?
M: That definitely happened. Or maybe I’m thinking of the candles on most birthday cakes I’ve had instead. But I think it happened.
T: Ok there are like 10 minutes left – what happened to lesbian duo t.A.T.u??? I’ve been waiting all night to post this song that was a hit in 2002. By hit I mean, made the rounds on my mix tapes.
M: I think we have to seize the day. We have to post it now. But really, where is t.a.t.u? I saw them wearing weird plaid things on tumblr, I know they’re there.
T: Okay, apparently it’s not being aired in the U.S., only internationally. I mean come on, dozens of fans stateside are throwing their nesting dolls at the tv right now. But you can kinda watch it here.
M: Basically throwing a rotten Faberge egg at Putin right now. Or whoever is responsible for this. Was it you, Lauer? It was, wasn’t it?
On that note, Lauer’s calling it a night, Viera’s calling it a night, even Putin’s calling it a night (with his rumored paramore??), so we are too.
Thanks for joining us and keep an eye out for Olympic posts for the next couple of weeks. We’re covering a few sports and some fun other winter games-themed posts too!