Olympics Watch: What Was Your Favorite Moment From Sochi 2014's Soft Launch?

Winter Olympics Sochi Games Day 1Welcome to the 2014 Winter Olympics, the event so big they had to get the party started a day before the opening ceremony!

Thursday’s kickoff to the Sochi games featured two new additions to the Olympic slate: slopestyle snowboarding and team ice skating. In the latter, each competing nation put forth a man, woman, skating pair and ice dancing pair whose cumulative scores – similar to what happens in gymnastics – determine who advances to the free skate portion of the competition.

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The male skaters’ short programs featured a little bit of hometown pride, a lot of frustrated disappointment and a teen on fire. Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, 19, put down a powerful opening performance that nabbed him the top spot on the leaderboard.

Hanyu is skating in these games against one of his idols, 31-year-old Yegevny Plushenko of Russia. Plushenko, appearing in his fourth Olympics, was a big hit with the vocal locals in the stands but wound up in second place by the end of the evening.

The night’s biggest disappointment came for American Jeremy Abbott, who fell once and then reduced the level of difficulty of some of his moves – at one point only completing a single axel. Abbott’s skate left him in seventh place (out of 10).

What was your favorite moment from Thursday? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. EJ says:

    That close-up of Plushenko was really scary. Dude is FUGLY.

  2. Diane says:

    Liked that Canadian pairs team.

    • Stephanie says:

      Meagan and Eric were wonderful in their short program

    • Thea says:

      They were my favorite! The Russians might have been more technically precise, but I loved the chemistry of the Canadian duo! And their transitions were just gorgeous!

      • sanchopanza says:

        You’re absolutely right. We haven’t been seeing pairs much the last few years – apparently there haven’t been many worth watching – so it was good to see these two, but the Canadians, oh, yes, they are gorgeous! That’s what it’s supposed to look like.

  3. GuessWhat says:

    I’ve loved the Olympics my whole life.
    That being said, I thought this was one of the most boring nights ever.
    What genius decided it would be a good idea to start competition the day before opening ceremonies?
    This disjointed start has set the wrong tone.

    • Callie says:

      Agreed. And I feel like it’s put less of a spotlight on the athletes.

    • S. says:

      The genius that realized that Thursday is the most expensive ad night and by adding a night of competition on that day (particularly with the most popular sport of the Winter Olympics, figure skating), it’d make NBC money hand over fist. That genius. Whatever warm fuzzies they may spout, it’s not about the athletes, it’s about the $$ to them. They will have succeeded so genius shouldn’t be used sarcastically here.

    • catherine says:

      yep, it was a boring night of olympics. I don’t like ice skating or women’s snowboarding so i fast-forwarded through most of it.

    • Blacklister No.134 says:

      The Olympic Comittee needed an extra day because of the extra events. I think the Summaer Olympics also starts early. I was very happy about getting an extra day of Olympics. It made my day!

  4. Margaret says:

    Jeremy was so free and fantastic during his nationals skate, but so tight here!! :( meryl davis & charlie white have their work cut out for them!

    • sanchopanza says:

      I’m afraid you’re right. Jeremy is, I guess, not as high on the confidence scale as he needs to be, especially against Plushenko – who is off the charts. I loved his face when Yuzuru took first place. He is so smug, I can’t stand him. He even skates smug.

  5. Callie says:

    The Canadian pairs team was incredible and delivered a really endearing program.

  6. Anna says:

    Really loved the Canadian pair skaters, too. Felt really bad for Jeremy Abbott. Always enjoy snowboarding!

  7. Heather says:

    Loved Hanyu! And the Canadian pair!

  8. Julie says:

    Wait….what? Apparently I missed the fact that competition started tonight. Since when do the events start before the opening ceremonies?

  9. TVPeong says:

    Plushenko for the win

  10. Betsy says:

    I’m with everyone on the love for the Canadian pair. what a lovely skate. They had a little of the Ekaterina & Sergei fire that no one has had since.

  11. Saabgirlatx says:

    Canadian pair! It was beautiful.

    Also, has the mogul event always had backflips in it? That was new to me tonight.

  12. chistosa says:

    For me, Yuzuro Hanyu was by far the best skater of the night. He was phenomenal.

  13. kd83954 says:

    As much as I DON’T want to cheer for Plushenko (his behavior after the Vancouver games was horrible), I can’t deny he’s one of the best ice skaters in the world. I don’t see the US team being a real threat in the men’s skating so it’ll be fun to watch Plushenko, Tran, and Hanyu compete for gold. Although, I will say, Lysacek came out of NOWHERE in 2010 so maybe Abbott can calm his nerves in the individual competition and make some noise. Regardless, I SO love watching figure skating and love that they’ve added to the competition!

    • athena3321 says:

      Lysacek didn’t come out of nowhere. He was the reigning world champion when he won in 2010. ;) I do agree with you that I’m happy they added the team event. I think it’s fun!

    • AmbleAlong says:

      Sadly I just don’t think this will be a year to watch the American men win. Jason’s artistry is amazing so once he can master the quad I think he will be “one to watch” in years to come. For right now, I think we will just have to see smug but talented Plushenko out there collecting a fifth medal. I hope another of the men can supplant him as the favorite, but I just don’t see it happening…

  14. cjeffery7 says:

    it felt weird watching competitions begin before the opening ceremonies, lol.

  15. Amie says:

    Am I the only one who thinks the picture of Yuzuru Hanyu at the top of this piece looks kind of like the illustration in the sixth box in the Russian Olympics “Don’t do this in the bathroom” poster? I’m talking about the poster a Canadian snowboarder posted on Twitter that has instructions for using Sochi bathrooms, like no fishing and no barfing in the toilet. The last box has a guy sitting on the floor with his legs like Hanyu and his arms out like that, with some sort of bottle or cannister in one hand. Maybe it means no figure skating in the bathroom.

  16. David says:

    I LOVE the skating. The Amaerican pairs team was good. The Canadians were awesome. Hanyu deserves his first place. Good stuff. Can’t wait for the rest. I HOPE Ashley Wagner and Meryl and Charlie can keep us alive for the team final. #quadrupleflip #orangetakeover.

  17. Connie says:

    I think Tara Lipsinski talked to much during the figure skating performance. like to hear the music and the program and she was distracting. Thank you