Skater Patrick Beckert Misses the Cell Phone Call of a Lifetime

German speedskater Patrick Beckert might not be close to the top of his field but he’s good enough to be an alternate at the Winter Games in Vancouver. The poor guy hit some bad luck on Wednesday when he got a call to replace Italy’s Enrico Fabris in the men’s 1000m race. He apparently didn’t receive notice until 15 minutes prior to the race, leaving him too little time to make it to the hall. What’s the reason for the late notice? Beckert had his cell phone off. Beckert wasn’t the only skater with bad luck — he was the fourth alternate meaning they couldn’t get a hold of the other three!

I’m not saying Beckert would have come close to medaling, but you never know what can happen when people are racing in close quarters — falls happen. Americans Shani Davis and Chad Hendrick wound up winning two of the three medals in the event, from what I can tell meaning Beckert just recently revealed the sad news. At least he didn’t screw up as badly as Sven Kramer, and now he knows to keep that celly on like a doctor with a beeper. Thanks to Bild and NBC’s blog for the story.

Scotty Lago Pictures Send Him Home from Vancouver

While everyone was busy discussing the Tiger Woods apology statement on Friday, some Olympics news was being made. Snowboarder Scotty Lago decided to leave Vancouver after these embarrassing, risque photos of him emerged. And when I say emerged, I mean that one of the thousands of paparazzi roving the city snapped them. Let’s give credit to Splash News Online and TMZ for hooking these pics up:

If I were to win an Olympic medal, hanging it around my waist for girls to lick as if they were performing oral sex would probably be the first thing I’d do with it. No doubt. Of course, this is a snowboarder about whom we’re talking so should we really be surprised? They’re the same people who choose jeans and flannel for snowboarding outfits and complain about opposing team’s pants being too skinny. Nice going, Scotty. Let this be your first lesson in popularity: once you’ve won a medal, there are certain things you can no longer do without some backlash. This is one of them.

Incredible Day for U.S. Olympians

I’m no Olympics historian, but I can’t believe the U.S. ever had a better single day at the Olympics than they did on Wednesday. In all, six medals were scored by the country over three events that included one gold-silver finish and two gold-bronze finishes. Not only were the six medals an impressive haul but what seemed more impressive was the three gold medals won by some of the country’s highest profile athletes. We’re so used to seeing athletes get touted in advance of the Olympics only to fall short of the hype and expectations (Bode Miller, anyone?). How often is it that we see the performance in the Winter Games match the pre-Games buzz? Not very.

Despite the Sports Illustrated cover and the talk of the shin injury, Lindsey Vonn still managed to grab gold in the downhill skiing. Despite all the anticipation and expectation that Shaun White would live up to his billing as the best snowboarder in the world, he delivered without fail. In fact, he improved upon his first run score even though he had already secured the gold medal prior to his final run. Shani Davis took home the gold in the 1000m with Chad Hendricks grabbing the bronze. Julia Mancuso made it a gold-silver finish for the U.S. in the downhill while Scotty Lago won the bronze in the halfpipe.

In a day where we’re constantly disappointed by athletes who offer more style than substance and a time where performance frequently fails to match hype, our athletes lived up to their billing and gave us their best. It’s a pleasure to see our Olympians deliver at the Winter Games and it’s nice to recognize their accomplishments. Congratulations to the Olympians who medaled on Wednesday and hopefully they add onto an already impressive performance.

Team USA Snowboarding Outfits of Denim Jeans, Flannel Shirts are Hideous

Maybe I just don’t have enough “brah” in my personality to fully appreciate the entire snowboarding aura because I really don’t get the Team USA outfits for the Winter Games. The dudes are wearing flannel hoodies for tops and denim-type jeans for pants. I swear I have a matching shirt in my drawer but I usually wear it when I go to bed; they’re using it to represent the country in the Olympics. At least nobody can accuse them of being sellouts. Anyway, here are the pics from the podium after Shaun White won gold and Scotty Lago captured bronze at the halfpipe:

The snowboarding outfits have actually been a topic of controversy during these Winter Games. Team USA member Nate Holland was upset that the Canadians are wearing pants that are too tight. Holland’s issue is that having tighter pants makes you more aerodynamic and gives snowboarders a competitive advantage. The problem is that wearing tight pants goes against the “integrity” of the sport. How stupid can you be? If he’s choosing fashion over competition then that’s his problem. Image isn’t everything but obviously it is to him. Regardless, the baggy outfits haven’t hurt Team USA in halfpipe competition and that’s all that matters.

Snowboarding Coach Bud Keene Cusses, Drops F-Bomb on TV

Wednesday was a good day for the U.S. at the Winter Games. Pre-Olympics darlings Shaun White, Lindsey Vonn, and Shani Davis all captured gold medals much to the delight of their sponsors, not to mention millions of fans. White actually had such a high score after his first run in the halfpipe that nobody beat him, so he had clinched the gold prior to his final run. He was debating whether to take a victory lap and that led to this cuss-word filled conversation with coach Bud Keene on live TV. If you listen closely, you’ll hear Keene drop and f-bomb and s-bomb in this video:

Chris Chase at Yahoo! Sports Fourth-Place Medal blog has the entire transcription of their dialog. As you saw in that video, White wound up making a pressure-less ride, nailing the double mctwist. White reportedly makes around $8 million in sponsorship deals per year. With his top move being the double mctwist you have to wonder how McDonald’s hasn’t gotten into the action yet. Can’t you just picture every 12-year-old in America wanting to go to Mickey D’s to order the Shaun White Double McTwist? Come on people, I can’t do all the work for you!

NBC Sports Olympic Boss Button Fail

I can’t quite figure out if it’s a blessing to be at home rather than the office while the Winter Games are taking place. On the one hand I’d love to be watching some of these competitions live but on the other you have NBC tape-delaying most of its coverage until the evening. It pretty much stinks considering we’re in 2010 and anyone with a computer knows the results are a few clicks away. Making matters even more confusing is that NBC allows you to watch events live on their website. I guess they figure tech people will be able to watch at their pace while old school people will be at their tape delay mercy. Here’s another thing I can’t figure out. As Deadspin pointed out, NBC’s “Boss Button” is a complete failure. The whole idea is people can click on a “boss button” to change the screen and make it look like they’re working rather than watching Olympics coverage online. The problems with NBC’s Boss Button are pretty clear:

As you can tell, there’s nothing on the damn spreadsheet so it makes the worker look completely unproductive. Also, and this is more specific, the boss button takes you to a Windows screen which doesn’t exactly make much sense if you’re on a Mac. CBS had problems with their Boss Button last year during March Madness considering the spreadsheet they linked you to was filled with nothing but basketball information. Maybe NBC can readdress these issues since the current system is pretty stupid. Maybe they can also start airing some of their coverage live on real TV. That would be nice.

Olympic Torch Malfunction in Opening Ceremony at Vancouver

The Opening Ceremony for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver was relatively uninspiring, not counting the pants Azerbaijan was rocking. To be fair, no performance could have lived up to Beijing’s opening ceremonies from the ’08 Summer Games, but Vancouver was disappointing by any standards. There were only a few moments that I found myself in awe while the rest of the time I was more or less bored. The 3-D whales swimming across the floor were cool and the lighted constellations were nice but the rest just dragged on. The entire ceremony could be summed up by the malfunction when they attempted to light the torch indoors. As you can tell in the picture on the left, one of the cauldron lights didn’t work and it made for an awkward scene where speedskater Catriona LeMay Doan was left standing around. Steve Nash, Wayne Gretzky, and skiier Nancy Greene saw their torches light successfully. Gretzky later was transported to light the outdoor torch which you can see in the picture on the right. As you can tell, the outdoor cauldron has four posts for support, not three.

Between Friday’s death during luge practice and the torch malfunction, Vancouver isn’t exactly off to the best start around. At least they have two weeks to make it up.

Visit GawkerTV for video of the Olympic torch malfunction.