Sochi Olympics: 15 Watercooler Moments From the 2014 Winter Games
12:40 PM PST 2/19/2014 by Meena Jang, Chris Godley
THR takes a look at the memorable moments, including the opening ceremony malfunction, Bob Costas' pinkeye, Shaun White's failure to medal and figure skater Ashley Wagner's meme-inspiring reaction to her scores.
Several Sochi attendees flocked to Twitter to tweet about bizarre media hotel bathroom situations, including toilets for two, a “do not flush toilet paper” policy and bathroom stalls complete with a waiting area of chairs.
U.S. figure skater Ashley Wagner disapproved of the judges’ scores for her performance in the ladies’ short program – and it showed. Wagner’s reaction to her low marks spread virally and became the first Internet meme of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, following gymnast McKayla Maroney’s “not impressed” face captured at the 2012 Olympic Games.
NBC’s veteran sports anchor Bob Costassat out the first half of the Olympics due to an eye infection that had spread to both eyes, marking the first time the sportscaster was sidelined from hosting NBC’s primetime Olympics coverage since 1988. Today’s Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira filled in for Costas, who has since recovered and resumed his position Feb. 17.
Former Today co-host Meredith Vieiramade history on Feb. 14 when she became the first woman to host NBC’s primetime coverage of the Olympic Games. Vieira filled in for Bob Costas, who was recovering from an eye infection and unable to anchor, alongside Today’s Matt Lauer.
Canadian freestyle skier Alex Bilodeau dedicated his win to his older brother, Frederic, who has cerebral palsy, when he became the first in his category to secure two Olympic gold medals. “The motivation that he has, if he had had the chances like I did, he would have been four times Olympic champion,” Bilodeau told NBC. “He’s a great inspiration, a great person and he’s going to be an inspiration for me after my career also.”
After winning bronze in the men’s super-G event, Bode Miller was brought to tears during an interview with NBC’s Christin Cooper. Cooper was later criticized for pressing questions on a visibly emotional Miller concerning the death of his brother, Chelone, who died of a seizure in April 2013.
Dominique Gisin and Tina Maze
Switzerland’s Dominique Gisin and Slovenia’s Tina Maze tied for gold in the women’s downhill competition at 41.57 seconds – the first-ever tie to occur in Olympic Alpine skiing.
Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko announced his retirement with a statement that he was no longer able to skate when he dropped out of the men’s short program due to a severe back injury.
Former figure skating champion Johnny Weir’s flamboyant outfits have caught the attention of all Sochi Olympic viewers. Weir has been seen sporting hot pink and glittery blazers, flashy neck jewels and his signature gelled up-do since taking his post as commentator on NBC Sports Network.
Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochova briefly fell unconscious during the slopestyle competition when she missed a landing and cracked her helmet in the process. Pancochova ended up in fifth place after being tended to by medics and finishing the race.
Shaun White and Ben Hughes
Shaun White surprised one of his biggest fans following his run at the halfpipe competition. Ten-year-old cancer survivor Ben Hughes, who made it to Sochi with the help of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, received a hug from his hero, White, who jumped the barrier to greet Hughes and his family.
After pulling out of the slopestyle competition due to the risk of injury, Shaun White failed to become the first U.S. Olympian to win gold in the halfpipe event for three consecutive Winter Olympics. White ended the Games with no medals in the men’s halfpipe, coming in at fourth place.
USA vs. Russia
The U.S. men’s hockey team defeated Russia 3-2 in the shootout, reigniting a hockey rivalry that dates back to 1980, when the faceoff match ended in a victory for the U.S. known as the “Miracle on Ice.” On Feb. 19, the Russian team was eliminated in the quarterfinals after being upset by Finland.
Nineteen-year-old Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu set a world record when he earned 101.45 points for his performance and became the first male figure skater to win gold for Japan.