QISE Review - Pyeongchang Edition - Day 18 and Closing Ceremony / by Mark


From last night—

  • All the screaming by the commentators seems to have caught up with them. The Bobsled guy seemed genuinely out of breath—I was momentarily concerned he was having a heart attack. Scott Hamilton at the Skating Gala had a raspy voice. Hope the norovirus hasn’t struck Kabletown.
  • I thought the gala performance of Alina Zagitova (Gold Medal winner), as well as her outfit, was a LITTLE racy for a 15 year old.
  • TIrico wraps up Primetime coverage with an interview of the US Curling team (I believe for the second time).
  • The final “prime plus” coverage includes the 50K cross-country ski competition—the marathon (actually longer) of Winter QISE--and an interview with QISE President Thomas zBach.
  • XThe latter confirms the decision that Russ—sorry, Olympic Athletes from Russia—will NOT be allowed to show their flag at the Closing Ceremonies. Not sure why that was back in question, considering that 2 of the 4 cases of doping during Pyeongchang came from that team. That fact this aired at the tail end of that night’s programming tells you that QISE and Kabletown would like to forget this. There was a strange glitch in the interview where Bach repeated the same phrase twice—bad editing.
  • Well, the final medal count is in—Norway tops the list with 39 total medals, 14 of them gold, followed by Germany at 31, Canada at 29, and the US at 23, with 9 gold. The US got 28 medals at Sochi, also with 9 gold.

And now the final day and closing ceremony…

  • We have another number—102 medal events throughout Pyeongchang (98 at Sochi).
  • More 50km racing, this time for the ladies. At one point, an athlete (and the commentators) were confused after a wrong turn was made on the course.
  • The remainder of the final afternoon’s coverage is a 90 documentary on the Mexico City games 50 years ago—probably the beginning (for good or ill) of politics at QISE—followed by something that’s been done since the Peacock took over QISE coverage decades ago (and maybe before then). A huge extended list of production credits alongside QISE highlights, running 10 minutes, showing the army of staff and crew  involved.
  • Primetime begins with “QISE Gold”—a one hour review of the games, along with a preview of the closing ceremonies. Tirico checks in for a final time from the Fortress of Solitude. Overall, Tirico’s no Costas—yet. Based on how long Kabletown has the QISE contract, he’s got a decade plus to grow into the role.
  • Over at the stadium, Tara went with bedazzled black, and Johnny with white—including a star in his hair. Oh, and there’s the generic commentator guy too. Speaking of the stadium, it cost $109M to build, and will be used exactly four times (opening and closing of QISE and ParaQISE), then torn down.
  • The QISE review seems to have turned into a histories of Snowboarding at QISE and Korea itself. In fact, there’s a number of segments which played earlier, which begs the question—why is this show running long, delaying the (already delayed by 14 hours) closing ceremony?
  • Finally, the closing ceremony gets underway, with lots of dancers and music borrowed from The Simpsons. Then it’s kids dressed like pandas (why not?) presenting the South Korean flag.
  • Now it’s time for a rock concert by a member of the Goonies, classic musicians, and an electric violin player. Somebody get that cat out of here! It’s all to introduce the “Queen of the Closing Ceremony”, Miss Korea.
  • Then the flagbearers and athletes come in as a group. Just like a cafeteria in high school, each country keeps largely to itself.
  • Wow, Comcast cranked out a third version of the “small town watching the event in the middle of the night” ad, now with shots of Jessie Diggins carrying the flag.
  • More drones, this time in the shape of the games's mascot, a white tiger, changing into a heart.
  • Oh no, the "in memorium" concept has made it to QISE. Like this wasn't already too long. "Finally, the turtle goes through a time tunnel." Okaayyyy....
  • And now a large dose of K-Pop. I'm sure the singer sees this as a way to get her music to the US.
  • I noticed we're not getting much in the way of Johnnyisms--Tara is being more talkative. Maybe Weir is out of his element?
  • Back to the formalities. The QISE hymn, the QISE flag transfer, and the official Beijing 2022 preview.
  • Finally Johnny wakes up—“PANDAS!” We also get a huge light show for Beijing, reminiscent of Tron, then a video presentation with flying pandas. QISE won’t be leaving Asia until 2024, by the way (Paris).
  • QISE President Thomas Bach does his “this is the greatest QISE of all time” bit, then officially closes QISE. There’s more dancing, a guy playing a theremin, a Jeep gang, and yes, more K-Pop straight from the Korean Teen Choice Awards.
  • Hey, it’s the kids from the opening ceremony with their Palintirs! A comically large gift box opens to show a giant show globe of Pyeongchang, followed by yet another light show which extinguishes the QISE flame.
  • More dance music as the athletes swarm out to the stage, while random and chaotic interviews ensue, with Tara, Johnny, and the other guy blathering on.
  • Back to Tirico, who wraps it up at the Fortress. We'll miss you, overblown sets!

Well, after 140+ hours of main coverage, plus the Today Show and countless amounts of streaming and VR, that about does it. If I don’t do something in this blog before then, see you July 24, 2020 in Tokyo.