Tag Archives: Aksel Lund Svindal

Catching Up with Julia Mancuso: 2011 FIS Alpine World Championships

NBCnewyork.com/Vancouver 2010

Remember Julia Mancuso and her tiara (actual and helmet)?

Obviously she is a favorite at Words to Bumble.

As you may have noticed here, the FIS Alpine World Championships (not to be confused with World Cup Finals which are still to come, that season still having some time left) have been going down at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps (which incidentally hosted the 1936 Olympics, the first featuring Alpine skiing according to Wikipedia).

Fun facts.

Julia Mancuso/ UniversalSports.com/ Michael Ebenbichler/ Reuters

Julia Mancuso performed well in the speed events, taking silver in the Ladies’ Super-G on February 8th, one of her particularly strong events this season.

Elisabeth Goergl/ UniversalSports.com/ Michael Dalder/ Reuters

And what do we love about Olympic sports? The crazy lengthening that time undergoes: Mancuso came in .05 behind gold medalist Elisabeth Goergl (who did some serious owning at these Worlds).

According to Mancuso, that’s about 4 feet.

In the other speed events Mancuso finished a couple of places off the podium: 6th in the downhill and 7th in the Super-Combined.

Later in the week she finished 16th in the GS and Did Not Finish her first run in the Slalom, which was particularly unfortunate for American viewers because that was the last and one of the few events that aired on NBC Saturday afternoon.

The Slalom course was literally eating people alive. Apparently the temperature was pretty warm to begin with, and on Saturday it got even warmer and slushier. I think NBC’s broadcast showed three if not four wipe-outs in a row for the second run, prompting commentator Christin Cooper to say, “the toughest competition is the condition of the course.”

A more florid assessment of slalom in general was given by commentator/mediator Tim Ryan who said, “In slalom, anything can happen. It’s such a capricious sport.”

The commentating was not quite at an Olympic level, but props for vocabulary.

Mancuso & Svindal post-race/ DayLife.com

As for other fun facts, Universal Sports brought it to our attention that Julia Mancuso tweets about “Norwegian Viking” Aksel Lund Svindal because he is her boyfriend.

In honor of Valentine’s Day a Universal Sports reporter handed the microphone off to Mancuso and had her interview Svindal after his gold medal win in the Men’s Super-Combined (interview towards end of video).

It was kind of awkward.


Sadly, I did not see the famed tiara helmet being worn at Worlds. For a moment I thought I did, but it was just another aqua Sprint sponsor helmet.


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One Last Sartorial Glance: Spandex, Spandex & Vera Wang Too

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Let’s do this thing.

We covered many a sartorial spandex moment, from sequins on figure skaters to swizzles on skiers, but we have a few things left to say, including some comments on tighties from the athletes themselves.


First of all, take a moment to conjure the image of the US bobsled team, including the gold medal winning ‘Night Train’ team. Those uniforms look dead awful on everyone. Every single person who had to wear one. Also, they looked like some old thing that someone had dug out of their attic. Ew. I’m sorry that you had so many pictures taken of you wearing that disaster-basket of a spandex suit.


To make is worse, the bobsled team was also sporting those terrible spangled parka situations that we’ve seen across the games on various American teams. They are despicable. Combine them with the bobsled uniforms and the result is tragic.

Now if you want to see some sleek bobsled uniforms, the people you want to catch up with are the German team. Plus, they know where the camera goes (if you are not aware, much of bobsled coverage at the gate consists of an upwards view of the athletes’… ah… glutes). So the Germans invested in snazzy posterior designs.


We have also seen and discussed the super-engineered own-the-podium-esque Canadian speed skating suits. And what does an American athlete have to say about their skin-suits?

@Jesslb16 @apoloohno does the design of your suit help performance?

@ApoloOhno RE: http://bit.ly/bDG3rO Jesse- performance? Besides making us look silly? Haha! Just better aerodynamics.

Ohno also tweeted in pondering whether or not to wear his spandex to the Oscars.

Another lighthearted look at spandex from Aksel Lund Svindal’s Twitter profile: “Most of the time I travel the world in a spandex race suit trying to be fast…”

So that is all very official, isn’t it?

And on the fussier side of Olympic fashion, we have a brief reflection on Evan Lysacek and Vera Wang.

Did you know that Wang trained as a figure skater? She skated as a pair with James Stuart in the 1960s and when they did not make the Olympic team she went into fashion. She now designs figure skating costumes for people like Johnny Weir, Evan Lysacek, Michelle Kwan and Nancy Kerrigan, including Lysacek’s costumes from these recent Vancouver games. In 2009 she was inducted into the Figure Skating Hall of Fame for her contributions to the sport as a designer, so Ms. Wang is an expert on sparkly spandex. In a recent interview she spoke about the importance of having that physical knowledge of figure skating when designing a costume so that it will not impeded the athlete’s performance or succumb to wear and tear throughout the season.


And yes, she was responsible for what Stephen Colbert referred to as “the world’s most glamorous snake attack!”

And that is the end of our spandex et cetera report.

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Favorite Olympian Names

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And now for something purely silly. When you spend two weeks watching fairly obscure athletes perform in their fairly obscure winter sports, sometimes all you can do is throw caution to the wind and choose to put your lot in with the athlete marred/graced by the best/craziest name. Here are some of our favorites, some are well-known, some not so much, but they would each render a fantastic autograph.

This is an unranked list, but a list nonetheless:

  1. Aksel Lund Svindal (Norway, Alpine Skiing)
  2. Apolo Anton Ohno (USA, Short Track)
  3. Didier Cuche (Switzerland, Alpine Skiing)
  4. Elisabeth Goergl (Austrian, Alpine Skiing)
  5. Gregor Schlierenszauer (Austria, Ski Jump). He is apparently a really big deal (complete with a clothing line) in Austria where  fans call him “Shlieri,” and he leads a life of fame and fortune: “I am feeling a little like a rockstar– and I like it!”
  6. Gro Kvinlog Genlid (Norway, Ski Cross)
  7. Magdalena Neuner (Germany, Biathlon)
  8. Nicolien Sauerbreij (Netherlands, Snowboard Parallel Slalom)
  9. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (Norway, Cross-country Skiing)
  10. Simon Ammann (Switzerland, Ski Jump). All the announcers had to say about him was that people like to say he looks like Harry Potter? I don’t see it, but whatever. Also he is pretty much out of everyone’s league in the ski jump world. Commentators said things like, “He told the world: you’re skiing for second place,” jumping twenty feet further than his nearest competitor. Asked how he plans to celebrate? “Long!”

So who did you become rabidly attached to based on their name?

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Commentators Abound & Random Magical Moments

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I am really going to miss noting the things Olympic commentators say. I shudder at the thought but am forced to confront this question: Will I be reduced to watching non-obscure sports just for the quips? Weird.

Spoken during the Aksel Lund Svindal’s second giant slalom run: “He lost one ski!”

Way to misrepresent the situation. I looked up expecting to see Svindal in the midst of a crash, or better yet, finishing the last few gates of his run suavely on one foot. But no, not the case. What the commentator meant to say is that Aksel lost his balance for a moment and lifted one foot/ski off the ground briefly. Not the same. Not at all, he ended up taking the bronze.

Other special moments included a team pile-up just across the finish line at the men’s Nordic combined team event. The Austrians tackled each other to the ground to celebrate their gold medal win.


The American team came in for a triumphant silver, the second Nordic medal for Team USA.

As for the lady skiers, the day belonged to ski cross in which Marion Josserand of France took the bronze. Why do I mention her? The women were skiing through growing blizzard conditions making visibility–even as a home spectator– pretty rough business… except when it came to spotting Josserand who wears the hands-down most blindingly hot pink helmet I have ever seen. My retina hurt.


And lastly, Mary Carillo had a late night interview with American ice dance silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White. What did we learn? Mainly that Davis looks almost like a real person when she is not covered in pounds of  stage make-up for her skating events. She still looks a little Disney princess-like, but markedly less so. I was impressed, and a little relieved.

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Commenting the Super G

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During the men’s Super G one of the commentators described the conditions of the course thusly: “I could come down here on hockey skates and not break through that snow.”

Other great things said by the commentator? Well Bode Miller is “a young American warhorse.”

Miller, incidentally managed to take home the silver and fellow American Andrew Weibrecht took bronze, in case you missed that. Miller also took his place as the most highly decorated American Alpine skier… for the moment, dun dun dun….

And the champion? Aksel Lund Svindal, the “Norwegian Viking”/come-back kid preemptively celebrated his gold by donning some serious gold sunglasses. What a fitting accessory to have on hand.


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