The Olympics Sap-o-Meter: Courage, determination, and passion at the ladies' figure skating finals.

Scenes from the Olympics.
Feb. 26 2010 8:26 AM

The Olympics Sap-o-Meter

Courage, determination, and passion at the ladies' figure skating finals.

For NBC and a good portion of the Olympics audience, all the skiing and the curling are mere prelude to the ice princesses. Thursday night's main event didn't disappoint, with Kim Yu-Na skating flawlessly for gold in the ladies' figure skating finals. Nevertheless, the Korean superstar didn't hog the spotlight: Japan's silver-winning Mao Asada nailed her triple axels, sentimental favorite Joannie Rochette earned the bronze, and young Americans Rachael Flatt and Mirai Nagasu performed well in falling just shy of the podium. It was a night of courage, determination, and passion—a delectably saccharine brew that saw the Sap-o-Meter register a stout 44 Sap Points.

As Kim Yu-Na took the ice, always-excitable color commentator Scott Hamilton reported that his "heart just started beating a little faster." The Sap-o-Meter, too, began to tingle as Sandra Bezic enthused that the long-limbed skater, her coach, and her choreographer "made magic" on the ice. When Asada followed with a strong performance of her own, Hamilton transformed from a broadcaster to a doting parent. "What courage to come out after that and to throw those jumps," he said, adding moments later, "I'm so proud of her."

Advertisement

And then came Canada's sweetheart. The Sap-o-Meter, rarely one to commend NBC for restraint, must note that the network's coverage of Rochette's mother's tragic death has been commendable. On this night, when Rochette thrilled the home crowd with a third-place finish—and brought Hamilton to tears for the second time in three days—our Sappiest Line of the Day didn't even feel over the top. OK, maybe a little over the top. "A kiss to her father, a performance for her mom," crowed Bezic. "I've never seen such a superhuman amount of courage, determination—what an inspiration," added Hamilton. Play-by-play man Tom Hammond got the last word: "Under these circumstances, it is the stuff of Olympic legend." (Emphasis on sap words is ours.)

Become a fan of Slate on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Josh Levin is Slate's executive editor.

Chris Wilson is a Slate contributor.

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.