Olympics winners and losers: NBC, Tara and Johnny, Shani Davis and more

The Winter Olympics are under way in Pyeongchang, South Korea. We have seen plenty of good and just enough bad. Let's review.

Winners: Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski

Yes, they can be annoying. Yes, they're fame hounds. And, yes, Weir’s style channels Caesar Flickerman from “The Hunger Games.” But they came to Pyeongchang to critique figure skaters, not sing them lullabies. Comedian Daniel Tosh is on board: “One way to fix the NFL next year would be to have @johnnygweir and @taralipinski call all games!”

Losers: Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews

Don’t you think the Blackhawks players would rather be competing against each other in the Olympics than languishing together with the sputtering Hawks?

Winners: Aja Evans and her women's bobsled teammates

Their dance-off to “Rollie” seemed genuinely spontaneous, fun — and tension-cutting. When competition begins for them Feb. 20, there will be plenty of pressure for them and viewers rooting for them.

Winner: Bradie Tennell

In her first major international competition, the Carpentersville figure skater delivered a terrific performance in the team event, giving viewers much to look forward to when she takes the ice in the individual competition.

Loser: John Moody

Fox News' website didn't just remove Moody's column arguing the USOC was undermining its medal efforts by encouraging diversity, it said the column did “not reflect the views or values of Fox News.” That's notable because Moody is Fox News’ executive editor.

Winner: Mirai Nagasu

Four years ago, Nagasu was left off the U.S. figure skating team in favor of Ashley Wagner. This year, Wagner stayed home and Nagasu entered the history books by becoming the first American woman — and third woman ever — to land a triple axel in an Olympics.

Winner: Casey Larson

In a quirky accounting of Olympic participation, it was decided that the ski jumper from Barrington was the 100,000th male to compete in the Olympics. He did not, however, win an oversized check or a lifetime pass to the Norge Ski Club.

Loser: Sense of time

Pyeongchang is 15 hours ahead of Central Time. So when it’s Monday there, it’s Sunday here — at least sometimes, until it’s Tuesday. The opening ceremony was shown online at 5 a.m. Friday, and then NBC showed the ceremony 14 hours later in prime time, and it actually took longer to unfold. Some events shown on NBC’s channels are live. Some are taped. Some are at night. Others are in the daytime. Is it March yet?

Winner: Red Gerard

He won America's first gold medal of the Games, and the 17-year-old became the youngest snowboarding gold medalist in Olympic history. The kid looks like Danny Partridge from “The Partridge Family” (and the fact that he's too young to get the reference only underscores our point).

Loser: NBC

As usual with NBC's Olympics coverage, viewers complain they can't see the events they want to see when they want to see them, but that's not the worst of the network's offenses. Analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo managed to insult the host country by observing that Japan once occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945, then credited that occupation for Korea's cultural and technological transformation. After the predictable outcry, NBC apologized and terminated his assignment.

Winners: Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim

Pairs skaters (she’s from Addison) saved the first night of figure skating for Team USA and took some of the attention off Nathan Chen, who faltered on the ice after all that hype.

Losers: Coin flips

Shani Davis complained on Twitter that Team USA “dishonorably tossed a coin to decide its 2018 flag bearer.” Chicagoans have questioned “heads or tails” legitimacy ever since the Bears' Ed McCaskey called heads, and tails sent Terry Bradshaw to the Steelers in 1970.

Winner: Coin flips

Come to think of it, the Bears won the coin toss with the Browns in 1975 and took Walter Payton. So maybe there are two sides to this after all.

Loser: Snowboarders

On the day American Jamie Anderson defended her Olympic title will also go down as one of the most unpleasant, dangerous days snowboarding has ever seen. Shifting, bitter winds whipped tiny ice pellets across the iced-over jumps at the Phoenix Snow Park and stiffened the orange-colored wind socks in one direction, then another. Twenty-five riders each took two trips down a course that, by many of their accounts, should not have been open for action. Of the 50 runs, 41 ended with a rider on her backside, or in a face plant.

Winner: Leila Rahimi

NBC Sports Chicago's Rahimi, on loan to serve as NBC Olympics reporter during women's hockey games, was in the right place at the right time for what was one of the most significant moments of the Games so far: the combined Korean team's debut. Famously neutral Switzerland clobbered the Koreans 8-0, but that symbolism was eclipsed by the symbolism of enemies playing as a team.

Loser: Leila Rahimi

Getting assigned women's hockey, played at night in South Korea, means a lot of telecasts running in the middle of the night here. Team USA rallied to beat Finland while you slept in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Not great for exposure, but you can wake up for the next U.S. game against the Olympic Athletes from Russian, set for 6:10 a.m. Tuesday on NBCSN. So maybe there’s hope.

Winner: Toyota

Those ads that have nothing to do with cars and everything to do with inspiring stories of athletes overcoming obstacles are the best sales pitch of these Olympics so far.

Winner: Gus Kenworthy's Instagram.

The freestyle skier and Adam Rippon are first two openly gay U.S. Winter Olympians. But if you want to talk bold, it's Kenworthy's Instagram. It has shots of him dressing up for "Hallow Queens" and many pics that make ESPN's body issue photos redundant, but the topper is his pose with Rippon at the Games, which he captioned, “your heart out, (Vice President Mike) Pence.”

Loser: Sensitive figure skating fans

Former gold medalist Tara Lipinski and two-time Olympian Johnny Weir’s commentary was appropriately sharp-edged and sassy when Nathan Chen and other skaters turned the Winter Olympics into the Fall Games. The ice isn’t all that’s cold and hard in this sport.

Winners: Matt and Becca Hamilton

The brother and sister U.S. curlers from near Madison, Wis., give hope to all Americans who resemble characters from the old “Saturday Night Live” Da Bears/Superfans sketches that they too can be Olympians.

Winner: Curling

Seriously. It's shuffleboard meets bowling on ice. This looks totally doable. Totally. Honey, where do we keep our broom?

Losers: Insurance companies.

A generation of Red Gerard wannabes is likely to lead to a spike in broken ribs, jaws, skulls, arms, legs, necks, backs and pelvises, ruptured spleens, torn cartilage and tendons, collapsed lungs, contusions and lacerations.

Winner: Bart Simpson.

The opening sequence of "The Simpsons" makes clear that with some coaching and training, this fourth-grade skateboard phenom could medal in men's slopestyle.

Winner: Pita Taufatofua.

Shirtless and oiled Tongan does it again — this time in less comfortable weather than in Rio two years ago — as he carried the Tongan flag into opening ceremony.

Contributing: Associated Press

2018 Winter Olympics: TV schedule and highlights »

Pairs skater on long road to Olympics: 'Seemed like one bad thing after another' »

NBC's editing of Olympics opening ceremony makes a long walk only longer »

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