NBC10 Boston reporters Audrey Asistio, JC Monahan, and Brian Shactman are reporting from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Throughout their time at the Winter Games they'll be sharing their observations.
The Winter Olympics are filled with high speed, adrenaline-pumping, dangerous sports. Except one: curling. You've probably seen it. Sheets of ice, teams of two or four people, a curling "stone" and a lot of "sweeping." It's gaining popularity in the U.S., with curling clubs popping up everywhere (there are a few in Massachusetts).
The object is to get closest to the "button," or center, of the bullseye. It takes strategy to outmaneuver your opponent. That's where it gets fun. Like chess, it's about thinking two, three moves ahead. People we spoke with said it's relaxing to watch and fun to see the athletes strategize. Sure, a few people told us they’d rather watch the more intense Olympic sports but curling has plenty of fans. There's even an Olympic curling pillow for sale in the Super Store. Team USA Olympic curler Becca Hamilton told us if you give the sport a chance, you will get hooked. There are many more matches left here in Pyeongchang. Plenty of time for you to get "hooked."
Hello from Pyeongchang! It is Friday, Feb. 16. It is still Feb. 15 for all of you in the U.S., which means it is technically still my birthday! Thank you all for the greetings on social media. It means a lot. Today brought us beautiful weather. It is sunny and a lot warmer out here today. I actually didn’t need to wear my heavy jacket out! That's huge!
Yesterday was also a big day, as I got to watch Mikaela Shiffrin win gold in the giant slalom competition. After waiting several days for her Pyeongchang debut, due to weather delays, she did fantastic! She was so excited, after the competition, she hopped over barriers to reach her boyfriend and give him a big bear hug. What an exciting moment.
I met Team USA's Jonathan Cheever in January at his parents' home in Saugus, Massachusetts. He was an early qualifier in men's snowboard cross for the Olympics. At 32 years old, this would be his Olympic debut. His parents traveled for 19 hours to get to South Korea to see this moment. I spoke with them the day before Jonathan competed and they couldn't have been more excited. They had seen him at Opening Ceremony and were clearly loving the experience of being the parents of an Olympic athlete. How many people can say that? He seeded 19th, which, he told me, was a comfortable spot for him. He mentioned how fast the course was, at one point tracking his speed at 55 mph. Remember, in the first heat, there are five snowboarders racing at once. The top three move on to the next round. One mistake by a competitor and it could take you down, as well. We saw it many times while we waited at the bottom to see Jonathan. It was close. So close, but Jonathan missed qualifying by just four hundredths of a second. Not even a full second! As he said to me, one small mistake and your day is over.
It was clear he was disappointed — who wouldn't be? But he was also accepting.
"If finishing in the top 30 at the Olympics is my biggest complaint, it's a pretty good day," he said.
Thank you, Jonathan, Doreen and Mark Cheever for letting me go along with you for this amazing ride. By the way, Jonathan is on to the World Cup in Barcelona the end of this month, so no doubt, we will be seeing much more of him ahead. Go Team Cheever!
I’ve been a meteorologist a long time, seen a lot of weather but yesterday in South Korea was one of the strangest I’ve ever experienced. The day started as it usually does… cold and dry, a little sun. When I stepped out for my 11 p.m. live shot (1:00 p.m. Wednesday in Korea), the winds were howling. I was on the second level of our building and I watched as security fences were ripped apart, signs flew off the walls and smaller tents collapsed.
An hour or so later, I walked to the curling center. I had to turn my back to the wind just to stand up. Over the loud speaker came an announcement… it’s not safe to be outside. We were asked to find shelter in a secure building. Many of the set-ups here are tents. Strong, large tents but just that, tents.
They wanted us to go to buildings where competitions were being held. So, we watched curling. I’m fascinated by the sport. How did it become a sport? Why is it a sport and what the heck is all that sweeping about? (I’ll have a story on that coming up Thursday at 7 p.m).
Hours later, after a bus ride back to the media village where I live, the winds were still howling with such strength I thought I heard someone yelling “Toto! Where are you Toto?” It crossed my mind, a few clicks of my heels and maybe I would be home. But no, this was no tornado. According to a local woman I spoke with, this is typical weather here in PyeongChang. It’s such a mountainous region, winds race through the canyons and temperature variations can create their own mini weather systems (yes, I logged on and checked out the Korean weather maps. There was nothing. Nada. No storm producing the gusts). I snapped a few photos that I’ll share here.
There’s an old saying in journalism: Don’t cheer in the press box.
The point is basic. The journalist’s job is to report the news, to tell the story. It is not their job to root for a person, team or outcome.
The Olympics, however, present a problem for this ethos.
For one, if Americans win, it’s a better story. Period. Full stop.
Secondly, the spirit of the Games, whether contrived or not, FEELS real a lot here.
When it comes to snowboarder Shaun White, his story has not always been compelling to me. He was talented, of course. But in Sochi, he seemed more corporate than passionate. It turns out, there was some truth to that, and perhaps, his fourth-place finish represented that.
Now, in his 30’s, White is a story of redemption. He competes because he loves it again. He is honest in his interactions with the media.
And here it is: It’s difficult NOT to root for him. As a person. As a personal story. As an American.
I couldn’t go to the mountains today because Mikaela Shiffrin’s slalom race was postponed due to wind. The same was true for a lot of us who had assignments in the mountains. So, as we prepared our live reports, we watched the men’s snowboard halfpipe.
We saw his first run – looked better than the score showed.
We watched him fall in his second run.
And as he high fived his team at the top of the halfpipe, the newsroom fell silent.
Then, as clean trick after clean trick flashed on our screens, the newsroom erupted with... cheers. And it didn’t feel wrong.
Hello! It is Tuesday in PyeongChang, South Korea! Today by far has to be the coolest day I’ve had here. I somehow got the best assignment to cover the women’s halfpipe finals. I’ve never seen the event in person before, and I have to say, I’m still pinching myself. Seeing the snowboarders fly into the air like they do is surreal. The TV doesn’t do the competition justice. Chloe Kim crushed her runs, winning gold! She was unbelievable. Definitely lived up to the hype! Team USA’s Arielle Gold also did amazing, snatching bronze.
Media from all over the world is required to stay in the “mixed zone” during the competition, which, in this case, was the best seat in the house. We were right up front and center.
After the competition, the athletes are required to walk through the mixed zone and speak to us. First, Arielle Gold. She was so sweet.
Then we were waiting awhile for gold medalist Chloe Kim. We weren’t sure what was going on. Turns out, according to someone with her, she really had to use the restroom. We also later learned that Chloe was really “hangry.” So by the time she got out to media and began talking to us, she already had ice cream available for her. She eventually started eating it while still conducting her interviews. She’s so funny. Love her.
When I finished my interview with Chloe, finished with a selfie of course, and we were leaving the venue, we heard fans yelling, “Shaun White! Shaun White!”
Then, I see a snowboarder sliding down the slope. He stops right in front of me, takes off his goggles and face mask and sure enough, it was snowboarding sensation Shaun White! He gives several fans high fives. I’m there panicking, questioning, “Do I ask?”
Well, I do. I ask him for a selfie. He agrees to take one.
And there you go! Mind blown, day complete. Three selfies with the best snowboarders in the world! Pinch me someone…
Ten days in and down to my last pair. Time for laundry.
For a small city housing 6,000 members of the media, we have one laundromat.
They DO have laundry service to ship it, but it takes three days and they don’t take underwear.
We buy the detergent and everything else is “free”. You get the “air” quotes because what it costs is time. I want to be out there covering the Olympics but the dryers don’t work that well so I have my clothes (one load) spread out over four dryers.
Interesting to note: Every few minutes, they stop and go the other way — just like public skating when I was a kid.
I asked the lovely young woman assisting me, “why?”
“I don’t know.”
Anyway, the lovely minutiae of life abroad.
Several nice things to report:
First, Jamie Anderson, who won gold in snowboard slope style, was still beaming hours later after leaving the Today Show set.
What I find fascinating is that when I covered her in Sochi four years ago, she was a free-spirited young woman, seizing the moment and not thinking about much else.
Talking to her at 11 p.m. on a Monday night after she won gold, she seemed more grown up, more contemplative.
It’s a little different with Mikaela Shiffrin — but not much.
Four years later, you can’t be ignorant of the attention, the global stage ... and the pressure.
We will see Wednesday if Shiffrin handles it as well as Anderson. Past precedent indicates she will.
Hello and happy Monday from the Winter Games in South Korea!
I am off today! It will be the only day I’ll take off for the entire month as we bring you the Winter Games from PyeongChang!
It actually works out perfectly, because I’m still recovering from a split shift and last night’s amazing men’s singles luge competition. If you didn’t already hear, history was made last night by our very own Pittsfield, Massachusetts, native Chris Mazdzer! He won the silver medal! He is the first U.S. athlete to ever win a medal in men’s singles luge.
I got a chance to speak with him after his big win. As you could imagine, it hadn’t sunk in for him yet, but he was thrilled. I’m so happy for him! Hearing his family and friends chanting “U-S-A” after his win got me teary eyed. It surely was a special moment for Chris, his family and our country.
So what should I do on my free day? Talk soon!
Yesterday, my photographer Sean Colahan and I went up to the Mountain Cluster, about an hour away from where we work at the coast.
We chose a bitterly cold day, with wind chills WELL below zero. I can honestly say, it was a cold unlike anything I have ever felt. I took my hand out of my glove to use my phone (Yes, I know there are touch-screen gloves, but my very warm mittens don’t have the technology) and in less than a minute, I had shooting pain in my fingers.
It’s about a thirty minute walk from the entrance to the cross country ski event where we found a large crowd, despite the cold. We came across members of the US Men’s downhill ski team cheering on the US men’s cross country team at their first race. They couldn’t have been nicer and so excited to be a part of the Olympic experience.
I must say, being around them and the energetic crowd, was a ton of fun. We even forgot about the cold, for a little while.
I’ll have the story from the mountain coming up Monday on our 7pm newscast. Until then, please keep in touch FB: jcmonahan Twitter: @jc_nbcboston Instagram: JCMonahantv Hope to hear from you soon!
Today was a day full of classic Olympic spirit.
Aimee Buchanan is a 24-year old from Lexington, Massachusetts. She’s a figure skater competing under the Israeli flag.
She did one event — ONE. She skated in the short program of the team competition.
Three minutes of Olympic glory, and she nailed it. She finished 10th, but she still nailed it.
"To skate my best short program of the year, here, that was my Olympic moment," she said afterward with a massive smile.
There was a moment, on the ice when she finished, Aimee simply raised her arms and exhaled with joy.
It was moving to watch.
No medals. Three minutes. And a lifetime memory.
"I’ve worked so hard and had such a tough year," she said. "It was amazing."
Then, there was Red Gerard.
When I went to the figure skating event, he was in last place in the snowboard slope style. When I got back, the 17-year old was a gold medalist.
A few people in the newsroom huddled by a monitor to watch the video of the winning run.
It was slow to start, creative but not moving. By the time he soared off the final jump, spinning with only the sky above him visible, we all whooped. You couldn’t help it.
When he smoothly stuck the landing, you could see why he basically doubled his score from the previous round. He was perfect.
On a day like this, gold was perfect ... but so was 10th place.
Hello my friends and hello weekend! My day started off with a panic! My phone didn’t charge over night so it died and my alarm didn’t go off. I woke up an hour late! Fortunately, I still had a little time to get ready, run to the shuttle stop, catch a ride to the NBC Workspace then pass through security and walk to our live shot location. I fortunately made my live shot, thank goodness! Whew! Close call.
Once I finished reporting live for the 4, 5 and 6 p.m. NBC10 Boston newscasts, which are 6, 7 and 8 a.m. Korean time, I went to the Superstore to buy more souvenirs.
That was my third trip! Don’t tell my husband. I also caught up with some of you through Facebook Live to show you the technology inside the store. Pretty cool, huh?
Highlight of my day was visiting the Team Korea House for the first time. It was INCREDIBLE inside.
They have a little area where you can dress in elegant Korean attire worn by royalty.
They also have an area where you can test your K-Pop dance moves! Yes, I tried dancing Gangnam Style. I think I blinded people in the process.
I also had a bit of a K-Pop star sighting while outside the building. I think the group’s name is BTOB. There were fans all over trying to get a quick photo of them. I got video of the top of their heads! :)
I had another incredible day here. Tomorrow, I will be at the men’s luge competition. Wishing Chris Mazdzer and Tucker West all the luck!
Got off to a bit of a rough start this morning. Our bus from the village where we live was about 45 minutes late. So there my photographer and I stood, along with more than a dozen other members of the media… freezing. Yes, it really is THAT cold here in Pyeongchang. You can check out my Facebook Live I posted on my site while waiting this morning. It’s only about a 15-minute ride to our workspace and what’s called “The Coastal Cluster” so, thankfully, we made it in time to get our work done and get on the air for the 7 p.m. newscast. The real trick is getting to the mountain location. That requires a bus change and a one hour ride. Plus, it’s at least 15 degrees colder there. The athletes are doing what they can to stay warm and adjust to the climate. I have a feeling this could benefit our hometown team! Headed out today to check out the corporate sponsors, Their logos dominate the landscape. I’ll have that story for you coming up next week. I’ll keep you posted! Stay in touch through Twitter @jc_NBCBoston or Facebook JC Monahan or on Instagram at jcmonahantv (Tough to keep track of it all). I will do my best to get back to you!
Hello from PyeongChang, South Korea! I’ve been having an amazing time bringing you all things Winter Olympics on NBC10 Boston. We got here on Saturday and have been working nonstop ever since. The highlight so far on this trip for me has to be touring the Demilitarized Zone.
If you didn’t catch my stories about the DMZ on NBC10 Boston News at 5 and 6 p.m., make sure you check them out on our website. It was an absolutely incredible, informative experience. I still get chills reliving it.
My shift in South Korea is pretty interesting since there is a 14-hour time difference. I will be reporting live for the 5 and 6 p.m. NBC10 Boston newscasts EST. In Korea time, that is 7 and 8 a.m. the next day.
It’s a little after 11 a.m. here right now and I already finished my live shots for the day. I did a story on the incredible technology being showcased here at the Winter Olympics. The robotic fish have to be my favorite. I also gave viewers a quick tour of the Coastal Cluster in the city of Gangneung.
I then met up with Trenni Kusnierek, who is a sports anchor and reporter for NBC Sports Boston. She’s also the reporter on NBC’s curling telecasts in the Winter Olympics. She talked to us about how she got that cool gig and which team we should keep an eye on.
Right now, I’m about 30 minutes away from heading to the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium where the Opening Ceremony will take place. Exciting!
Alright. I’ve got to get back to work. Chat tomorrow!
It’s Friday here in South Korea, just getting my day started. Excited to bring you a story on Jonathan Cheever, our local snowboard athlete, set to compete for Olympic gold. Yesterday, I had the chance to interview Alice Merryweather, the final addition to the Women's US Alpine Ski team. Only 21-years-old and from Hingham, she was told she was going to the Olympics a little more than a week ago. Amazing! She is brilliant and sweet and about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. Did I mention she’s headed to Dartmouth in the spring?