It's safe to say that Katie Couric is doing a pretty interesting job hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony. From her stories about her daughter to her witty perspective, some fans on Twitter honestly can't get enough of her. Moments ago, at the 2018 Winter Games opening ceremony that aired on Friday, Feb. 9, Katie Couric called this speed skating event "Nascar on ice," and now I'm left wondering, where do I sign up?
Mass start, a new form of speed skating set to debut at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, features up to 24 skaters who race 16 laps at the same time, according to USA Today. It's totally different than traditional speed skating — just imagine four times the amount of skaters in regular speed skating, racing to the finish line on a course that is entirely too small for all of them to fit. Exciting, right? Plus, it'll be the first time its appeared at the Olympics since 1932, which makes it one of the event's most anticipated competitions. So of course when Couric called the sport's mass start "Nascar on ice," some of us broke into a complete, enthusiastic frenzy.
Twitter users couldn't contain their excitement.
One user wrote, "I can't wait for the Mass speed skating event, especially when it's described as 'NASCAR on ice' That just means a lot of pile ups. #OpeningCeremony"
Another commented on Couric's ability to "sell a sport."
Speed skater Joey Mantia reiterated Couric's comment in the days leading up to the competition, according to The Washington Post. He said,
The best way I could describe it would be NASCAR on ice. There is bumping. There is drafting. There is strategy . . . It’s definitely more exciting to watch than standard long-track races.
The sport allows four sprints throughout the mass start and points are given to the top three players of each sprint. A race is typically 7 minutes for men and around 8 minutes for women. And even though the track is overcrowded, skaters are prohibited from intentionally obstructing each other, which honestly makes it great television, if you ask me.
When speaking about the rules, Ivanie Blondin, a mass start speed skater said, “The rules are there are no rules, so you can’t really get disqualified unless you were to, like, drop the gloves and start beating on someone...”
Nascar on ice is sounding more and more fitting...
Couric's hosting was expected to be "exciting."
Couric's comment on mass start isn't too surprising, considering people foresaw her highlighting the event's best moments anyways. On Jan. 17, Jim Bell, President of NBC Olympics Production and Programming, said it was "exciting" to have Couric on board as a host. He said,
It’s beyond exciting to welcome Katie back to our Olympic booth. Katie has extensive Olympic experience, having anchored the Today show at six previous Games, and hosted the Opening Ceremony in Sydney, Salt Lake City, and Athens. We have been eagerly awaiting Mike’s first prime time Olympic hosting duties, and now, with Mike and Katie, viewers will have two pros, and two terrific storytellers leading the way. I’m looking forward to both of them engaging with Joshua for his keen analysis, first shared with our viewers so memorably in Beijing in 2008. I have no doubt this compelling trio will capture both the significance and glory of the ceremony’s signature moments.
And there's no doubt that Couric has captured the significance of mass start. Let's just hope her comments live up to their hype. Speed skating begins Feb. 10, and I'll be waiting nearby, popcorn in hand, just in case.