Monday, January 25, 2010

TRIPLE LUTZ, TRI ... OH, THAT WASN'T GOOD: I'm subbing in for Gretchen on this one, but if you watched the US ladies' figure skating championship Saturday night and/or followed my tweets during same you know where I'm going with this: what Saturday night reminded us, more than anything, is that figure skating is really, really hard. To skate flawlessly for four minutes and pull off the jumps required at this level takes a remarkable amount of strength and balance, and there's a reason why I counted nine of the twelve athletes as having planted ass on ice or otherwise egregiously two-footed during their skates.

Points are what they are, so I understand why Mirai Nagasu took the second Olympic slot with champion Rachael Flatt. Still, the more-experienced Ashley Wagner performed more difficult elements in her long program, and did them better, and it's a damn shame that her screwed-up triple lutz in the short program (which she explains here) will keep her out of the Games.

As for Sasha Cohen, it just wasn't there, and for medals in Vancouver folks shouldn't be looking at our ladies at all. Instead, it's that flamboyant guy, that less flamboyant guy and our ice dancers ... though I'd first have to concede ice dancing to be a sport. (That's why I tend to focus on other disciplines, though, seriously, the Russian/aboriginal thing is going to be quite a fun controversy.)

While I have the floor -- I'm paying for this microphone, after all -- after a long dormancy look for a flurry of CoverItLive activity here for sweeps month. I'd expect us to resume that feature for the Grammys this Sunday, for the Oscar nomination reveal on February 2, and for the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies (indoors, a first!) -- because we've got way more interesting things to say about the marching countries of the world and the Children Uniting In Song than Bob Costas does.

After the jump, a special video from Johnny Weir:


  1. The Pathetic Earthling10:00 PM

    Yeah it's hard.  It involves standing up on ice skates.

  2. Joseph J. Finn10:14 PM

    Sorry. It's still not a sport. No objective scoring, not a sport.

  3. The Pathetic Earthling10:16 PM

    I've always taken the position that if I am better at it when drunk, then game.  If not, then sport.

  4. Mr. Cosmo11:15 PM

    Outstanding microphone reference.

  5. I dig Bob Costas.  He of the shiny, shiny hair.

    But I concede that the more interesting commentary will be here.

  6. Awards season, sweeps, and the Olympics, it's an ALOTT5MA trifecta!

  7. I really enjoyed the finals, and it seemed that the best skaters that night did indeed make the top two - although Ashley Wagner was fantastic, and I wish there had been room for three.  Most heartbreaking was Alyssa Czisny, who couldn't seem to land a jump but was such a beautiful, graceful skater to watch.

    I think Scott Hamilton made the comment about six times that skater's legs are tired in the second half of the long program, and therefore jumps are harder and worth more points.  We get it, Scott.  Shut up.

  8. gretchen11:36 AM

    I get the point about the objective scoring, but I just wanted to point out that the reason why Rachael Flatt beat Mirai Nagasu was because of the more objective scoring system that figure skating has put into place.  Nagasu had several jumps downgraded because she failed to fully rotate three times in the air -- a technical mistake that was only visible through the replays.  To be sure, there are lots of judgment calls about the sport (and ice dancing is just ridiculous).  But the technical standards for each element are increasingly objective. 

  9. Jenn.2:46 PM

    I appreciate Flatt's jumping ability, but I wish that she showed more artistic ability---her routines really do feel like 'elements' and 'time spent preparing to do the next element.' 

    I'm glad that Marai Nagasu is going.  I feel like she has the best shot of the women who were in the final group of becoming a great skater, and the Olympic experience will help with that.

    Loved our top ice dancing team.  Their Bollywood routine is great---so well done, and very entertaining.  As with our number two team, I enjoyed their exhibition performance set to modern music more than the "well, we've got to do a more traditional free dance" free dance.  And the guys in our #1 and #3 team actually don't dress ridiculously, which is nice to see.

  10. gretchen3:26 PM

    Some of the commentators I read on the Internet were outraged by the Belbin and Agosto free dance -- they thought it was sacriligeous.  I wasn't totally sold on the concept, but I didn't actually think it was irreverent or sacriligeous -- it's figure skating, for heaven's sake. 

    I was sorry that the ice dancing team that skated to One (as rerecorded by U2 and Mary J Blige) isn't going to the Olympics -- I thought they were wonderful. 

  11. Kitty5:01 PM

    I wish Johnny Weir's program weren't so empty, and I wish I found Rachel Flatt more exciting to watch.  Hoping Evan Lysacek does as well as he did at Worlds last year, and that he doesn't try the quad -- I don't think he needs it, and the way the scoring system works now, it's not worth the risk.

    And yes, it's a sport.  Golf, though, not a sport.

  12. Jenn.5:25 PM

    I didn't think that the Belbin/Agosto free dance was sacriligeous.  I thought that it didn't play to their strengths and was a bit dull, which is not what I'd expect from B/A.

    It would have been great to have a free dance to U2, wouldn't it?  Although I liked the team that came in third, as well.  It's one of the negatives of having such a strong top two---two good teams had to battle it out for the last spot.