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Natalia

Winter Olympics Skating News, part 2 (post-Pairs, men, etc.)

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Lillian wrote:

And Mr. Waffle, if you now are unhappy with the CBC's Olympic coverage (which you praised to the hilt before this fiasco) may I kindly suggest you switch channels to Mr. Costas at NBC. CBC is heavily funded by Canadian taxpayers who are probably very interested in this controversy. At least until the hockey games get going…

You are right, I am taking a free ride and shouldn't be critical. As far as NBC goes, I would pay to avoid watching their coverage from what I have heard about it and seen in the past. The Olympics can be a wonderful event to cover and watch, especially sports that get almost no coverage in the U.S. like cross-country skiiing in the winter and rowing in the summer. The CBC remains in a different universe from the U.S. based networks.

Additionally, here in southeast Michigan the only radio station I can easily pick up that carries the Saturday afternnon opera from the Met is the CBC from Windsor, Ontario. They carry opera in that time slot year around--an example of what enlightened public policy of government funding for broadcasting.

What surprised me most about the controversy over the judging is the depth and breadth of it. Most people in the U. S. are interested in ice skating during the Olympics--every four years interest peaks.

But within the relatively small world of top flight competitors, coaches, choreographers and officials this could not have been that great a surprise. That judges could be coerced, bribed or otherwise influenced, that votes might be traded and that the final outcomes determined in advance must not, one would think, have started with this Olympics.

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The French and Italian teams didn't skate to potential in the Grand Prix final, and the Italians even slipped so the Canadian team won gold. So, the alledged pressure would be to ensure that result does not happen again. But if the French judge was 'pressured' why didn't she speak to the referee before the competition. And I find it wonderfully convenient that after the competition she's willing to tell all, presumably endagearing her job, the only reason I can find for her not speaking up before

But truly, the Russian team only made one visible error and contrary to Jaime's overly-broadcasted opinion, the Canadian performance was great, but not flawless. But you don't need to be technically perfect in the LP to win the gold. Like I mentioned before you only need to think back to Oksana and Nancy to remember a case where a great, gold-medal worthy program (Kerrigan's) was defeated by one (Baiul's)with errors. And in that case there were a few errors and not-so-great choreography. And although Kerrigan was obviously upset there was no great public outcry, the US didn't file an appeal, and no one was trying to remove a gold medal from Oksana. And it was a case of Ukraine(aka part of that Soviet Machine that Costas so wanted to topple) vs USA.

So why wasn't there a problem then when the 'scandal' should have been greater? For the exact reason that there is a scandal now. Oksana was a heart-warming 16yr old who won the crowd over. It was her 'spunk', not her program, that won her that gold. But because that's the type of thing audiences like no one really complained. Well, except Nancy of course. And here we have a similar situation. Even though the host of CNN's Talkback Live wrongly stated yesterday that Jaime and David were relative unknowns before Monday night (would it be that hard for CNN to educate their staff on the facts before allowing them on internationally broadcasted programs. calling the reigning world champs, undeafeated in 10 or so major competitions, unknown is a mark of great ignorance), we all know that for the last year or so they've been growing in public adoration. And there is already tendency for American/Canadian audiences to champion non-European skaters when at all possible (unfortunately for her they didn't really seem to like poor Nancy wink.gif ). So all of that is fueling the great controversy over the fact that one of the two gold-capable programs (a comment made by the Canadian commentators) won.

But to penalize the skaters in the event that official wrong-doing was proven (yes proven, not just alledged in the AP) would only add to a sad situation. Elena and Anton only made one mistake, the bobble on the double axel, they are not being accused of judge tampering. So to ban them from skating would be very unfair and wouldn't do anything to solve the problem of judging. And besides, removing all of the French and Russian skaters would get rid of a large proportion of the best international skaters. And that would only serve to make the competitions weak on talent and maybe give some Americans and Canadians shallow victories in Ice Dancing and Men's (the ladies competition is largely between the US and Russia and I think Michelle can beat Irina anyway smile.gif ). If there is an actual problem then it needs to be fixed, but by addressing the conditions that allows judges to be influenced, not by punishing innocent skaters.

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And Ed it's okay to be critical of the Canadian broadcasting, it has its merits as well as demerits just as the US broadcasting does and you don't need to be a citizen to notice it smile.gif . In the last couple of days I have wondered if the Olympics had been cancelled to give CBC more time to focus on Jaime and David! Yeah the public is interested but it's not the crime of the century that they didn't win gold and there are other Canadian athletes that we should be giving our support to as they begin competing. The CBC is giving this issue as much coverage as CNN gives national/international incidents. And given that no real facts have been uncovered in the 10min interval updates, it's beyond excessive.

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Jeannie's note to writer of this post, Catlady: Thanks for your impressions/opinion! I'm moving your post to this thread, as it is the more appropriate subject (Winter Olympics vs Nagoya competition). I bet that you intended it to be here! wink.gif

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Just wanted to add my two cents to the whole "controversy" surrounding the pairs. I watched the entire competition and was absolutely floored by the Canadians. I thought the program was splendid, very well crafted, had theme and content that carried through and developed and was performed both technically and artistically in a magnificent fashion. I was left unmoved by the russians. I have never been a big fan of the "If I look pained I am really being artistic" style of performing and I thought their program was lacking completely in any sort of theme or content. Swirling around the ice and looking longingly at each other to swelling over-orchestrated music in a program filled with not much more than arm waving and some lifts does not constitute a fulfilling artistic acheievement to me. I thought their short program was better but it too left me cold. I stood up and cheered after the Canadians because they involved me and I had never seen such an inspired, flawless program in competition before. The russians were nowhere near as clean or passionate and there is no doubt in my mind who really won. I personally felt the the Canadian couple were quite diplomatic in the aftermath and it appeared to me that they were both aware that any criticism on their part against the judges would be held against them in future. It isn't their fault the media has jumped on this and made them out to be the wronged ones. How would anyone else resond asked the same question over and over again? Do you feel you won? Of course they do!

The whole competition is a joke, the judging of Ina and Zimmerman is a bigger scandal then the Canadians. They were fabulous and they still got placed far below the other russian pair who were dreadful. Time to find a new way to judge this sport.

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Doh! Thank you! I don't know how I ended up on the other thread but you are correct, this is where I intended to be.

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Um, just wanted to clarify, Jeannie, the last post with your name on it is from Catlady, right? And welcome Catlady! I see myself as a catlady too.

Am looking forward to tonight's competition, and moving past the bitterness of the last several days. I believe Yagudin will win; he skated so beautifully the other night. What a great moment for him! I too was terribly sorry to see Plushenko fall, but he is so young, and still has plenty of room and time to grow. In some ways, I think it's difficult to win the Olympics "too young". Undoubtedly it's tough to win something so prestigious very early on, like "Where do I go from here?" Still, I hope Plushenko skates well tonight.

What do the rest of you predict?

[ February 14, 2002: Message edited by: britomart ]

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