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Quinten

Watching the Olympics

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Carolina Kostner short program  "Ne me quitte pas":wub::wub::wub:

No link for the Olympics version, sorry, but here's an earlier performance:

 

 

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It's been very interesting hearing the commentators trying to explain the team event -- they make it sound like the Miss Congeniality prize, which is certainly not their intention.

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The 15 year old Russian skater, Zagitova, is ridiculously talented aesthetically and athletically speaking. And she's not even the Russian team no 1. She's going to have Medvedeva sweating bullets soon. No one else is really on the same level as those two.

It's so obvious that the balletic training the Russian skaters receive makes a big difference in their comportment, flair and stylistics on the ice. And their choreography is much more stylish and less 'cartoonish' than what I often see performed by competitors from other countries. I have to give them credit for that development.

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I was almost in tears watching Mirai Nagasu give the performance of her dreams last night at the team event.  She has struggled for so many years and was, in my opinion, unfairly left off the 2014 team so they could make room for Ashley Wagner. No matter what happens at the individual event for her, she has already triumphed.

Edited by abatt

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6 hours ago, abatt said:

I was almost in tears watching Mirai Nagasu give the performance of her dreams last night at the team event.  She has struggled for so many years and was, in my opinion, unfairly left off the 2014 team so they could make room for Ashley Wagner. No matter what happens at the individual event for her, she has already triumphed.

Yes that was a happy moment. I hope she continues on the same level. Toi toi toi, Mirai.

It's unfortunate that a kind of Wagner VS Nagasu situation was created by the U.S. committee over these team choices. But their choices were not illogical for their times. It's a shame that the teams are being made smaller and smaller. Small teams tend to favor old veterans over the 'athlete of the moment'. I guess the U.S. committee couldn't really pass over Bradie Tennell given how well she has been skating this past year. And she hasn't disappointed either. The problem is just how ridiculously good the Russian (and Canadian) skaters tend to be right now.

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These things go in waves — four years ago I thought the Japanese could be team contenders.  Maybe if the Shibutanis had skated for Japan, they would have.  This wave, they are trying to give their youngest athletes experience in advance of Beijing 2022.  

 

While I liked Nagasu’s triple axle, the rest of her program lacked artistry.  

 

Interesting that Patrick Chan’s skating skills have helped him so much, but Carolina Kostner’s vastly superior skating skills have not.  

I’m glad  the judges’ names are linked to the scores this year.  I have been watching the Canadian coverage and the  commentary is superior. But surprisingly, NBC is showing more skaters!  

Edited by Jayne
Sigh, my fat fingers alter spelling once again!

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1 hour ago, Jayne said:

These things go in waves — four years ago I thought the Japanese could be team contenders.  Maybe if the Shibutanis had skated for Japan, they would have.  This wave, they are trying to give their youngest athletes experience in advance of Beijing 2022. 

While I liked Nagasu’s triple axle, the rest of her program lacked artistry. 

Interesting that Patrick Chan’s skating skills have helped him so much, but Carolina Kostner’s vastly superior skating skills have not.  

I’m glad  the judges’ names are linked to the acores this year.  I have been watching the Canadian coverage and the  commentary is superior. But surprisingly, NBC is showing more skaters!  

"While I liked Nagasu’s triple axle, the rest of her program lacked artistry."

> Nagasu is one of many skaters who would benefit greatly from ballet training, and a more 'balletic' choreography. Not everyone is a natural dancer, of course, but everyone improves with training. ;)

"I have been watching the Canadian coverage and the  commentary is superior. But surprisingly, NBC is showing more skaters!"

> It's (still) easy to criticize the NBC coverage for being more about manufacturing pop culture, and nationalist propaganda, than reporting on athletics. But they do make some effort to educate the viewers on a variety of sport-related subjects. Weir and Lipinski are getting lots of criticism for being too negative in their skating comments, but they aren't the first to sound that way. I'm one of those people who still remembers the original ABC coverage that ran all day long with minimal interruption and editing (meaning it was possible to see every athlete in an event such as Giant Slalom and watch their entire run down the mountain). And those were the days when there were no special effects graphics and CGI-enhancements. Very primitive coverage, but for sport fans it worked.

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2 hours ago, pherank said:

I'm one of those people who still remembers the original ABC coverage that ran all day long with minimal interruption and editing (meaning it was possible to see every athlete in an event such as Giant Slalom and watch their entire run down the mountain).

Me too. I prefer seeing the entire competition. When only the best athletes are presented you forget how hard it is to be that good. Plus, when you watch an entire competition you learn a lot about how the sport is scored, what it means to have a clean jump, etc. 

It's possible entire competitions -- or larger chunks -- are buried somewhere in Xfinity but I can't find. them. :(

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1 hour ago, aurora said:

I find her jumps impressive but the rest, utterly meh. Medvedeva's artistry is so much more impressive.

Medvedeva is No 1. for a reason - and she has plenty of competition experience. But I don't think the 15 year old needs to feel bad about anything she's doing.

51 minutes ago, Quinten said:

Me too. I prefer seeing the entire competition. When only the best athletes are presented you forget how hard it is to be that good. Plus, when you watch an entire competition you learn a lot about how the sport is scored, what it means to have a clean jump, etc. 

It's possible entire competitions -- or larger chunks -- are buried somewhere in Xfinity but I can't find. them. :(

I totally agree - the medal winners are a tiny percentage of all the athletes who compete. And so many have given everything to be at the Olympics, so they deserve to be given their moment, win or lose. It's often more emotionally intense watching the efforts of the 'average' competitors than some of the winners who are just operating on a different level. One moment that stood out for me was Samaneh Bayrami Baher carrying the Iranian flag into the stadium with tears in her eyes. She's not going to medal in her events and may even come in last place given her lack of training and experience, but her efforts are still really inspiring*. The commentators did mention that for many athletes, the opening ceremony is their moment - they get to enjoy being an Olympian for a very short period, and then it will be over.

Good luck looking for more footage, Quinten. The owners guard that footage like the gold in Fort Knox.   ;)

* Contrast that with the Washington Post choosing Vice President Pence "sitting in VIP box near North Korean delegation" as one of the 4 Top Moments of the Opening Ceremony. Their only reference to the actual ceremony being the Tongan appearing without a shirt in the freezing cold. Maybe they should just stay away from sports entirely.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDq_gvjSqng

 

Edited by pherank

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3 hours ago, pherank said:

I'm one of those people who still remembers the original ABC coverage that ran all day long with minimal interruption and editing (meaning it was possible to see every athlete in an event such as Giant Slalom and watch their entire run down the mountain). And those were the days when there were no special effects graphics and CGI-enhancements. Very primitive coverage, but for sport fans it worked.

I remember that as well.  I spent a considerable amount of time watching ski jumping, a sport I've only ever seen in the Olympics, and only on television.  I managed to learn enough about the requirements listening to the commentators that I was able to predict scores pretty reliably -- I wish I still had access to that kind of coverage.

 

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7 hours ago, pherank said:

"While I liked Nagasu’s triple axle, the rest of her program lacked artistry."

> Nagasu is one of many skaters who would benefit greatly from ballet training, and a more 'balletic' choreography. Not everyone is a natural dancer, of course, but everyone improves with training. ;)

"I have been watching the Canadian coverage and the  commentary is superior. But surprisingly, NBC is showing more skaters!"

> It's (still) easy to criticize the NBC coverage for being more about manufacturing pop culture, and nationalist propaganda, than reporting on athletics. But they do make some effort to educate the viewers on a variety of sport-related subjects. Weir and Lipinski are getting lots of criticism for being too negative in their skating comments, but they aren't the first to sound that way. I'm one of those people who still remembers the original ABC coverage that ran all day long with minimal interruption and editing (meaning it was possible to see every athlete in an event such as Giant Slalom and watch their entire run down the mountain). And those were the days when there were no special effects graphics and CGI-enhancements. Very primitive coverage, but for sport fans it worked.

pherank - I said the same thing about Nagasu's program - that she is one who would benefit from ballet training.  As far as Zagitova, I agree with aurora.  The jumps were great and she has great speed on the ice, but her program felt rushed and a bit sloppy to me. But, she is only 15 and has a lot of time.  

And, I agree about Weir and Lipinski.  I feel their coverage is annoying.  Definitely wish for the old type of coverage where we could just watch as much as we wanted. 

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I love Weir and Lipinski.  In fact, seeing what Weir is wearing is one of the highlights of the program.

To me, Zagitova's program is all about being a jumping machine and tallying points by doing all her jumps at the end of the program for the bonus.  There is almost no artistry or depth in what she does.  That's not a knock on her.  That is what the scoring system rewards.   In contrast, when I watch Patrick Chan, I see a complete artist.

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8 hours ago, pherank said:

Medvedeva is No 1. for a reason - and she has plenty of competition experience. But I don't think the 15 year old needs to feel bad about anything she's doing.

 

Good luck looking for more footage, Quinten. The owners guard that footage like the gold in Fort Knox.   ;)

I don't particularly either. It was in response to comments that were commenting on her artistry. I see artistry in Medvedeva, to me Zagitova, with her backloaded program to maximize points from jumps, is not. 

In response to Medvedeva's rank, Zagitova did beat her at their last competition.

 

Regarding finding additional footage--if you have a smart tv/apple tv etc, the NBC app has been showing a lot of coverage and might be helpful.

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I dislike some of the poppier musical choices.  I realize skaters are young and want to relate emotionally to their programs.  But some of the choices are just lackluster.  I did like the Russian male skater’s rockabilly choice, though.  

If you choose pop, choose the *best* of the genre.  At least there are fewer movie soundtracks (somewhat) now that sung music is allowed.  

Also, I miss the beautiful scratch spins from the earlier eras.  A few here and there, but at the top 10 level, they should *all* have top notch scratch spins, and get proper points for them. I am ready for ugly, contortionist spins to go away.  

Edited by Jayne

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Here is Canadian Don Jackson winning the 1962 World Championship in Czechoslovakia.  The old Cold War competitions (before the Prague Spring), when all the men wore suits on ice.  The choreography was very simple compared to 2018.  But the inventive jumping styles, technical spinning skills, and edge work were all exceptional.  

 

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1 hour ago, Jayne said:

Here is Canadian Don Jackson winning the 1962 World Championship in Czechoslovakia.  The old Cold War competitions (before the Prague Spring), when all the men wore suits on ice.  The choreography was very simple compared to 2018.  But the inventive jumping styles, technical spinning skills, and edge work were all exceptional.  

Thanks for this!  Such ease and flow. I love how he jumps out of a spin at around 3:50, and all the the other quirky stuff he does.  It's a relief seeing a performance that is not cram packed with predictable elements.  I don't remember seeing him at the time (my family did not have a TV in 1962) but I do remember seeing broadcasts beginning with the Peggy Fleming olympics in 1968, which included Oleg Protopopov wearing a suit while elegantly partnering the incredible Ludmila to Chopin and Beethoven.  What gorgeous balletic dancing  -- I still get chills watching them. This is how I came to be interested in ballet -- through Russian figure skating.

 

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2 hours ago, Jayne said:

Here is Canadian Don Jackson winning the 1962 World Championship in Czechoslovakia.  The old Cold War competitions (before the Prague Spring), when all the men wore suits on ice.  The choreography was very simple compared to 2018.  But the inventive jumping styles, technical spinning skills, and edge work were all exceptional.  


The buttoned shirt and tie was just not right for athletic competition. The costume certainly fit the "buttoned up" and "put together" culture of the time though. I would love to hear Johnny Weir's commentary on the old costume style.  ;)
Present day costumes certainly seem more flamboyant (and often in poor taste). Anyone remember these "aboriginal" costumes worn by Domnina and Shabalin? I never really got just what aboriginal ethnic group they were referring to. Why didn't they just go as Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm?
http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2091186_2091153_2091159,00.html

 

 

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The latest exposé: Adam Rippon on Quiet Starvation in Men's Figure Skating

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/13/sports/olympics/figure-skating-adam-rippon.html

'Boitano said judges, under the guise of being helpful, would apply extra pressure to drop a few pounds — even when his body fat hovered around 4 percent.
“If judges tell you to lose weight,” Boitano said, “you don’t have time to figure out how do it healthily.”'

'…To Boitano’s point, the NBC skating analyst Johnny Weir, 33, a two-time Olympian, said he had maintained the eating habits that fueled his skating success. He consumes one meal a day, always before 5 p.m., he said, and otherwise subsists on coffee.
“That’s how I’m happiest,” Weir said, adding that for a pick-me-up, he will allow himself a small piece of dark chocolate or a spoonful of caviar.'

Something doesn't add up though: how is it possible to burn more calories than one takes in, on a daily basis, and perform on a high level, or even live?

 

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18 hours ago, pherank said:

Weir and Lipinski are getting lots of criticism for being too negative in their skating comments, but they aren't the first to sound that way. I'm one of those people who still remembers the original ABC coverage that ran all day long with minimal interruption and editing (meaning it was possible to see every athlete in an event such as Giant Slalom and watch their entire run down the mountain). And those were the days when there were no special effects graphics and CGI-enhancements. Very primitive coverage, but for sport fans it worked.

I've found Weir's and Lipinski's comments to be quite balanced actually, but I'll admit that I haven't seen all of the skating coverage so far either; critiques, yes, but they've had plenty of praise for some skaters, too. Although, there was one point when (I don't remember who was skating...) one of them said they'd stop talking so we could all just enjoying that skater's routine, and after about 2 seconds they started talking again. :dry:

I remember the way it used to be too, when I could watch luge all day and start to understand the scoring!

I really enjoy watching the athletes that have no chance in medaling. I want to see them get their moment, which to me is what the Olympics is all about. Not just the podium finishers.

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18 hours ago, pherank said:

Probably Geo-blocked, but here is Alina Zagitova's free skate routine from the team competition:
https://www.nbcolympics.com/news/15-year-old-alina-zagitova-proves-she-can-chase-olympic-gold

Mr. B would have loved her continuous, flowing movements.

She knows how to make you watch. I was watching with someone who is not overly impressed with figure skating generally but a minute or two into Zagitova's program he said, "Who's that? She's great."

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I also came to love ballet by first loving figure skating.  My first memories are Dorothy Hamill skating in a televised professional show.  But I was glued to the TV to see *all the competitors* in the 1980 Lake Placid Games.  

The pairs really entranced me.  

Don Jackson was really wonderful, and I wish the code of points would go back and assign points to some the inventive moves of the past.  This would give skaters more tools to use to interpret the music and still earn points.  

I would really love to see truly excellent spins valued like the quads.  

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2 hours ago, dirac said:

She knows how to make you watch. I was watching with someone who is not overly impressed with figure skating generally but a minute or two into Zagitova's program he said, "Who's that? She's great."

My brother - a strictly football and basketball guy - harangued me for awhile regarding this Russian skater he'd seen in the Olympic footage. I had to get some details out of him to determine he was talking about Zagitova.  ;)
She seems to have a quality that the other skaters don't quite project. My brother mentioned that she seemed like a ballet dancer rather than a ballroom dancer (like the other skaters). Of course he's not expert on any of those things, it was just his impression that she was striking and different. He also liked that she seemed to move continuously and wasn't constantly pausing to 'gather herself' before jumping or spinning as he was used to seeing.

Edited by pherank

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