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(SPOILERS) Olympic skating thread


canbelto

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Most articles tend to focus on falls, which is characteristic, but although I haven’t been tracking down all the recent commentaries I saw some favorable things about Cohen and how she was able to get it together after her ghastly start (a contrast to Slutskaya, who pretty much went into free fall). I think it was that unfortunate comment about a “gift” that some have misunderstood. People thought Cohen was referring to the judges, whereas it was clear that if she received any gifts, it was from Suguri, Slutskaya, et al.

I can't imagine the pressure these athletes subject themselves to. Every waking (and probably sleeping) hour of four years all focused on six minutes of perfection. It's inhuman. Careers depend on the outcome, and yet . . .

Big stress, big rewards if you succeed. That's sport. But the Olympic pressure on a skater is probably one of the most intense kind around.

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Yeah, four years of constant practice for four minutes requires a level of discipline and determination that I can only dream of having.

And to think? For some sports, it's even shorter. The 100M dash for instance. Four years of nonstop training for 10 seconds.

While I think this Olympics has been marred by the totally immature antics of both Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick, I admire all Olympians for their drive and discipline. It truly is inhuman.

p.s. I loved how supportive John Nicks was to Sasha after the FS. I don't think anyone will ever help her overcome her nerves, but Nicks and Cohen seem to have a very caring relationship. She never should have left him.

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I think figure skating differs from most other sports. It does have the World Championships every year, but while the US press makes a very big deal out of the Olympics for things like "the Worlds fastest human," 100-meter race, they really aren't as important to followers of many other sports.

For skiing, ski-jumping, cross-country skiing, and biathlon, for example, the World Cup, the athletes' cumulative results over a season, is more important than the Olympics, and the biannual World Championships are equally important. No one thinks that Marit Bjoergen is any less of a legend in cross-country skiing for not winning gold medals in any one Olympics. The season that Simon Ammann won both individual Olympic ski-jumping medals, Sven Hannevald was just as lauded for being the first man to sweep the Four Hills tournament, and Adam Malysz was reigning World Cup champion and went on to win both hills at the World Championships the following year.

In Europe, where track and field stars are the equivalent of rock stars and have great endorsement deals, the Olympic gold medal is important, but not overwhelmingly important as the year-in/year-out circuit and the World Championships. The same is true in swimming and diving, and the World Cup in soccer is way more important worldwide than the Olympics.

Just as the rest of the world doesn't pay much attention to the World Series, which is required viewing for US sports fans, or to the Tournament of Hearts and the Brier, which are required viewing for Canadian sports fans, the reason Olympic gold medals are so important in North America is that we don't pay much attention to many of these sports except during the Olympics. Sadly, that includes figure skating, where a true Grand Prix circuit is unaffordable, not only given the facilities needed, which is as expensive for ski-jumpers, but the nature of individual vs. group/team training.

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Or perhaps to paraphrase the review in today's Links of NBoC's Jewels:

It's a wonder the Palavela ice didn't crumble on Thursday when the Olympic Ladies free skate took place. Not since the days of Liberace has a rink had to support such a load of rhinestone. It's a wonder the skaters got off the ground, let alone soared.
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the reason Olympic gold medals are so important in North America is that we don't pay much attention to many of these sports except during the Olympics.

I'm reminded of a quote by the tennis player Mats Wilander, which went more-or-less like "It is strictly an American attitude that if you're not number 1 you're a failure." There is an enormous difference between the earning potential of the gold medal winner and all the others even though the difference in ability amongst the top 5 or 6 is so small that if you put bags over their heads 99% of the audience couldn't tell who was who.

  Sadly, that includes figure skating, where a true Grand Prix circuit is unaffordable, not only given the facilities needed, which is as expensive for ski-jumpers, but the nature of individual vs. group/team training.

Not to mention that it would be way too draining for the skaters if they had to do 10-15 contests a year.

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I for one am really glad they gave silver to Cohen instead of Slutskaya. I felt that Slutskaya's LP was a by-the-numbers CoP program: jump, arm waves, Bielmann, wash, rinse, repeat cycle. Sasha's programs actually have choroegraphy, and her general skating skills and artistry are much superior to Slutskaya's. Sorry Sasha fell, but the girl has always been a bundle of nerves. Happy for Shizuka.

Did anyone else wonder if Slutskaya's hairstyle hurt her? Her hairstyle gave her (IMHO) a married-with-children look, when the ideal seems to be to look as youthful as possible.

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Did anyone else wonder if Slutskaya's hairstyle hurt her? Her hairstyle gave her (IMHO) a married-with-children look, when the ideal seems to be to look as youthful as possible.

I've always thought Slutskaya was frumpy looking, even as she's experimented with different looks .

Clearly, I've never been a fan. She's always looked mechanical to me.

Also keep in mind she's now 27, among much younger athletes

Richard

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For a fix, I watched the Lillehammer performance of T & D (Let's face the music and dance...) and the gold wining performance of young Russian skaters who did a less difficult, frivolous rock n' roll number. The judges were blind. Compared to T & D, ice dancing has declined to tricks, sexy looks, boredom.

I still wail.

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