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2022 Winter Olympics


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Talk about the opening and closing ceremonies and the figure skating here, if so inclined.

No tickets are being sold to the general public because of the virus, I understand, so this Olympics will be as oddly underpopulated as the event in Tokyo.

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I was at the skating rink last week and saw a young girl doing triple loops. Her mother said that she does a triple lutz/triple loop combination. I was in awe.

Still, I’m a big fan of the Michelle Kwan/Sasha Cohen days when artistry was prevalent and the Women’s Figure Skating was the most popular event at the Olympics. Somewhere along the line it fell out of prime time and this year Pairs gets Saturday evening. And somewhere along the line I became a ballet fan. I still prize the artistry and really enjoy seeing it performed on the ice.

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I was surprised and disappointed that the US did not name Ilia Malinin to the men's team for figure skating. He deserved to go instead of either Brown or Zhou.

Edited by abatt
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On 1/22/2022 at 9:56 AM, abatt said:

I was surprised and disappointed that the US did not name Ilia Malinin to the men's team for figure skating. He deserved to go instead of either Brown or Zhou.

I felt the same and I don't think the arguments in favor of Zhou or Brown are terribly convincing, but there you are. 

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Still, I’m a big fan of the Michelle Kwan/Sasha Cohen days when artistry was prevalent and the Women’s Figure Skating was the most popular event at the Olympics. 

I think it still is the premier event of the Winter Olympics. Figure skating is not doing as well as it once did in the U.S., true.

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3 hours ago, dirac said:

 

I think it still is the premier event of the Winter Olympics. 

I do agree with you. Why do you suppose that the Women's Figure Skating is the premier event of the Winter Olympics, Dirac ?

Perhaps related: It is interesting to hear men cheering on a ballerina at a performance in Russia with the same kind of enthusiasm that you might expect at a football game.

Edited by Buddy
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This year's Ladies Figure Skating Championship is going to be off the charts in terms of technical content.  Quads, quads and more quads.  Just think that only four years ago at the Olympics NONE of the women even attempted a quad.

And for the Men's Figure Skating, do we think Hanyu will attempt the quad axel?  He tried it at Japanese Nationals but he two-footed the landing, and it may also have been under-rotated.

 

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As a Jason Brown super-fan, I'm happy to see him going to the Olympics, quad or no quad. Ilya Malinin should be going in place of Vincent Zhou though. Zhou is totally inconsistent and has close to zero artistry. If Malinin were coming out of Russia or Japan, I don't think there's any doubt he'd be Olympics-bound. I'm not too confident in the US men's potential to score gold in the team event. 

US women have gone seriously downhill in the artistry department, but the talent of the Russian ladies is jaw-dropping. The recent European Championships are available on NBC Peacock -- there are must-watch performances from Kamila Valieva and Anna Shcherbakova in particular (ages 15 and 17 respectively). Also excellent are Ekaterina Kurakova of Poland and Loena Hendrickx of Belgium. 

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I've been resistant to Valieva because I dislike Ladies figure skating becoming a sport of 15 year olds and I object to a coaching system (Tutberidze) that produces top skaters who all seem to burn out by age 17. But after tonight's skate, I surrender.

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Of course, back in the day the competitive retirement age was around 19 or 20, and if you hung around too long the judges would show you where the door was by marking you down. But I agree on all counts, Drew (and nanushka) - Valieva was exquisite.

Also liked the blue-and-white snowflake girls (and the snowflakes) in the opening ceremony.

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As far as the selection process for US Men goes, USFS set up specific criteria for chosing the Olympic team, which assigned skaters to groups, based on international competitive results starting with 2021 Worlds through US Nationals, and then US Nationals.  Nathan Chen was Group 1, which is not surprising, because his 2021 Worlds results helped to define the Group 1 score range.  Vincent Zhou was the only skater in Group 2, and with three spots, one of which he earned at the Nebelhorn qualification competition, USFS had to select him to the Olympic team, by its own rules.  For the last spot, it was between the two men in Group 3:  Ilia Malinin and Jason Brown.  While Malinin blew it out of the park at US Nationals, and has far more difficult jump content than Jason Brown, he biffed his only senior international competition in the Fall, failing to earn the Worlds technical minimum score in the SP and placing 13th in that segment, after a stellar Junior Grand Prix season.  In senior competition Brown helped to secure two Olympic spots plus the right to compete for a third at 2021 Worlds, and qualified for the Grand Prix Final this year; sadly, it was cancelled.  USFS chose Brown over Malinin for the third and last spot.

Zhou won't be able to compete in the individual event, but he did earn silver in the Team Event, having skated the Men's Free Skate segment.

Laura Cappelle called Jason Brown a "dancers' skater" in this article about Brown for Dance Magazine:

https://www.dancemagazine.com/jason-brown/

 

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3 hours ago, abatt said:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/06/sports/olympics/covid-olympics-numbers.html

Zhou has tested positive for Covid.  He may be unable to compete if a second test comes back positive.

He's done. And they can't send Malinin because Zhou already skated on Olympic ice. (Of course, at this point he probably couldn't get through all the protocols, etc. in time anyway.) Well, the team got a silver, even if it wasn't any thanks to Zhou. Too bad for all concerned. Best of luck to Zhou, hope he stays asymptomatic.

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47 minutes ago, Helene said:

 

Laura Cappelle called Jason Brown a "dancers' skater" in this article about Brown for Dance Magazine:

https://www.dancemagazine.com/jason-brown/

 

Thanks, Helene. I'll try to check this out. I'm really not too familiar with today's skating scene.

I used to watch figure skating religiously and fortunately saw most of Michelle Kwan's performances. Then the artistry of ballet won me over.

I think that one has to love skaters such as Kamila Valieva and Anna Shcherbakova as much for what they are as for what they remarkably do.

With athleticism being carried into the space age, I ,for the first time, really enjoyed watching some of the dancing because of the grace and beauty. I also enjoyed skaters such as the young lady from Canada, I believe, who had a relaxed sort of loveliness and was still actually doing doubles. Remember, you hardly ever see more than a double in ballet.  

In any case, best wishes to all of them.

And thanks, Dirac, for your update.

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Since scoring is, in the Team Event, relative, Zhou placed 3rd in the Team Event Men's Free Skate.  The only skater he had a reasonable chance of beating in the segment was Russia's Mark Kondrutiak, the reigning Russian and European Champion, who had two fewer quads planned, and a base value differential of ~15 points if Zhou had landed everything without under-rotation calls, which is rare for him.  Zhou had no real chance of beating Yuma Kagiyama if Kagiyama skated well: even with one fewer quad in his program, Kagiyama's score here was ten points above Zhou's best (2019 Worlds), where Zhou had two underrotation calls, same as here.

At worst, Zhou scored one point lower than the best-case realistic scenario in the Team Event.  Had he placed last/5th instead of 3rd,  silver and bronze would have gone to a tie-break, which Japan would have won.  He, indeed, was a reason for the US silver medal.  

 

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Zhou had no real chance of beating Yuma Kagiyama if Kagiyama skated well:

My goodness, no. :)

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At worst, Zhou scored one point lower than the best-case realistic scenario in the Team Event. 

True. His scores weren't as bad as he looked. And obviously you're not going to send Chen out there when the US had small chance of doing better than silver anyway.

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I used to watch figure skating religiously and fortunately saw most of Michelle Kwan's performances.

I was a latecomer to the Church of Kwan, Buddy, but I admire her now. Those falling leafs are just so pretty.

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1 hour ago, dirac said:

 

I was a latecomer to the Church of Kwan, Buddy, but I admire her now. Those falling leafs are just so pretty.

Interestingly, Dirac, as much as I was glued solid to her competitive skates, I also enjoyed very much her after-the-competition gala skates when I didn't have to hold my breath and she didn't either.

Olympics 2002

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKi_wHwImL0

Edited by Buddy
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Since things are a little quiet I thought I’d mention something related to the Michelle Kwan 2002 Olympics gala skate posted above.

I really wanted to go to these Salt Lake City Olympics for the figure skating, but I checked prices (very high) and availability (very limited) and decided against it. Wonderfully, I was able to get tickets two hours away in Canada for the qualifying skates and They were all there and did great !

Remember them ?

(And speaking of today’s limited longevity — Evgeni Plushenko (four-time Olympic medalist))

 

Olympics 2002

Ladies' Singles — Sarah Hughes (liked her a lot)   Irina Slutskaya   Michelle Kwan (I thought that she came in second, but I guess not. Maybe Canada? At both her Olympics her competitors* had their best skates ever(!) and She — well, not as great. )

Men’ Singles — Alexei Yagudin    Evgeni Plushenko   Timothy Goebel

Pair Skating — Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze (remember the issue with the jugdes? I still loved them)  shared Gold with  Jamie Salé and David Pelletier     Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo

Ice Dance — Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat (great!)   Irina Lobacheva and Ilia Averbukh    Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margaglio.

 

* Added: Here’s Tara Lipinski winning in 1998, narrated later by herself and Johnny Weir.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-V934EL1WA

 

 

 

Edited by Buddy
"Added"
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Too bad, if true. Valieva doesn't deserve this. Even if she can't be publicly identified or otherwise held responsible, everyone will "know" it is she. Terrible thing for the people around her to do to a kid.

Apparently the sample was taken in December (!?!)

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