Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sochi Figure Skating Thoughts and Feelings

Where on earth do I begin? I have feelings of Olympic proportions about these Olympics we just experienced. I waited for a week to post because I didn't want to say anything I would regret in the heat of the moment. Read between the lines and you know who I'm talking about. Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

The Team Competition
What I Loved: I loved seeing the pride that the skaters have for their country and I also loved seeing national rivals pretend to like one another. I'm looking at you Diva Wagner. I liked that the top skaters had a chance to get the Olympic jitters out before the event.
What I Hated: I hated that some of the skaters felt like they weren't taking this seriously, though I think that may change in a few Olympic cycles if this event becomes more important. I also hated the points system and that the free skates barely mattered. Since IJS is all about those points and breaking records, let's just add up all the total points and be done with it. In the future, I would like to see this event at the end of the Games so the top skaters aren't conserving energy for the individual events.
What I Was Apathetic About: I found myself not caring about any team outside of Russian, Canada, and the US because they had no shot at the podium.
Feelings Meter: I was as anxious as I always am the night before the TONY awards when I can't predict how they will stage the opening number.

The Pairs Event
What I Loved: Volosozhar & Trankov in the short program, Savchenko & Szolkowy in the short program, Pang & Tong's passionate farewell free skate, and Ksenia Stolbova's facial expressions in the free. I also loved seeing Volosozhar & Trankov stand up under all that pressure. Though I was really over Russia later in the games, all seemed right with the world with two Russian pairs on the podium. I love the spunk of Kirsten Moore-Towers and hope they medal at worlds and keep going.
What I Hated: I hated the OCD flare-up I had when Tatiana Volosozhar's bun came loose in the free skate. I hated how I was bored during their Jesus Christ Super Star until the lift in the second half on the "Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ" music. You know what I'm talking about. I hated how the over scoring of Volosozhar & Trankov (a plus GOE on a throw with a hand down) made me feel dirty inside and made me skeptical that the judging would get worse and worse.
What I Was Apathetic About: I found myself not caring about any pairs outside of the top 5. None of the other performances got me excited.
Feelings Meter: I felt about Volosozhar & Trankov winning gold like I did about Bernadette Peters winning the TONY for the revival of "Annie Get Your Gun." I was so happy they won, but the win wasn't supported by great material.

The Mens Event
What I Loved: I loved Jason Brown in the short, everything about Takahashi at all times, the clean skating of Denis Ten, and the fact that it was over and eventually the falling stopped.
What I Hated: I hated that craptacualar mess of a free skate and the fact that we have an Olympic Champ who fell several times. I hated that we couldn't copy and paste Jason Brown's skate from Nationals and snag him a bronze medal.
What I Was Apathetic About: I stopped caring that Javier Fernandez wasn't on the podium because if he cannot count the jumps at this stage in his career, he doesn't belong on an Olympic podium. I couldn't bring myself to feel bad for Patrick Chan because Hanyu left the door open for him and he couldn't triple axel through it cleanly.
Feelings Meter: I felt like I was watching the women's All-Around finals in Sydney and knew disaster was upon us and could do nothing to stop it.

The Ice Dance Event
What I Loved: I loved the short dances of Virtue & Moir, Cappellini & Lanotte, the free dance of Pechalat & Bourzat, and the look in Meryl's eyes during the free. I loved the sigh of relief on the faces of Charlie & Meryl when they saw that all of their hard work paid off. I loved the Spanish team's Picasso free skate and I hope to see more from them in the future.
What I Hated: I was angered by the fact that Pechalat and Bourzat's superior skating and artistry were not rewarded and were beaten by (in my opinion) a knock-off ballet. They lost that mandatory 3 points for skating while not being Russian. I hated the nastiness directed at Bobrova & Soloviev on social media, it wasn't their fault that they've been propped up for so long and were upset when scored semi-appropriately. I especially hated Canada's inability to form an argument. Either lash out at the judging or at Marina, not both.
What I Was Apathetic About: Oddly enough, Weaver & Poje did nothing for me, though I generally love them. I didn't feel strongly about either American team, which worries me for the future.
Feelings Meter: That bronze medal decision was like "La Cage aux Folles" beating "Sunday in the Park with George" for best musical in 1984; camp was chosen over true art.

The Ladies Event
What I Loved: I must start by saying that Mao's free skate was one of the finest programs I've seen in my 20 years watching figure skating. I loved Carolina's ethereal angelic short program, Carolina's sassy nuanced free skate, and everything else that Carolina did. I loved the subtlety of Yuna's short program and the emergence of Gracie Gold as a major threat on the world stage. I loved that Ashley Wagner had no filter when speaking about the judging, and though it was a little bit of sour grapes on her part, she's saying what we're all thinking. What I loved most was how out of control and ridiculous we got on twitter during that ladies event. I'm looking at you Dave and Ann.
What I Hated: I hated seeing Julia fall, especially when I heard that reporters were stalking her family and bugging her house, and all I wanted to do was give her a hug. I hated seeing Diva Wagner's scores drop in front of her very eyes as the judges chose a new favorite American and I really hated that she cut the post-short program ponytail flip in the ladies event. I hated seeing Mao crumble in the short, because I strongly believe that she'd be Olympic Champ if she had skated that short cleanly. I hated when Sotnikova waved at me from her spiral sequence, but we will blame Peter for that and not her. I hated the judging in most events, but the judging errors really were egregious in this ladies event.
What I Was Apathetic About: I feel nothing about our ladies champion. I know I should be outraged that Carolina didn't win, but when I look back on some of our recent ladies champions (cough Tara, Sarah, Shizuka) they don't represent the best of that era of skating either, so whatever.
Feelings Meter: I wanted to throw a floor lamp out of my 2nd story dressing room window like Patti LuPone did when Andrew Lloyd Webber fired her from Sunset Boulevard.

As mother Evita would ask, "Where do we go from here?" I know we are going through skating withdrawal, but worlds are just a hop, skip, and a jump away. I have a love/hate with Olympic-year Worlds because many of our favorites will retire, but there are always "A Star is Born" moments too when the babies step up and reach the podium. I'm looking at you Gracie and Julia! See you in Japan!

1 comment:

  1. I have no idea what you are referring to. You, Dave??? Is it Worlds yet???