Well, that happened. In the end, despite all the bad press, weird happenings, appearance of unpreparedness, the athletes proved that the Olympics is so much more than all that. It’s a celebration of the human spirit and sportsmanship and overcoming obstacles. I’m looking at you Bob Costas. Way to overcome that pink eye!
But enough with all that sappiness, let’s talk about the most important thing about the Olympics: figure skating!
This year’s competition was… interesting. I don’t think there’s any value in the team competition other than opportunity for more medals. I’m interested to see what happens next time, now that everyone sort of have figured out what this thing is about and possible repercussions to the individual competition. Maybe we’ll see different programs for each portion, which would be more interesting for the casual observer rather than see the same program twice.
Thanks to some snow days and the magic of VCR, I was able to watch the full coverage during the day with Terry Gannon, Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski as opposed to the truncated prime time coverage. The Terry/Johnny/Tara team was not only more fun, but also more insightful in their commentary. They should have done both segments, especially Terry. Terry has done figure skating coverage for a long time and knows his stuff. It’s embarrassing when the network person is obviously not knowledgeable about the sport or its history.
Here’s some of my thoughts:
– Plushenko: Look, I don’t doubt that he is injured and in a lot of pain. I also don’t doubt that there was a ton of political shenanigans to put pressure on him to perform. HOWEVER, he doesn’t exactly have a track record of appearing humble and I do doubt that he didn’t know he was not in any condition to skate in enough time to put in the alternate who ACTUALLY won the Russian nationals thus EARNED the ONLY spot on the Russian men’s team. I only sound so bitter on behalf of Maxim Kovtun whose Olympic dream was shattered by Plushenko’s shenanigans. Or so I imagine in the figure skating soap opera of my dreams.
– Men’s: in Johnny’s words nobody showed up to win. It was fall after fall after fall. It’s hard to appreciate any kind of victory when it’s more a competition of who fell less rather than who had the better program. That said, Yuzuru was amazing and deserved that win fair and square. I’m glad Jeremy Abbott was able to pick himself up after that horrible crash and overall have a really good Olympic experience and end his career on a high. It’s so delightful to watch Jason Brown skate and hope he sticks around and continues to improve. How awesome was it that he was so excited to be in 9th place? That’s the spirit. Dennis Ten’s story should have been the most talked about. Jumping from 9th to the bronze medal because he skated well? That’s how it’s done. I was rooting hard for the old boys to medal: Brian Joubert, Daisuke Takahashi, but no dice. I love Patrick Chan. I did think this was his year and truly the gold was his to lose. Well, we know how that went.
– Pairs: went pretty much as expected, though I thought the German pair would do much better. Those Russians are phenomenal though, so good for them. This portion must have not been so exciting either because I can’t really remember much about it.
– Dance: Also went pretty much as expected. Looking at the season’s statistics, I’m surprised at all the hate Meryl and Charlie got for winning. I mean, they did win everything all season. Not that Virtue & Moir didn’t skate exceptionally well, but to me there is no doubt that Meryl and Charlie delivered the win. The program was beautiful, technically challenging and very powerful. I’m just so so happy they rose to the challenge and the pressure. The other Americans also performed well. I thought the Shibs held back a little and didn’t leave everything on the ice like they should, and I thought that Chock and Bates were underscored. I also feel super bad about the French team. I preferred them for the bronze, but hey what do I know. I’m not a judge.
– Ladies: Drama! The good kind. Contrary to the men, the ladies ALL showed up to win. It was very exciting to watch and truly not know who was going to medal. My heart goes out to Mao Asada. She was my favorite to win and looking at her amazing long program, had she did better in the short program it would have been a totally different competition. Kudos to Ashley Wagner for doing well and proving that she deserved to be there. I wanted her AND Mirai to go, but as I learned many year ago, I can’t get everything I want. Kudos to Adelina. Everyone was so fixated with Lipnitskaya that it seemed to burn a fire in Adelina to prove that her win at the Russian nationals was not a fluke. See Russia, trust your champions! Though maybe Kim Yuna was more graceful and possibly her program was just as technically challenging, but she also didn’t skate with abandon as you are wont to do. Because, I mean, Olympics! Adelina skated with such passion that it was difficult not to be swept away with elation for her. I think especially the top ten ladies all skated wonderfully and I’m sure it was not an easy task to judge them, so kudos to the ladies!
– Possible judging scandal: move along, nothing to see here.
Honestly, overall it was quite an exciting competition. There was so much good skating that it outweighed the bad and I really enjoyed it. See some of you in PyeongChang 2018!