Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thoughts on Sochi Figure Skating

And just like that, the first week of the Olympics is already done.

This was alternately an exhilarating and heartbreaking week, for figure skating at least. I made myself hold off on spamming my Facebook page with all my commentary; the ones that made it through were generally about the Russians or Javier Fernandez.

Poor Javi. I definitely curled up on my couch Friday night after the free skate for a 10 minute he-just-needed-two-more-points pity party.

In other couch related news, I decided to paint my nails while watching one of the events. And of course, the one time I don't grab a piece of scrap paper to put under the bottle, I spilt it on my couch. Luckily for me, the color of the nail polish matches the color of couch almost exactly.

Team Event

Brand new this year and just in time, the team event was wonderful wonderful wonderful. All I did last weekend was watch figure skating, which was gloriously broadcast live, commercial and interruption free. Hours upon hours of skating.

Firstly, I think it's nice to include more skaters in the competition. Even though they had no shot, the Brits got to bring an extra skater or two because they qualified. So a mid-level skater gets to be an Olympian, and maybe the teams with a weakness in an event will start seeing improvement [I'm talking about you, Japan]. We'll see.

Secondly, one of the Canadian skaters [I'm pretty sure an ice dancer] was super cute about participating - you could hear her say, "I was skating on Olympic ice!" on her way to the Kiss and Cry after the short program, and "I didn't want to get off the ice" after the free skate.

Lastly, and most importantly, it ensured that Evgeni Plushenko would get another well deserved Olympic gold medal. [Although I do wish Adelina Sotnikova could've skated her short program. It would've been nice for her to have a medal too.]


I have to admit, the Olympics are the only time I really watch Pairs skating. [Same goes for ice dance.] I enjoy it, of course, and they do some incredible throws and lifts, but I only vaguely follow who's leading in the intervening years. There's just too many other skaters for me to keep track of. But here's what I thought:

Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy's free skate costumes are so nice, so why the pink panther monstrosity? I have always despised those costumes, especially hers. Which makes me sad because not enough lady skaters wear pants.

Tiny 16 year old Cheng Peng doing a quad twist is pretty darn incredible to witness.

There are so many Ukrainian skaters competing for other countries. A few Russians and Americans do this as well [all the Reed siblings], but still, it's astounding.

The short program really is Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov's forte. I could watch them over and over again. The free skate? Maybe I just found the Jesus Christ Superstar music too jarring to hear during a competition compared to the gala, where it would be great.

I think the 3rd Russians were underscored in both segments. I saw some grumbling headlines about the team competition being fixed, but clearly there isn't a bias towards the Russians. They're just that good.


I am utterly crushed that Plushenko was in too much pain to compete on home ice after he tried so hard to do it. [And also that his tour will probably be postponed until after I leave Europe.] How do you skate after the greatest skater alive has just withdrawn? Badly, it seems. So many falls from so many good skaters. Either that or the ice is cursed.

The worst crash and fall? Jeremy Abbott. Ouch. I apologized for every mean thing I've said about him after he picked himself up after that and had a great skate. [Not that I was surprised he fell...again.]

Skaters to watch: Michael Christian Martinez and Jason Brown. The first Filipino to qualify for the Olympics, this kid was fantastic. And I rolled my eyes every time I saw some headline about Jason being in medal contention. Yeah, he's got a shot...4 years from now. What a great spinner though. If he just gets his quads down...

Why does Kevin Reynold's hair/costume always look weird? Poor kid. He has a really cute nose though. Which I realize is a strange thing to say.

Crossing my fingers for the two Javiers didn't work at all. Hopefully the Spanish ice dancers will have a better time of it.