Tuesday, October 31, 2006

'Tis The Season

I’m not talking about fall, I’m not talking about winter, I’m talking about Figure Skating. There was a time when you couldn't really watch the Figure Skating Season on TV. Mostly because of the structure of the sport. With the addition of the Grand Prix circuit everything changed. This group of invite only competitions involving the world class skaters made it easier to get to know the skaters, their programs, and made an actual Skating Season. After 2002 and the judging fiasco some wonderful changes were made to the sport in regard to the way it is scored and made it even more exciting to watch. Between now and January, there is an event almost every weekend. I can’t wait. Last night, Skate America started airing and, although I haven’t watched all of it yet (the ladies isn’t on until the weekend anyway) I was so happy to look on my TV and see Figure Skating scheduled.

My love of the sport began in ’84 while watching Katerina Witt in the Olympics. I began skating in, I believe, ’87 (I’m sure Mom will correct me if I’m wrong). I was in love with it. I fell even more in love during the ’88 Olympics. To this day, I don’t believe there has ever been a greater Olympic competition; maybe I am just nostalgic though. In Men’s there was the battle of the Brian’s and Browning tried the first Quad. In the Ladies competition we had the battle of the Carmen’s (so sad for Debbie Thomas who was fantastic and could have easily won but kudos to her short program) and Midori Ito burst onto the scene with amazing athletic ability that no woman even thought about equaling for years to come. Gordeyeva and Grinkov dominated the pairs competition with a perfection of grace, athleticism, and love that was magical to watch and American Pairs skating is just now becoming competitive again after Opergard and Watson, not to mention Valova and Vasilyev (the second place team) skated to The Final Countdown. Finally, in Dance, Bestemyanova and Bukin were the most interesting and talented Dance pair I have ever seen and the Duschenays brought innovation and excitement to the most boring skating event there is. It is only recently that people have begun to be able to express themselves in anything approximating that much innovation in Dance. Let's take a second to enjoy Boitano's short program from '88, I chose the short not only because it is shorter but because the musicality is just outstanding. It played fine on my home computer but my work one is too slow and it was not fun to watch but hopefully you have faster computers than they give at non-profits.


As you can see I was kind of obsessed with the ’88 Olympics. I would watch the tapes over and over before my competitions to get motivated. Mom would tell me to remember to have “Boitano Arms” so that I would keep my posture in check. It helped. I sometimes wonder where I would have gone in the sport with different coaches earlier on. I was pretty good and thought I was serious, but I didn’t really get serious until I was in High School and by that time I was thinking of other things and knew I could never get good enough to really make it anywhere. Not that I am really envious of the life of a champion skater, I would have missed out on a lot of fun and probably wouldn’t have made it “all the way” because so few people do but it would have been interesting. I can’t say I have ever experienced a rush equal to that of flying over the ice, leaping into the air, and coming down effortlessly. Then again, nothing feels like lying over the ice, leaping into the air, and coming down on your knee either. It wasn’t until a good year after I stopped skating that my knees returned to a normal color.

For years, skating has been somewhat frozen. Well, actually all fields except for Men’s have been frozen. The men continued to push themselves athletically as well as artistically while the rest of the fields seemed stagnant. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Kwan and Slutskya (probably the two greatest skaters never to win Olympic Gold) but couldn’t stand those little shits that kept coming in and stealing titles. Yeah Tara Lipinski and Sarah Hughes I’m talking about you (Hughes was good though and she kinda deserved it but that Lipinski shit needed to be punched). Don’t even get me started on Sasha Cohen, that little robotic twit looks like someone needs to skate past and smack her a few times then back up and smack her some more. I’m not saying she isn’t a talented skater, but she doesn’t even seem to like to sport. Something is really missing for me when a skater doens't look like they have any passion for what they are doing. I skated for years with her type and they just make you want to die. The real problem with ladies skating was the cessation of any attempt to progress athletically. After Ito and Harding (who fucking rocks by the way and was a really nice person while all the others of her era were stuck up princess bitches) did the triple axel no one even tried it until the last few years. I’m glad to see that the women are back to pushing themselves I hear one of the Japanese women even has a quad.

I have rambled long enough about Figure Skating. I just am so excited that it’s back, it’s fair, and it’s changing. Maybe one of these days I’ll get myself back on the ice. It is truly the only exercise I have ever really enjoyed.

The two songs that weren’t guessed from last week were

1. Standing on the corner of a civilization. There's a time there's a place for me. Naked In The Rain, Red Hot Chili Peppers

2. You are no good. You are a fucking asshole. You are a real jerk. You are a miserable creep. Kill Whitey, Wesley Willis

8 comments:

Jaclyn said...

FIRST!

You know, I've always thought it would be great if someone skated to the opening overture from JC Superstar. That would be a fun routine to watch.

Yes...this is what I daydream about from time to time. Having only been on ice skates once, and on my ass for most of the time at that, I must live vicariously through folk like you.

I can't believe Monica didn't get the Wesley Willis. I was never in the running of course, but...y'all are obsessed with him. Surprising.

:)

Mom said...

Natalie,
Great post. And didn't you once think about skating to JC Superstar? (Did I perhaps talk you out of it? What was I thinking...)

The Boitano video is great, as always.

... Wesley Willis, huh... "Takes a licking and keeps on ticking."

:-)

Monica said...

I can't believe I didn't get the Wesley Willis. I am ashamed. I am also surprised your dad didn't get it.

ShadowFalcon said...

I'm soo addicted to watching figure skating...

csmc said...

I was watching skating this past weekend and that girl from texas... oh she hit the ice hard but she seems to really love the sport! Of course she's like fifteen what is there to not love about fs at that age? And that sixteen year old from japan with the long limbs... yeah sasha Cohen better watch out is what I have to say about that. :)

NATALIE said...

Jaclyn/Mom- I did think about skating to JC Superstar but this awful girl named Kelly Wald at my rink skated to it. She didn't even do a good job.

Monica- I mean I was sure you would know it was Wesley. even if you didn't know the exact song because they are all the same. That could have easily been like 15 songs.

Shadow- My addiction is so bad that I spent time this morning on YouTube watching all these old programs that I remembered to be great. Man it's a good sport.

CSMC- Sasha has no hope at this point. Those Japanese girls will wipe the ice with her and Kimmie Meisner (who I think is the one from TX) is just kick ass and in love with skating. There are a bunch of young Americans that could take her out. Unfortunately, even with the new judging, there is room for favoritism.

Serena said...

Rock over London. Rock on Chicago.

Wheaties, the breakfast of champions.

janeylynne said...

Glad to know I'm not the only one who never felt love for Lipinski. How do you feel about Oksana Baiul?? I didn't really like her either. Lipinski was the worst, though. How she ever won that year I will NEVER figure out.

It's really interesting to hear about figure skating from someone who has been there and done that, 'cuz yeah, in Kansas, I've only been ice skating once. Great perspective! Have a great week.