Monday, January 08, 2007

THE DECLINE OF THE UNITED STATES

I have not made a new post in the last few days because my next post will be my 100th post and I am working on something that takes a long long time. I hope you are all very excited.

Ok so I obviously wrote this post some time ago because the final aired on the 23rd but I still like the post so whatever. Additions are in Italics


With the Grand Prix Final airing this coming weekend (although the competition was over on Sunday) it’s time to talk figure skating again. I don’t believe the US team has had lower expectations to do well on the world scene since 1961 when the entire Olympic team died in a plane crash. I realize that may have been an insensitive statement but my point is that US skating this year is hopeless on the International scene.Although Sasha Cohen didn’t compete in the grand prix this year (I am hoping she retired but have since found out she is just stepping off the scene for a few years to refocus and will be back for the next Olympics), not a single US female qualified for the Grand Prix final. Not even reigning World Champion Kimmie Meisner, pathetic. Granted she didn’t make the final last year and won worlds but it doesn’t bode well. Maybe she is just a late season skater. However, being that the American women have been such a dominant force for years, I have serious misgivings about the continuance of that legacy at this point. I think things are changing and the Japanese women have taken over the sport. They certainly deserve it. I haven’t seen a field that deep since those pictures of flooding on An Inconvenient Truth. There have to be at least five skaters that could take a title on a good day. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t incredibly consistent. Then again, at least one of them will skate cleanly on any given day. Not to mention Yu Na Kim from South Korea coming in and taking over.

Looking at the men’s competition, the Americans seem to be faring a little better. Two skaters made the Grand Prix final, Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir. Unfortunately, Lysacek pulled out before the competition and Weir pulled out after the short program. I’m not sure why but I’ll fill in after I watch the event, injuries that’s why. After those two there is nothing. Lysacek is known as the come back kid because he seems to mess up his short program and then make up a lot of ground in the long. However, that kind of strategy can never win gold. Weir, although the US champ three years running, has never won a world medal-which only proves my point. He can skate wonderfully but is incredibly inconsistent and can’t come back after a mistake. Once again, the Japanese skaters are coming and the world had better watch out. They are wonderful and I can’t say a single bad thing about them if I try. They are also younger than most of the rest of the field. I am guessing the reason is that figure skating in Japan is getting huge and they are not the types to make fun of boys who want to skate. Stupid Americans. I sadly forgot the French; they are also on the come up. That Brian Joubert can’t be beat if he skates cleanly and that one goofy guy isn't bad either.

Throughout my love affair with skating, American Pairs have never been at the top of the heap. Inoue and Baldwin have come onto the scene and begun to change that, maybe. The fact that they became the first and only to do a throw triple axel is fantastic but their side-by-side jumps leave something to be desired. See, Baldwin became a pairs skater because with his 17 or so trips to the nationals he never did all that well because he fell all the time. Now, as a pair, he still falls all the time. He doesn’t even have to do the hard triples and he falls all the time.

American dance was thought to be on the come up. When Belbin and Augosto won the silver at the Olympics it was thought that a new era might have begun. There are two other US dance teams, one made it to the final, who I thought were far more interesting to watch than Belbin and Augosto, I don’t remember their names though. One did a somewhat Arabian themed program that was very avant-garde and the other did an Adam and Eve themed program that I also thought was beautiful. Belbin and Augosto did some tired dance number type ting that made me want to die. They need to beef it up if they want to stay on top of the world. They also withdrew from the Grand Prix meaning that Inoue and Baldwin were the only Americans that actually competed. I must be getting old because I have started to like dance again. Or else, dance is finally getting to where it was headed in '88 more modern dancelike vs. ballroom dance. Therefore, more interesting. I'll go with this vs. getting old. Even though I feel old. It’s definitely the artistry and interpretation that I like. Sister agreed with me that the dance was awesome to watch.

Things may be changing, however, for US skating. Apparently, American skaters in all events dominated the JR Grand Prix. Jr. ladies USA went 1-4, the men were 1 and 2, pairs 1, 3-6, and dance 1-2. However, Jr. skaters don’t always succeed on the Sr. level so it isn’t always the best of indicators. It gives some hope though.I just realized that this post is all about US skating, and while that was my original intention I don’t want to be seen as someone who only roots for athletes from my country. In fact, in skating, I have always rooted for the best skater regardless of where they are from. This season I am rooting for Japan more than any other country because their skaters are simply better. Oh yeah and that German pair cause the man is a brother. It is pretty rare to see world-class skaters of color who are not Asian. I think I could count the ones that made it to the world stage since ’88 on one hand. Wow, how sad. That’s a whole different post waiting to happen I suppose.

Now for the first guess that shuffle of the new year. This is where the first line of a song goes upand people comment on what song it is and who the artist is. In case I have any new readers, but that is unlikely.

1. Golden rose the color of the dream I had not too long ago. One Rainy Wish, Jimi Hendrix. Idntified by Brooke

2. When I met you I was just a kid hadn’t built up my defenses. Requiem for OMM, Of Montreal. Identified by Monica

3. Give me time to realize my crime. Do You Really Want To Hurt Me, The Culture Club (or are the just Culture Club? less the "the"). Identified by Jaclyn and Shadowfalcon

4. She lives on Love Street lingers long on Love Street. Love Street, The Doors. Identified by Jaclyn

5. Life used to be lifelike now it’s more like showbiz. Dialate, Ani DiFranco. Identified by Brooke.

8 comments:

Brooke said...

I don't care about figure skating, so I don't have anything to say about your blog. I do know some songs, though.

1. One Rainy Wish - Jimi Hendrix

5. Dilate - Ani DiFranco

Jaclyn said...

Number 3 - "Do you really want to hurt me?" by Boy George/Culture Club

Number 4 - "Love Street" by The Doors

MY FAVORITE DOORS SONG!

You should write for Sports Illustrated or ESPN the Magazine, my gal.

Monica said...

#2 is Requiem for O.M.M.2, one of the greatest songs ever!

Whenever I think about figure skating get mad that Surya Bonaly (sp) never got sufficient props. Man, that bitch was RAW!

Blondie said...

Damn, DiFranco was the only one I knew...taken. So anyway, the skating post is very interesting. I recognize the names, but I didn't know that much about the pairs history, etc. I love watching ice skating on TV, but I always forget when it's going to be on. Perhaps I will look more for it now...

notfearingchange said...

Hey hon,

Tag you're it!

6 weird things about me.

ShadowFalcon said...

3 is do you really want to hurt me, by culture club! make me what to go watch the wedding singer again

Michael C said...

You don't hate me because for most of your post I couldn't figure out what skating and Formula One Grand Prix racing had in common, do you?

Natalie said...

Michael- You are far too funny to hate. Grand Prix racing never crossed my mind because racing is just not something that would cross my mind. However, it would be funny to stick drivers on skates and skaters in cars. Hilarity would surely ensue.