Saturday, February 27, 2010

'Couver Town Recaps: Queen of the Ice Castles

(She can see what's hers now. What's hers is the gold medal and the admiration of her countrymen.)

Avenue Q poses the question, "Ain't if fun to watch figure skaters fallin' on their asses?"

The answer: yes. Often times, it is. And usually the Olympics, over any other international skating competition, seems to produce the most high profile falls and blunders for the top figure skaters in the world. I think it's mostly for two reasons; 1) there is a lot of pressure to be perfect in the Olympics and 2) it's crazy difficult to spin around in the air 3 three times and then land on a thin piece of metal on the bottom of your shoe connecting you with a surface of ice. It's not easy and everyone takes a spill now and then.

This year for the women, it was a different story. The top ladies all had fantastic performances and most scored personal bests of their careers. As much fun as it is to once in a while see someone take a spill, it's much more fun and exciting to see everyone do so well.

The one who did best was South Korea's Kim Yu-Na who delivered a truly exceptional performance that won her the gold by a MILE. Her free-skate score, 150.06, destroyed her previous personal best, which was also the world record by 17 points and gave her a final overall score of 228.56. She has reset the bar for scoring in the sport.

The silver and bronze medalists were also truly impressive. Mao Asada was second, and became the first female to successfully land three triple axels in one competition. Canada's Joannie Rochette came in an inspiring third, as she skated just days after her mother died. It was incredibly emotional watching her on the ice, but she held herself together and did such a great job. It was really an amazing feat.

The American women were not really expected to medal because of their youth and relative inexperience on the world stage, but they skated clean, impressive performances nonetheless. Mirai Nagasu finished fourth, and Rachael Flatt came in seventh. Good job, ladies. Hope to see you both again in Sochi 2014!

All four of the figure skating events featured very strong skating and no gold for the Russians. Both of these things are so rare and are very satisfying. I'm glad all the top skaters did so well. It's so much pressure. In an interview, Kim suggested her home county, South Korea, would turn on her if she had failed to live up to their expectations to win gold (she's probably right too - no pressure though!). It's better to see a winner beat the best at their best, than watching people slipping and sliding and caving to the pressure.

Good job, Kim Yu-Na! Perhaps your win will calm their irrational hatred for Apolo Ohno over in South Korea. Let them focus on the positive! I think they will.

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