The Olympics, and the Stories… part two

February 26, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Posted in News and Events | Leave a comment
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Last night’s event saw Kim Yu-Na crowned queen of the ice, and the courageous bronze medal performance of Joannie Rochette. I congratulate all the young ladies who competed last night, even if they did not earn a medal or even place high. Just getting into the Olympics at all is quite an accomplishment.

Interestingly, the men’s figure skating competition still produces controversy, even days after it ended. And I should warn you, I have some pretty strong views of my own.

Lysacek and Plushenko at the award ceremony (From Web)

The gold went to American Evan Lysacek, and the silver to Russian Yevgeny Plushenko. But apparently Plushenko feels he deserved the gold, as he performed a “quad” jump, and Lysacek did not.

Both sides of the argument have good points, but Plushenko’s attitude is inexcusable. He could state his concerns about the new judging rules without insulting Lysacek, who gave a wonderful performance, and without making himself look bad.

Plushenko says that since the new judging rules punish even slight falls or errors VERY heavily, even on the extremely hard Quad, few skaters dare to risk it anymore. He says that figure skating is moving backwards, while other sports push for bigger and better tricks.

But I would point out that even other sports give points for “style” or “execution”, and besides, skating is also an art. The proper balance of athletic to artistic is debatable, but both elements must be there. Plushenko did not perform his jumps as smoothly and gracefully as Lysacek, even the ones not as difficult as the quad.

Remember Shaun White’s big win? Snowboarding is one of those sports that continue to push athletes to perform bigger and better tricks.

Shaun White in his natural element... (From Web)

Shaun White’s first run did not have his big new trick, but everything else he did was so much better executed that he had the best score. He only pulled his new trick in his victory lap, and thus upped his score again. He could have skipped his new trick and won without it, and no one would question his deserving the gold. They would be very disappointed he did not do it, but they would agree he won the medal.

The new scoring system for figure skating may very well be flawed, but in my opinion, Lysacek won fair and square. He performed wonderfully, but knew his limits, and weighed the risks of trying the quad under the current rules. If the judging rules had been different, he might have risked it, or trained more for it from the start.

As Lysacek said, if figure skating was purely about the big jumps they would only have them perform the best one they know, and skip the rest.

Plushenko has lots of talent, but I’m afraid he needs some sportsmanship and humility to go with it.

Tonight Apollo Ohno will go for medals number 8 and 9 in the 500m race and the 5000m relay. This promises to be an interesting finale to his 2010 Olympic games, and maybe his speed skating career (though I hope not).

Apollo 7 (From Web)

I wish him luck, and will watch with rapt attention all through his final quest!

Until next time, farewell!


The Olympics, and the Stories… part one

February 25, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Posted in News and Events | Leave a comment
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There are many great stories unfolding in these Olympics.

From Shaun White winning on a victory lap (which my dad rather aptly called winning gold AND silver); or the rise of “Apollo 7”; to the shockingly fatal luge crash the day before the games started; whether uplifting and inspiring, or tragic and overwhelming, stories of all sorts abound.

Tonight the ladies are taking to the ice again in the free skate, and these performances will determine the medal winners. There are many talented young women striving for the gold. The Korean, Kim Yu-Na, and the rivaling Japanese, Mao Asada and Miki Ando, are under intense pressure to deliver gold, or at least a medal that beats their rival nation. They are immensely popular in their home countries, achieving nearly equivalent status to US rockstars.

And the Americans, Mirai Nagasu and Rachael Flatt, are hoping too, to win Olympic medals. Rachael Flatt has been skating since she was three years old, and they are both counted among the top contenders.

But the most moving story in ladies figure skating is the Canadian Joannie Rochette, who lost her mother just a few days ago. Though hit with this devastating and sudden loss, she summoned the courage and determination to continue and compete well, though she looked nearly at the breaking point after her short program.

Joannie Rochette after short program (From Web)

I dearly hope she holds together for tonight’s performance, and though I feel I should be rooting wholeheartedly for the Americans, I cannot stop at least part of me from cheering her on to a medal.

There are still plenty more stories to tell, but tonight I wait with baited breath for the results of this competition. Tomorrow I hope to continue the tale…

Until next time, farewell!

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