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Of nudes and natives, quads and queers: Olympic figure skating

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Yesterday I enjoyed watching skicross almost as much as snowboardcross, but damn it was tough seeing the Canadian skier (skicrosser?) finish fourth. So many fourths and fifths. And after that way too close match against Switzerland, I had a bad feeling about the men’s hockey game. So I took a break from all that and watched the ice dance.

The theme for this year’s original dancing was folk dancing. This resulted in some mind-blowingly hokey costumes and dancing; think Janine and Phillip’s Russian Folk Dance on So You Think You Can Dance, multiplied by many. But you know? I wasn’t bored.

And then there was the Russians:

Yes. They were pretending to be Aboriginals. Since the above competition, they’ve dropped the dark face in response to criticism. But still, it was awful. Not just because it was tacky and disrespectful. It just wasn’t a good dance. It was not complex, it did not engage you. I was fairly appalled when they were in first place afterward.

(And less upset at the simple fact that they “looked nude!”, but somewhat amused at how upset commenter Rod Black seemed to be about that.)

Fortunately, a couple lovely teams were still to come, dancing perfectly to fantastic choreorgraphy in sophisticated-looking costumes, and knocking the Russians off their pedestal. First were American Davis and White, with a wonderful Bollywood number. Next were Canadians Virtue and Moir, with a dynamic Spanish flamenco. I was so nervous watching them. But they were so good. I had to watch it again today (and somehow still felt nervous, though I already knew there were no screw-ups and they’d ended up first).

In the earlier men’s competition, the big thing was the quad. And whether it was correct that someone who didn’t do the quad won the thing. Same squawking we heard two years ago when Jeffrey Buttle won the world championship, sans quad.

Notice that the only dudes ever complaining about quad-less wins are those who pretty much suck at everything but that? Plushenko, Joubert… Stojko? (Hey, I loved you, Elvis, but you’re being kind of obnoxious these days.)

I watched the top 10 or so guys, and Plushenko did by far the most boring and unattractive skate of them all. Salon described it fairly accurately, I thought:

He lands all of his jumps but looks terrible doing it, then breaks into a funky boogie nightmare that’s just plain ugly, like watching your gawky teenage cousin trying to break-dance.

Maybe the real controversy is not that Lysacek won gold with a skate that was both technically skillful and beautiful to watch, but that Plushenko won silver with the above. Quad-triple notwithstanding.

And finally? I just love Johnny Weir. You go on being fabulous, dude.

2 thoughts on “Of nudes and natives, quads and queers: Olympic figure skating

  1. Instead of “Own the Podium”, we should maybe change it to “Expand the Podium” – and campaign for a medal for 4th place!

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