Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gold-medal speedskating and bad figure skating

Canada has won another gold medal! Christine Nesbitt won the Women's 1000m speedskating race - whooo hooooo!!!! I wasn't watching when she won so I didn't scream and jump around when it happened, but I'm still feeling really good about this win. Hopefully Canada will continue to win gold medals during this Olympics.

I'm watching the Men's Free Skating program tonight and I'm quite surprised at the number of falls and mistakes. It also seems that the difficulty is a bit down because there are hardly any quad jumps or triple-triple combinations, at least so far. Of course just about everyone who's tried these jumps - as well as many of the single triples - has missed them. The competition isn't over as of this writing and it's possible that the later, better skaters will make these jumps.

Ian was just telling me that he heard someone say that the number of falls and bad jumps might be because everyone is skating for the gold medal. If you're trying for gold, you'll try to do that jump or trick you can only hit half the time instead of trying to skate the cleanest, most technically perfect program you can do.

If that's the case, I wish they'd stop it. Tone down the difficulty if they must so that they can showcase their strengths instead of trying and failing to do something they can't do well. Right now, this hardly looks like an Olympic event - as the commentator just said, this has been a very underwhelming event.

As someone mentioned, there's also the possibility that the ice or altitude has something to do with the falls. I know that ice-making for speedskating and curling is an art; it's possible that ice-making for figureskating is also an arcane art, and something isn't quite right with the ice. Or it's not quite right combined with the altitude or humidity or something.

No matter what the problem is, figure skating in this Olympics has been disappointing - dare I say, boring? - to watch. I hope they find the problem and can fix it before the women's and the ice dancing events happen.

One thing I do love is that it's possible to view the detailed score breakdown for each competitor over on the vancouver 2010 site. Not only does it show the score breakdown, but if you look at it before the competitor has skated, you can see which elements the competitor will perform and in what order. Each listing also lists the music, which is helpful for those of us that like something that we heard. And you can go back and review previous days' results. I love this - it makes me feel more connected to the skaters.

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