Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thoughts on the Ladies' Long Program - Figure Skating

How very, very sad that Irina Slutskaya did not win tonight. I've been pulling for her in these Games, especially after her joyful short program. She telegraphs great confidence and strength on the ice, and I love how un-prissy she is. She is not one of the glamour girls of figure skating, but watching her skate makes me really happy. Irina looks like she is having fun out there. Sasha Cohen - easily the most glamourous of this year's competitors - makes me nervous when she skates. I keep waiting for her to fall apart, and indeed she did somewhat in her long program. According to today's LA Times, she is 5'2" and weighs just 95 pounds. (!)

It was great to see Fumie Suguri end an otherwise unremarkable program on a really fast scratch spin. I think we used to see more of that before the new scoring system. So many of the skaters are sacrificing speed and style in their spins to cram in the catch-foot positions, which are presumably worth more points but are not especially elegant unless very well executed. Even if a skater is busting out some really tough spin positions, she looks tired to me without some real speed. If I were a judge, I think I would want to see a skater end on something clean and energetic.

Elene Gedevanishvili is a tremendous skater in the making. She is petite and adorable, but she has terrific presence and athleticism as well. Style points from me for avoiding the ubiquitous tan tights and opting for black instead.

As snarky as Dick Button can be, I generally agree with his commentary on the figure skating.

A blast from the past:

Check out these two examples of triple Axels by Midori Ito. The resolution is low, but it's not hard to see the incredible
height and power of her jumps.


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