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Friday, February 19, 2010

And sometimes, I'd rather watch the Zamboni.

The Winter Games.

First off, haven't missed a night. I love all that stuff, especially when I'm perched on my butt with a glass of wine and other people are freezing their butts off to amuse me. It’s all about keeping me amused. Oops, that’s an “in” joke.

The hot topic is men’s figure skating. There seems to be a controversy with regards to the scoring in the long program. HOLY COW! There's a controversy about figure skating scoring! Alert the media! Call CNN! What a stunner!

I've been watching this stuff since maybe Squaw Valley? I remember watching Peggy Fleming in Grenoble. Hello, I'm NOT a novice viewer. It wouldn't BE the Olympics if there weren’t a scandal in the figure skating camp.

Here's what went down this time. Three guys, neck and neck. And there's a Russian leading by the barest of margins. Well, duh. Evan, the American, has put on his feathers and skates. BTW, any skater wearing feathers is using "The Firebird" and any skater looking vaguely like someone out of A Thousand and One Nights is using Scheherazade. Fun fact. Evan skates like a demon. He jumps and does circles and spins and dies and rises from his own ashes. After skating and jumping and spinning three times in the air he keeps jumping, after three or four minutes. He's also the first skater I've seen all night who did NOT perform the triple lutz flip toe jack-knife to the ice. As in "hey, that jump is supposed end with my butt on the ice, I meant to do that." I think Evan may have lost points for omitting that move, I'm not sure. He managed to lead the pack however, with five skaters left.

Johnny Weir came out in a plunging neckline and a pink tassel. This was a bit disconcerting but, as he rather resembles Edward Scissorhands I cut him some slack. He too, omitted the previously mandatory "fall on your ass" jump but I think he scared the judges and he stayed exactly where he started, score wise. There was a cute Japanese skater who needs to go back and re-learn shoe tying. The Swiss guy fell down. Takahashi, the other skater from Japan, wasn't bad. So now we come to the last skater. A Russian who's first name I can't spell. Plushenko is his last name and I can pronounce it.

Plushenko won a gold medal in the last winter games, four years ago in Torino. He quit competitive skating shortly thereafter and sat around drinking vodka and playing the balalaika as far as I can tell. And then, as these Olympics were coming near and there were new, young, talented skaters making headlines he woke up one morning and thought, "Damn! Why did I let them talk me into retiring? I didn't want to retire. I want to take the gold medal back from all these talented young kids." It happens. It's called Leno syndrome, officially I think it's actually referred to as "jaychosis."

So Mr. Plushenko, sans feathers (no Stravinsky for YOU) steps on the ice. He skates, he jumps. Skate, jump. He jumped and turned FOUR times. He has a QUAD! Evan, of the feathers, only turns THREE times. A HA! This, however, seemed to be the extent of Plushenko's finesse on the ice. He then started doing triple jumps. Like Evan. Unlike Evan, when he jumped and spun three times in the air he seemed to leaning at a 30 degree angle. He landed on his feet though. Then he got tired and just skated and spun. On the ice, not in the air. And when he was done he started pumping his "I'm number 1" in the air.

The judges however, begged to differ. Evan won. Comrade Plushenko was NOT amused. He gave a press conference in which he stated that it was the new judging system that was at fault and not the fact that he was listing to starboard faster than the Titanic when he jumped. Also, apparently, one of his spins on the ice was pretty much something any 7th grade girl can do.

Plushenko announced he should have won because he can do a quadruple somethingorother and the guy who won can't. Or maybe doesn't, I'm not sure. Well, I went to the IOC website and looked it up. It's not the "Men's I can do a quad and you can't" finals. It’s called figure skating. So, um no, that one doesn't work either.

Plushenko says that if you can't do a quad you're not an athlete, you're a dancer. I've SEEN the picture of Nureyev naked, you will never convince me that a dancer isn't an athlete. That guy was ripped. Yes, gay dancers can be chiseled too, get over it.

And for Plushenko's nail in the coffin argument in his own behalf: If the scoring system hadn't been changed he would have won. Does anyone remember when the scoring system was overhauled? And why? I do. Salt Lake City. Pairs Figure Skating. BIG controversy over the gold medal. Yeah, okay, not news. But what WAS news was that the Russian skating committee or organization or whatever they call it was caught bribing the French judge. Which is why the Russian couple won a gold and the Canadian couple initially given the silver medal are now co-gold medal winners. Yep, the Russians cheated. They cheated to such an extent that the judging system was overhauled to its current unfathomable and probably just as biased system.

Mr. Plushenko? It's your own damn fault.

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