Thursday, May 6, 2010

Remembering The Skating Boom: Brian Boitano

While he wasn't an IMG Client, Brian Boitano may have just been the most pimped out skater during the professional skating boom of the '90s. In recent years, we've learned that Mr. Boitano has quite the self-deprecating sense of humor and it has made it quite charming, but the Brian Boitano of the '90s took life (and made for TV competitions) very seriously.

Cue opera ballad sung by boyfriend. Inhale. Raise arm over head. Look intense. Back three turn. Bend over and stick out giant ass. Attempt to not be clumsy while attempting compulsory figures mid program.

Oh, Boitano programs at the World Pros were like no other. Landover was Brian's house and every year he delivered new levels of seriousness for that silver platter. With powerful buns that my mother adored and big Polish-esque thighs, the 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist powered around the rink before a spread eagle into Tano lutz, triple axel, triple flip, camel spin, weak sit spin, HUGE death drop and almost-blurred scratch spin! All to the commentary of Sandra Bezic marveling at a program she created.

While the total power bottom is an amazing skater and obviously a fantastic competitor, it wasn't enough for Scott Hamilton, the king of professional commentary. Whether it was out of unrequited lust or a desire to make the one time he defeated Boitano and actually "won" a pro competition a much bigger deal than it actually was, Scott liked to YELLL about what a truly amazing alpha male Brian actually is.

At 1995 Ice Wars: The Rematch, Scott delivered one of his most memorable (and curious) commentating performances while watching Boitano compete his overwrought artistic program to Seal's "Don't Cry."

"He's so strong. He could do this program with his arms and legs tied behind his back at 3 AM, with the lights off, bound and gagged."

Mind you, until Kurt Browning started schooling Boitano at the World Pros (and boy was it heaven), every Boitano program was exactly the same as the last, so he had a ton of practice and his muscle memory likely would've helped him through skating in the dark while tied up like a hostage on The Young and The Restless.

I don't know what I miss more about pro skating: Scott Hamilton pretending that Roz Sumners' (oft-popped) double axel was an amazing human feat or all of society being forced to pretend that Katarina Witt and Brian Boitano were involved in some sort of torrid love affair. Don't scoff over that silver lame shirt he wore, you know it was the wardrobe of super heros!

It wasn't until an ass kicking by Browning and South Park spoofing his professional persona that we actually got a glimpse at the real Brian Boitano. Sadly, it was only a decade too late.

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