Ah, Todd Eldredge. The great ''straight'' hope. What is it that makes the USFSA pretend their main horse is hetero? It must be that if they lack any bit of nuance or artistry, they must be of the unfortunate sexual orientation for men's figure skating.
Oh yes, the boring people are just so marketable. In 2002, Todd was the National Champion. While Tim Goebel was throwing his medal in the trash (check that land fill), the USFSA was putting their bets on the wrong horse yet again. It seems they never learned with Todd.
If there is one thing about Todd, it is that he is reliable. I mean, predictable. You always knew he was going to wear some old drab costume in a dark color and skate to some generic movie soundtrack about a war. It was all part of his ''masculine'' look. One night, while lying his head on Richard's fat stomach, they came up with a way to be the USFSA's straight soldier.
"Todd, jut your arms to the side like a robot whenever the music gets suddenly louder!" It is masculine!
If there is one thing about me, it is that I will always be nice in person when first meeting someone no matter how much I want to open my mouth and say otherwise. While sitting at Liberty, these girls next to me were newer uber fans, who said that so-and-so skated very masculine, "just like Todd, Michael Weiss, Evan and Brian Boitano." Luckily, Pat Lipinski was next to me and also trying not to have go buy depends for the rest of the competition. It is okay, they were from Central PA. They clearly didn't know any better.
It is amazing that Todd ever had any difficulty beating Elvis Stojko. When your top competitor is scoring 5.9/5.4 and 5.9/5.5, it doesn't take much to seem artistic and win the tie-breaking mark. Yet, Todd always managed to fuck it up. Despite the fact that every program was the same, same jump layout, same generic music, same costume, same choreography (footwork up on the heel at the tempo change, arms out to the side for the first 90 seconds, long edge curves into jumps, forward spiral with his right arm leading the way at the 3 minute mark), Todd just never could seem to nail it. No matter what, Todd put his second triple axel near the end of the program, as though he had the Asian concentration and discipline of Kristi Yamaguchi or Michelle Kwan. Todd's programs may have said it was 'a walk on the wide side,' but it sure as hell never felt like it.
The American ladies ice queens had come and gone, yet Todd was still missing that second triple axel. Why, you ask? According to Margaret Thatcher, "Todd always needed to have the proper crescendo of disappointment." Todd was a solid all-around skater, so we were willing to feign that he was some artistic master. Mind you, Todd looked and acted like a 40 year-old his entire career. He always looked serious, stressed and one could see where the botox was needed. You just knew he'd miss that axel yet again and then go kick the boards. During Todd's big moment, the 1998 Olympics, it was a miracle that he didn't skate to the side of the rink and try to kick a hole in the boards just like every day in practice (thank you for confirming it, those who trained with him.)
Todd was allowed to veer from the norm once in his career, but the program was about as convincing as his marriage to the bimbo in that pink castle. It got a big giant, "oh honey, no!"
If there is one Todd move that beats all others, it is when he starts his slow section by putting his arms to the side and pivoting on his bent leg in a circle, as though he is conquering the world. Or at least, winning the political game of the USFSA.
Looking back on the Nagano era of men's figure skating, aside from Kulik's jumps, it truly was the worst of times.
There may be just one word to sum up Todd's skating and career: beige.
The midwestern women loved Todd. Though he had the sex appeal of a fifty-year old ''confirmed bachelor' accountant, they hoped and prayed he would marry their daughters. Just once, they hoped the National Champion would bat for their team. Just like the commentators said after each and every Todd long program at a Worlds or Olympics, "Maybe, next year!"