Friday, February 26, 2010

30 Hours Ago…

Two weeks ago…. I was sipping coffee.

One week ago… I was having a bowel movement.

Four days ago… I ate chicken salad.

Two days ago…I had tilapia for dinner.

Seventeen Hours Ago… My power went out.

Now…I’m writing my review.

Breathe. The competition at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games is now behind us. I believe I am starting to see some gray hairs emerge. One of the most memorable nights in Olympic Figure Skating history took place last night and it was truly a mixed bag and somewhat of a freak show. I felt the urge to scream at Dick Ebersol and take out my rage. My power even went out twice and I experienced the gay panic that only someone who temporarily misplaced Madonna tickets could understand.

I was supposed to watch the ladies final with Drunksana, but the snowstorm prevented it. That might have been for the best, as our diametrically opposite views sometimes cause me to restrain myself from committing bodily harm. (Drunksana baits me and then squeals like a little schoolgirl when hit.)

Thanks to the snowstorm, this girl was worn out. The snow was much too heavy for my snow blower, so I was tired when I came inside and slept before the final. I was woken up for Tugba and found myself dozing throughout her performance. I assure you that it was the exhaustion and not her poor performance.

Christopher Bowman: Who is Tugba fucking to get on TV?

My mother: She seems really slow…

Scott made a genius remark about how Tugba has become a Canadian in recent months. I could not agree more, as she skates like a third-ranked Canadian lady.

It was not the performance of someone in their second Olympic Games.

Ebersol has been screwing with us during the ladies competition. He has them show one performance of a nobody and then subjects us to hours of crap because we don’t have any true medal contenders.

I will say that watching Julia Mancuso pretend to like Lindsey Vonn has amused me to no end the past few nights. Given what a press whore Vonn is and the fact that Mancuso is much more attractive, it is understandable that she would be frustrated by having Vonn’s injury curtail her race when she was on gold medal pace. Vonn supposedly broke her thumb. There is really nothing this girl does better than get injured. She is AMAZING at it. Mancuson had some genius line about “we got here in very different ways.” Julia… me. I WANT to talk to you. I’d love to hear it all.

Then NBC returned to figure skating for a hot second. I believe there was a drag queen in Indian garb named Cynthia Phaneuf. The Canadian ladies really are showing off their shoulders this year. I will admit to being jealous of their muscle definition. Bezic blamed the “exquisitely exotic skater’s” mistakes on a growth spurt that occurred years ago. There was a 1 ¾ axel performed during that long program.
Triple Loop, Double Salchow, Triple Toe+Double Toe

My Dad: Is Scott in the bathroom? Where’s the AAAARRRGGHHHHH?

NBC then left skating because it was too much to handle and proved to us that “O Canada” may be the best beer drinking song ever. It’s a good time.

And then it happened. You saw it. Don’t pretend that you missed it. Mary Carillo went logging in flannel and work boots. Mary looked more at home than in her dress clothes. She was quite a natural at chopping down those trees. People say that Johnny is over-the-top about being “out” without “being out,” but this put Johnny to shame. God Bless TiVo. Mary earned a gold medal for that performance.

Ebersol toyed with us yet again by pretending that we might see a decent amount of skating coverage. He decided to show us a highlight film from the 1988 Olympic Games. I haven’t seen Charlene Wong’s performance in a while and it was nice to see, but some intern mislabeled her as “Chelzie Lee.” Charlene fell on a triple toe, but landed two questionable triple salchows. She is a pleasant skater to watch when you accept that she is never going to medal.

Korpi skated well, but NBC didn’t show it. They thought the public would prefer aerial skiing and the Nordic Combined instead of the Games’ glamour event. Check plus, Dick Ebersol. Check plus.
Al Trautwig isn’t that awful as a commentator when he respects the sport. Of course, I have no idea what goes on in the Nordic Combined.

NBC had planned on showing us the final two groups, but the penultimate group of ladies was chacked for the first time in recent history on American television.

I missed Leonova and can’t say that I am broken up about it, but I did manage to get my online stream working in time for Akiko Suzuki. There was a rumble in streets of Tokyo and Akiko was in the middle of it. Akiko landed some shaky triples, but did a stunning triple loop. She isn’t my favorite lady, but there is something about Akiko that grabs your heart. She is a total Lifetime movie and was in dire need of a fluff piece. Akiko skated off with tears of joy and I felt quite emotional for her.

Frank Carroll dumped Carolina Kostner for refusing to do full run-throughs and Kostner’s performance validated Frank. Kostner arguably outdid her long program from the last world championships. The Carobomb never fails to be a momentous occasion. Three 1.00 deductions and two downgraded triples buried Carolina in the standings.

Lovely Laura Lepisto was next and landed some gorgeous triples and actually did her triple toe-triple toe. Fans will debate forever whether or not she deserved to finish ahead of Rachael Flatt, but she is a quality skater. It is a bit like watching Alissa Czisny with better technique and fewer falls.

Ksenia Makarova deserves an award for getting rid of her hideous brown and gold dress. The new dress looked lovely and matched her performance. With more political support, Ksenia would’ve finished several places higher. This girl is the real deal and has a triple lutz+triple toe combination in the works. Ksenia typified Galina’s students always having a slightly off moment when she pulled a Johnny and landed gorgeous jumps and was tripped up by a spin. Of course, we didn’t see any of this. Why show a Russian lady who isn’t a tacky mess? The girl even has a gorgeous spiral. Surely she is an android.

NBC did finally return to show little sexpot Elene Gedevanishvilli interpret Carmen. Oh Elene, when Dick Button was expressing relief that Tara Lipinski’s growth spurt and maturity went strictly to her legs, you are what he feared for her after meeting her mother. Elene deserves +6 GOE for landing any triples with those DDs. The program was a disaster technically. It was bad to the point where Robin Wagner didn’t even entertain us in the Kiss and Cry. She knows when the cameras were on her and seemed like she wanted to distract attention from herself. This Carmen died. It is important to note that she has come a long way from where she was two years ago, but it just didn’t happen. And I’m sorry, but your spiral actually needs to include an arabesque where your leg is extended behind you without being held. That dog squatting by a hydrant spiral position NEEDS TO GO.

NBC didn’t even show Elene’s marks because they wanted to erase it from our memory. Focus on the good ones. They tried to make up for subjecting us to Nordic Combined by showing us an uninterrupted hour of skating, but it wasn’t enough.

Miki Ando sported yet another costume. Mirai’s makeup made her appear like she was crying yet again. That girl needs Zoloft. I feel for Rachael Flatt because she is going to look back at her program in twenty years and notice how awful that dress fit her. It was not a cute dress and many have tried to get her better costumes. Yu-Na’s dress is so sophisticated, simplistic, elegant and refined that she just looks like an Olympic Champion. That has to subconsciously influence the judges.

Who made that fluff piece at NBC? I have liked almost all of their features, but the ladies final group intro was bizarre. Two months ago…Ten minutes ago…Now…

And that commercial with Mao looking 11 was three months ago?! That screams kiddie porn fetish to me and really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Based on the warm-up, it was obvious that everyone was just on. The first skater determines the energy for the final group. When the first lady does well, it is going to be a good event. For as awful as the ladies final in Torino was (and really the entire Olympics was a disappointing mess), Vancouver provided us with so many wonderful moments that we will rewatch for ages.

NBC did win back a few points for showing photos of the ladies medalists over the years, but that streak was surely about to end despite what the former American champions were told to say.

The warm-up ended. It was time for the moment of truth.

Like clockwork, Tom Hammond delivered. “Rachael spent the day doing homework. She was going to ask for an extension, but felt too guilty when everyone was texting her about how difficult the assignment was.”

First off, Team Flatt shoves this academic image down our throats to the point where it comes across as though they are trying to force us to like her. Who is Rachael the person? I’d like to get to know her. I hear she is a great kid. Too bad they try to impress us with her academia.

Second of all, her friends were obviously texting her to kick some ass. If they were texting her about an essay, she needs to stop hanging with the uber-competitive nerds.

Rachael’s program Flattlined as usual. She “landed everything” but was downgraded on two triple flips. I’d only downgrade the second triple flip, but I’d take a close look at the first triple queef. Code Blue has clearly worked hard at trying to be artistic, but not hitting your ina bauer position on the crescendo makes your entire artistic ability appear learned and somewhat disengaged. They keep calling “the rock,” but I don’t think that is a favorable nickname for someone whose skating is sluggish and somewhat heavy. The jumps don’t get off the ground and she skates across the ice at Zhang speed. I was moderately stunned to see her placed behind Lepisto and while I suspect that the European judges banded together to prop up their skaters, I do give the judges some credit for marking her in comparison to the rest of the final flight. Drunksana finds her skating academic, like papers on literary theory and I’d have to agree. 117.85/ 2nd place.

Then came Miki Ando, a personal favorite of Sandra Bezic. Miki and The Zhangs hold a special place in Sandra’s heart. She didn’t even wait for the first note of music,
“Miki doesn’t care a whole lot about the choreography; it’s all about jumps.”

It is really sad when you consider that her coach is a choreographer. Who was less emotionally engaged, Flatt or Ando? It is a tough call, but I think Rachael actually hears her music. I suspect Miki needs hearing aids or is in desperate need of having fluid removed from her ears. She is never on beat that Krylova texted me that “Ando is swinging a sausage between her legs.” Ando didn’t go for her hardest jumps. I’m sorry, but praying for a meltdown isn’t good enough. The judges have held up your PCS scores for long enough and finally let you have it. You NEVER deserved to be world champion. Remember when you withdrew at Worlds? That may be my favorite long program I’ve ever seen you give.

My Dad: “It certainly doesn’t feel like a Cleopatra routine.”

Elizabeth Taylor was downing more booze and painkillers than usual watching that performance. Holy hell. 124.10/ 188.86

I should’ve been requiring an oxygen tank, but I felt oddly calm. Kim Yu-Na gave Orser a bit of a wink as she skated away from the boards and it was obvious that she was about to nail it before she even took center ice. Apparently she wrote some book of essays about pressure, but I can’t believe she skated as freely as she did given the insane expectations of her country. After her huge triple lutz+triple toe and solid triple flip, it was done. There was no way she was missing a thing. Yu-Na restrained herself and yet gave an utterly delightful performance. The Gershwin program is very flirtatious and fun, but it isn’t emotional like her Scheherezade or The Lark Ascending. Still, Yu-Na absolutely toyed with the audience and it was an unreal Olympic performance. It blew Boitano out of the water. There wasn’t an edge out of place.

It was extremely touching to see how much this meant to Yu-Na. She has been so solid and so composed for the past two seasons, but this meant the world to her. There were genuine tears of joy and relief. It was the reaction I wish we saw from Nastia Liukin in Beijing. Brian Orser was thrilled and they had this Zen-like calm in the Kiss and Cry. I knew that whatever score she received was going to be so massive that people would immediately scream that she was overscored. Yet, when you look at her GOE and PCS, the judges really weren’t on the Yu-Na crack the way they pleasured themselves with Voir’s free dance scores. 150.06/228.56

Poor Mao. There was not even a remote chance that she could win and the girl had to know it. She was dressed in a hideous costume and skating to horrendous music. If that was the same cut of music Tarasova gave Kwan, her withdrawal from the 2006 Games was a total blessing in disguise.

The Vampire Whore went out there and delivered two monstrous triple axels. It was an Olympic moment made of total win. Mao gave it everything she had last night. She delivered that Tarasova program even though it is obvious she didn’t believe in it. The girl slapped herself on both cheeks and did her best to be demonic. Unfortunately, an underrotated flip and an omitted triple toe put her in danger of losing the silver medal.

I’m a bit perplexed by Mao’s reaction to her performance. She was somewhat pleased as she bowed, but she was far from overjoyed. The reaction of her gold- medal-hungry Russian coaches made it certain that first place was out of the question. I’ve never seen Tarasova so reserved at the Olympics. I can’t really remember her losing a big battle either.

As Mao saw her marks, she sat there with a blank stare, looking like a pissed off clown. Immediately, I was worried for her and felt that she needed to be under a 72-hour hari kiri watch. The Japanese are all about gold or nothing. You know a nation is effed up when their athletes have to apologize about losing a gold medal at the Olympics. Mao has Yamada to thank for her beautiful triple axels and Tarasova to thank for absolutely nothing. Kim Yu-Na is unlikely to continue competing after Worlds, so Mao needs to relocate to Toronto and have the power gays put some life back into her skating. 131.72/205.80

Joannie Rochette was next with a heart-warming performance, but her Samson and Delilah program is an obvious letdown to anyone who saw Davis and White or Jeff Buttle skate to this music. She gets bonus points for channeling Yamaguchi. I am not a huge fan of the choreography, but you just had to will Joannie to stay on her feet as you watched last night. Step outs were fine. Just don’t fall down!!! There was a huge ovation for her and it was wonderful to see her medal, but she wasn’t as moved as after the short program. In many ways, she just seemed drained by the entire experience. This competitive performance (short and long) is about the best she could’ve ever hoped for, so she should be thrilled with herself. 131.28/202.64

And then came Mirai’s moment. Frank told her to “smile” because that is what he is paid $140/hr for. Her jumps were higher than nationals and fully rotated. How fitting was it that Mirai rotated all of her jumps and clearly defeated Flatt after so many felt she was robbed at Nationals. Mirai is the absolute future of US skating. Flatt has maxed out. 126.39

This report may not have its usual zing, but please understand…I feel as though the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders. I could not take having to listen to commentators talk about another skater being “the best to never win gold.”

For anyone in Vancouver, keep an eye on Mao. Girl needs a hug.