Trouble Ahead for the 2022 Olympics

After all the #Sochifails we experienced last season, it seems as if things were going to quiet down. The new season is starting, the next Olympics are in a country with no major figure skating podium contender (aka less home ice advantage bias) and a fresh start sounds welcome after the horror that was the ladies event in Sochi. And then, John Oliver brought this to my attention.

Apparently no one really wants to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Except for Beijing and a resort Kazakhstan? Are there even mountains nearby for ski events in Beijing? Or is the Communist government going to build one just for the Olympics? Though honestly, if John Oliver was going to talk about human rights violations for both these contenders, seriously, if Russia can host its Olympics and get away with all its violations, I’m pretty sure China and Kazakhstan can too. I really hope that we do get a good Olympics in 2022. The Winter Olympics need some love.

What are your thoughts on the two remaining contenders? I’ll also put up a poll. Are there other cities you think should host the Olympics?

Florent Amodio is a hipster.

73facd82_o

He used vocal music before it became cool. Even though the choreography for the program was extremely… puzzling to say the least, what was even more puzzling was that he didn’t get penalized back in the day when lyrics weren’t allowed.

In case you were wondering why I brought this back (I’m hoping that you won’t hate me for subjecting you to this), this is just a fun reminder… music with lyrics will be allowed in men’s, ladies and pairs programs starting the upcoming season!

Does this make you excited?

Personally, I’m shuddering at the idea of the overuse of Michael Jackson and Phantom of the Opera… with lyrics. Just wait, we’ll have a lady skate to the most popular songs in Frozen soon. For some reason, that entire concept makes me cringe even though I like the movie.

Thoughts on this rule change? Tell me in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Short Program on the Chopping Block?

I was on my Facebook when a skating friend of mine sent me an invite to a group called, “Save the Short Program.” I was a little confused because to date, there has been no scruples against the short program in any way, shape or form. In fact, I’d say that prefer the SP at times because it has a certain amount of predictability but what is always pleasant is when skaters and choreographers combine good skating with choreography that is fresh, unusual and well thought out. (To me, this is a fine example of what I’m talking about.) Either that or the SP is easier to swallow in case the competition turns into a total splatfest.

speedy

So, I decided to investigate and according to this article, the rumours are true. And that’s not all. The infamous Octavio Cinquanta (or $peedy as he is known in figure skating circles) wants to…

1. Cut the SP because other sports are not based on two rounds.

Aren’t there several segments of a gymnastics competition? And correct me if I’m wrong but for certain time-based events like the luge, don’t teams get more than 1 run? Then there are events like rowing and other sports where there are heats and final races. In show jumping, there’s a preliminary, final and possible tie-breaker round each with their own jumping courses, designed in varying levels of difficulty and with various time limits. The preliminary round generally separates the front-runners from the rest of the pack, while the final round is generally harder but has a similar time limit. The tie-breaking jump off course is generally short and tests the riders under duress and is used in the event of a tie-breaker (which seems to be often enough when the front-runner ride clean and well).

Similar to show jumping, the segments in figure skating tests the skaters on different things.

The short program is very structured, has very specific jumping passes, spins and step sequences and is meant to test a skater (and choreographer’s) ability to express a coherent theme with very specific elements in a short period of time. The name of the game in the SP is perfection: because of the set number of elements, mistakes are costly. You might not necessarily win a competition with a SP but you can definitely lose one with the SP (as we saw with Mao in Sochi *sob*).

The long program is designed to test the athlete’s stamina and ability to execute all the elements, interwoven in a more complex way. The LP gives skaters a chance to create a more complicated story and show the judges all the big tricks they can do. In singles skating, we can see clearly from the LP which jumps skaters are able to execute. Compared to the SP, the name of the game is doing better than your competitors and not necessarily perfection. If you look at Yuzuru Hanyu and Patrick Chan’s performances and results at the Sochi Olympics, you can see what I mean when I say this about both programs.

2. Cinquanta wants to somehow combine both programs together into a super mega ultra uber program?

We’ve heard $peedy tell us that he knows little about figure skating but he seriously can’t be this ignorant… right? (Seriously, we’ve seen this guy at skating competitions, you’d think that by now he’d learn something just by sitting there as a spectator – I mean, does he play Candy Crush on his phone during these things or something?)

Ok, Cinquanta and darling readers, let’s get educated (or at least take a refresher course for those who already know this).

A) The LP equates to a mile of cardiovascular activity.

B) In the LP, skaters can reach up to the maximum heart rate of 209 beats per minute.

C) In some spins, figure skaters can experience the same amount of G-force on their arms as a drag racer or up to 4Gs. In simpler terms, 4g is four times the earth’s gravitational force at sea level pulling at your body. According to this science site, astronauts aboard a space shuttle reach around 3.5Gs.

D) According to this ASAPScience video, a quad requires a skater to reach 350 revolutions per minute in the air while landing with around 7 times their body weight on the ice. Astronauts have been known to pass out in tests in which they spin at 320 revolutions per minute.

E) And let’s just take a moment to remember that especially in pairs and ice dancing, skaters need to do their programs and remain vigilant at all times. They have knives on their feet almost quite literally.

We’ve seen skaters about to keel over on the ice at the end of their programs. I’m not sure if they can handle anything beyond what’s already set out in the LP.

Fellow friend, Ay-sa, doubts that this suggestion would pass by the council within the ISU but it seems as if figure skating fans and specialists are taking a tough stance to this proposed change. Backed by previous champions, a technical specialist and a journalist, this petition is calling on Cinquanta’s resignation. It seems as if the ISU has gone against its constitution to allow Cinquanta to run for president again despite his age ineligibility at the next elections.

What are your thoughts on this petition and $peedy’s proposed SP cut? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside CAfe

 

Sochi 2014: Worst Judging I’ve Ever Seen – Ladies Event

You know, I can accept that Russia won the team event. As someone who prefers Tessa and Scott, I can also accept and celebrate Meryl & Charlie’s win at the Olympics. Adelina Sotnikova’s Olympic gold, however, is the one accolade I refuse to accept and this ridiculousness in judging is an insult to anyone who holds the title of “Olympic Champion.” I am so disgusted with this result that I refuse to cover or watch any more competitions in Russia until this bullshit judging has stopped because if this is how things are going to be judged in Russia, then may no figure skating competition be ever held there ever again. So, if you’re wondering why I haven’t made predictions for the Cup of Russia for the next few seasons, here’s why.

sotnikova and judge

I think all commentators were shocked when Sotnikova won. Kurt Browning said that she was not a complete skater, as did Dick Button. Katarina Witt, former Olympic Champion, has also told the media that she thought Yuna Kim should’ve won and she is joined by a whole host of knowledgeable people in the figure skating world.To also put this whole debacle into perspective, consider this: Sotnikova’s season’s best score before the Olympics was 20 points below her Olympic score. Of course, somehow we have the media trying to rationalize what happened by saying that Adelina had a higher Technical Elements Scores (TES) and while that is true, we have to consider that the TES is only half of the story. In fact, what didn’t make sense in Sotnikova’s scores were her Program Components Scores (PCS). So for those who are still scratching their heads at the result, here are my two cents as well as a general recap of the ladies event in Sochi. More

Boggles the Mind: Figure Skating on Steroids Anime – Pretty Rhythm: Aurora Dream

As you can tell, my life continues to be busy but I assure you there is a “State of the Union” post coming up. I’ve started but I need a little time to finish it so stay tuned~!

In any case, I offer a brief post on something that youtube recommended for me. As you all know, I watch figure skating and over the winter, I went nostalgia tripping into my childhood and watched a few episodes of Sailor Moon. I think this random combination gave youtube the impression that I would like this anime called “Pretty Rhythm: Aurora Dream.”

First of all. WTF is up with this title? Seriously? I’ve got a feeling some Japanese animator or manga artist decided to put four pleasant sounding words together. Anyways, I click on the link, curious about what it’s about and sort of skim through the first episode. Here’s what I got from it.

– So there’s this world. Where they have competitions that combine figure skating, singing and dancing.

– There are weird talking animals.

– Apparently you can get clothes from psychadelically coloured crystals.

– You do jumps and use crystals to make rainbows, fruit and sparkles appear. (Where are the unicorns in this anime???)

– Figure skating jumps come naturally to some people. So much so that they do quintuplet jumps on their first try. Or something like that.

– These jumps also end up being horizontal somehow in the course of their trajectory but the landing is always the typical landing position.

– People avoid crashing into other people by doing a triple? quadruple? loop. On the floor.

– Clothes choose you. Because they are wise and intelligent enough to attract people who are naturally gifted at figure skating-fruit-rainbow-sparkling.

– When a total stranger says, “Hey you. Would you come with me? The dresses have chosen you,” you go with them.

– Sometimes, you need to listen to the voice of your costumes. Because they sing.

– I think I’ll need a lot of drugs (either tranquilizers or hallucinogens) to make me appreciate this show. And no, I do not encourage or condone the use of illicit substances.

If you’re curious or in need of a good laugh or something that will blow your mind the wrong way, here’s the first episode.

Um… enjoy?

~The Rinkside Cafe

The World is Ending…

I am in tears. Life (or my recent part-time job, really) has really taken away a lot of free time and when I decide to check back on the figure skating world, I find this article. In short: Evan Lysacek is coming back and he’s going to be at Skate America. I was actually considering to go to this particular competition since I’m a lot closer to Skate America this year than Skate Canada. I really wanted to see Yuzuru but I’m not sure if I can bear to open my wallet to watch both the beauty that is Yuzuru and the windmill that is Lysacek.

There’s always the possibility that Evan will go the Sasha Cohen route and fake (or actually have) an injury and not compete. After all, even at his “peak”, Evan was quadless and had shaky triple axels. Chan, despite his inflated marks, can actually land quads and occasionally skate clean. In the past season, more men have added quads to their repertoire in an attempt to step up their game and dethrone Chan. If Lysacek wants to remain competitive in the men’s field, he’s going to have to pull up that quadruple jump. Nonetheless, we all know that Lysacek has a crazy robot work ethic which might allow him to land the jump, and unfortunately give him the sort of integrity that would drive him to compete at Skate America.

Apparently he’s going to show up with programs to the music of “Poeta” and “Samson et Dalila”. I hate your guts, Evan Lysacek. How dare you ruin this:

and this:

Now excuse me while I continue to cry in a corner.

~The Rinkside Cafe

Igor Shpilband Fired

I think everyone is reeling at the information that Igor Shpilband, coach of Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, Meryl Davis & Charlie White and the Shibutanis, has been fired from the Arctic Edge Figure Skating Club in Canton. According to this article, the skaters felt that “Igor wasn’t there anymore for them.” There are also hints of disagreements between Marina and Igor but the figure skating club seems to put out the idea that the main problem was that the top three teams were having issues with Igor. I also found it interesting that Igor seemed to try his hardest at contacting Davis & White rather than the other two teams. I had always had the impression that he was backing the top Americans while Marina was more inclined to back the Canadians. Still, what boggles my mind is how this separation could happen at such a pivotal moment. I mean, seriously, why??? What are the politiks behind it? Since the last Olympics, Marina and Igor have been the REAL rulers of the ice dance world, not V/M or D/W. No coaching team has been able to touch them since. I’m not sure what drama this will cause in the world of ice dance – what will happen to the teams?

Thoughts? Opinions?

~The Rinkside Cafe

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