Beijing to Host 2022 Winter Olympics

I’m not sure if you remember but late last year, I wrote a post about the clip on John Oliver talking about how no one wanted to host the 2022 Olympics. Except Beijing, China and Almaty, Kazakhstan. I even put up a poll to see which city you wanted to see the Olympics at! If you’re wondering about the results…

poll 2022

Alas, for those who voted for Kazakhstan, it was announced today that the 2022 Olympics will be held in Beijing – the first capital city in the world to hold both Summer and Winter Olympics. Somehow I’m not surprised and I’m not sure how to feel about it. I think I’ll wait and see what’s in store.

What do you think of the IOC’s decision to put the Olympics in Beijing? I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Florent Amodio is a hipster.

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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

Moment in History: The Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Incident

tonya harding nancy kerrigan

Of all figure skating scandals, the 2002 Salt Lake City judging incident shook the figure skating world and has changed the sport forever. However, the most salacious of figure skating scandals is definitely the one between two U.S. ladies and rivals: Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan

During the 1994 U.S. National Championships, Tonya Harding’s bodyguard and her ex-husband hired another man to break Nancy Kerrigan’s leg. The attacker, Shane Stant, managed to hit Kerrigan on the leg but the resulting injury was just a bruise and no bones were broken. Kerrigan withdrew from the National championships and Harding won but both were still named to the Olympic team for the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. There, Harding ended up in 8th place while Kerrigan won the silver medal. However, the truth of the whole attack came to light and Harding was stripped of her titles and received a lifelong ban from participating in events run by the U.S. Figure Skating Association, which effectively ended her amateur skating career.

Recently, ESPN released a documentary called, The Price of Gold,  about the incident complicating the narrative between the two rivals. A friend of mine also posted this article from the Slate that shines some light as to how this story might have more to it than just a jealous rivalry. To add my two cents, I’ll talk about a few things that the documentary might mention as well as how this pertains to the current controversy over the U.S. ladies being sent to the Sochi Olympics.

Somehow, Kerrigan and Harding escaped my notice back in the day even though I had been watching figure skating before they arrived on the scene. Somehow, my memory skips from cheering for Kristi Yamaguchi to cheering for Michelle Kwan and Sasha Cohen to restarting my love for the sport after watching Tessa & Scott’s 2008 FD. Still, from what I know today, I do know that both girls were raised in working class families, however, from what I gather, Tonya Harding seems to have had a very difficult childhood. Apparently, her mother was abusive and Harding lived in many different homes, including a trailer park. This shouldn’t be an excuse for what she did in the past but there are certain aspects of her career that I can sympathize with.

Skating is an expensive sport. Coaching fees, fees from working with specialists, costumes, getting a custom-fitted boot and blade, travel expenses – all of these add up and the truth of the matter is that figure skating has become an elite sport in the sense that it’s probably one of the most expensive sports to participate in. To earn most of their money, skaters need endorsements from sponsors to fund their training and competition and in order to do that, skaters need to succeed in the sport and… be marketable. Tonya Harding was a trailer park girl without classically pretty looks while her main rival, Nancy Kerrigan, came from a hard-working working class family and had a classic regal look. At the time, one lady’s backstory and looks were more attractive than the other and I think the following scene definitely rings true in this situation.

Tonya Harding wasn’t going to be killed but she needed to be liked in order to get sponsors to help keep her family away from hunger and want. (Happy Hunger Games!) I don’t know what was going through her mind back in 1994 but I wouldn’t be surprised if she thought that she would be more endorsements if she won an Olympic medal. The Slate article argues that Harding would’ve never gotten those endorsements anyways and whether or not that’s true is up for debate.

What’s your take on the Harding/Kerrigan incident? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Sad News: No More Takahashi & Tran

narumi takahashi mervin tran 2012 Worlds medal

According to this article, Narumi Takahashi & Mervin Tran have split due to citizenship issues on Mervin’s part and in some part, Narumi’s injury this season. Narumi’s injury may have become a huge roadblock to an Olympic medal if Mervin did get Japanese citizenship but either way, I’m really sad to see these two go.

Let us remember their brightest moment in their career:

You will be missed. I’m so sad that such potential is now over. Please continue skating somehow.

~The Rinkside Cafe

Moment in History: Barbara Ann Scott

Admittedly, I didn’t know very much about Barbara Ann Scott until I read the sad report of her death just yesterday. I did know that she did run into some issue when she was given a car but what did she do that made her stand out in the history of figure skating?

Well, Barbara was the only Canadian woman to have won *Olympic gold* in ladies figure skating (St. Moritz, Switzerland, 1948). Not only that, but she was also epic enough to have won the North American Championship, the European Championship (that was before they banned people from other continents from competing, apparently her victories played a part in that decision), Canadian Championship and World title. In fact, she took three out of four of those titles in 1948. Here are a few clips of her on youtube. I find it really charming that they used outdoor rinks for the figure skating events at the Olympics back in the day.

 


(On a random note, I find it funny when they say, “Dick Button electrified the crowd with his phenomenal jumps,” which turn out to be double loops – that lack flow at the end marked by a very awkward looking landing position by the way – but I suppose figure skating has changed a lot in the last 70+ years.)

 

Before Tessa & Scott and Joannie Rochette, she was Canada’s sweetheart and often described as friendly person. I think that really shines through in this clip of this old game show here, “What’s My Line.” Barbara Ann was also in other films and TV shows of the time.

She was so well-liked that she was given a car when she won the 1947 World championships. However, this caused her amateur status to be revoked so she had to return the car in order to compete the next year. And boy did she come back with a vengeance. Here is the table of her figure skating results in various competitions on wikipedia:

Barbara was also so well-loved, that the Reliable Toy Company made a doll of her starting in 1948. The doll sold well up until the mid-1950s and had a different costume every year (each trimmed with marabou down). Each doll came with a hangtag shaped like a skate, a letter from the skater herself, a pair of shoes and white skates.

Of course, there’s more to her epicness than that. Here are some of her other accolades:

  • Lou Marsh Trophy for Canada’s Top Athlete of the Year (1945, 1947, 1948)
  • Inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame (1948)
  • Inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame (1955)
  • Inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame (1966)
  • Inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame (1991)
  • Officer of the Order of Canada (1991)
  • Inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame (1997)
  • Named to Canada’s Walk of Fame (1998)
  • Member of the Order of Ontario (2008)
  • Olympic Torch Bearer (2010)

She was an epic athlete and woman and I admire her for her accomplishments. May her kindness and spirit live on in the figure skating community.

You will be missed, Barbara.

~The Rinkside Cafe

A Facebook Message from Florent Amodio – Music with Lyrics Allowed

While I was on facebook today, I saw this post from Florent Amodio’s fanpage:

‎”La proposition 167 a été votée, à partir de la saison 2014/2015, comme en danse sur glace, la musique chantée pourra être utilisée en compétition par les patineurs et les couples de patinage artistique”

Translation:

Proposition 167 has been voted on, starting from the 2014/2015 season, like ice dance, music with lyrics an be used in competition by pairs and single skaters.

Not that it stopped Florent from doing it before it was permitted. He may have Nikolai Morozov to thank for that.

I shudder to think what Morozov will do with this rule change…

Opinions? I’ll formulate mine after I digest the news.

~Rinkside Cafe

Moment in History: HAPPY GOOSE DAY!

Don’t know what I’m talking about?

‘Nuff said.

~The Rinkside Cafe

(Credits for the name of this sort-of holiday to a member of the Tessa & Scott fangroup on facebook.)

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