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Meanwhile in a Different Sport

December 12, 2010

The Grand Prix Final in figure skating ended yesterday. Figure skating is probably my second favorite sport after gymnastics, even though my technical knowledge about the sport is entirely non-existent. I can tell how many rotations skaters do in the air, but I have no idea what the difference is between a toe-loop and an axel. I have faith that someday I will learn, since I have only watched about three skating competitions all the way through. After all, there was a time when I would have sounded just as stupid as those YOG commentators did this summer while talking about gymnastics. Maybe even stupider. Who can ever forget classic lines like “This really is the balance beam” and “This is the opposite of apple pie.”

I only really paid any attention to the ladies event, so here are my thoughts. I’m pretty sure that Alissa Czisny is the Ksenia Afanasyeva of skating. Of course, I don’t know much about her, so I could be totally wrong in my comparison. Winning the Grand Prix Final is like when Ksenia won the Japan Cup in July and looked consistent. They both had extremely inconsistent backgrounds, but hit a point where they were actually doing quite well. Sure, they had a few rough moments (Ksenia at the Moscow World Cup, for example), but they looked like they were getting their act together. The old headcase label was gone. Then, Ksenia went to worlds and became herself again, failing to advance to the all around final and falling twice in floor finals. I wouldn’t be all that surprised if Alissa does something similar. Still, I hope she makes it to worlds along with Mirai Nagasu. And that is looking very likely with the way Rachael Flatt performed in Beijing. I don’t really have much of an opinion on the competition as a whole. I can’t say I’m a fan of Kostner, but my lack of technical knowledge means that I can’t say anything about who should have won which medals. Overall, it seemed like a very surprising final, but with medalists who deserved their placement.

There are a few things that are happening in figure skating that I wish would happen in gymnastics. Here they are:

  1. Here is the score sheet from the senior competition. I could be wrong, but it seems like they actually print up how the scores were worked out. I wish they did that in gymnastics. I would love to see where they found so many deductions on certain routines at worlds this year. I think it would force the judges to not be biased, because everybody would be able to see it in the score reports.
  2. This whole Grand Prix thing is pretty cool. I wish something like it existed in gymnastics. Oh wait, it does! Except world cups are rarely attended by top gymnasts. If they actually went, and there was a world cup final at the end of the year that featured the top gymnasts in the world, it would be pretty exciting. It seems that the FIG is headed in that direction, with the new all around world cups this year.
  3. Wait, did I mention that there was a junior competition? I love how juniors are able to go to all of these high profile competitions. There is even (Russian) TV coverage of it! Okay, so there is an age limit in gymnastics, but why not have a junior worlds? And no, not like YOG, I mean a real, full worlds that all of the top gymnasts attend year after year, with a team event, an all around and four event finals. Can you imagine junior worlds this year? Jordyn Wieber, Viktoria Komova, Tan Sixin, Larisa Iordache, Anastasia Grishina, Kyla Ross, Katelyn Ohashi the list goes on and on of fabulous juniors who I would have loved to see competing against each other. A slightly more likely proposition is a junior worlds in every pre-olympic year since the year before the olympics age rule exception has been removed. It could be for gymnasts eligible for the olympics and worlds the year after and would be a great learning experience for everyone involved.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 23, 2010 6:00 AM

    I think skating skills are named depending on which edge (inside or outside) of the blade they take off and land on… kinda difficult for those of us with untrained-for-skating eyes.

    • December 23, 2010 7:19 PM

      That’s what i’ve heard. I’ve learned what an axel is since i wrote this (forwards take off), but the other jumps still confuse me. I think i’d need to watch a whole lot of figure skating in slow motion to learn.

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