newmoonstar: (beatles (theboxingbutton))
Since my last post about the ladies freeskate was dominated by 'ugh! judging!' woes, I still have to mention the skating itself! I have to say, I was heartily impressed with all the ladies in the free! Even the girls who had falls still brought their A game and delivered fantastic performances. A review of the great ladies freeskate! )

And the exhibition gala was super fun, as usual! Of course they didn't show all of it in primetime TV coverage, so I'll have to go watch the stuff I missed online sometime soon, drat. But a special shout out to Pechalat & Bourzat for their super fun "Dirty Dancing" routine! They're a great team and I'll miss them now they're retiring. Also Virtue & Moir were gorgeous in the exhibition. But the best of all was Davis & White. Watching them is the only time I literally cried during an exhibition program! They are just so beautiful, so perfect, you can't even describe the spell they cast when they get out on the ice and skate. They have something so special, just go watch them, you'll understand. Love love love them so much. Don't ever, ever stop Meryl & Charlie, you're amazing. ♥

So, all told, I'm going to have quite a few wonderful memories from this Olympics. Except for Meryl & Charlie, none of them are from the gold medalists, but that's sometimes how it happens in skating. Even if you don't win a medal, it doesn't mean you've lost. The great skate is the biggest win of all. Just to be there and do your best in the moment is what it's really all about. I hope the world got the chance to see that here, and maybe they'll come along with us and become skating fans! Magic happens every year in skating, not just the Olympics! Don't wait another four years before you get to witness it again. ;)
newmoonstar: (Barbara does not like Daleks!)
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are officially over, and it's always a mixture of happy and sad. We really haven't had any truly contentious results in figure skating at the Olympics in quite a while, so the final standings in the ladies event was something of a shock, and it wasn't the note that I would have preferred to end Olympic skating on. The skating itself was thrilling and we saw some wonderful performances. But the judging was a highly questionable mess. I attempt here to offer critical analysis with a minimum of drama. Plus a defense of figure skating in general, and a plea to re-think the rules for judges. )
newmoonstar: (icon by marble_feet)
On a totally random note, while watching ABC World News just now, I found out there's a guy who has recreated Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Marriage Portrait entirely in Legos. What mind-blowing geekery. The world is truly full of amazing things. ♥

But onto the point of this post: Meryl Davis & Charlie White are f***ing Olympic Gold medalists!!!!!! Ice Dance as a whole has never been better than it is now, and they are truly the best in the world. I'm not surprised they won obviously, more just relieved that it finally happened at last! I've loved them for so long, and they have just gotten better and better, and no one deserves it more. Every time they take the ice it's magical. In which I squee over them some more, and dismiss the media's feeble attempts to insinuate some kind of 'controversy'. Seriously, have you people seen them skate? Meryl+Charlie=AWESOMEST!!! )
newmoonstar: (icon by marble_feet)
Okay, now my laptop is working again, I can make my obligatory Olympic Figure Skating Squee Posts! (Why don't I have a Davis & White icon anymore? More importantly, why does no one seem to make figure skating icons on LJ anymore? It's the Olympics! Icon it, peeps!)

So, the team event was actually pretty awesome. I was way skeptical about it going in, because it's just a weird alien concept to the eligible figure skating world, and I was concerned that having to skate two events in two weeks might be little much for the skaters, but clearly I shouldn't have underestimated the epic awesome of figure skaters. If the pairs event is anything to judge by, then clearly skating on Olympic ice before their individual competitions just made all the skaters better. All the pairs were even better in their individual skate than in their team skate, and their team skates were all pretty damn awesome! It was great to be able to watch the Olympics without being so darn nervous for everybody, too. I wasn't biting my nails through the team event because I knew that whatever happened they'd all still get a chance to skate again. I think the skaters must probably have felt something similar, and I think it's kind of nice to give them another event so they can have an Olympic experience that's more fun and less pressure-cooker. I was way more nervous over the individual competition, that's for sure! I haven't been super-impressed with pairs for a long time, but damn, Russian pairs skating is back, and all is right with the world! It just feels weird and empty without a fantastic Russian team at the top level, and now we have two who were just killer this whole Olympics. I'm so bummed for Savchenko & Szolkowy, though! At least they made the podium again, but they're SO SO SO good, and it makes me sad that they can't seem to have their perfect freeskate at the Olympics ever. But I so admire their guts for sticking that last throw in there! Yeah, it was a crazy stab in the dark, and no, it didn't work out, but they weren't going to get the gold anyway, so why not make the big gamble? Trying to do a throw triple axel in the last seconds of your freeskate takes courage, just plain. I hope they'll hang around for the World Championships, I'd love to see them knock that program out of the park like I know they can!

Off to watch the men's short program now! Evgeny Plushenko just withdrew, genuinely sad for him. So excited to see Patrick Chan and Jeremy Abbot though. Got my fingers crossed for both my boys tonight!
newmoonstar: (davis & white (geeky_graphics))
It's been over a week since it ended, and now I've had some time to digest the whole experience and let the emotions settle, I think I can say with certainty that this was the one of the best Olympics ever. Especially after Torino was a spectacular disappointment on almost every level, the awesomeness of Vancouver will stick with me for a long time. It's pretty rarely that all the gold medalists really deserved it AND were my favorites too! That's a great feeling! And I really got into the whole Olympic spirit, I watched the Opening and Closing ceremonies, which I usually don't do, and soaked up as much Olympic hoopla as I could, and overall it was a really amazing experience, and I'm so proud of all the figure skaters, and our American team in particular. I'm not nationalistic at all when it comes to skating, but we had so many great US skaters do so well, and I'm just so happy for them!

Things I'll never forget about Vancouver:

Evan Lysacek won! Every Olympics you hope to have one of those perfect moments where a skater you love has a wonderful skate and miraculously upsets the favorite to win the gold, and then when you find out you're so surprised and happy that you scream until you're hoarse, clap until your hands hurt, and cry until you can't cry anymore. No Olympics is a success without that moment, and Evan's win was that moment this year.

The ICE DANCE! OMG THE ICE DANCE! It was the turning point in the history of Ice Dance. Two young, non-Russian, non-European teams in their first Olympics, topping the podium based on pure merit. The promised land of a free and equal Ice Dance world has come! And more than that, the skating was fantastic! Davis & White's Bollywood Original Dance was my favorite skate of these Olympics. It's so fresh and original, and so intricately detailed, but they just make it look fun and effortless. I love them. (Seriously, if you haven't seen it, go check it out on YouTube, it's awesome.)

The pairs skating didn't suck! I've been bored to death by the last eight years of pairs, but my expectations were far exceeded in Vancouver. Savchenko & Szolkowy's short program is my second favorite skate of the whole Olympics. And the young Canadian pairs, especially Dube & Davison, give me such hope for the future, I hope they'll be medal contenders in Sochi.

They used "Bad Romance" in the Ice Dance promos! I don't know why they're making a fuss about Johnny Weir because his exhibition this year is "Poker Face"; obviously Lady Gaga is NOT beneath the dignity of the Olympics if they're trying to get people to watch Ice Dance! Johnny should have been on that podium, and we would have had one big, happy, Gaga Olympics! *gigglesnort*

Just the fact that figure skating actually becomes headline news during the Olympics is memorable; seeing jokes about my skaters on The Colbert Report was such a moment of glee and pride! Awww!

But the biggest moment of pride was seeing my skaters in the Olympic montage. Slow motion footage of their hour of glory, with the John Williams music swelling in the backround... there is no surer recipe for making me dissolve into a weeping mess. My babies!! I have a very familial love for them all. (Which honestly borders on the possesive; when I found out Nicole Kidman was at the Ice Dance final, I'm like "what's SHE doing there? She's an actress, what does she know about figure skating?!" until I reminded myself, "wait, I should be happy when figure skating wins fans, that's what I've been campaigning for my whole life!" ;-D )

But in general, I have to say that never have I been prouder to be a figure skating fan than at these Vancouver games. Our sport was beautifully represented by a talented young generation of skaters who are skating to beautiful new heights, and all I know is that if they keep developing in this same direction, the next four years are going to be one heck of a ride, and I've never been more hopeful or excited for what the future holds. :)
newmoonstar: (davis & white (geeky_graphics))
It's well and truly over at last, and I'm still a little sad, but I think I'm over the hump with the horrible withdrawal from the two week long skating high. The day after it ended I was so twitchy and irritable all day, I couldn't think of ANYTHING but skating. Honest to goodness, even COSTUMING seemed dull and pointless! But I'm trying to focus on some sewing now, and crossing my fingers that Worlds will actually be televised on NBC, and not Universal Sports as I fear, since it's an HD channel that I don't get! (Stay positive, self! Let's not despair until we know for sure!)

Anyhoo, as regards the Ladies freeskate, it went down pretty much as I expected, or at least hoped. Yu-Na Kim is undoubtedly the most talented girl competing today, and I wanted it for her really bad, and for Brian Orser, too. (I'm still bitter about Calgary in '88, he deserved the gold!) Yu-Na skated beautifully, which isn't anything out of the ordinary for her, but she really had the weight of her entire country on her shoulders, and it's easy to crack under that kind of pressure, but she made it look as if it were effortless. Mao Asada doing those triple axels was pretty cool and all, but I'm kind of glad she had some mistakes, because it would have sucked for her to win with that awful long program of hers. I just hate it, it's so heavy and ponderous and ugly, and it does absolutely nothing to show off the good qualities of her skating. Her exhibition program was tons better, since it features her bubbly personality and lightness and fun, and even Scott Hamilton was saying she should have skated that as her competetive program, and I agree. Joannie Rochette was about as good as I've ever seen her, and I think she really deserved the bronze, and no one should say for a moment that it was some sort of sympathy vote that got her there. I know some people (I'm looking at you, Dick Button!) would say that it was the sentiment that got her on the podium, and that Mirai Nagasu deserved the bronze, but as wonderfully as Mirai skated, she still looks like a kid out there; Joannie Rochette had maturity and emotional depth in her performance as well as strong jumps and artistry, and to do so well under the circumstances she faced is what being a champion is really all about. Mirai still did awesomely to end up in fourth, and she's got plenty of time and talent to win titles later. The thing that really makes me mad is Rachael Flatt's poor marks in the free. Why did they downgrade those two jumps? They looked fine to everyone else! And it was only Rachael they were cracking down on, crappy skaters like Miki Ando were being let off easy, which I don't get, since if you're going to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone, shouldn't it be Rachael, who has such quality in all her other elements? Come on, people! She was behind Laura Lepisto, for the love of heaven! Laura must have had the skate of her life, because I've never seen anything from her that was as good as Rachael was in the free. But I'm happy anyway, just to have seen Rachael skate so well at the Olympics. Aside from the fact that she's such a solid, consistent competitor, she has a poise and maturity beyond her years, and you can tell she really feels and understands the music she skates to. But most of all, she has such joy in her skating, when she smiles it's so genuine, and you sense the freedom she has on the ice, and it's just beautiful to watch.

The exhibitions actually proved to be pretty awesome in their own right, since a lot of the skaters actually impressed me more there than in competition! As I said, Mao Asada skated much better there in a program that suited her personality. Yu-Na Kim wasn't technically as good as she usually is, but her program, to Massenet's 'Meditation' was so exquisitely beautiful, and it showed all her delicate grace to it's best advantage. She looked more like a little fairy dancing across the ice than an earthly being exercizing an actual skill. Hers is a rare gift. Evan Lysacek really stepped it up by giving us 'Rhapsody in Blue' for an exhibition, it's my favorite of his competitive programs, and you can just see how much he loves and respects figure skating when he performed it, and it was just lovely. And Meryl Davis & Charlie White just continue to be so amazing; they can skate to any piece of music and find the right tone and bring out all the emotional depth in it so effortlessly. A rock cover of 'Billie Jean' wouldn't have been my first choice for them to skate to, but they make it so electric and sexy and intense, and you just think to yourself, where do these sweet little kids get this amazing musical and dramatic sense? And it's totally natural to them, there's no theatrics in their skating at all, which I love. Scott Hamilton was all at a loss for words in his commentary while they skated, all he seemed able to do was throw his hands up and say " I just love them! I love everything they do!" And I couldn't agree more!

Will return with final thoughts on the whole Olympic skating experience next time!
newmoonstar: (davis & white (geeky_graphics))
Well, today is the last day of figure skating at the Olympics, the Champions Gala is tonight! I'm a little sad! *sniffle* But it'll be nice to just sit back and watch all the awesome medalists just skate, without being totally nervous and worried about them like when they're competing!
newmoonstar: (davis & white (geeky_graphics))
OMFG YAY!!! VIRTUE & MOIR! DAVIS & WHITE! GOLD AND SILVER!!!! I knew they would, because they're the best teams in the world, but still, when it actually happens, it's the awesomest thing EVER. And how cute were they all? For those who don't know, Davis & White and Virtue & Moir share the same coaches and are very good friends, and it was just adorable to see how happy they were for eachother and how delighted they were to share their Olympic success. Meryl almost cried when she talked about it! (Awww!) The media loves to paint figure skating as being full of catty rivalries and diva attitudes, but that stereotype is really untrue. Obviously there ARE rivalries, the same as in any other sport, but for the most part there's a lot of comradery and respect among skaters. The media has been giving a lot of attention to Evgeny Plushenko's poor sportsmanship after losing to Evan Lysacek, but I think these four talented young North American ice dancers, who push the sport to new heights while still maintaining their friendship, topping the podium together at their first Olympics, and sharing in the joy of their success, is the better (and certainly more heart-warming and inspirational!) Olympic story.

And now for the ladies! Kim and Asada are where I expected them to be after the short, but I'm so happy for Joannie Rochette. Her mother died a few days ago, and for her to go out and skate at all, let alone as well as she did, is just beyond amazing. I can't even imagine what kind of courage she must have. I just hope she keeps skating as well as we all know she can! I'm really mad that Miki Ando is in fourth ahead of Rachael Flatt and Mirai Nagasu, though. She has no where near the skating skills they have. One thing that really irks me is when skaters have bad posture and look hunched over on the ice, and Ando always does! It makes me crazy! Plus she has no grace or extension or anything, all she can do is jump. And one of her jumps should have been downgraded, so how did she get ahead of Rachael, who had personality and musicality and quality technique? It makes no sense, and it's the same thing that happened in the short in the mens event. Nobunari Oda should not have been fourth in the short ahead of Stephane Lambiel and Johnny Weir. It's the same story, they were basically the same in the jumps, but Stephane and Johnny had better quality in all the rest of their skating, and yet still got lower marks. Explain that to me please? Oda and Weir completed the same number of triples, and yet Johnny, who had quality technique, plus personality and musicality, placed lower than Oda, who has none of those qualities. WTF??? And I'm really mad, because had Johnny been higher in the short, he might have had a better chance at the podium, which he deserved. (Even despite those dismal low marks in the long. WTF again.) It's just mind boggling.

BUT ANYWAY! The Ladies freeskate is tonight! The last night of competition for figure skating at the Olympics! Watch it, or kick yourself later for missing it! ;-D
newmoonstar: (davis & white (geeky_graphics))
OMG how happy am I about the figure skating? The ice dance final is tonight, and I'm so excited, I've been looking forward to the ice dance most of all because of Davis & White and Virtue & Moir. (The gorgeous sylph-like creatures you see in my icon are in fact Davis & White!) Ice Dance is enjoying the most wonderful Renaissance at the moment, teams are pushing the envelope technically and becoming so innovative artisically, it's just the best thing ever, and North American teams are leading the way. It's the new world order, and it's beautiful! If you've never watched Ice Dance before, now is the time to start. You're gonna see some amazing stuff!

I'm actually a little conflicted though, because even though Davis & White are my favorite team, I'm kind of worried that if they win the gold they'd retire from eligible competition and I'd never see them again! I'd miss them at Nationals so much! I might settle for silver to get four more years of their grace and beauty! But the only team who could beat them is Virtue & Moir, who I also love. (But since they're Canadian, I never see their nationals anyway!) And quite honestly, if Virtue & Moir skate like they did in the compulsories and the OD, they'll win. My only criticism of them was always that they seemed a little reserved, that they didn't have the spark and the fire that Davis & White always bring to competition, but that is no longer true at the Olympics. I've never seen Virtue & Moir so agressive, and with such fire in their eyes, and they've just gone to a whole other level, it's so amazing to see. I love them both, they're the best two teams in the world, and if either one wins the gold (which they totally deserve) I would be thrilled and happy beyond description.

And I can only say of Domnina & Shabalin's offensively awful original dance that it was beneath them, and totally demeaning to their talent, Aboriginal culture, and the Olympic games in general. I honestly think they should have been disqualified for such a shameful display, or prevented entirely from performing a routine that embarasses both the sport of figure skating and the Olympic spirit. Which really pains me to say, because they're a good team that I've always liked, but they shouldn't even get on the podium with a performance like that.

And the men's competition! I'm SO proud of Evan Lysacek! I cried more than he did when he won! He was totally stoic, didn't even shed a tear, but I was sobbing on the sofa, man. (And I'm very glad they showed the medal ceremony this time! Frank Carroll actually smiled! I don't think I've witnessed that in fifteen years of watching figure skating!) I remember when Evan was a 14 year old kid at his first nationals, and to see how far he's come is just fantastic. He beat Evgeny Plushenko, for heaven's sake! I never would have foreseen it then, but he worked hard and he deserved it. And quite frankly I've never seen Evgeny skate that poorly, ever. I think he's such a big star now that he thinks he doesn't have to try anymore, and they'll just hand him gold medals, but it doesn't work that way! I love the new scoring system for that reason, because it allows the skaters who are good all around to win over guys who just do quads. It's not a jumping contest, it's a skating contest. You want just jumps, go be a pole-vaulter. End of story. I'm also so proud of Johnny Weir. This was the first time in years where he's put together those two clean programs, and he didn't look miserable and terrified before he even got on the ice! And he responded to the low marks with such zen, I've never seem him so calm and mature in my life. I remember when he was a 14 year old kid at his first nationals too, and I'm so proud to see him mature into the gracious champion I always knew he could be, even if he didn't make the podium.

Yay skating! Everybody go watch! (Go Davis & White! And Virtue & Moir!)
newmoonstar: (icon by marble_feet)
Do you know why the lady in my icon is looking through that spyglass? TO SEE THE FIGURE SKATING IN VANCOUVER!!!!

Yes, the Olympics have begun, so for the next two weeks there will not be a thought in my head or word out of my mouth that doesn't pertain to figure skating, and I foreworn everyone and apologize in advance for the always impassioned and possibly incoherant figure skating babble that I cannot restrain myself from. But why should I? Two solid weeks of non-stop figure skating! It's like the addict being led into the opium den. Freaking yay!

Okay, first off, I figured Shen & Zhao would win and I'm glad they finally did after all this time, but the team that really surprised me was Savchenko & Szolkowy. Their short program was so beautiful and it was the highlight of the whole pairs event. Frankly, I haven't really given a crap about pairs since Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze retired, and I didn't expect to see anything as good as Savchenko & Szolkowy's short in the pairs event at all. But they've really grown as performers, and the delicacy and sweetness of their 'Send in the Clowns' really touched me. I even liked the Pierrot costumes they wore, even if Bob Costas dissed them (what the hell does he know about figure skating?). It's too bad they had that fall in the long, since the quality of their skating is really shining through. I'm so glad they made the podium though.

I'm hugely miffed at NBC's evil decision not to show the medal ceremony though. That's the iconic moment of the Olympic experience, when you see your favorite skater have a medal hung around their neck as the cap of an amazing career. If Meryl Davis and Charlie White win gold in Ice Dance and I don't get to see them physically recieve their medals, it will ruin the Olympics for me and I will send hate mail to NBC. Which I should probably do anyway since they forced out Conan O'Brien. I'm growing to hate NBC more and more each day. Why can't the Olympics be on ABC, where they actually know how to film figure skating properly? Oh well. I just have to keep focused on the fact that the Men's short program is tonight. It's a strong field and it's wide open. This is going to be exciting, people! If you're not watching, you should be!

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