Candidly, I am sick to DEATH of politics at this point. It’s nearly Thanksgiving and that means that the figure skating season is underway – not that you’d be able to tell from the television coverage or lack thereof!
Of the Grand Prix Series, Skate America (a dreadful bore), Skate Canada (likewise), and Cup of China are complete and the Trophee Eric Bompard is currently underway. The quality of skating on display is so far uninspiring – not that much of it is available except on IceNetwork.com or on NBC Universal Sports (not NBC itself – this is a special cable channel that carries nothing BUT sports but only on its own arcane scheduling agenda).
So let’s talk about my usual obsessions: dirty skate laces and dark roots. No – I’m even sick of those topics even though I still do wish they would disappear from view.
Let’s talk about the phenom from South Korea Yu Na Kim. She is exquisite and remarkable and perhaps being pushed too far too fast. In fact, I think far too many of the skaters, especially the female skaters, are being allowed to try too many difficult tricks far too young. The jarring impact of landing a quad or even some triple jumps can be extremely detrimental to the physical health of a skater when they are in their 40s and 50s or, as is the case with me, in my mid-60s. And I wasn’t even awfully good and still I’m suffering severe spinal issues! It's the falling on your derriere, folks! However, the particular “ace in the hole” possessed by Yu Na Kim is her coach, the still marvelous Brian Orser who is one of the most intelligent, thoughtful and, I think kind and gentlemanly coaches someone like Ms. Kim could be lucky enough to know. It seems to me that he takes care to maintain her physical and mental well being in a very careful manner. If I were a young skater and I could be coached by Brian Orser, it would be a very good thing. Clearly, I’m a fan!
Both Johnny Weir (Isn’t he a tad too old to be Johnny?) and Evan Lysacek have not even come close to peaking and the Japanese men seem to be setting the skating world on fire with their tricks. Their artistry is, however, woefully inadequate.
When are we going to see coaches absolutely forbidding their skaters to do that offensively ugly “leg wrap” on jumps. It’s awkward and should lose points for skaters every time they do it. What coach permits a skater to ever START doing that nonsense? Shame on them! Technique people, technique!
When are layback spins going to be done with consistent quality? Skaters should be losing points for improper free leg position routinely. I’ve done laybacks. I did laybacks when I could still barely do a 3-jump! And I did them correctly from the very beginning because my coach made sure that I did.
There are a lot of coaches making a lot of money teaching skaters to do things improperly. And there are some choreographers who are doing likewise by creating some of the most frenetic and unlovely programs I’ve ever seen. In their zeal to incorporate 47 positions into one spin, they have designed some of the most unlovely positions known to man! Folks, this is grand theft skater! And like Dick Button, I am so tired of seeing skaters - again, especially the female skaters, grabbing onto their skate blade constantly. Enough already!
So let’s start making our objections known, if in fact we object. The Olympics are in 2010 and it would be nice to send well trained skaters with attractive choreography and good physical conditioning who don’t fall on their prats every 12 seconds! I mean really!