Monday, January 25, 2010

The Final Chapter

Saturday night a bunch of wee girls (average height 5'0", average weight 95 pounds soaking wet) took to a cold and slippery surface on narrow little blades, and in those circumstances anything can happen. And it did!

Sasha Cohen's comeback was derailed in no uncertain terms when she plopped her teensy little butt down onto the ice at the end of a jump she's probably landed 1,000 times or more, and despite that, her program was exquisite and magical and an excellent reminder of why she is still and always will be the most magnificent female skater this country has produced, with the possible exception of the luminescent Michelle Kwan (in whose shadow Sasha has always skated).

Rachel Flatt, who is a very athletic and hearty skater (no anorexic is she) who has been consistent and dependable and altogether a joy to watch for three years finally won her first U.S. Championship (I suspect the first of many - although with her intellectual gifts, she may choose to retire after the Olympics and Worlds and pursue an advanced college degree). The effervescent Mirai Nagasu took a break from working the cash register in her family's Japanese restaurant to remind us of why we fell in love with her at the 2008 U.S. Championships (which she won - to the surprise of everyone including herself). Thanks to a 5" growth spurt (from 4'11" in height to 5'4" in height), she placed a disappointing 5th in last year's competition and the joy and bubbling fun was gone from her skating. This year, she very wisely opined that she didn't expect to win, that she was at the competition to garner experience and that this wasn't her year. You could have fooled me and everyone else in the arena! What a fun, humorous, joyous program this young woman skated and what a truly wonderful young woman to have on our Olympic team! Congratulations.

Emily Hughes skated and everyone knows how little I think of her so 'nuff said. Suffice it to say - I'm glad we won't be seeing her again!

The ice dancing was won by Charlie Davis and Meryl White. They were brilliant and high energy in their programs although I am somewhat disturbed by the peculiar movements Meryl makes with her tongue and mouth before commencing their program and even during it! What is that tick, dear? It's annoying as hell. As always, Belbin and Agosto were first rate and the fact that they placed second means that we will be represented by two world class teams as well as up and comers Bates and Samuelson, our the third team!

All in all, it was a good competition and there was far less blundering around than one normally experiences. Everyone seems to be on top of their game, with the prospect of making the U.S. Olympic team out there. Good luck all of you. You deserve your selection to the Team and will make us proud! There were a couple of people there who perhaps showed up for the wrong reasons, including a neverending sense of entitlement (Hughes) but in the main, it was a great group of competitive skaters who had worked very very hard for 4 years to be good enough to make the Vancouver Olympics. We'll be rooting for all of you.

UPDATE: Mark Kerrigan, the brother of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan has been charged with assaulting their 70-year-old father, who died over the weekend after a disturbance at the family's Massachusetts home. I have to say, I've never been a fan of Nancy Kerrigan, but doesn't it seem that it rains on her parade far more frequently than it does on most?

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