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Old 02-20-2002, 02:46 AM   #16
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Yeah, I don't think I've ever seen a more lack-luster ice-dancing competition. Whatever happened to innovative dances? It seems to my foggy memory that 92 and 94 at least had such a better field of teams and much better performances. One team that did surprise me was the Lithuanians. They put out the best performance of the night in my opinion, certainly should have ranked at least as high if not higher than the Italians with their lovely fall and everything. But c'est la vie.

I never thought I'd say this, but this is one "sport" that I wouldn't be sad to see leave the Olympics. Keep the real figure skating...but the ice-dancing...I think it's proven time and again that it can't be judged objectively.

*hums a requiem to the tune of Bolero*

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Old 02-20-2002, 12:42 PM   #17
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Originally posted by The_Sweetest_Thing:

The top 10 teams not moving in their standings? Puh-leaze. Somebody get me a bag to throw up in.
Tell me about it. Sometimes I don't even know why they actually hold a competition. They could just hold the medal ceremony at the beginning, since they obviously have determined the winners before the competition even starts


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Old 02-20-2002, 01:44 PM   #18
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here's a commentary about ice-dance judging that I found amusing.

Will judging reforms steal skating’s drama?
True competiton could be, well, boring


SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 19 — I haven’t had any nibbles to become a figure skating judge, and I thought sure I would, based on my demonstrable tendency to stress personal preference over actual performance, not to mention a quite legendary refusal to see both sides of any issue

MAYBE I JUST DON’T have the requisite, highly strung suggestibility, like the French chanteuse, Madame Le Gougne, who is so happily agreeable, always telling the last person she talks to whatever they want to hear. Madame has been suspended indefinitely by the International Skating Union for misconduct, but now she wants do-overs. She has recanted everything, she swears to L’Equipe that she voted her “conscience and soul” for the Russians in the pairs event, and has reneged on her tearful statement that she was under “enormous pressure” from her own federation, presumably in a vote-trading deal to give the French a medal in ice dancing.

Perhaps she is bipolar. Or maybe she has tri-polar disorder. First ever diagnosed case.

At any rate, the judging at these Olympic Games has been thoroughly compromised, and no revolutionary new scoring system proposed by Ottavio Cinquanta, president of the ISU, nor slow creeping secret investigation, can save it before the torch goes out. So the only thing to do is to keep your own scorecard. I myself decided to judge the ice dancing, using my own criteria. For instance:

Do they love each other?

Wait a moment. I think Wilbon is trying to signal me. He is using his necktie. If it’s skewed to the right, it means he wants me to mark the skaters down. If it’s skewed to the left, they get the gold.

Or is it the other way around?

Here come the Italians. I don’t like their footwear — automatic deduction! The flesh-colored skates are so creepy; it looks like they have blades growing out of their feet. I am going to mark them down by three-tenths of a point for that.

Then there is the unfortunate fact of their performance in the 1999 Helsinki Grand Prix, where they committed that slight misstep in their straight-line footwork. Off with their heads.

A moment please. Wilbon is signaling me yet again. He is trying to catch my eye by walking on his hands across the table, scissor-kicking his legs. The Korean couple has taken the ice, and I think he finds their costuming truly unforgivable.

I must say, I do think their routine would be enlivened if the lions that shredded their clothes were released onto the ice. That would be a real contest: Can they maintain their composure and perform those fanciful moves while pursued by wild beasts?

Also, I do wonder why so many ice dancers have Dukes of Hazzard hair and such demonic makeup jobs — there seem to be two levels: by the bucket, and by the barrel.
Now, some people might have a problem with a system of judging that deducts points based on hair and makeup. Figure skating’s subjective judging system has long been criticized because it leaves so much room for improprieties. There are those, like Cinquanta, who propose that deductions should only be taken for mistakes and missed elements, but what fun is it if you can’t mark skaters down based on your own rigid and narrow personal aesthetics? If you force the judges to judge less obscurely? Especially when the event is ice dancing, which, ever since they outlawed real creativity and popular appeal in the Torvill and Dean backlash, is hardly anything but an exercise in aesthetics?

If you reform the judging, then you let in sheer anarchy. As it is, things are neat and orderly. The skaters, coaches and judges can tell you before a major competition who has already won. And who hasn’t. They say things like: “Well, the judges aren’t familiar with her” or “He could do well in a few years after the judges get to know him” and so on. Everyone knows, going into a competition, which skaters are actually in position to win.

Reform the judging, and you take all the sordid, seamy drama out of the sport. Imagine figure skating, if it was no longer rigged. Why, it would be no different than the bobsled, plodding and uneventful, a slave to who actually finishes first, second and third. (I have a suggestion on how to improve that sport. Lower the rails.). There would be no room for petty vindictiveness, for clandestine deals, foot-tapping signals, mavenry, and ministering of personal taste.
You don’t have to know synchronization from a slap shot to know a crooked deal, and the ice skating in Salt Lake is bent. (Even short track speedskating is more honest than figs. In that sport, should you take a dislike to a fellow competitor, all you have to do is hook him with your skate and send him hurtling into the wall. It’s perfectly legal.)

So maybe the thing to do with the ice dancing, since it’s so compromised, is make them all skate at once. On a short track. Cross-checking is allowed.

Last couple standing, wins.
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Old 02-20-2002, 06:27 PM   #19
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I was unable to get onto the internet the last two nights. So I'll throw my comments in now, as usual...

First off I thought it was disgusting that practically every team did some cheesy, overwrought, over-rated Tribute-to-America type shpeal. Nice thought and all, but really... I would have rather seen every team do something innovative and unique. Oh, but wait, this is ice dance. Since the judging is fixed, we may as well try and win sentiment from the crowd so we feel like we got marked somewhat...

Now, I'm a huge fan of the French, Anissina and Peizerat. They had some awesome lifts, some nice moments. But that wasn't their best program, not by a long shot. MLK? Really, in France?

The Russians? Good. Lacked speed. Lacked lustre, I suppose. I didn't even watch them really.

The Italians? Oh god, shoot me. Margalio is possibly the worst male skater out there. He pushes out from his toe pick, not his wonder he fell. He can't keep up with his partner. After they fell, their program went downhill. It fell apart, both technically and artistically. They were shaken up..their skating suffered. You could see it in their body language too. *sigh*

Okay, Canadians. Theirs was the most innovative, crowd-pleasing program yet. It was original, clean, deep edges, soft knees, etc. Technically, I was astounded. They were great. Artistically, they were wonderful. They were into the program, they were happy, showing off, just..spectacular. I was genuinely impressed by their performance. Not just because I'm Canadian. But because I've never seen them skate so together in my life.

Their fall was, well, rough. It didn't disturb the program though. It almost looked planned. Poor, poor Victor Kraatz. My heart goes out to him. He looked so upset after, declined interviews, etc. I still believe in my heart that they deserved at least 3rd.

I think Barbara Underhill summed it up best when she said "They gave the judges an out." Had they skated cleanly, they would clearly have come third. Controversy would have arisen if not. But they really gave the judges the best possible gift ever--an out. *sigh* Poor, poor Victor Kraatz. I don't he and Shae will stick it ut another 4 years. She's 26, he's 30. It's sad b/c he wanted to retire after the last Olympics. He was fed up with the judging, etc. But Shae convinced him to come back, they trained like mad. I feel soooo bad for him.

It's really a shame that the judges barely penalized the Italians for their fall. But the Canadians had so many marks taken off (yet, they were marked as high as 2nd by somejudges, as low as 5th from the Russian and Italian judge). And the Russian guy, Ilia Aberbuch,making more than one revolution in the air. Tsk, tsk. An automatic deduction. Oh wait. I forgot. They can do no wrong. We'll just pretend that didn't happen then.

The Lithuanians were fantabulous. I mean, they were great from a technical standpoint, and artistically, they were dramatic, wonderful. I'm sure they'll be on the podium next Olympics.

Grr...throw the whole sport out. I'm so sick and tired of this.

[This message has been edited by The_Sweetest_Thing (edited 02-20-2002).]

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