Since I can remember, Olympic figure skating has been my favorite. While I cannot discern a single axel from a double salchow to a triple toe loop and beyond to today’s quadruple revolutions, I can and do appreciate the athletes who make them all look easy and don’t fall on their dérrieres.
Dick Buttons, and then Scotty Hamilton, gave us all the vocabulary along with commentary on every single maneuver…from jumps to twizzles to the finale satisfying death spiral. And I could be just as outraged as any television host when my favorite US skater did not receive a perfect “6”, particularly from the obviously antagonistic USSR judge.
Quadruple jump to today. I recently watched two 4+ hour videos of the Men’s Singles Program taking place at PyeongChang. The lovely thing about these videos is there is no commentary…it’s just the skater’s blade cutting the slick and the music they feel and we hear. The short program allowed 30 skaters to realize their dream of skating on Olympic ice. Some represented countries that didn’t even exist in my childhood while others represented their countries with their music or costumes or even their lifestyles. What an assembly of talent and skill and ambition and pride. And also what appeared to be genuine humility and humanity.
The long program featured the 24 qualifiers, giving almost all of the skaters a chance to redeem any previous program flaws. Despite not knowing the current scoring system in detail (but approving of what appears to be a more objective process), it was easy to “judge” the increasing capabilities of the skaters as they performed according to their preliminary standings. More than that, it was inspirational to watch the artistry and beauty of their movements, skating to everything from Elvis to Puccini.
I was awed. I was moved. And I was certain Dick Buttons would approve.
(Thank you J for inspiring me to write again in my blog.)