Mary Arline (queen_of_kithia) wrote,
Mary Arline
queen_of_kithia

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Why must you hurt me in this way, Argus Leader?

If your impression of the Olympics came solely from the "Torch Talk" in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, you'd come away with a very poor impression of figure skating. None of the articles was focused on figure skating as its main subject, which is perhaps understandable; with however many events in fifteen different sports, with one "Torch Talk" per day (and none for the first four days) they could hardly have discussed everything going on in the games. Although it's worth pointing out that half of the articles were focused on hockey, perhaps not surprising in the wake of the 30-year anniversary of the so-called "Miracle on Ice", but it still seems a bit excessive.

But the two mentions of figure skating that I saw were both negative. First, Mick Garry whined that NBC chose to favor "ice prancing" in its primetime coverage over the first US-Canada hockey match, as though none of us non-sports fans had ever had to endure having the programming we wanted to watch pre-empted because some coverage of some people whacking at small, round objects with sticks went into overtime. Keep in mind that this article was published on February 24th, the day after the women's short program; also keep in mind that a pair of those so-called "ice prancers" from the U.S. took silver in an energetic program that was more power than prancing. Upon reading this article, I promptly became a fan of whoever the U.S. hockey team was playing at any given moment.

Then today (by which I mean Sunday) someone on staff was fretting about the U.S. women figure skaters finishing off the podium for the first time since 1964. Okay, that was a little bit disappointing to see a 46-year streak end. On the other hand, one finished in fourth and one finished in seventh, and for two teenagers both making their Olympic debut to finish in the top ten is more than respectable; they'll both have plenty of chances to make the podium in future Olympics, relax.

Oh, and by the way, Argus Leader staff, did you know that there's also a men's competition for figure skating? Because if you did, you didn't mention it, even though an American man took the gold medal for the first time in 22 years. Or is even a win on the men's side "not good for the Olympic experience," is it too threatening to our fragile concept of hypermasculinity? Then maybe it's time to abandon our fragile concept of hypermasculinity in favor of a more resilient and more realistic gender concept.

I don't want to overstate the significance of Plushenko's sour grapes (if it's not already too late), but it just makes me angry that our U.S. Olympic champion in men's figure skating (I'll reiterate; the first U.S. men's champion in 22 years) is being maligned, and the Argus Leader doesn't care enough to stand behind him, choosing instead to focus article after article on hockey, even before we emerged as a possible medal contender. Come on, Argus Leader, Plushenko as good as said that he was better than Lysacek, and since when do we Americans miss the opportunity to vocally assert our superiority at everything, deservedly or otherwise? Heck, at this point I'd even like to see an Argus editorial coming down on Plushenko's side, just to know that they were paying attention.

Yet an inexperienced 16-year-old girl in her Olympic debut finishing just out of medal contention is a near tragedy rather than something to be celebrated. And no mention at all of one of the most compelling stories of the women's figure skating competition and the Olympics in general, the courageous and inspirational performance of Joannie Rochette. Sure, it would have been nice to see the streak continue with one of our U.S. skaters taking a medal, but I would have been very disappointed had Joannie Rochette not won a medal; since she did medal, it makes the story that much better. Therefore you'd think it would be one the Argus Leader would be interested in exploring further, but no, apparently not.
Tags: figure skating, idiocy, olympics
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