Mary Arline (queen_of_kithia) wrote,
Mary Arline
queen_of_kithia

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Figure skating season started again last month.

The Grand Prix Series started October 22 or thereabouts, and I've been enjoying it very much. A lot of the skaters I saw during the Olympics and World Championships are not competing, for various reasons, but I've seen a lot of other skaters that I haven't seen compete before or have only seen compete in the Olympics/WC who are doing much better now. It's all very exciting.

I would like to do in-depth analysis/commentary on the competitions like I did last season, because I had a lot of fun with that, but since switching jobs, I'm doing a lot of typing and until I can get my new Aeron chair, it is very exhausting and hard on my back, so I'd like to keep the unnecessary time spent sitting up and typing to a bare minimum.

I do have a few random, general comments that I would like to make. First of all, I just want to clarify that I am not anti-quadruple jump; I just don't think that the quad jumps should emphasized to the exclusion of all other aspects to the program. I appreciate a quad that is well executed, especially if it is part of a well-choreographed program. However, if it is not part of a well-choreographed program, I usually lose interest in the program pretty quickly, especially if it is part of the long program in which they have two required step sequences. They have tweaked the rules slightly with regard to the quad; they have made it worth more points, and they gave them the option of doing two quads in the short program. A Canadian skater named Kevin Reynolds (or something) did that at Skate Canada last weekend, and everybody's been going on about how he "made history," which technically he did, but if I had been judging, I would not have given him positive grades of execution on his quads because the landings were sloppy. To be clear, I don't know whether or not they gave him positive grades of execution because they don't publish the technical scores in that much detail. He ended up placing fourth overall because he popped his triple axels and fell down in the free skate, and I have to admit that while that certainly didn't make me happy, it didn't really make me sad either.

Second, even though I struggled during the 2006 Olympics to comprehend the new scoring system, now that I've had a chance to get used to it I understand it better than the old scoring system. The main negative that I see to the new scoring system is that creates a greater disparity between men's and ladies' competition. If you read back into figure skating history, you find that originally men and women competed together, and the only reason they started a separate competition for women is that one year in the World Championships a woman placed second and they were afraid that someday they might have to endure seeing a woman take the top spot which, of course, would undermine the prevailing social narrative that men were inherently superior to women in all things. You might think that it was sexist to start a separate women's competition, but to be fair, their initial reaction was to ban women from competition altogether. With the current scoring system, it is more fair to have separate men's and women's competitions with different required elements, but I regret that initial, unnecessary schism.

I would like to at least mention some names of some skaters/teams who have impressed me so far this season, some of whom I have mentioned before.

Men's:
Daisuke Takahashi, Japan
Jeremy Abbott, USA
Patrick Chan, Canada
Nobinari Oda, Japan
Florent Amodio, France
Javier Fernandez, Spain (He skates his free skate to the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack)
Adam Rippon, USA (He does certain jumps with both hands above his head; it makes them harder and he is the only one in the world who does that.)

Women's:
Alissa Czisny, USA
Mirai Nagasu, USA (She hasn't competed in the Grand Prix Series yet, but she's scheduled to this weekend and after the Olympics, she is my favorite skater on the women's side.)

Ice Dance:
Meryl Davis / Charlie White, USA
Sinead Kerr / John Kerr, UK
Madison Chock / Greg Zuerlein, USA
Vanessa Crone / Paul Poirier, Canada (They won gold at Skate Canada last weekend, and their free dance made me cry).

Pairs:
Pang Qing / Tong Jian, China
Lubov Iliushechkina / Nodari Maisuradze, Russia
Kirsten Moore-Towers / Dylan Moscovitch, Canada

Pairs is still the discipline that I'm least interested in. I love to watch it and can appreciate a good performance, but I've never felt very emotionally invested in it. There are two reasons for this. First, the US has had very few stand-out pairs teams. The discipline has traditionally been dominated by Russia; it is arguably its strongest discipline. Second--and I've touched on this before--I don't find pairs' skating very relatable because I've never been involved in such an integral partnership with another person. I know how it feels to be on your own, to perform all by yourself, so I can relate to single's skaters, but I've never had to be so entirely dependent on another human being, never had to be so closely integrated so as to operate as a single unit. It's hard for me to wrap my head around it. But because I know how it feels to perform solo, I can relate to single's skaters and so I invest in the ones I particularly like; I get to know who they are, and when they perform, I feel like I'm skating it along with them.

I'm so glad that I'm able to watch so much of the figure skating competitions. It is such a joy to be getting back into something that has given me so much pleasure in the past.
Tags: figure skating, television
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