Friday, February 17, 2006

Figure Skating is Irritating

Last night we happened to all be home together (that can be unusual these days with my work schedule and two older teens) and we ended up watching some of the mens olympic figure skating. When American skater Scott Weir did his routine I had to express my disgust with all that is wrong with figure skating.

Figure skating is not a sport, it is not "athletic competition" it is entertainment, at least as it exists these days. What sport requires background music? What sport does wearing frilly costumes constitute importance? What athletic competition needs the competitor to spend much of the event creating graceful hand mannerisms to gain points?

Scott Weir(d?) was the epitome of all that is wrong with mens figure skating. I mean what's with that costume? I thought we was wearing some sort of party dress on his shoulders.

So, first let's fix this costume problem right away. Skaters must have uniform styles such as any other winter olympic event. Put the nations colors and flag on the clothing. And add a number, name optional. And cut off that frilly stuff, you don't see skiers coming down the hill with threads waving in the wind for image effect, which is why figure skaters have that junk.

All those mannerisms should count for nothing. No use of body parts like the head, hands, arms, ass, etc. to play to the judges for points. That's not athletics that's acting. If the competitors want to still play actors they can, but no points just wasted energy. I suggest they do more jumps with the added energy. This goes for floor gymnastics as well when the summer olympics come along.

Cut the music or make them all skate to the same music. Yeah, it will be a bit more boring, but I call for equal competition. Or to really make it interesting, play random music not known by the skaters prior to hitting the ice. I could just hear some skater after the event saying, "I was hoping for Bach, but got Bachman Turner Overdrive instead."

And let's make the scoring more understandable. Geez, I saw scores like 89.45 which meant nothing to me. How do they get to these numbers? Show the math. And what's deductions? A skater tries to make a triple lutz and loses points for a failed attempt? If they make the jump, they get points, if they don't, no points. Simplify.

How about some wild suggestions? Put some hurdles out on the ice, make them leap over some obstacles. Or to really make it interesting, combine the event with the biathlon. A sharpshooter using the skaters as targets would really bring some excitement. Don't panic, rubber bullets. Or make it a real head to head competition, two skaters at the same time and give them hockey sticks.

Oh, I'll probably rile a few figure skating enthusists, mostly women. I imagine gay men won't like my changes to the competition either. Nothing wrong with a sport for gays, but I want to appreciate the sport as well, and frilly costumes, music and body mannerisms have nothing to do with muscles, which is what athletic competition is really about, even for a more sedate sport like curling (which is one of my favorite winter olympic events).

Mens figure skating has become something like an evening on Bravo, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy combined with Project Runway. And womens figure skating is moving toward a combination of The Playboy Channel and Law and Order (sorry Tonya Harding we will never forget). The womens costumes are getting more sexy every four years, I don't mind that I suppose, but uniforms for the women would be in the same vein as for the men. I'm waiting for the day that a breast gets exposed and the sport goes into SHOCK. I suppose we could go to nude skating, I'd watch, the women at least. But seriously...

...I'm barely serious in this particular blog post. Yes, lose the frilly costumes as a first step back to sport respectability.


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