Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Russian sweep, anyone?

Sophisticated Savoie gets gypped again
Okay, so my expectations of Lambiel were not borne out, and Plushenko has proven that he's the undeniable top dog in the men's figure skating field. With a HUGE ten point lead after the short program, he is virtually unbeatable. Weir was swooningly graceful as usual, and with the audacious fluff piece that preceded his skate, he's assuredly now on his way to becoming a pop icon as well as a skating star, not to mention an inspiration to every queeny little gay boy around the globe. How much easier would growing up gay have been for me and my generation if there had been kick-ass, in-your-face role models like Weir on the international airwaves in those days? My roommate dubbed him "Rufus Wainwright on Ice," and I see that at least one other figure skating fan in the blogosphere had the same idea. There's no denying he's a flamboyant, often pretentious, primadonna, but the man can skate like butter, so, as Weir himself said, his critics can "eat it."

Meanwhile, my favorite skater in the field, Matt Savoie, got burned again for some reason (I thought he definitely should have taken the silver over Lysacek at the Nationals), ending up eighth in the short, deservedly behind Plushenko, Weir, Lambiel and Takahashi, but also behind Joubert, Buttle, and Sandhu, none of whom skated to Savoie's level. Yes, he under-rotated and stepped out of a triple lutz, but the other three mentioned just above all performed with both more numerous and more egregious mistakes--especially Sandhu and Buttle; I mean, really, is there some Canadian conspiracy going on behind the scenes? During the entire event, Paul Wiley did a great job as commentator by continually parsing the new scoring system as each skater performed, which only served to confirm my suspicions that Savoie was being--in some perhaps mysterious and untraceable way--unfairly judged on his technical elements.

On the artistic/aesthetic side of the event, Sandra Bezic did us all a favor by publicly expressing an opinion many viewers must have been holding for a very long time: "The costumes in figure skating can get pretty over the top," she said, "so it's nice to see Matt Savoie in something so understated and sophisticated, reflecting who he is." YES! It's such a relief to see someone so calm, poetic, and gentle on the ice, but I guess the judges prefer the high-strung, flailing dramatics of Sandhu and the cutesy-pie cheese that Buttle serves up to the kind of steady, mature, elegant skating that Savoie does. I'm still rooting for him even though he's pretty much out of medal contention, but with this year's almost unbearably inconsistent field (especially in the long program), anything can happen in the free skate Thursday night. Anything, that is, except the toppling of Plushenko from the gold medal berth. He's gone way beyond "throwing down the gauntlet," as they love to say in figure skating commentary, to pulling up the drawbridge. The rest are stuck on the other side of the moat from the gilded palace, and have to battle it out for the silver--should be a juicy little showdown!

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