Wednesday, February 22, 2006


That's why the ladies rule

Meissner at home in mid-air
With the ladies short program, we're finally being treated to some real competition on the ice. When the top seven skaters all skate clean routines, you know you're watching a truly world class event. Each of the top four--mature, international competitors Cohen, Slutskaya, Arakawa and Suguri--owned the ice, making it her own magical kingdom while she skated. But this year's teen terrors are not far behind: Only Kimmie Meissner of the US and Elene Gedevanishvili of Georgia--the youngest competitors in the event at 16 each, landed triple-triple combinations in the short program, assuring them the final two spots in the top group for the free skate. With a little more polish, speed and confidence, the two of them will likely be nipping at the heels of the top ladies by next year. I know some people think they both got robbed somehow, but despite their impressive jumps, they didn't grab the ice (and the audience) by the jugular like the top four ladies did--that's something that takes time and experience to develop.

Then there's Emily Hughes, still a project very much in development, who came in late under extreme scrutiny and skated a passionate, delightful program, earning a solid seventh. But perhaps the most charming moment of the evening came at the beginning of the event with Tugba Karademir, the first skater ever to represent Turkey in international competition. Her goal was to make it into the top 24 so that she could skate her short program Thursday night, which she did, with a clean, if technically lacking, program, and room to spare.

Closer to the top--in fact, all the way down to 11th, where homegirl Carolina Kostner ended up after a nasty fall on her jump combo--the field of competition is so deep that it's impossible to tell who might bob to the surface victorious from the stormy waters of the free skate. Slutskaya rocks the house with her raucous energy, but no one can touch Cohen's spirals, spins or consistent, overall excellence of skating. If the girl skates clean, she's got the gold--if not, she'll have to fight just to stay on the podium. Whatever happens, the ladies figure skating event will have more than proven its worth as the Winter Olympics premier event, and will probably spawn a whole new school of incipient teen terrors to keep the sport on its beautifully pointed toes.

Categories: , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?