Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ack, gack, uck...

And now, more Winter Olympics stuff.

1. That was a clear choke by Gushue today. It was a big game against a big team and he just couldn't close the deal. Most of the Swedes were curling in the mid-60% range. They got another gift of a game against a good team having a bad day, but this time they couldn't seal the deal.

Yeah, the stone picked on something in the 11th end, but you know what, on stones that big, you clean the Goddamn thing. They didn't do it, it caught debris. But worse than that was the miss in the 10th. He just got excited and winged it. It should have been an easy hit. They can't afford too many games like that. Hopefully he'll calm the nerves and get going again. Losing more than three games is going to make it difficult to get into the playoffs.

2. I have a long-standing theory on the Olympics and it is this: If it requires judges and a grading systems to determine who has won, then it shouldn't be an Olympic sport. As was shown in pairs figure skating in 2002, it's far too easy for corruption and bias to get into the process.

So, hockey is an Olympic sport. So is downhill skiing, luge, curling, cross-country skiing, biathelon, speed-skating and other sports where it's you against a clock or another team or person head-to-head.

What isn't? All figure skating. Moguls (I know we won a gold in it, sorry). Half pipe, ski jumping, etc. I'm not saying they're not athletes. I'm not saying they don't train a lot or what they do isn't hard. I just hate it when five anonymous people decide who is best and deserving of a gold.

3. Along those lines, my respect for figure skating went down yet another notch (and it was already pretty low) after hearing the Chinese pair Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao got a silver medal. They went and tried a very difficult move, and bombed. Dan actually landed in a way that made me wince. So they skate off the ice, take a breather, finish the program and get a silver medal.

Ummm, no.

Hey, I appreciate the ballsy of the move. You want the gold, you go all out. But if you fail, and fail as spectacularly as they did, you don't get a breather and a silver medal.

Why? Ask the women competing in the carnage filled luge event. Ask American Samantha Retrosi, who wiped out so badly she was knocked unconscious and had to be taken to the hospital. Ask Canadian Meaghan Simister who took a camera out, she crashed so hard.

For that matter, let's ask Canadian skier Allison Forsyth, who fell and tore her ACL and may never ski again.

We don't even have to go for wipe outs. Let's take Canadian short track speed skater Charles Hamelin. He was leading his race with two laps to go. A Chinese skater bumped him and knocked him out of first. The Chinese skater was disqualified, but it didn't matter. Hamelin finished fifth, eventually moving up to fourth after the disqualification. Would they have liked a breather and another chance? I'm sure they would, but that's not how it works in real sports.

You compete, you compete hard and you take risks to try and win. Sometimes it pays off and you get gold. And sometimes you crash or fall on the ice or get bumped. And then it's all over. It sucks, but that's the way it goes. All it takes is a minute and your dreams are dashed. Is it fair? Maybe not. But every athlete at the games knows this, accepts this and deals with the possibility that one mistake, one slip, one bit of bad luck ruins your dream.

Unless you're in figure skating. Where of course you get a second chance. And of course, even though you failed, they still give you silver.

That's why figure skating is a joke. It's also why every other athelete at the Olympics should want to burn down that stadium. Because it diminishes their sacrifices and hard work. It's a cheat of a sport.

And that's why I hate figure skating.

Currently Playing
Down at the Khyber - Joel Plaskett Emergency


Owen's Mom said...

Did you happen to see the Chinese pair skate?

Even considering the fall and "breather" (you could actually see her knee swelling), they skated a very good program, jammed with difficult elements, and did beautifully. You need to understand the scoring to criticise it. I'm not claiming that I full understand the new scoring system, and I do believe that there was an impact of the sympathy and guts if the skater to complete the program. Of course there is a subjective element, but they've added a more objective element this year - particular "tricks" have specific point values - for example, a Quad triple combination in the mens single event has a point value of 13. If yuo complete the trick, you get the points. If you miss it, or you opt in the air to so a lesser trick, such as doubling a triple, for example, you can only get the points for what you did. The "judges" give marks for the "artistic" merit of the program only. If you look at Dan and Hoa's marks - they did very well in the technical marks, as well as the artistic, and their artistic marks were not out of line with other skaters.

But to use your example, if the speed skater gets knocked down, and jumps up and still comes in second, s/he should still get the silver, right ?

towniebastard said...

If the speed skater gets knocked down and manages to get back up and skate fast enough to beat the other competitors and get a medal, then sure.

The rough equivilent with the Chinese skaters would be if the skater fell, hurt herself, sat down for a few moments until she felt better and then finished the race.

And once the race was over, some official came over and said "well, before you fell, you were in second, so we're going to give you the medal anyway."

If they had hopped back up after the chinese skater fell and completed the program, then I might think they deserve the silver. But they didn't.

They took a risk and failed. They should have been disqualified. The best they should have gotten was something in the top 10...maybe.

But a medal? No.