Saturday, March 28, 2009

Not-So-Quick Notes, Day 4: The Spoils of "Doing the Math"

I spent a lot of time watching live skating on my computer screen yesterday. A LOT of time, come to think of it.

I saw ladies’ short programs that spanned the gamut—from those with triples-free routines, no chance of making the finals, happy-just-to-be-there skaters, to, well, Yu-Na Kim. My god, what a range that is.

And later on in the evening (Much later—I’m on eastern time here; it ended sometime after 1AM), I saw some truly spectacular ice dancing. The lifts! The spins! The twizzles! The drama! The judging!

Or should I say “the judging?!?”

I should, and I did, but… I’ll save that can-o-worms for later.

In the middle of all this computer-gazing, I stepped away for a couple of hours to have dinner with my husband and kids. Alissa Czisny, Rachael Flatt and a few others of note skated their respective SPs during that time lapse, so of course I returned to the computer as soon as I was able, clamoring to see if the worries were confirmed.

They were. Though Flatt wasn’t bad, somewhere around 3rd at the time, Czisny was in 8th… with several “favorites” left to go. She ended up in 14th before the night was through.

I didn’t watch any of the SPs I missed—not yesterday, anyway. I didn’t really feel like it, especially after the double letdown that was Belbin/Agosto settling for silver, and Davis/White settling for a crowd loudly booing their discontent when they missed bronze by four hundredths of a point.

I did, however, go to’s article about the ladies’ SP, where I found not only what two elements Czisny fell on (triple flip and double axel, if you’re keeping score at home), but a quote from her about the significance of the number 13:

"Everybody keeps reminding me and I can't think about that, because I can't control the outcome,” she responded.

(In case you don’t know what we’re talking about: a team can only send three ladies to Vancouver next year if their team placements from this year’s Worlds add up to 13 or less.)

And honestly, what else can Czisny say? She’s already dealing with the pressure of being U.S. National Champion with a free skate that only included three triples… during a pre-Olympic season… at a time when some attribute the decline in interest/viewership to the lack of a true Olympic-eligible “star”. What better than to up the ante a little more; to remind a young athlete repeatedly that the US will lose one of its coveted “spots” if she falters?

It starts to sound like the plot of a mediocre TV movie, doesn’t it?

And that’s a pity, because all Czisny (or Flatt, for that matter) did to deserve this was skate the best they could on a night back in January when their peers didn’t do quite as well. With neither one being considered much of a podium threat this year, they should be able to relax and savor their “moment” on the ice just a little.

But instead, they’re stuck doing the math: if she pulls up to fifth, I’ll have to finish no worse than eighth… if she can do no better than tenth, I’ll have to end up in third or else…

One more instance when points just shouldn’t matter, I guess.

Maybe tonight, since it appears that 3rd spot is already gone, they'll be able to go out and do a little moment-savoring after all.


Sharon said...

This Worlds was insane. The combination of not-so-good performances and poor judging was heartbreaking. Can you believe that Abbott, Czisny, and McB all ended up in 11th? How weird is that? So happy for Evan, though, that was amazing. Denney/Barrett were amazing as well, what a breath of fresh air. The ice dance...well I could go on for a while about that. My biggest heartbreak was D/W being the sacrificial lambs to prevent an all NA podium. That wasn't going to happen. But their standing O and the chorus of boos for their 3rd place standing was very satisfactory. We all know which team won that FD. Olympic season is going to be something, I can already see. Oh and on the subject of 11th place...Samuelson/Bates in dance!

Aaron said...

The 11th thing...creepy!