Saturday, March 16, 2013

London Calling: Thoughts from the Stands at the Men's Final

I was there last night, watching all but the first 3 competitors of the Men's Final... that in itself was, of course, an amazing and unforgettable experience. But an extremely unique one too.

I'm heading back into London right after I post this, so it's going to be brief, but just a few things to note right now (and I'm assuming you know the results of the event at this point so I'm not going to recap anything here)...

-- When Chan took the ice, I figured he had this one in the bag. Not because he was on home ice; not because he's PATRICK CHAN, but because the ones that had fared best (namely Hanyu and Fernandez) had been too far back in the SP to catch the likes of gold, even if they did exceedingly well (which they did, especially Hanyu).

-- When Chan's scores went up, and the (largely Canadian) crowd still went wild despite the hot mess of jumps that followed his two brilliant 4Toe passes... I saw the difference between his score and Fernandez and thought "yep, he'll win... I don't think either (Denis) Ten or (Kevin) Reynolds will be able to pull back-to-back awesome skates to even come close." FOOL that I was!

-- When Ten's FS score went up, I thought of his 91 in the SP and tried to do the mental math (but I'm not very fast in that, especially in the heat of the Worlds) because it seemed quite possible that he had, indeed, pulled the upset of the (admittedly early) century.

-- But when he showed up in 2nd overall-- a lousy 1.3 points behind Chan-- the crowd still went wild. Happy because Ten will get a medal? Happy because Chan held onto the lead? I wondered.

Maybe both, as it turns out. Last year, when Worlds was held in France and Chan won (in similar, heavily flawed fashion) over Dice-K, the reaction was quite different. Here, the crowd had his back no matter what. As I suppose they should have. But I couldn't help but wonder what the most thoroughly engaged were really thinking, especially when a look at the protocols reveals that Chan's PCS was STILL around 2 points higher than everyone else's-- despite two falls and a few other errors. 

The recaps on CBC news up here are up-front about the imperfections of Chan, but made no mention of the young Kazakhstan (hope I spelled that right) fellow who won it all.

The "skundits" (skating pundits; a new word I just made up... you like??) have been ranting on Twitter for the past 15 hours, as you might guess. Except that by "skundits" I mean not only members of the press, or humble bloggers like myself... I mean Todd Eldredge. I mean Christina Gao (who suggested, though jokingly I'm sure, wanted to re-hashtag the event "BSWorlds13"). Lots of outrage. Lots of anger at the ISU and IJS. Lots of suggestions on what needs to be done.

But won't it all fall on deaf ears? Of course we need to keep making the noise... but the ISU seems to harbor the delusion that controversy breeds interest... is there any other explanation for it? (Yeah, probably there is, but this is what I'm going with right now. You can post your own theory in the comments... I know you've got 'em!)

Oh, and I have not yet watched the Pairs Final... I know the top 4 (hey, I think I got it right in my predictions), but I was on the road as it was happening. I think I heard there was some debate there too... lemme guess,  between Sav/Szol's silver and a killer performance by Moore-Towers/Moscovitch? 

Controversy the year before Sochi... ooh, THAT'LL get them watching the team event next year, thinks Cinquanta from parts unknown (for he didn't even bother to show up at the rink last night).

Meanwhile, I'm thinking of the fact that wrestling's place in the Olympics is currently in jeopardy. If a founding sport of the modern Olympics isn't safe, then what is? And can the ISU possibly pay attention to such a question with its collective head in the sand? Or ice, if you prefer?

Me... I prefer results that fit the actions. 

Having said that... I take my ironic thoughts and soapbox and head to where two more "results" will be decided within the next 12 hours. Because great skating still gets me every time.

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