Thursday, July 2, 2009

Yu-Na and Kwan: East Meets West... Sort Of

To the best of my knowledge, only one lady’s name still hangs out there in the will-they-or-won’t-they Olympic jungle now, and that name is Michelle Kwan.

I must admit I find it a little strange, and not just because of my already-voiced frustrations with skaters who have “had their shot”. I even found it strange when Kwan made her attempt in Torino in 2006. Why? Two words (or one word twice): Triple-triples.

Rest assured, I am as big a fan of Kwan as anyone. She’s magnificent, her longevity and consistency in the sport is incredible, and one has to wonder where amateur skating would be right now without her presence and influence over a decade’s time. But for whatever reason, there was only one triple-triple combination I recall seeing her land successfully—the triple-toe/triple-toe—and even that one often became a triple/double in the heat of competition. Maybe she was too inconsistent with other triple combos, or maybe she just wanted to prove that her skating could transcend such bells and whistles. (And more often than not, I think it did.) Whatever the case, facts are facts, time has moved on, and if people are wondering if Cohen can keep up with the current crop of champions… see where I’m going with this?

Still, the speculation is real enough, and with a big ol' TBA glaring among the U.S. ladies’ entries for Skate America, I suppose anything is possible.

And in the meantime comes
this intriguing news that Kwan will be joining Yu-Na Kim in Ice Stars 2009, a three-day show set to take place in Seoul in mid-August. “It will be Kwan's first action since she quit the sport due to a hip injury in 2006,” the Korea Times article reminds us.

It also reminds us that Yu-Na is 18, while Kwan is now 28. And that Yu-Na has seen Kwan as “an iconic figure since childhood.” Hmmmm.

Anyway, the all-star roster includes Evan Lysacek, Joannie Rochette, Shizuka Arakawa, Jeffrey Buttle, and Stephane Lambiel (who, incidentally, seems to be the only man’s name still hanging out there in the will-they-or-won’t-they Olympic jungle).

Let’s see how this unfolds, if in fact there’s any unfolding to be done. In the meantime, I went back to when Kwan was 18 and dug up her 1999 Nationals performance as the
Clip of the Day. (And yes, she does the triple-triple here.)

1 comment:

Laura said...

Ha, I know exactly where you're heading...and I obviously have the same concerns!

I don't know about the idea of "transcending" the bells and whistles by not trying different triple/triple combos...I have to think that if she had more difficult triple/triples up her sleeve, she would have done them. Especially in the 1998 or 2002 seasons.