Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Worlds 2011 Men's Recap: Fractured Fairytales, Pt. 2

Welcome to another edition of Fractured Fairytales, aka my take on some of the stories of the 2011 World Championships. This time around, a few tales (and a weak limerick or two) about the Men's event:

The Boy Who Couldn’t Count

Once there was a boy known to dazzle the crowds with his handsome jumps—most notably a triple axel delivered with the “softest” knees known to figure skating—and charm them with whimsical artistry and choreography. He won the Junior World Championships in 2005, and appeared to have won Nationals and be headed to the Winter Olympics one year later, when a strange thing happened: the judges discovered he’d done too many combination jumps in his Nationals free skate. When all was said and done, he did NOT win his Nationals, and had to settle for attending 2006 Worlds instead. Years went by, and although the boy grew to be a young man (and soon fathered a boy of his own), he still loved dazzling the crowds with his jumps SO much that he continued to do too many of them (in combination) at the most critical times. By the time he made the mistake yet again at 2011 Worlds, sending him from a 2nd place SP to a 7th place overall finish, his fans had an epiphany of sorts… realizing his tendency for soul-crushingly simple mistakes had been right there in his name all along…

(As in Oh, DUH!)

Will he ever get it right, or will his fans simply learn to live with lowered expectations? Check in next year, when (maybe, just maybe) he’ll become a name dropper a la Cher or Usher, simply going by Nobunari.

The Skating Singer… or, The Skater Who Skated to Singing

Once upon a time there was a fun-loving young competitor by the name of Amodio who adored skating to up-tempo, contemporary music in even the most tense of competitions. And people were happy to watch him do so. Then one day the people watched him skate to a collection of music they thought he’d been skating to all season long… except this time they heard the strangest noises alongside it. What is that?? They wondered. It’s distracting! And their curiosity turned to shock as they realized “that??” was vocals, and “that??” was considered illegal in this particular world. Soon both the crowd became confused—still excited and happy for the young man, but with mounting frustration to counter such emotions. AMODIO! Some wished to bellow.
What are you thinking? This is not an exhibition; it’s the biggest competition of the year! The judges will never forget this… and some of them may never forgive it either. For SHAME!

And Amodio’s fans became even more confused when his scores came up, and there was no mandatory deduction for the glaring vocal faux pas. (They would later learn that the judges put it to a vote, and the majority ruled against the deduction.) In any case, young Amodio went from 5th to 7th… well out of the placements to get an invite to skate, with vocals or without, at the Gala the next day.

“It’s too late to apologize…” was said to be heard from all parties involved…

The Once and Future Skating King

There once was a boy named Gachinski… and everywhere he went they simply… asked for one thing—skate as fine as The King—and he said (to himself) then this task, it will be.

(Editor’s note: Sorry, tried to make a limerick there but I had trouble rhyming much of anything relevant with “in-ski”.)

Here’s another way to put it: In Russia, there was an undisputed king of the figure skating world. Even when he was no longer commanding their attention on the ice, his likeness was often suspended multiple times in signs and banners around the arena. Nobody was more aware of this than 17 year-old Gachinski, a rising star who had The King’s coach, trained in The King’s old stomping grounds, and skated at a time when not one Russian man had come remotely close to The King’s success in several years of trying. It was now Gachinski’s turn to try. His earlier efforts in the international season had earned him decent marks—6th and 7th in his inaugural GP events, for instance—but they were far from remarkable. But then a series of strange and wonderful things happened for the lad… for just when he thought his “year” was over, he skated well enough at Europeans to receive an invite to Worlds. And then, just when it looked as if though Worlds would not be able to happen at all, it DID happen—in Gachinski’s hometown. And if that wasn’t enough, he managed to put together his two best performances of the year in front of that home crowd. No wonder they went wild when he earned himself a bronze medal, one of the biggest surprises of Worlds that year. And no wonder Gachinski felt aglow with pride when he realized The King was there, in the home crowd, cheering him on. In that moment at least, it seemed a torch had been passed.

And here’s one more quick one I have to work in…

The Odd Couple

When the one-time champ took a break
To fix a loose screw on his skate
The crowd watched a shot
Of Ottavio and Scott
Nearly steal the main dish off its plate

(Another limerick attempt… sorry, I just had to work something in about Scott Hamilton seen alongside Ottavio Cinquanta in the stands together… it was too weird!)

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