Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why Seeking Junior GP Assignments is Becoming My Summer Olympic Pasttime

It’s Olympics time.

I know it’s not the one we figure skating fans plan our lives around every four years—unless you happen to be just as big a fan of swimming, or the decathlon, or archery. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that...)

But still, it’s Olympics time. It’s competition after competition after competition that matters so much more than any other competition EVER for athletes from all over the world. It’s often thrilling to watch, sometimes heartbreaking to hear, and riddled with spoilers if you are five hours behind London (as we are) and anywhere near social media (as I usually am).

So I sit here with gymnastics on the TV, trying to get a new post to my skating blog because y’all know it’s overdue, and it’s hard to do when skating’s distant cousin keeps snaring my attention. But if it’s not this, it’ll be swimming, or the decathlon, or archery. For the next two weeks. (You know why.)

Here’s the other problem: I was hoping to write about the Junior Grand Prix assignments—particularly since it’ll be starting up in less than a month, and with any luck, the U.S. will have some true contenders in the mix. But it’s hard to write about something that hasn’t happened yet, and outside of the first event (which I’ll get to in a minute), the assignments are still To Be Determined.

Say what? Senior assignments were made months ago for competitions that are still months away, but these September events are still up in the air? Can that be right? Surely not, I thought several times this week as I checked Wikipedia... and IceNetwork... and Googled it... and did a few other things... and finally headed to the page. Where I found “information” such as this.  And this.  And not to mention this

So I feel like I missed a memo. Can anyone explain why this process takes so long... why these kids will apparently learn about competing in Lake Placid (USA), Linz (Austria), Istanbul (Turkey), Bled (Slovenia), Zagreb (Croatia), and Dresden (Germany) only a handful of weeks before they take place? Is it a life lesson in patience? Are there talent scouts patrolling the rinks, gauging whose triple lutz is ready for prime time and whose isn’t? Is there a Powerball lottery drawing involved? Or maybe Hedwig the Owl has already informed each of the athletes privately and they’re sworn to secrecy like Amazing Race contestants?

That’s all the brainstorming I’ve managed; obviously, I’m not getting very far. As I await enlightenment, here’s the list of U.S. competitors at the JGP season opener (in Courchevel, France, August 22-26; no pairs competition at this event):

MEN: Jason Brown, Harrison Choate

LADIES: Ashley Cain, Vanessa Lam

DANCE: Holly Moore/Daniel Klaber, Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter

And the only thing that immediately came to mind upon seeing this list was Jason Brown STILL hasn’t moved up to the Senior GP? But a) he’s still quite young, b) I still haven’t seen him try triple axels in competition, much less nail them, and c) he wasn’t able to move up the ranks this year at senior Nationals (9th two years in a row).

But other than that, I’m out (for now). Unless you’ve got the news we can use, maybe you should be “out” too.

Know why?

Because it’s Olympics time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if this helps or not but this is how JGP assignments have been done for years. While SGP assignments are done based on individual skaters performances, each country is assigned a certain number of entries per event based on how the country places at Jr Worlds. Names of competitors are due 30 days before the event begins.

Depending on the country, the skaters find out about their assignments at different times. The U.S. uses nationals results as well as summer monitoring competitions to determine initial assignments.

Enjoy the Olympics!