An Analysis of the Exciting New Team Event in Sochi Olympics
I think this team event is a fabulous idea! Ask any figure skating fan and they will agree with me that the more skating that comes on the television the happier they are. I’m not going to lie though, this new Olympic event was a tad confusing for me and I’m pretty darn positive I understand skating a lot better than your average casual skating fan. Also, if they were looking to add more skating events at the Games, did they ever consider synchro?
In the Mens Short program, Jeremy Abbott of the U.S. had a bit of a rough skate. A fall on a Quad Toe and a Triple Axel that opened up into a single proved to be very costly. Patrick Chan of Canada seemed bit more wobbly than normal opening up a bit on a Triple Axel and only being able to do a double following a bit of a funny landing on a Quad. Hanyu of Japan skated exceptionally well landing a Quad Toe, Triple Axel and a Triple Lutz/Triple Toe and finished about 7 points above Plushenko of Russia who in my opinion is a bit too big for his britches. Plushenko skated well but he sure sounds arrogant. From there it seemed like the U.S. had some catching up to do since we were now in 7th place.
The U.S. seemed to struggle quite a bit in the pairs short as well. The team from Japan demonstrated they hadn’t been skating together all that long because they only had a Double Twist whereas all the other pair teams in the competition had a Triple Twist. The Americans had problems with their side-by-side jumps with both Castelli and Shnapir making errors on those Triple Salchows. The Pair team from Canada was exceptional being the only team to have side by side Triple Lutzes, they did a throw Triple Lutz and they had absolutely beautiful entrances into several of their elements. The Russian Pair didn’t exactly blow me away. I wonder if they were bumped up a bit because they were the World Champions in 2013. Hmmm…
The Short Dance did nothing but help the U.S. regain a lot of footing in this medal race. Davis/White of the US won the event but their score was a little lower than what they were accustomed to getting and Virtue/Moir of Canada who got 2nd also had a bit of a lowered score so maybe it was across the bored. Davis/White seemed flawless and Virtue/Moir only had a bit of a unison problem on their twizzles but both teams seemed far superior to the rest of the teams because of their exceptional technical ability as well as the fact that they never break character. This event helped the U.S. by putting us within medal contention!
In terms of the Ladies Short: Osmond of Canada had a great program in the Fosse style but I was a little distracted by the fact that as the program went on her dress did nothing inch up so it was covering less and less of her butt. Mao Asada of Japan fell on her Triple Axel but the rest of the program was very nicely woven together. Carolina Kostner skated so well that she helped the Italians make it into the final round. Ashley Wagner of the U.S. had a very solid program. Following her Triple Flip the second jump of the combo must have gotten downgraded but it wasn’t nearly as obvious as the look of disgust on her face when the scores were announced! Yulia Lipnitskya of Russia hit some incredible positions that cause me to question whether she really is a human. Ashley finished fourth which is exactly what she needed to do!
The Mens Free program was fun to watch but made me wonder if I sniffed favoritism. Jason Brown of the U.S. was wonderful. Despite a fall and not being able to do a Quad, Brown is an absolute joy to watch. I enjoyed Machida of Japan’s program as well. He demonstrated the depth of the Japanese team for sure. Kevin Reynolds of Canada managed to do 3 Quad jumps and his artistry seemed to be there too which made me question why in the world Plushenko beat him in this event when he only completed 1 Quad? I’m pretty sure Sandra Bezic even excused his arrogance in her commentary! His program is a conglomeration of his best programs, “The Best of Plushenko!” Wow…
I don’t get NBC sports because I’m poor but did NBC show the Pairs Free portion of the team event during Primetime?! I don’t think so and now I’m really confused but who knows?!? Maybe I missed it sometime during the hours of cross country skiing? I did hear some clamoring of the gun control fans saying that Shnapir shouldn’t have worn a holster as part of his costume! Really people, it’s James Bond!
In the Ladies Free Skate, Osmond who had a strong short seemed to come a bit unglued in the long after a fall and doubling a Flip that was supposed to be a Triple. I felt bad for Akiko Suzuki of Japan because after she doubled the second combo of a job the commentators referenced the fact that she probably knew it didn’t matter at this point anyway?! Gracie Gold for the U.S. was absolutely flawless but so was Lipnitskya so why the 12 point difference in their scores?
By the time the Free Dance was on, the commentators referenced the fact that the teams were now skating for “pride” seeing as I guess the placements were so well cemented that it wouldn’t make a difference? That just doesn’t seem right. At that point I tuned out a little bit. I learned that the Russian team is skating to Swan Lake, and that Virtue and Moir are going to need to step it up in the individual competition if they hope to defend against Davis and White. I didn’t like the fact that competition didn’t seem to matter anymore. I don’t like for anything to be over until the “fat lady sings” so to speak.
Personally, I would prefer to see the point system changed a bit so that one bad event doesn’t take the entire country out of the running. At the very least, maybe they could explain things a bit better and spend less time switching back and forth between the skating and other events. They do seem to show every snowboarder that comes down the mountain but clearly didn’t show every skater. I feel a little cheated! What did you think about this Team Event?