True Grit in the Pairs Figure Skating Finals: [spoilers inside]
posted by ursus_comiter to other at 10:48 PM - 14 comments
After a devasting fall on their first element (an unprecedented throw quadruple salchow), it seemed that Xang and Xang would not complete their long program due to an injury to Dan Xang's knee. However, she managed to work through it and the pair were allowed to continue their program from the point of the fall and delivered a strong (if not perfect) performance, gaining the silver and a standing ovation. I've seen them and other pairs in practice. Those women are tough as nails. They have to be.
posted by ursus_comiter at 10:52 PM on February 13
I saw the program tonight on NBC and I agree, those women are awesome. Zhang went out there and delivered a beautiful finish to the program despite her fall. Very impressive indeed...
posted by donnnnychris at 01:38 AM on February 14
I agree with the sentiment and admire the competitors for finishing their routine. I also got a new appreciation for the dangers of figure skating! But the silver medal smells fishy to me. Does it really make sense that you can crash, call a time out, then come back and resume your program where you left off? They received just a one-point deduction for the fall! I understand that those are the rules, but I think that those are some bad rules.
posted by Amateur at 08:08 AM on February 14
That's why I don't like the outcome of judged events, too many variables. Fastest time, longest jump, etc. those are definitive measurements. I did enjoy watching the competition though.
posted by njsk8r20 at 08:25 AM on February 14
Inspirational as hell, yes. Medal-worthy? I'm not sure. I don't like the "timeout" deal either. Still, I must admit, this kind of courage does deserve some kind of reward. Tell you what: when they go on tour with the Ice Follies, or the Chinese equivalent, they don't ever have to hang out with Scott Hamilton.
posted by The_Black_Hand at 08:37 AM on February 14
Brave performance and all, yes, but I couldn't agree more, A. I watched the replay on CBC last night (actually, I didn't want to see it, but my wife insisted before we walked out the door). It was horrific, but how the hell do you win silver when you basically crashed the plane? And if they were in such good shape that they could finish second with that disaster, why not just pull that move from the routine, play it a little safer and win? Could I enter next time round and fill my routine with quintuple full-buttkicking salchows and quad backflip spinaroonies, and then get damn near full marks for just attempting them and failing badly? On preview: The only skater I've ever wanted to hang with was Robin Cousins. That dude made ice skating look manly.
posted by wfrazerjr at 08:38 AM on February 14
The reason they got the silver is that they essentially fumbled only one maneuver. Sure, they crashed spectacularly on the attempt, but it was only one mistake. There is a small penalty for not completing it (and maybe another small one for touching the ice with her hand), but that's about it. Whether she crashed like she did (splits! ow!) or simply stumbled a bit on the landing, they could only get penalized once.
posted by grum@work at 08:44 AM on February 14
Yeah grum, I sort of get that part; I don't know enough about the technical aspects of skating to say that they did or didn't deserve the silver medal based on the routine that they did. (I think the penalties for failing to complete a maneuvre are too light, in general, but that's not my main issue here). I just think that the 'clock,' such as it is, should keep running. I know that's harsh, but that's what almost all other athletes have to deal with. If they fuck up, they don't get to stop time, and then start up where they left off.
posted by Amateur at 09:03 AM on February 14
And if they were in such good shape that they could finish second with that disaster, why not just pull that move from the routine, play it a little safer and win? Could I enter next time round and fill my routine with quintuple full-buttkicking salchows and quad backflip spinaroonies, and then get damn near full marks for just attempting them and failing badly? Well, they couldn't have, actually. They could have easily gotten silver without attempting the quad, but the Russian team of Totmianina and Marinin had a nigh insurmountable lead thanks to the Russian Bonus all Russian skaters get in the scoring. Even without that, the Russians were the team to beat and only the Zhangs had any chance to catch up with them. And they didn't get the points for the failed throw, although I think they did get some emotional bonus points thrown in for the other elements. Besides which, I'm sure they wanted to stake a claim on skating history, much like Inoue and Baldwin did with their successful throw triple axel in the short program. I can't argue that being able to pick up and restart in the middle of a program isn't dodgy though.
posted by ursus_comiter at 09:32 AM on February 14
The new scoring system doesn't deduct points for a fall, it just adds less for that element (as long as you complete the revolutions before falling). This isn't nearly as bad for the overall score.
posted by Smackfu at 09:47 AM on February 14
It was a grim fall and the continuation was a courageous and special moment, true. But it is the Olympic Games and takes place once every 4 years and there are no guarantees you will ever return. So as much as I applaud it and thinks it makes great suspense and entertainment, I can tell you that I have seen amateur club rugby players and industrial league ice hockey players who got their bodies pulverized and swore off the St. John's medical crews and meat-wagons to insist they continue to play in meaningless games. I think by their very nature, elite athletes have to possess a lot of intestinal fortitude if they want to compete at the highest level, especially when it's something as important as the Olympics -- which face it, is pretty much the most important moment of Zhang's life until she gives childbirth (and I'm betting she won't walk away from that pain, either). Besides, I've seen runners who are three hours behind the winner crawling across the finishline of meaningless marathons, I've seen people like Bret Hart and Mick Foley carrying worse injuries through fake mid-level wrestling cards, so I'm pretty sure Olympians -- yes, even female Olympians -- with a stake on the podium are equally as capable. Mind over matter, dude! But yeah, Zhang & Zhang made compelling TV (although the live CBC coverage kicked NBC's arse).
posted by the red terror at 10:35 AM on February 14
I watched in dismay as they were awarded the silver. I am amazed at how dishonest the judging still seems to me. The Russians looked tight and unable to get into thier program, it looked forced. I enjoy watching figure skating, it's an athletic event that requires speed, grace, and power, still it's kinda pansey. Falling down on that throw definitly sucked and hurt but how are the judges supposed to score that? Injury timeout? Her face to me had more dissipointment in it than pain. Theres no way they get a silver, but a standing ovation and kudo's" great finish". Stop the prima dona BS, oh you to Michele.
posted by km2262 at 10:51 AM on February 14
The only skater I've ever wanted to hang with was Robin Cousins. That dude made ice skating look manly. Also for consideration might be Elvis Stojko early in his career. He got more artistic as he went on, but at the beginning he was all "karate on ice" guy - he has a black belt. Though, hanging out with him, you'd have to contend with his mullet.
posted by gspm at 11:26 AM on February 14
I read this yesterday, and could really see her point last night.
posted by rainbaby at 11:51 AM on February 14
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