February 22, 2002

My Own Private Dan Marino: Michelle Kwan loses the gold again. She's undecided but thinking about coming back for Turin in 2006. In USA Today they say: "She was fighting back tears while talking to reporters afterward. 'Well, I didn't skate very well,' she said. 'But I have to shrug my shoulders and go on.'"

posted by Justin Slotman to other at 08:54 AM - 14 comments

She did skate terribly. I thought that Cohen skated better than Kwan even, but technically Cohen's program had flaws. It made me mad because Kwan for a few years was definitely the best in the world, yet she's never had the gold to show for it. I still hate Lipinski. Kwan seems to perform well under pressure (World Championships, etc.), but twice at the Olympics, she's choked up at the long program. Poor thing. Do you think her lack of coaching hurt her? She fired her coach this past year, and has been working on her own. Her program seemed lackluster, the choreography boring, some of her turns sloppy in the setup. Perhaps she had needed an outside critical eye during training for Salt Lake City. But god, Hughes skated a beutiful, flawless program. If Kwan couldn't get the gold, Hughes deserved it. Gorgeous.

posted by jennak at 10:26 AM on February 22

I hope it wasn't the lack of coaching that hurt her, the fact that she dumped her coach and decided to el solo lobo it is what makes her cool. I don't think it was as, coach or no coach, she still chokes in the Olympics. Yes, Hughes was the better women last night. It still stinks for Michelle Kwan. I approve of your Lipinski hate. Those clips of her shrieking after she won in Nagano reminded me of mine.

posted by Justin Slotman at 10:39 AM on February 22

Well, iirc, Lipinski was only 15 when she won the gold. I'd be inclined to cut her some slack in the jumping up and down and screaming department. The one thing that I really dislike about Olympic women's figure skating is the pressure cooker that the athletes are put in--especially this year. Kwan was expected to "make up" for not winning in Nagano. Slutskaya had expectations put on her by her federation (she is not one who skates well under pressure; she has a tendency to crack, which is what happened last night). The pressures put on Cohen and Hughes were also tremendous, but not as much as those on Kwan and Slutskaya. I read and saw a lot of media reports speculating on a US sweep of the medals. I can't even begin to imagine the stress. A lot of the pressure was taken off Hughes when she placed 4th after the short program, and her skating last night reflected that. She wasn't perfect technically, and some the artistic stuff still needs work but she was by far the best skater last night. And she did do those two triple-triple combinations. It's really too bad that these athletes who don't win gold medals are made to feel like failures--both to their country and to their sport--when in actuality, they are still among the best in the world. Kwan and Slutskaya, especially, have absolutely nothing to be ashamed about.

posted by eilatan at 11:44 AM on February 22

I know, I know, she was 15. My hatred is undiminished by causal factors. I agree Kwan and Slutskaya have nothing to be ashamed of in the grand scheme of things. But both had the gold medal within their grasps and both choked it away. And whatever pressure Kwan was under from outside the media, it probably pales in comparison to the pressure she's putting on herself. Big off-ice shakeups like firing her coach and choreographer would be evidence of that, I think.

posted by Justin Slotman at 12:24 PM on February 22

i think that if the IOC had not given the gold medal to sale and pelletier, russia would not be crying as fiercely as it is over pulling out. that crap has now given russia the perfect excuse to claim slutskaya was robbed as well as an automatic excuse should russia fail to win the gold in men's hockey. and, russia: you know how you resent when americans and canadians claim europeans play don't play "hard" hockey and focus only on finesse? this shit's not helping.

posted by moz at 01:07 PM on February 22

*Grumbles something about Kwan actually winning something versus Danny-boy's "stats"*

posted by owillis at 03:16 PM on February 22

I watched Hughes' performance again (they've been airing it as frequently as Jamie Sale's tearful reaction to the silver) and it was pretty much flawless. I can't remember what mistakes Slutskaya had beyond the one wacky near-fall after a jump, and her program was technically less difficult than Hughes, but boy, this is a close one. I don't know about double-gold, though. What a bloody mess. Prithee, someone get that Hughes girl to the team hairstylist, stat!

posted by evixir at 04:17 PM on February 22

Hey Man, leave Dan alone

posted by ajayb at 04:28 PM on February 22

owillis: next thing you know, you'll be telling me that John Riggins is a better running back than Barry Sanders. Or that Joe Theisman was better than Marino. Or... well, I could list about 30 Super Bowl winning QBs who happened to have, well, you know, a running game. And your logic says they are all better QBs. That's... um... not particularly intelligent :) Not Dan's fault Shula never drafted a decent running back.
Now, it is true that Marino never tackled Thurman Thomas in the AFC playoffs. Oddly, no other Dolphins ever did either. I guess you're right. That does make Marino less of a QB. I've seen the light... thanks for waking me up to that. <rolls eyes>

posted by tieguy at 09:01 PM on February 22

Dan Marino is the wrong analogy. Compare the greatness in everything but the ability to win an Olympic Gold Medal with one of the greatest womens runners of all time, Mary Decker Slaney...lots of parallels between the two, but I hope Miss Kwan will know when to hang it up.

posted by Mack Twain at 11:04 PM on February 22

FWIW, if we want to go with football analogies, the much better one is (for obvious reasons) Jim Kelly.

posted by tieguy at 11:06 AM on February 23

Ah, Danny, so many defenders - so little to show for it :)

posted by owillis at 11:21 AM on February 23

Prithee, someone get that Hughes girl to the team hairstylist, stat! Haha...the sad thing is, she did go to a celebrity hairstylist just before the olympics. You should have seen her before...ugh.

posted by jennak at 11:13 AM on February 24

Come on, now, don't leave a catty girl hanging... we need pictures of that prior hairstyle.

posted by evixir at 04:18 PM on February 24

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