February 24, 2010

(S)he's The One

If you've been reading this blog for a while, I don't have to tell you I'm a HUGE fan of Brian Orser. You can see for yourself here and here.

I know Kim is the one who skated so well on Tuesday, but I was excited for Brian too. I wondered if in a way he's going for the gold too. And then I saw this article in the USA Today. Check it out.

At the end Mr. Orser - ever the classy guy - says
"I feel very confident I can actually produce an Olympic champion. I can go into the season with confidence to follow the steps that I believe will make her Olympic champion. But that will be her moment."

February 23, 2010

The 2010 Women’s Figure Skating Drinking Game

... comes courtesty of the website BuzzFeed.

I don't know about you but I'm getting excited for tonight! There will be live-blogging on the New York Times if you would like to join in. You can also join via Facebook here.

I don't recommend drinking at the keyboard so you may have to pick one or the other tonight.

If you and your friends opt for the game, here are a few of my favorites:

Take a drink if: Any use of “this young lady.” Ex. This young lady was second at this years' World Championships. This young lady could surprise some folks. This young lady loves to listen to Lady Gaga before competing. Etc.

When an athlete is referred to as a “national treasure.” Ex. Kim Yu-Na is a national treasure in her native land of South Korea.

Any mention of an American figure skating legend. Ex. Peggy Flemming, Tonya Harding, Kristi Yamaguchi, Dorothy Hamil.

Take a shot if: If Scott Hamilton “knows her.”

If an athlete is wearing a HEADDRESS/hat/anything in her hair.

Any comparison of Michelle Kwan/Tara Lipinski to Mirai Nagasu/Rachael Flatt. Finish your drink if they make it a racial thing.

Any talk of “Michelle Kwan” and “the gold that eluded her.”

Chug/finish your drink:

If Frank Carroll smiles.

The Canadians skate to Sarah McLachlan.


February 22, 2010

This Showgirl's Winner Was ...

Johnny Weir!

I don't want to get into the debate between Evan and Evgeny, because like I said earlier, I'll leave that to the blogging experts. And I don't think Johnny should have gotten a gold medal, but continuing in the showgirl prism that is what I know, I want to say Johnny had the best skate of the night. He skated so well, skated a challenging program clean, and didn't get what he deserved.

And I'm not the only one who thinks so. I've been reading all the blogs and the news articles about the men's skate and I see comments that are just like what I've said.

According to Jumping Clapping Man, who has a great roundup of Vancouver 2010 - Week 1 by the way, there is even a Facebook page "Johnny Weir Was Robbed" that you can go to here and join.

I did.

Johnny, if you're reading this, I agree with JCM, you were FABULOUS!

February 13, 2010

Opening Ceremony

When the competition starts I'll hand over the reigns to all the blogging experts, but the opening ceremony falls into showgirl territory. And my question is - where were the figure skaters?

Come on, you're Canada, you have dozens of show skaters willing to rehearse and perform, probably for free. No ice? Come on, your Canada, you have ice coming out the wazoo! You can easily put in a couple strips of ice, clearly dilineated so the athletes know not to step on the slick ice, and the skaters know not to step off. Show skaters can skate on any size ice you give them. We can skate in an elevator, so put down some ice.

Then IMHO you have a more exciting Opening. Take the Sarah McLachlan song that had dancers. Please, no dancers. You could use half the number of performers, they could move twice as fast and jump twice as high and those ordinary folks with seats in the statosphere can see a little more action down below.

I'm just saying. It would have looked so much more "Olympic".

Then they went into Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, which I associate with the end of the movie Platoon and the futility of war in Viet Nam and it totally bummed me out. I was thinking maybe Mr. Barber was Canadian so they threw in a classical composer, but he came from Pennsylvania. It's beautiful music, but still depressing.

I also think they missed out by not incorporating Cirque du Soleil into the show. They're Canada's most well known export, after maple syrup. Maybe they're too expensive now, maybe they wouldn't agree to being copied. But I hope someone at least asked. Cirque du Soleil are masters at big visuals in theater, perfect for this night. Just go to Vegas and you'll see they've taken over every showgirl (and ice skater) job there was.

Instead they did Riverdance. Why not let Ireland do that when they get the Olympics?

Well, that's my take. Many elements of the ceremony were visually stunning and creative, but I always want more.

But now I'm done with my rant and ready for the competition to begin!

February 10, 2010

Ice Charade's Preview for the Olympics

Is everyone getting excited? Two more days!

Hey kids, Ice Charades was asked to write an article for a local organization of non-skating fans to get them up to speed on the sport. So here it is. And I bet they'll never ask for my opinion again.

It’s that time of (every four) years again. The Winter Olympics. By the time you are reading this, football will be over, the NBA playoffs far away, and you’ll have to wander deep into your satellite premium sports package if you hope to catch any of the regular NHL games. This is the time of year when we’ll be reminded how dangerous the downhill is, how intense the South Korean short-track speed skating fans are, and how corrupt the figure skating judges were (well, still are).

And what will you likely see the most? My guess is figure skating.

So, here’s a primer to get you talking triple axels and program component scores in no time. You don’t know what a program component score is? It has been a while, hasn't it.

First thing you need to know: the judging has changed. Forget that 6.0 stuff. If the last time you thought the artistic score was something Tonya settled with Nancy, you need to upgrade to Figure Skating 2.0.

Gone are the days when the artistic score was what the East German judge used to prop up a skater who blew her long program that day. Everyone knew a skater got two sets of scores, up to a 6.0, and then waited for some little accountant behind the curtain to tell the audience whether the skater could go on to star in Ice Capades or slink back home to coach runny-nosed six-year olds.

That system is out. Now there is just one large, cryptic score like your credit report - really hard to understand or dispute.

You would think with the judging scandal at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, the Ice Skating Union (ISU) would have made everything more transparent and easier to understand. For the sake of the sport that sends them on first class flights to five-star hotels, they still bite the hand that feeds them caviar on crostini.

Despite proof that skating was corrupt, the Ice Skating Union (ISU) doubled-down by deciding it was better to have anonymous judging, and designate a “technical” judge to have more say than the rest. That’s the kind of move that would make Tony Soprano proud.

But let’s face it, that scandal made the television ratings soar. It had been a while since the “Knee Whack Heard Round the World” last put skating on the map. So, if I were NBC, I would have a new judging scandal in the works. Stay tuned.

But some things haven’t changed. There is still the Kiss-N-Cry area, not to be confused with the Sit-n-Spin area – that’s for politicians. Although it seems skaters have worked on their game face and forgo the crying these days. I think the real crying and temper tantrums take place off-camera back at their hotel suite. Cue TMZ to give us the real scoop.

Here’s my theory for deciding who is the better skater in the Kiss-N-Cry. Without even seeing their program, you can tally the amount of silly hand-gestures and verbal shout-outs the skater pantomimes to friends and family as their scores are being read. Shout-outs get five points apiece. The half-fingered wave or ear pull gets ten and an all-out blowing a kiss gets fifteen. For me, those are the skaters who spend too much time socializing at their home rinks lest they risk missing out on the next, killer, Sweet Sixteen party. Those are not the better skaters.

The better ones have ticked off countless skaters at home and have no time to thank anyone but themselves. Even their coaches are suspect of gratitude. I’d put my money on those skaters.

And who are those skaters? They come in four categories: pairs, ice dance, mens, and womens. Unlike the diehard fans, I can’t use up limited real estate in my brain to remember the names of pair and ice dance teams, so I just lock in on one team in each category and focus on the number of falls for the pair teams and the number of costumed accessories for the dance teams. If the team you memorized doesn’t medal, you can always say, “Well, I really thought so and so would nail it, but the judges colluded to let so and so win.” No one will be able to argue that.

Save your compare and contrast abilities for the men’s and women’s categories.

Here’s what you need to know about the men – there are lots of contenders from all over the map and they are all chasing down the quad. That means being daring, almost out-of-control and I’m not just talking about their costumes. The men will have to go balls to the wall for a medal, which is where I hope they don’t end up after crashing on their quad.

The women’s category, of course, gets most of the attention. But unlike years past, be prepared for an American princess who is a long shot to win a medal at the Olympics. Make way for Asia. There are several Japanese gals who keep landing triple axels, which have been extinct since the days of Tonya Harding. Yes, that Tonya.

But the one skater you should really watch for is a spunky little spitfire from South Korea who has taken the world by storm. The skating world that is. Kim Yu-Na will be pitted against the three Japanese skaters in a media war Japan and South Korea have built up since she came on the scene. She is a rock star in her native South Korea, twice voted their Person Of The Year, so the frenzy of the Olympics shouldn’t faze her a bit. Let’s hope those crazed short-track speed skating fans can move over for the new girl in town.

So gear up folks. Skating is back (for two weeks at least).

I kid, because I love (skating). And I put the jokes ahead of some of the facts.

What I would say seriously to all of the skaters competing at the Olympics is - you are amazing. Like Ice Mom said in an earlier post, to have beaten the odds and gotten where you are, you are amazing. Now go and have a good time.

February 4, 2010

Literal Videos!

Okay - I'll be honest. This doesn't have much to do with skating UNLESS, someone is looking to skate to a new, very clever exhibition number.

You would have to pick a literal video that is so well known, like Billie Jean linked below, for the audience to get the jokes. Even though Lady Gaga's Pokerface is all over the radio, I don't know how many kids these days waste hours of time watching music videos like I did. Now they waste hours of time on Wii or Nintendo.

So I really don't see anyone using these songs yet. But, speaking of wasting time, if you have five minutes to kill, you might find this literal version of Billie Jean amusing. I did!

BTW - it is SFW, if you're allowed to have music coming out of your cubicle. The danger will be people coming over to watch this version.

Duh nuh, elbow dance!
Duh nuh, elbow dance!

February 3, 2010

Thin Ice at Foxwoods

I don't know who the competitors are but here is the description of the show:

Thin Ice,” a new reality competition for the world’s greatest pro figure skaters, will be contested March 19 and 21, 2010, at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods and televised live in prime-time by the ABC Television Network.

Emmy Award-winning co-host of The View, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Kurt Browning, four-time world champion Canadian figure skater, will co-host “Thin Ice” live from MGM Grand at Foxwoods. Two of the judges will be Kristi Yamaguchi, 1992 Olympic Gold Medalist and Season #6 champion of ABC's “Dancing with the Stars,” and Dick Button, two-time Olympic Champion, Emmy award-winning broadcaster and the voice of figure skating on American television for 45 years.

If you want to get tickets, go to this website to check it out. MGM at Foxwoods

February 1, 2010

Back from vacation

... and back to keeping you up-to-date on ice shows decades old!

But seriously, folks - at the hotel complex we stayed in there were shows every night and, of course, I wanted to see the dance shows. I always want to see performers doing their tricks.

One night was a Michael Jackson tribute. It was not created because of MJ's death, but put together three years ago and now running continuously. I can't imagine how emotional it must have been for the MJ impersonator to do the show in the days right after the star's death.

My 6-year old loves MJ and loved the show, so she definitely wanted to go the next night to the "American Way" dance show. She spotted her new bestest 7-year old girlfriend she had made earlier that day and we sat next to her, her mother and the 4-year old brother.

Now this was not an all-adult hotel, but the dance show should have come with a warning or a rating, because it wasn't meant for kids. The first number opened with two show girls, wearing rhinestone-studded bikinis, 3-foot feathered hats, and giant, glittery cloth wings, that gave each gal a wing-span of twelve feet when they held their arms out.

They strutted to the front of the stage and then turned around to strut back showing us right away that this was a "G-string" show. And my daughter blurted out for many to hear, "Hey, mommy, that's just like what you used to wear!"