Smiling at Strangers

{February 19, 2010}   If *I* Were a Judge…!

Well, first of all, I would have wept such tears of joy at being there, at the 2010 Winter Oympics, in person, that I wouldn’t have been able to see the events properly and would have had to resort to looking over the shoulder of the next judge to appoint a mark, like a naughty schoolchild. So it’s probably good that I’m not a judge after all, even overlooking the fact that I am in no way qualified. But sitting here in the warmth of my friend’s home in Surrey, watching men’s figure skating all day and armed with my laptop and the freedom of speech, aint no one gonna tell me I’m not a judge in my own right!

You know what? I hadn’t watched men’s figure skating before today since…. since I was a young, young child, who registered only minimal interest. I had no idea that I would like it so much. I’ve always enjoyed watching the Olympics, but the only event before today which I took more than a casual interest in was gymnastics (being a pseudo-bendy-gymnast-wannabe myself). So the impact these men’s performances had on me was …surprising. Anyway, let this act as a disclaimer that I am not a professional, and not even a skater, and thus I will not be delving into details of the way one skate turned inwards on the landing of a triple-salchow or anything. That was the judges’ jobs, anyway. As the post-medal-disgruntled-irritant-judge, my job is only to complain about why they were wrong.

So, if I were a judge, first of all, I would like to say… yes, I would have given Evan Lysacek the gold. He was brilliant. Firstly, it was a simple relief to watch him consistently land his jumps, after virtually every contestant previous had fallen or stumbled at some point. But it wasn’t just his almost-flawless technique; the energy and power with which he delivered just… gave me chills.

Although it helped that he looked like a total super-villain, which was really cool.

He looked like such a super-villain that I thought he was Russian. Only Russians look that nefarious.

And while I’m agreeing with the judges, yes, Plushenko, if he wasn’t to get gold (because that was a close contest if I ever saw one) would obviously get silver. I know there’s a big frenzy going on right now with the dispute of why Lysacek won over Plushenko despite not doing a quad (was it Plushenko’s attitude that swayed the judges? Did they not want to give him a gold because of his aggressive remark that with a quad it is not men’s skating? Was it all rigged by aliens? Has this controversy all been created to draw attention away from Johnny Weir’s outfits?), and no, I don’t have any arguments that will sway the minds of people who are on Plushenko’s side. All I can say was that Plushenko’s quad was not perfect, and his performance did not give me chills like Lysacek’s did.

Although they actually scored the same in the component part, so that last bit is obviously just me.

The issues I have with the figure skating events of the night are with Patrick Chan, Johnny Weir, and Nobunari Oda. Well, no, not with *them* personally (unless we’re talking about the issue I have with Weir’s costume choices), of course, but their placements. Seriously, this does pain me, because Patrick Chan is a good ol’ Canadian like yours truly… but he stumbled bad. And then he fell. The rest of his performance was good; great, even. But there was no way he should have beaten the two contestants below him.

I have such a problem with the mark docking on Oda’s mishap with the skate lace! Sure, it is his responsibility to come to the arena with sound equipment, but a snapping lace that causes one to fall is much less one’s fault than just falling is. And other than that, Oda’s skate was incredible. Better than Chan’s. So if the good parts of his performance were better than the good parts of Chan’s, and the flaw was more out of his control than Chan’s was….. arrgh.

And then, of course, where does that put poor Johnny Weird Weir? He didn’t even fall on his rump like the other two. He was marvellous and charismatic on the ice, he skated a clean program… I’m not going to stoop down to crying “The judges are homophobes!”, because much as I don’t share the same viewpoint as them, I grudgingly admit that I’m sure they know what they are doing a lot better than I do.

So I’m just going to cry “It’s not fair!” instead.

Not pictured: a bronze medal. Pictured: I'm still not entirely sure.

So tell me, ever-elusive readers. Who do YOU think skated better than the rank they earned?


et cetera