Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Figure skating. Something's wrong

Not that a wide disparity in scores would be anything new when it comes to judging at various Olympic events, particularly during the Cold War era, but sometimes one is left to wonder -- just what the hell is going on here?

During the finals of the pairs competition, a couple representing Germany took the ice. Cue the music and don your Ray-Bans so the sequins in HD don't blind you. Off they went. It was lovely, romantic, graceful, and finally here came the first jump. Up they went in tandem for a triple drive shaft, or maybe that's axel. The young maiden landed perfectly and her partner went ker-splat. The dude was floundering around on the ice like he just got drilled in the head with a slapshot. Eventually regaining his bearings, he caught back up to his Fraulein to continue their routine. The piped in symphony orchestra played on.

The couple would intertwine their arms and legs in ways that were almost sensual, while twirling around on their skates. Pretty cool. Maybe not quite as steamy as your average porno flick -- but not bad.

Then here came another spectacular move. After a running head start, the handsome beau deftly tossed his beloved into a triple toe jam, or maybe toe loop. As she was spinning in the air, her mate did a pirouette on the ice with his arm proudly outstretched to show the crowd, and judges, just how magnificent his partner was. Just one problem. She'd crashed and burned on her landing as well, and was flopping around on the ice like a perch freshly hauled out of an ice fishing hole. Not so graceful as the violins were reaching a crescendo.

Yet incredibly, this couple won a bronze medal. That begs a question. How bad were the other pairs if they couldn't top that botched performance? Or was something else perhaps afoot?

The pair in question are named Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy. Do those names sound German to you? Turns out, Aliona is from Kiev -- a Russian by birth. She somehow hooked up with Szolkowy, whose father is a Tanzanian, as a partner in Germany. How they came to represent Deutschland in the Olympics would seem to be a very good question.

Yet after what most would consider a disastrous performance -- they still won a medal.

This is not to say the Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia are anything but on the up and up. Heaven forbid the judges might have been biased in some way. Certainly those days are over.


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