Friday, November 27, 2009

The Skating Gods

Anyone that skates understands that the figure skating gods are a fickle bunch at best. One day you can do a perfect camel the next day you can barely center a scratch spin and this happens for no apparent reason. You just have bad skating days. Somehow you inadvertently offended one of the skating gods. Of course where I skate the lesser gods inhabit our rink. They sometimes bestow a perfectly centered spin on you or an amazing wipe out while doing a simple three turn but mostly they ignore us. The Olympic skating gods however are much worse. Two international level top skaters will do the same jump, one lands it perfectly and the second cleans the ice with their butt. They can both do the jump or they wouldn't be in the competition in the first place. It is just that one is in favor with the gods that day and the other is not.

I was at Lake Placid for the Skate America competition. This is the first high level competition that I have gone to. I was very excited and got to see the Olympic skating gods in action. Brandon Mroz was one of their toys over the weekend. He landed everything in practice. He did okay during his short program but his long program was a complete and utter disaster. I don't think he landed a single jump in his program. I felt so bad for him. The gods had it out for him for sure. It isn't like he can't skate. During his practice he did a wonderful job. The Olympic gods just decided to mess with him that day. Rachael Flatt and Evan Lysacek however were in their favor this weekend. They both skated wonderfully. Rachel skated a perfect long program and Evan a perfect short program and a near perfect long program. Rachael even beat out Yu-Na Kim in the long. But the gods had favored Yu-Na the day before with a perfect short program so she got the gold medal.

But the gods decided to chase one of the Russian competitors down and take him out. Again the kid skated well in practice but dumped his jumps during the competition. If he didn't finish last he was dam close to the bottom. Once he was done he went out drinking. As if this wasn't bad enough, he then went out and found a car with the keys still in it (this is Lake Placid after all and people still leave their keys in their cars) and went for a drive. After the police caught up with him, he landed in jail for car theft and drunk driving. The Russian team left without him while he sat in jail waiting for a court hearing. He may get the charges dropped but the gods were not done with him yet. The Russian Skating Federation has banned him from competition for one year so he is going to miss the Olympics. The Olympic skating gods can be a mean lot when you piss them off.

I have felt their touch when I skate in LP. I seem to skate better and faster when I am up there. I am more daring but also fall more often. Their touch is feather light but always present. I truly hope I never anger them but I still have no idea how to appease them.

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