I confess that I do not know very much about the technical aspects of figure skating. I cannot distinguish an axel from a salchow, or a toe loop from a lutz. But I know what falling down looks like when I see it, and almost every pair skating in the finals last night fell down at some point, either in a jump or a throw. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t do better. But I’m not in the Olympics; they are.
I suppose that advances in the sport make every skater feel like he or she needs to do the hardest trick. I admit is is impressive to watch when it’s done well. But when it isn’t done well it looks like a disaster. Yet, teams that fall or only double jumps that ought to be triples still win medals and teams that appear to do everything right wind up way down the score card. That’s the part I really do not understand.
I don’t dispute that the gold- and silver-winning teams from last night’s pair skate skated exceedingly well. But the third-place German team–who looked great the night before–fell all over themselves. On the other hand, the team I liked, who didn’t fall at all, weren’t even in the top five.
I suppose someone who knows a lot about figure skating will say that it comes down to artistic presentation, or complex technical elements. Again, I may be missing some fancy foot movements, or not realizing that a backwards lift is much more difficult than a forwards lift. But no one can miss the falling down.
That said, there was some good music last night. My favorite pair, Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett, skated to Scheherazade, which was a fine complement to the Firebird they chose the night before. But, later in the program, another team skated to Scheherazade, and not as well, I thought. Another team skated to Rachmaninoff. I was most pleased last night, though, that someone chose to skate to Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite. That’s one of my favorite pieces of American music.
I’m looking forward to the rest of the figure skating.