On Thin Ice

“What would Brian Boitano do if he were here right now?”

(see South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut)

With the Olympics only a year away, the 2001 World Championships have shown that the U.S. figure skating picture is not nearly so rosy as one might hope. With the games coming to Salt Lake City, you would think U.S. skating would be getting ready to make hay while the jingoistic sun of a home games shines. But the outlook isn’t good.

What has happened to U.S. men’s figure skating? With the horribly outclassed Timothy Goebels and injured and (not quite ready for prime quad) Todd Eldridge carrying the red, white, and blue at this year’s world championships, the United States has faint hope of acquiring the necessary 14 total points (first place worth one, second worth two, and so on) to assure three spots at the Olympics next year.

U.S. judges need to reward skaters with realistic (read international) scores so the skaters have someone other than their coaches telling them they need to improve to compete on the world stage.

It isn’t just the men who suffer under the system. Ice dancers in particular have no clear idea of where they stand legitimately (oops, this is ice dancing after all, what am I thinking?) compared with other skaters. A perfect 6.0 for artistic impression may look nice to the locals, but no one on the international scene is fooled by the inflated scores. Put U.S. ice dancers on the same sheet of ice with their swifter, more risk taking international competitors and the joke is very clearly on the Americans.

“He’d make a plan and follow through. That’s what Brian Boitano’d Do.”

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