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What a night.
We start out with Sandra pointing out the obvious with near-show-tune of the night: “It’s figure skating so of course we’re going to hear some Carmen tonight.”
Rachael Flatt laid out a strong performance to Scott Hamilton’s delight: “She’s a rock, she’s so consistent… skates her best performance of the year!” Sandra went with declaring that “She’s really doing it… she has saved her best one for the Olympics games!” Unfortunately our eyes are once again scarred by her insistence of wearing dark taupey tights despite a pretty jazzy red costume. Even more unfortunately, our friendly commentators believe that Flatt may have been underscored; Scott again falls into great turns of phrase saying, “she didn’t get any slack from the collar tonight.” Flatt ended up in seventh position.
Mirai Nagasu on the other hand made it within sight of the podium with her interpretation of Carmen, landing herself in fourth place with another personal best. Before heading out onto the ice Nagasu was looking pretty grim before her coach told her, “Smile!” Scott was obviously super excited about all of her jumps shouting out the combinations: “double lutz, double lutz, double TOE!” He also noted that as compared to her performance at Nationals “every jump looked a little higher and a little bit tighter here… Everything about her is just quality.”
As for Sandra? ” Everything about her is just beautiful, pristine… She went out tonight and just nailed it, she did sparkle!”
The best thing about Mirai is how stoked she was at the end with a big open grin, how thrilled she was with her final score and how excited she was later on to take a picture with Joannie Rochette. She’s just spunky; she says, “I don’t care about results, I just want people to know that I’m the future!” Spunktastic. Even Dick Button thinks that she is “a really spiffy young lady,” who deserves a medal. Plus her red and black sequined costume was the perfect accompaniment to Carmen, I mean, if you want to get sartorial about things.
Sartorially speaking about the inspirational Joannie Rochette, her costume features that awkward faux bare midriff situation with which I take issue. Miki Ando of Japan also had that going on with her Cleopatra program. Sigh.
But back to business: Rochette managed the skate of her life just days after her mother unexpectedly passed away, “a kiss for her father, a performance for her mom.” Her story definitely became the emotional center of the women’s figure skating competition/ the whole Olympic games. Scott was especially emotional, choking up as he wondered how she could have persevered: “I’ve never seen such a super human determination… She went after everything, she was athletic, she was determined… it was just a wonderful thing to see… I’m so inspired by her performance.” I personally teared up a few times and when her program was over I actually almost clapped in my living room. My hands actually twitched to life, something unique to her performance.
So how did she do it? Rochette spoke to Andrea Joyce afterwards and explained, “Ever since I’m young, my mom she was really a tough woman and she taught me that… it was really important to be… so she is happy where she is.”
Take a break, grab a tissue.
Next up Mao Asada who created history by landing not one but two triple axels in her free skate, in addition to one landed in her short program. Epic. Scott… back to you–
“What courage to come out after that [Kim Yu-Na] and to throw those jumps that she did!”
“I was so proud of the effort, of the courage.”
It was very impressive. Mao is Kim’s closest rival and she totally threw down last night. And to top it off, she had a delightful costume that Molly described as “burlesque” in a way. Very old broadway or vaudeville or something, black and red, sequins, gloves, a choker– the works.
And finally… Kim Yu-Na, who “owns and operates the rule book.” Scott was so f’ing excited about this lady, saying “My heart just started beating a little faster,” as she came onto the ice. Really. She is amazing, fluid gliding and spinning over the ice which she covers so completely and with such graceful speed that Scott compared her to Apolo Ohno, oddly. From here on out, I just need to list some of the things that the commentators said, because it’s all just too much.
“Oh my goodness this is glorious! It’s one of the greatest Olympics performances I have ever seen!” ~Sandra
“Jumping to their feet, the coronation is complete, long live the queen!” ~Tom
“No one can walk a mile in those shoes!” ~Scott
“What was magical about the performance were the moments she took to focus into the audience and play with choreography and to feel relaxed.” ~Sandra
“To me, the crowd was just spellbound.” ~Tom
The quotation paradise of figure skating never ends. Never.
Kim lost some of her legendary composure at the end of her skate, obviously well aware that she just broke the world record through the roof taking a 159.06 for the free skate and a composite of 228.56. The tears she spilled at the medal ceremony were apparently a complete surprise to her, being the first she has ever shed after a performance: “I was really happy that I did what I wanted to do.” “I think it was both [relief & joy].” This was the first figure skating medal for South Korea… lots of pressure.
And that’s the end of Olympian figure skating until Sochi 2014. I leave you with this tweet by short tracker J.R. Celski:
@celskeet i wonder if it would be harder to transition from speed skating to figure skating, or the other way around? i know for sure i can’t spin…
Things to ponder.