Ginger Pop: Bring on the Ice Drama

Saturday officially kicks off the Sochi Olympics. The if I had to pick one type of Olympics to watch the rest of my life, I would probably go with the summer. At least that’s my knee jerk answer. But then I start thinking about the winter Olympics, specifically figure skating, and I’m torn like my border collie with two tennis balls–I want the one in my mouth and the one you just threw.

During the last Olympics, I spouted my love of the Russia Diva Swan Gymnasts. Figure skaters fall under that same love umbrella. Part of what I love about figure skating is that often those athletes, both men and women, are just horrible sports. Remember Surya Bonaly? She was a pissed off French girl who always looked ready to punch EVERYONE–fans, judges, competitors, coaches–everyone. She did back flips in competition because, F-you, that’s why. Figure skaters are often tantrum throwing divas in the most compelling, fantastic way.

 

And why shouldn’t they be? As a lifelong figure skating fan, I can tell the one thing I’ve learned is that it is a deeply unfair sport. Michelle Kwan doesn’t have an Olympic gold medal, primarily because she lost to her teammate, pint-sized Tara Lipinski, in 1998. My friend Will actually left me a voicemail after the event saying something to the effect of “Tara beat Michelle and I no longer find meaning in the world.” Or remember drama in Salt Lake City between the Russian team of Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze and Canadians Sale/Pelletier? They ended up giving two sets of gold medals due to questionable scoring (curse you, French judge!). You don’t get that kind of thing in speed skating.

The Sochi games haven’t even started, but the figure skating drama has commenced. The American team elected to send Ashley Wagner in the place of Mirai Nagasu, even though Wagner placed out of team contention at the trials. What this sets us up for is one of two possibilities: either Wagner is going to smack this bad boy down and prove she deserved the spot, OR she’s going to fall in some horrible literal or metaphorical way. No matter what happens, there will be tears. And by God, there will be sequins.

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