Friday, February 21, 2014

Figure skating fiasco?

The Sochi Olympic Women's Figure Skating finished yesterday, with Adelina Sotnikova of Russia winning gold, and defending champion Yuna Kim of Korea winning silver.

Korea's newspapers today are full of criticism about the competition. Some reports very precisely cite bias & error (link). Some in Korea now call this the "Suchi" 수치 Olympics, using a word for humiliation or black eye. There's a great global search for allies abroad - people & reports who reconfirm: Yuna Kim and the people of Korea were robbed.

I know the extent 김연아 is beloved by the Korean people. And she surely gave a very strong performance. But good sportsmanship at minimum requires we also consider Sotnikova's performance - which surely was excellent, and perhaps she had more sparkle.

Kim seemed a bit tired and bored - not wholly the dynamic elegant brilliance we've much enjoyed in the past.

Consider Kim's short program:
"Send in the Clowns" is a dark song, full of regret. It talks of farce, fools, and "Losing my timing this late in my career..."

Sorry. Not an uplifting theme.

Was Ms. Yuna Kim predicting -- even forcing -- her own rejection?
"Making my entrance again with my usual flair.  Sure of my lines. No one is there..."

Here are additional analyses: for Sotnikova (link)  and for Kim and here's an NBC scored & annotated video comparing their performances (search for sotnikova-kim-free-skate-routines-side-side if link is dead).

Congratulations to all Olympic competitors !

Here's one further great analysis, by Joe Posnanski (link).

I prefer track & field. Athletics measures time, distance and height objectively, with far less subjective judgement and minimal potential for referee interference (events hotly contested in Olympia 2800 years ago). Perhaps, in present form, figure skating & synchronized swimming should not be Olympic sports at all. Should we add further medals for aerobics & square dancing, pottery & violin?