Thursday, June 18, 2009

Not All Of Them Are Gay

If you haven't guessed yet, this post is mostly about the men's competition. Without fail, almost every non-skating fan I talk to about ice skating asks me at some point whether all of the guys in the sport are gay. Some of them are, but, no, they all aren't. Even if they are wearing sequins. And does it really matter? I've never quite understood why this question gets asked so much. So let's move on.

See all these Canadians that were sitting across from us at the arena?
I couldn't escape them all week. They were staying with a tour group in my hotel, crowding the bar and the elevators. They even followed me to Panini Cafe one morning for breakfast. This lone CA(lifornia) girl sitting on the side patio was forgotten about as the CA(nadian) mob overtook the front of the restaurant. The food at Panini Cafe was okay: good mimosa, good bacon, good bread, good coffee. But my eggs were overdone. Blech. I hate overcooked eggs.
Lunch later on that day at The Farm was a lot better. The fact that we waited twenty minutes for a table while standing shoulder to shoulder with the legendary Dorothy Hamill and current U.S. ladies' silver medalist Rachael Flatt had nothing to do with it. ;-) I swear, those twenty minutes were the most quiet we had been all week. We were desperately hoping to overhear some hot (or cool?) skating gossip. After we were seated I ordered ahi tuna, served three ways.
I also mooched off of V's cheese platter.
The men's short program had more interesting audio moments than visual moments. Did you know techno music is just not for raves? It seems the be the go-to music for most men.
The U.S. men's champion, Evan Lysacek, bucked the trend, but by skating to Bolero. For those of you not as obsessed as I am, Bolero is the iconic ice dancing piece skated by Torvill and Dean at the 1984 Olympics. Their performance revolutionized ice dance. Those two pretty much owned that piece of music for almost two decades. No one else dared to skate to it because how could one possibly live up to the expectations? Over the last five years though, Bolero has snuck back into the repertoire of skating music. I still raise my eyebrow when I hear someone skating to it; I expect them to bring it. Despite his excessive arm flailing, Evan brought it.
Evan's primary compeition was French skater Brian Joubert. Brian opted for a lively techno number, that seemed more like a piece for show skating. Much to the delight of tweens and cougars, he worked in some Chippendale-esque hip thrusts into his routine.
We ended up back at the Yard House that night. From left to right: R, Me, C, A, A's Fabulous Mom, V and L. L is the woman responsible for having brought most of us together. Back in 2002, when we were still all strangers on FSU, L arranged a block of group seating for FSUers for the '02 U.S. Nationals, which were also held at Staples Center. The area has changed quite a bit since then -- all for the better! C befriended us at the '06 U.S. Nationals in St. Louis. Having been seated in the row in front of us, he overheard all our snark and couldn't stay away. We were thankful we didn't scare him away with our chatter. We met A and her mom at Worlds, although A already seemed to familiar through her posts on the board.
The (over)use of techno made an appearance in the men's long program too. I forgave this guy for it as he was vastly entertaining, channeling his inner Mr. Roboto.
The other crowd pleaser of the evening was Italian skater Samuel Contesti. He skated a program with a spaghetti western theme. Plus he's easy on the eyes.
This is the joy of victory. Evan Lysacek skated a stellar long program to Rhapsody in Blue.
This is the agony of defeat. Brian Joubert skated a sloppy program to the soundtrack of The Matrix (for like the third season in a row). He broke the cardinal rule of being a good competitor and tried to change his program elements as he skated. That's a big no-no, since muscle memory is a vital part of being a good skater. Changing elements mid-program also shifts your mental focus. If it works out, then it's great. But more often than not it results in silly mistakes, as Brian learned the hard way, falling on what should have been an easy double axel.
The final standings. The pleasant suprise was the silver-place finish by Canadian skater Patrick Chan. He and Brian Joubert had quite the war of words in the press regarding the necessity of doing quadruple jumps. Patrick = no quad. Brian = quad. On this night, the quad lost. It was the first time a U.S. man has won the gold at Worlds since Todd Eldredge's win in 1996.
I only took this picture because Dr. Debi Thomas and Tiffany Chin were presenting the medals to the men. Those two were my idols when I skated as a kid. I still have some of Debi's performances on VHS.
The guys had to do a lot of posing for the media.

After all the media shots were done, the skaters stuck around for their fans. Brian Joubert came over to our section. L hustled down to the front and returned with the most funny and bizarre story of the week. L always gets the best stories and gossip:
Apparently a middle-aged woman came rushing down the stairs toward Brian, holding an envelope. She shouted at him, "Brian I have something for you," while handing over the envelope. Then she insisted that he open it. Most people assumed it was perhaps a photo she wanted him to sign, or a racy photo of herself she wanted him to have. Instead it was a picture of her cat. A cat she named "Brian Joubert", because she is such a huge fan. Skater Joubert politely smiled, thanked her, then tried to return the photo of Cat Joubert. The woman, however, refused to take it back and said she printed that photo out especially for him.
And you all thought I'm a crazy skating fan ;-) ......


weezermonkey said...

That catlady is scary stuff.

Serendipite said...

GO USA! Oh and LOL at crazy ice skating cat lady

Insomniac said...

Techno music? Hmm - are you sure about your post title? ;)

suitablegirl said...

Oh, wow...Debi Thomas. When I was young, she was the only skater I got excited over (after all, skating was your arena...heh...arena). I remember even my Dad cheering her on and getting in to an argument with some Uncle about how she was awesome. So nice to hear about her again (and to learn that not all male skaters are teh ghey).

A Feminist Gold Digger said...

Uh, I'm pretty sure they are gay and just refuse to come to terms with it. Hee.

10yearstogether said...

My mom would have passed out if she was anywhere NEAR Dorothy Hammill. She copied her haircut for years.