Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Main Event

Since the main event of the week, the ladies' long program, wasn't scheduled to start until the late afternoon I spent the morning getting pampered at my usual spot. After leaving Marina's capable hands I met up with R and V for the yummiest lunch I had all week.
There should be a pic of the mixed appetizer platter here. I'm guessing we tore through it before I remembered to take a pic? Oh well. Gaze upon the beauty of my pork burger with yam fries instead.
The cinnamon water complemented our desserts well.

After fueling up for the main event we walked over to Staples. Along the way we encountered many members of Yuna Kim's fanbase. In addition to wearing matching shirts, they were passing out free South Korean flags outside the arena.
As with the men's winners, there was an outdoor public ceremony for the ice dance champions. See the dude in the black sleeveless shirt? Umm, he never looks that hot in any of his skating costumes. I mean, I really had no idea that he could look hot at all. It was a pleasant surprise for many of us.
Candace Didier of France wins the award for toughest girl ever. About ten minutes before I took this picture she had an insanely hard fall onto the ice 1/4 of the way into her program, right onto her hipbone. After lying motionless on the ice for a few moments in an arena that became dead silent, being assisted off the ice by a plethora of staff and screaming in pain for a few minutes as medical personnel examined her, she came back out and finished her program. That's pretty hardcore, especially when you consider the fact she had no shot at a medal even at her best.
This guy had a plea for resident headcase and U.S. champion Alissa Czisny.

Despite a crowd that filled Staples up to the rafters . . .
. . . Alissa held it together and had a lovely skate. Too bad she had messed up so badly in her short program. There was no digging out of the hole she had dug. Her final placement, combined with final placement of Rachel Flatt, was not enough to give the U.S. ladies three spots at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Do you know what happened the last time the U.S. could only send two ladies to the Winter Games? Tonya Harding's creepy husband decided to break out the club and take matters into their own hands to guarantee her a spot. It might be a little dangerous to be an elite female skater in these upcoming months.
It's too bad that none of the U.S. ladies in recent years have the type of consistency that the Kween had. I have to say, she also consistently looks fabulous. The color of her dress was awesome and she was perfectly accessorized down to the interlocking Cs on her handbag. It must run in the family; her older sister always looks spectacular as well. It takes a certain kind of woman to pull off wearing stilettos at an ice rink.
Of the top contenders, Mao Asada of Japan was the first to take the ice. One of the few women who can land a triple axel, she had two planned for the evening. Her first attempt was successful; the next one was not. She skated the rest of her program adequately, but a bit mechanically. While the Code of Points has helped increase the credibility of scoring in ice skating, it has also had the effect of producing a lot of performances that are skate-by-numbers. It saddens me that we may never see simple, beautiful moves anymore, like a perfect layback spin or a lengthy spread eagle, because it just doesn't offer enough points.
Miki Ando, also of Japan, skated next and with much more emotion that her teammate. A couple years ago, the Japanese skating federation all but gave up on Miki. She refused to slink away, however, and made a rousing comeback.
The cheers started to fill the arena long before Yuna Kim stepped out on the ice. The amount of flags and signage was overwhelming. There's a better pic of one of the signs, as well as an explanation as to her preferred method of address, here.

Yuna skated to Scheherazade. Why is this significant to a skating? In 2002, Michelle Kwan also skated to Scheherazade for her long program and brought down the house at Staples. I remember the crowd being on its feet with thirty seconds still to go in her music. I can only imagine what Michelle must have been thinking while watching this teen dynamo skate to what was her music, in her "house". Michelle's version of Scheherazade is one of my all-time favorite programs and I feel fortunate to have seen it live in '02; I had a difficult time not picturing Michelle's moves at certain points in the music. I know I wasn't only the skating fan with that problem.

Yuna's performance was also magical. There was no doubt who the winner would be at the conclusion of her program.
Following the magic was one of the most spectacular meltdowns of the week and really, of the last twenty years. Like Yuna, Carolina Kostner of Italy also skated to a piece of music well associated with Michelle Kwan -- The Song of the Black Swan. Michelle's black swan was triumphant and led her to a World title in 2001. Carolina's swan most definitely did not do the same. She either fell or downsized almost all of her planned triple jumps. At some points she did single jumps. Dude -- I can do single jumps! And I know my level of skating has absolutely no place at Worlds.

The final standings.

There was only one way for us to end the night: drinks, junk food and admiring the handiwork of Yuna's fans:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Candles for Annaleigh

You can read about Annaleigh here. I became "acquainted" with Brooke through her cooking blog, which popped up as a recommendation in my Google Reader one day. It wasn't until several weeks later that I realized that the blog author was also a poster on one of my favorite messageboards.

Tonight my heart is breaking for that family. It all seems so unfair. The Candles for Annaleigh campaign was started on that messageboard as a way to show support. If you can spare a moment, please send positive thoughts or prayers their way.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Book Challenge: July Recap

22. Mommy Tracked by Whitney Gaskell
23. Fat Girl by Judith Moore
24. Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
25. All I Want is Everything by Cecily von Zigesar
26. If I Am Missing or Dead by Janine Latus

I have to admit, most of these books (#23, 24 and 25) were rather depressing, covering topics such as physical & emotional abuse, sexual assault, co-dependency, etc. At times I felt as if I were reading just another case file from work. I think I need some lighthearted reads for August.