It’s sturm-und-drang time in figure skating at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, not that there hasn’t already been enough drama with the flameouts, the dark horses, the falls, the wardrobe malfunctions – and Tara and Johnny’s excellent “Will and Grace” adventure.
But tonight begins what for many figure skating fans – and, indeed, Olympic viewers – is the glamour event of the Games, the ladies’ championship.
The short program you’ll see this evening is an intense concentration of required elements, and you know the old saying: You can’t win the championship in the short but you sure can lose it. Experts consider the contest to be one between Russian training partners Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova with everyone else triple toe looping it for the bronze.
But don’t count out the two Americans – the steady-as-she-goes Bradie Tennell and fan fave Mirai Nagasu, who reinvented herself with the triple axel – which she landed cleanly in the team competition, the first American woman to do so in an Olympics – to help give Team USA the bronze.
In the end, though, it will be about artistry – who puts on a show, who tells a compelling story with her skates. Nagasu is our sentimental favorite but watch out for Zagitova, the 15-year-old spitfire who flits around the ice to Minkus’ “Don Quixote” as if she were a prima ballerina. (And why not? It’s hard to beat the Russians’ ballet training.)
Just as it’s hard to beat art. The Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir proved that last night. Skating to “Moulin Rouge’s” “El Tango de Roxanne” and “Come What May,” their gold-medal performance was all of a piece – storytelling, athleticism, musicality, acting, costuming. (Here’s the slightly more risqué version of the routine, with the lift in which she sits backward on his shoulders, which they modified for the Olympics.
That’s what great art is – an integrated experience.
And in skating, it’s a definite edge.
– Georgette Gouveia