March 31, 2003

Michelle Kwan wins fifth world title.: Y'all laughed at me when I said she's the Michael Jordan of figure skating, but she's one title away from six, a Jordanesque number. True, she fails at the Olympics, but what other skater is as driven by the love of competition as she is? Maybe she's more like the Ric Flair of figure skating--getting jobbed out at big moments, but consistently awesome.

posted by Justin Slotman to other at 11:36 AM - 9 comments

This gets my vote for Most Ambitious Post of the Month. I can't believe you combined Figure Skating and Wrestling. Nice.

posted by Samsonov14 at 12:58 PM on March 31, 2003

I second that notion.

posted by garfield at 02:19 PM on March 31, 2003

It's freaking unanimous ... now, we need to equate all other figure skaters to wrestlers! Tonya Harding = The Undertaker Sarah Hughes = XPac Brian Hamilton = The Big Show Brian Boitano = uhhh ... Brian Boitano.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:34 PM on March 31, 2003

The questions are: Will Kwan still be in top form in three years? Will other skaters have finally achieved the kind of consistency, athleticism and artistry that they need to beat her? And will she do something stupid like decide to go into an Olympic season without a coach again? In any event, she is one of the all-time greats.

posted by Jaquandor at 06:03 PM on March 31, 2003

I didn't even see Timothy Goebel's skate but everyone seemed surprised that the badly-coiffed blonde pinhead Russian with the sneering attitude beat him. Speaking of being horrible with names, what an unfortunate name the American kid has, too... I'm forever destined to want to type "Goebbels."

posted by evixir at 12:49 AM on April 01, 2003

Do you remember when Krause made his famous statement: "Organizations win championships"? In the case of Kwan, "judges win championships."

posted by jacknose at 08:27 AM on April 01, 2003

Jacknose, putting down figure skating because it's a judged sport is silly. All sports are judged sports to one degree or another; figure skating is merely on the extreme end of the judging-dependent side of the continuum. Jaquandor, from what I've read her new coach (who she didn't have at the Olympics) is partly responsible for her being in the zone lately--he's apparently a more of a calming figure, as opposed to the taskmaster-types she had when she was a kid. Figure skating and pro wrestling do seem related to me; I'm just not sure where. They both put a lot of value in the way you do things as opposed to what you do, more than most sports. Both genders compete in both sports but one gender (men in figure skating and women in wrestling) is marginalized. The audience for both is dominated by one gender (men for wrestling, women for skating.) I dunno.

posted by Justin Slotman at 11:28 AM on April 01, 2003

It may be a silly statement, but it sounds good. But seriously, it's the "extreme end of the judging-dependent side" of skating that makes the "sport" problematic. I don't want to be a parrot and repeat what I've echoed many other times in similar threads. Regarding figure skating and wrestling, let me refer you to a column that I wrote for SportsFilter during the last Winter Olympics (yep, columns, do you remember that cool feature we added to SportsFilter many moons ago?). Here's the part I want you to pay attention to: "I cannot think of a better sport for the Olympic stage than professional wrestling. Fixed outcomes will be assumed, but we, the audience, will gladly accept the pretentiousness as long as the costumes are tight, the insults are loud, and the faux fighting is raw. Winners will be determined by television ratings."

posted by jacknose at 11:50 AM on April 01, 2003

Oh gawd--pro wrestling at the Olympics would be great. Some enterprising promoter needs to set up in Athens. There'd only be like four countries represented--Canada, the U.S., Japan and Mexico--but lack of participants never stops the Olympics from having softball and field hockey. Of course, booking the thing would be problematic, we could go by television ratings like you said or we could have the wrestlers determine it themselves based on crowd reaction. And it would be great pro wrestling since the storylines would be strictly about the glories of competition--there would be tons of patriotism, but it wouldn't be the major storyline. It would be like a World Cup of pro wrestling. I'd watch. Of course, getting all the world's promoters to sign on with a modern-day NWA would be pretty difficult.

posted by Justin Slotman at 01:32 PM on April 01, 2003

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