Friday, February 24, 2006

Silver and Gold

Yes, The Monk watched the important parts of the ladies' free skate last night and what a disappointing competition. Instead of a tremendous performance that propelled the champion to a win, Shizuka Arakawa skated cautiously and cleanly to win the gold that fell from Sasha Cohen's hands right before Arakawa skated.

In 1992 (Yamaguchi), 1994 (Baiul, Kerrigan), 1998 (Lipinski, Kwan) and 2002 (Hughes), at least the gold medalist, and occasionally the silver winner, put forth a great show. Yesterday, the most dynamic skating was the last 3 minutes of Cohen's program, where she rescued her medal chances after two bad falls and took advantage of the new scoring system by nailing her later elements (jumps, spins, etc. -- all worth more after the midpoint of the free skate b/c the skaters get bonuses for hitting the tough parts when they are presumptively tiring out). Meanwhile, Slutskaya became the Russian Kwan (although she honked the free skate twice -- 2002 and 2006; Kwan didn't honk in '98, she just got beat) by touching down with non-skate body parts to fall into third. Fairly disappointing over all, and the quick exit and terse treatment from the NBC coverage after Cohen's fall said it all.

PS -- Good on ya to Emily Hughes who took Kwan's place and finished 7th in her first major competition. From short notice to pack for Turin, to extra press scrutiny because her sister was the reigning ice queen, Emily did a fine job overall and, unlike Kimmie Meissner, she doesn't redline (or even register on) the Monkette2B's b-tch detector.

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