cathyr19355: Stock photo of myself (cornew)
Thursday night, I decided to catch what I could of the Women's Long Program part of the Winter Olympic competition in Torino. Figure skating is one of the few sports I actually like to watch, though it's been a long time since I'd watched any figure skating events, Olympic or otherwise. I was struck by three things on Thursday night.

One was the significant increase in flashiness of the women's costumes. The amount of flesh-colored spandex (used to simulate zones of bare flesh, which are not permitted), the gaudiness of the color schemes, and the size and tackiness of the motifs in the design (one costume had 8-inch snowflake patterns picked out in beads all over it) all made for costumes that went beyond daring into the realm of vulgarity.

The second was the continued pressure on the athletes to engage in more difficult maneuvers and more difficult spins and jumps. It used to be a big deal for women to land triples in competition. Now triples, even triple/triples (like a triple lutz and a triple toeloop, say) are *expected* of women (and I gather quadruples are now expected of men, but I did not get to watch any of the men's figure skating this year).

Finally, I was seriously disturbed about the callous way the commentators speculated about the psychological state of the competitors and, in many cases, subtly denegrated their performance. About Sasha Cohen, they said things like, "She's never been a reliable performer; she hoped she could hold it together but it didn't happen tonight." One Japanese performer was labeled as "less mature" than the woman who ultimately won the gold medal. To say nothing of the loving close-ups and slo-mos of the competitors who fell. I know figure skating commentary has fed on this weird combination of observation, criticism and speculation for years, but on Thursday it really bothered me, somehow. I found I was grateful that none of the competitors could hear the cruel remarks by the commentators as they skated, or they would have done far, far worse.

Is it just me, or is the magic draining out of Olympic-level figure skating?
Mood:: 'annoyed' annoyed

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