The Great Skating Chase

I had this idea this weekend: to point out skaters who have achieved technical standards in the sport and use their names as awards and/or commentaries and list other skaters who have shown some degree of achievement of those standards. This is really cool.

Like let me show you the first one: The Peggy Fleming Layback Count, which really inspired this entire page. Peggy does the greatest laybacks in existence. She really does. And one of my small hobbies is watching skaters and starting into this count of how many rotations they can do of what I call "Fleming standard" laybacks. It's fun. It shows you who's doing what. And it honors skaters, both those who have achieved a significant standard and those who are trying. And this is not a bitch or subjective page. If you can do it, and I catch you, you go up here. I don't promise to update this all the time. Just when I see it being done.

And warning. I will not, repeat not, list when and where. It should be obvious. At least to the skaters and those around them. You know if you're good. Your body tells you when you're doing it right. And I find one of the worst diseases of uncaring fandom is to catch some poor, unwary skater on some obscure piece of tape at some weird competition or other and harangue them to death. I believe that the skaters would rather know what they have done right than have this subtle form of harassment continue. You are not better than the skaters just because you can find a piece of film and pick at it, or conversely, praise it. It is the skaters, and the standards, themselves that deserve praise. I've just had it. Use those damned tape collections to see who's doing it right, not to indulge your picky little fantasies. (For one, it's my web page. For two, I'm sticking to technical standards. For three, these skaters need to be praised in a way that helps them, and not pats some damned fan on the back for having the tape collection to see it, the remote control to freeze-frame it, and the ego to spout it.)

A skater knows how well they're doing and when they did it. They just may need to hear it put down objectively and fairly.

If you don't think this is either, then there are other places you can go. I don't. Have fun.

And I'm starting tracking along about Nagano-time. Not much retroactive judging here. I prefer to call it as the coverage is flashing in front of my eyes. I have a good memory for form and placement, but I'm not going to, say, reach back in my memory and do a "Fleming count." Sorry. It's not fair.

The One, The Original, The Only Peggy Fleming Layback Count: Number of rotations, Peggy-Fleming style.

Tara Lipinski: 7. (Un-fucking-believable. I usually try to restrain my language to some extent, but that baby deserved it. I could not believe what I was seeing.)

Biellmann Tracking: Number of rotations in classic Biellman-spin style. No piddly little half-Biellmanns here. I'm talking about the "eggbeater spin." The classic thing. The backbreaker.

Irina Slutskaya: 4.

The Debi Thomas Camel Challenge: Number of rotations in classic Thomas form.

Elvis Stojko: 2.

The Alexei Yagudin Spiral Check: Most feet traveled in clean spiral position with everything else in place.

Lu Chen: 7 feet.

Todd Eldredge Sitspin Dare: Number of rotations. This man blew his second triple axel under Olympic conditions, went on his butt, and was instantly back up on his feet doing the best sitspin positions I have ever, literally ever seen.

Tara Lipinski: 10. I promise. (Has she had special coaching? Is this really fair? Will we have a protest about this one?)

Elvis Stojko Scratch Spin Chase: Number of rotations.

Surya Bonaly: 7.

Midori Ito Triple Axel Test: Hold to the form from 3 feet before takeoff to 3 feet after landing of the greatest triple-axel artist we have ever seen.

Todd Eldredge. For trying.

Lu Chen Choreography Whine: I know this is a little less objective. But it deserves to be done anyway. This is an entire program that you really mean.

Elvis Stojko.

The Surya Flip: For attitude. Pure attitude. In the service of skating. Yeah, I know, this is another sort-of subjective one. But it deserves to be done.

Guo Xhengxin.

The Michelle Kwan Award: For elegance in costuming. This really does affect the sport now.

Michael Weiss.

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