This Is Where I Seriously Vent On Ilia Kulik

Hey, guys. You're supposed to be judging the edges of the blades. Not the edges of the cheekbones.

Let's talk about that costume. You know, the yellow and black one everybody's picking on. The one from his Olympic long program. The "giraffe" number, as I've heard it referred to.

Guys, you're slipping. Twenty years ago, there were only four people in the world who would have noticed an optical-effect stunt like that. (And I'm blowing the whistle on other sports too, if only because it was so badly done. Guys, guys, guys, there were at least three U.S. attempts to copy that idea.....y'know, at some point even the commentators will notice!)

I make all of you a promise. Crawl back into the archives, learn to do it decently, and I won't say a word. Let them figure it out. Hee hee hee.... I really do admire ingenuity..... Now for those who have no idea what I'm talking about, the effects of color and pattern have been known for years. Run tape of Ilia in that outfit. Watch his jumps and his spins, and indeed any place where he is building up considerable speed. If you're not used to clearing your eyes of the blinding effect of that yellow-and-black material, you literally cannot accurately judge edges. And I'm not just ratting on Ilia. This has been done for years. Tapeheads, go use those collections for something besides screaming practice.

I really don't know whether the idea came from sources close to the skater. I do not. (And no, that particular costume I doubt was deliberate. They ain't that dang smart.) (So quit worrying. Them? Hah.) (Them either.) But there it is. Cold War skating tactics. Classic stuff. Almost.

You want a redesign on that costume so it would've looked good? And not lifted a fannish eyebrow from here to San Diego? Get the fabric reprinted. Space the black thingies out more. Make them bigger. Intensify the yellow. Deepen the black to optical zero. That's your key. Lose the vest. Use solid black pants, a shade (one shade, please) lighter than the shirt thingies (one). Bring the pants up a tad above the waist. Blouse out the shirt. (See, Ilia looks good now!) And, just to throw them off, let a shirt collar (not optic white, please!) peep out from the neckline. Oh. You're set. Six point oh. Long live Lenin!

Enough of that. I have yelled about his edges until I'm blue in the face. And y'know what? Well-designed optical costumes actually help their edges. They have to concentrate better. Focus more. Just give them six months with a costume before you expect them to jump for serious gold. At least if they're not used to this stuff. Camera lighting and placement really do affect a skater's mindset when they're fighting from inside one of these babies. But once they get a costume broken in (2-3 competitions, usually, if they're used to optics), they're great. Zip zap. They can stand on their edges. They have to.

I've said enough . Go have some popcorn. Some Coke. Maybe a Reese's.

And I won't yell if you do it right. Those are not easy costumes to build. At all. You deserve more credit.

Especially now that they know.

And you guys were yelling about a simple crowbar? My God.

Estimated bottom price on an optical costume is about three thousand bucks, US. Top-range ones reasonably run up to ten. They can be made without massive help and support. Just go look at a color wheel. Lord, do I have to post one of those too? (Sigh.)

Oh. Got a quiz for you. Answer it right and you might get something.

They are small and generally silver. They fasten onto the bottom of your skates. They help you skate. What are they?

You mean you don't know? I thought you were a skating fan. Oh. Sorry. We're supposed to be nice.....You mean you don't have eyes to see? How awful.

(Answer can be found at the bottom of the index page.)

And learn to skate, Ilia!