Ladies' Figure Skating -- The Competitors

The feminine ideal come to life. She should be the dancer that moves through our fantasies. I don't mean a ballet or modern dancer with skates strapped on. She should be able to function on skates as if they were her native environment. It should look easy.

We have two exemplars of this ideal: Tara and Surya. Tara had to fight her way to gold and Surya's gotten disgusted and gone pro. Enough comment.

Ladies' figure skating is the most brutal competition there is. Be perfect. Don't fail. And smile.

The technical demands being placed on ladies in this sport are almost insane. Nobody seems to care about artistic standards beyond pretty costumes and a few waves of the hands. Master that and you're fine. Skating audiences seem to demand ever-increasing showy jumps and other maneuvers without once glancing at the technical standards that should underpin them and make them safe and doable. Relax on these girls and let them do it right and you may see elegant quadruple and quintuple jumps combined with artistic elements that are nothing short of breathtaking. It's as though audiences (and I do blame audiences) want the look of perfection without stopping to consider the work that must go into it. It don't come that way. Stop it.

If these girls get through the technical program with no more than a bobble or two (and under certain circumstances going down on your rear end can be considered a bobble), great. And then check out the first two or three minutes of the long program. If it's there, you'll see it. If not, don't bother with the rest. These girls are exhausted after that point. You can see it in the shoulder muscles, the thighs, the muscles that do the heavy carrying work of the body. And under some circumstances the rear end. Not even Tara can stay perky that long.

Aha! Caught ya!