What    Do    You    Mean    Surya's    Jumps    are    Unplanned?

Even I can see them coming.

I think they just like to make it look like you can't tell Surya's about to change her program in midstream (again) so they can continue ranting on her. Dropping her scores. Saying she's bad for figure skating. And if I repeated some of the words I have heard said about Surya in private from people who should know better, I'd get my site banned for racial hatred. Even us Southern girls know better than that.

Okay. I am about to blow the "Hershey bar's" (and that was a direct quote there) secrets of telegraphing her jumps. It starts a full minute ahead of time. (And while I'm thinking about it, I've heard Michelle Kwan referred to as Hispanic. I promise.)

All ye behind the cameras, listening? Good.

It's an open secret. Wonder it hasn't made it to the mikes yet.

It's the famous "Surya look." At between one minute and one minute five before the planned takeoff, she will cross her eyes so hard it's a wonder she doesn't trip over herself. She'll most likely be throwing that gaze left. Camera right, her left. And for some reason that left flip of the eyes gets stronger whenever she has a significant portion of blue in her costume. It's on tape.

And she'll all of a sudden fling her arms out wide like she's getting ready to hug Dick Button or something. Her arms will be at the very least, above shoulder level, if not all the way up into a ballet stretch. Somewhere in there. And she'll generally pull it in the middle of doing back crossovers or some other move where she's had time to think for a second. Seems to take her two or three seconds to make that decision, and then the arms flip wide and the eyes cross. Here it comes. You can start the stopwatch.

It's almost like she's thinking, "Enough boredom. Time to put another porcupine under the judges' cummerbunds." And so another unscheduled "Surya flip." "Surya point-dropper." "Surya stunt." is launched.

I made none of those names up.


They echo through the back halls of the competitions. And cease suddenly when cameras appear. You really think those skaters don't know they're on film back there? When they're waving to Mom? C'mon.

(I have literally seen skaters start counting when that arm flip shows up on the monitor. "Fifty-nine, fifty-eight, fifty-seven, (giggle) -- the judges'll never be able to stop her this time. Oh my God, I didn't know you were listening.")

And those are not "cracking acrobatics." Those, except in the case of that glorious back flip last night, are perfectly legal and appropriate skating moves.

Now. About thirty seconds into the "Surya count," you'll see this thing that's been called a "turkey walk" and worse. It's almost as patented as a Biellmann spin. She pops her elbows into the air at least as high as her shoulders were earlier. She pulls them back a time or two like she's saying the old phrase, "We must, we must, we must increase our bust." And she will almost invariably pop a little left back spiral for a second or two, like she's trying to think what to do.

And come on, guys, don't tell me you can't see this. The skaters backstage are counting, "Five, four, three...." And she does it. The "Surya Jerk." Wish I'd made that one up. You wouldn't believe who did. The "Surya Step." "Her shenanigans." That left foot (generally) does a little twitch back and forth on the ice. It's almost always outer to inner (for those of you without skating terminology, that's left to right when she's on the left foot, right to left when she's on the right foot, which she generally isn't). Just a little twitch. But you can see it on camera. Very clearly. That's the three-second mark. She quickly, very quickly, as if to fool the judges (don't bother, honey), pulls into takeoff position, plants that toepick, and sails. If the count is 2.9 to 3.1 (I have timed this) until she hits air (the toepick generally goes in right after the "one" count), she'll make her jump. If it's 3.5 to 4.1 or later, she's going on her butt. 3.1 to 3.5, anybody's guess. I have my own rules for calling that one. But I'll let you guess. Part of the Surya mystique.

And you didn't catch this?

And you say you have tape?

Bah humbug.

Have a Hershey's kiss.

Do you good.