Archive for the ‘vancouver’ Tag
The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how jumping clapping man did in 2010, and here’s some interesting data on how the year looked!:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow!
Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. jcm was viewed about 68,000 times in 2010. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would have performed about
In 2010, I had 85 new posts, growing the total archive to 170 posts. I uploaded 265 pictures, taking up a total of 45mb. (That’s about 5 pictures per week.)
The busiest day of the year was February 16th with 1,469 views. The most popular post that day was Olympic Reigns Ending: Likelihoods or Naysaying?.
Where did they come from?
Some visitors came searching, mostly for cheeseburger, olympics 2010,
2010 olympics, vancouver olympics, and cheese burger. (“Cheeseburger”?…REALLY?!)
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
Olympic Reigns Ending: Likelihoods or Naysaying? July 2009
“Cheese Berger” July 2009
jcm’s ‘10 Olympics’ Podium Predictions Contest January 2010
Missteps, Falls & Wet Tushes March 2009
Heidi Melton: The Official Berlin E-Interview January 2010
In preparation for the Vancouver pairs competition I dug up some of the performances from the 80s to jog my memory on how that competitive field looked, and how far that discipline has come. At the time, I was graduating from elementary (’84) and high school (’88). I MUST have watched these Games with my mom, but don’t remember any of these performances. Upon review, it’s no wonder why! And, in the midst of all the complaints about the CoP System, a peek back at the 6.0 system shows some politicized judging at it’s worst.
Valova & Vasiliev Reign
First, I came across this priceless human interest story, featuring ’84 Sarajevo champions Valova & Vasiliev (he the coach of Mukhortova & Trankov). After starting out like a Bel Ami video (prurient giggling by babbling brook), it shows them buckled down at the Leningrad Institute of Physical Culture, “a veritable medal factory.”
What a glimpse into the thriving machine that was Mother Russia (the Soviet Union). Boy, they sure appear to have them under a tight thumb (not that that grip is any looser these days). And, what a reminder of Moskvina’s longevity. The video also features their flawed, but gold-medal Classical Beatles LP, which ran out of gas at the end (as compared to the Carruthers’ flawless performance).
Fast forward four years to the Calgary Games (1988), and V&V display the most deliciously dated program and costumery imaginable, with their “The Final Countdown” LP. I was giddy to discover this pinnacle of the “Eye of the Tiger” alpha-male jam genre was used for a program. This program leaps to the top of my skating camp classics! One part Star Trek crew (with diagonal, cross-breast bands), one part bumblebee, their costumes, complete with black tights for her are in the worst taste…but, what could be better?! Her blouse/skirt one-piece sort of drips off her backside, saying “look at my ass,” ala Weir. Perhaps this is where he takes some of his Rusky fashion inspiration? Their SP costumes are even more ridiculous: Flash Gordon + A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. How precious that Dick refers to her as “plump,” and feigns it as a compliment.
American Pairs Best
Back to Sarajevo, this time with the Carruthers’ flawless LP. The program and music hold up pretty well, even in hindsight. But, it featured the (homemade?) costume he recently donned on NBC’s Vancouver “Figure Skating Review & Preview.” They have amazing attack and speed throughout, and their overall unison would have to be counted among some of the best we see even today. I don’t feel it suffers by comparison to V&V in “expression.” I sure miss these pairs’ elements: “hydrant lifts,” “lateral twist lifts,” and their penultimate move (“pulls”). It was also interesting to learn what a “Tango Camel” is. Their SP, to Herb Alpert/Muzak-style quasi-disco is a hoot, although well skated.
Watson & Oppegard’s Calgary LP features Peter’s hawt frosted doo (shades of Donna Mills in Knots Landing). His costume is also priceless. To think I had an outrageous crush on him, AND he was considered quite the on-ice heartthrob? On what planet does a straight man present this way? So hard to believe he is now married to Karen Kwan.
Their triple twist has NO height…she practically completes it on the ground. And, I’m amazed they held onto the bronze with a fall. In the deep pair’s field in Vancouver this would NOT have medalled. Peter seems to acknowledge this here. Their warmth towards each other in the kiss-n-cry is touching, but don’t miss the glimpse of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader look-alike! Their latin disco SP (ala “Copacabana”) is a gay ol’ time, or gringe-worthy…depending on how you see it.
While we’re on the issue of falling in competition. Check out this amazing profile, featuring Sports Psychologist, Dr. David Coppel. Dr. David…any room on your white couch for head cases Sasha or Alissa?
Perhaps to cope with the gravitas and intensity of the Vancouver Games, I’m feeling the need to REALLY unwind and revel in some whimsy and trash. (Yeah, Yu-Na wasn’t the only one who was feelin’ the pressure peeps!)
First up, Current TV’s fabulous That’s Gay: Johnny Weir tribute, complete with an Official Sports’ Sexuality Spectrum infographic, showing (straight) football at one end and (gay) skating at the other (I’m gaga for infographics!):
Shocking Skater Faces
Next up, SCARY skater faces from Vancouver (I love Shen & Zhao too much to post the #1 photo of them.) This album been floating around, but one just can’t get enough of these. Here are the best.:
Should Siblings Ice Dance Together?
This album sure makes you question whether siblings should indeed ice dancer together. Particularly, in the Tango Romantica Compulsory Dance, selected for Vancouver, where chemistry and heat are required. Vancouver had four such teams: Kerrs, Zaretskys, Reeds, and Beiers. Here, the Kerrs turn up the heat.:
So, being a total graphic design geek, I was fascinated to discover that jcm’s stats started looking an awful lot like Whistler during the Games (art mirroring life?). Yes, the Olympics were a huge shot in the arm for jcm, and likely every skating/sports blog. The day of the men’s SP (February 16) was my busiest day yet. Now, enjoy the Canadian landscape, as the athletes play upon my stats!:
jcm Goes Down (no, NOT that way!)
On February 18th, WordPress.com was down for 110 minutes, taking over 10.2 million blogs with it. Did you hear that…“10.2 million blogs.” When I read that, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had NO idea the scale of this phenomenon, and this is just one blog server!
I also learned the following: “(WordPress.com has) seen a meteoric rise over the past 4 years with thousands of new blogs still being added every day. According to Quantcast, around 220 million people visit one or more WordPress.com blogs every month.”
My goodness! Can you imagine the amount of revenue that would generate, if all these blogs were business-oriented, OR how many mouths that would feed, if all that blogging time were translated into food or services! Maybe I should stop blogging, and start…
Pairs: Jean-Samuel Gagnon, with top 3 correct = 15 points
Men’s: MIZ, with top 2 correct =
Ice Dance: MF (perfect!), with top 4 correct = 16 points
Ladies: LJ, with top 3 correct =
Your Amazon.com prizes will be sent via email to you winners this week, and once you confirm your email address. (Please respond to the private email you received.)
Many winners benefited from early submissions, as their were multiple ties in several disciplines.
Personally, jcm predicted the ice dance top four, as well as the ladies and pairs top three correctly. Not too bad. However, I failed miserably on the men’s.
The Collective Opinion of Participants
As per the collective opinion of contest participants, the ice dance result ended up EXACTLY (top 4) as predicted. The ladies top three were correctly predicted. The pairs’ gold was a slam-dunk. But, overall the pairs, and especially the men’s were, as we all know less predictable.
Thanks for taking part, and keep your eyes open for jcm’s next contest!
Wow, I feel like I just came up for air for the first time in 2+ weeks. Watching ALL of the Olympic figure skating and “FSR&P” shows, and reading seemingly every mainstream article on the skating has been a bit like sitting down and eating 10 chocolate cakes in a row. It is supremely divine, but I think I have a bit of a tummy ache, and a ‘lil burn-out. Ah well…another month before Worlds, and I’ll be fresh again!
A Veritable Thanksgiving Buffet: Ladies SP
The short program competitions for every discipline were loaded with many clean and memorable performances. The ladies were no exception. My hope was that the free skate evening would maintain that high level, rather than dropping off, as most of the other disciplines had done. (Thankfully, that was the case.)
Somehow, despite his dementia, I’ve grown fonder once again of Dick Button. His reference to catch foot spirals as being reminiscent of a turkey leg being pulled apart at Thanksgiving was priceless. Emily Hughes (not present) is likely the most guilty of conjuring up this scrumptious holiday tradition, since she POWERS through her spirals, complete with over-extended double-jointed standing leg, and little grace.
I repeatedly discover that being a fan or friend of figure skaters on facebook is a blessing, AND a curse. It sets you up for a MINEFIELD of spoilers. Shortly before the ladies skated their SPs, I popped onto fb for a quick peek, and caught fatal glimpses of Kim and Brian excitedly hugging. Curses!
The Yu-Na Phone, OR the Mao Dog and Sushi Roll?
Take your pick! Their product endorsements, and tribute foods have been oft-discussed on NBC. If they were to be any sign of the final result, it was pretty clear the phone trumps the hot dog!
Before I look back at the SPs, musing on the top three result, I knew I’d be exceedingly happy with the final podium remaining the same after the FS. Given the level of quality of their skating over the Olympic off-seasons, Kim & Mao deserve this. AND, given the unprecedented courage it took for Joannie to not only get through her program, but deliver it beautifully deserved its own medal. SO, as much as I wanted to see an American woman creep onto podium, I didn’t believe it was their time. (And I hoped…please, keep Miki off!)
Cheltzie Lee of Australia gave a career best SP performance, which had the good luck of getting televised. After all the controversy over Israel’s Tamar Katz NOT getting sent to Vancouver, this is some wonderful pay-back, as Cheltzie would not have been there, had it not been for Tamar’s disclusion.
The Top 6 Gurlz: “CoPulation”
Mirai Nagasu delivered a clean SP, with a her requisite sparkle…a bit dimmer than at Nationals, but still evident. She did not go for her 3Lz/3T, but instead played it safe with a 3Lz/2T, which was so VERY Kwan (no real sizzle or height, but solid). Her spins were the finest in the competition, and she had great control and positions throughout. The program is emotionally a bit junior, and her costume is rather off-the rack, but hell, she IS junior! It was a GREAT showing, especially considering it was her FIRST competition on the world stage! Hey, commentators, please retire the tired back story about her sleeping in the storage closet at her parents’ restaurant. She doesn’t need sympathy, she’s already a successful world-class athlete.
Mao Asada (“Mini T,” as in Tarasova) finally showed glimmers of the former Mao we all knew and loved. She somehow broke the clouds a bit on this Russian dirge. I actually saw her crack a smile several times. That we haven’t seen from her for at least a season! Her 3A/2T was clean, but had little movement across the ice (especially when compared to Kim’s 3Lz/3T). But, again, it was the first time one was landed in an Olympic SP by a woman, so let’s give credit where credit is due! And, the 3A was a thing of beauty. Mao almost makes it look too easy. I wonder if that’s why it’s underscored. As a friend pointed out, her feet are so close together, her legs so tight, her body perfectly straight…it’s as if she’s a pencil spinning on it’s end. This minimizes the visual dramatic effect of the 3.5 turns in the air, and robs it of the dramatic Ito effect (or Harding). Her spin speed and positions, and spiral extensions rival Kim’s.
As week of the Olympics launched, we were still treated to a barrage of continuing debate over Evan vs. Plushy. I did, however like this particular comment on the outcome: “Judges judge the beginning, middle, and end of the jumps, and although it (Plushy’s quad) was an amazing athletic feat, the GOEs reflects all three of these things.” (Excerpted from a Yamaguchi/Carruthers post-competition online chat.) BTW, I was pleased to her commentator Susie Wynne briefly on Terri Gannon’s “FSR&P” show. I miss her!
Although I respect Evan’s apparent “good training,” it too has been discussed ad nauseum. Fine, so he trains well, and runs through his programs 3+ times a day, and does cardio every other day, and… I imagine this is an effort to try to drill it into viewer’s heads that figure skating is actually HARD WORK! Well, when you look at a skater like Lambiel doing his Olympic ice run through, perhaps some of the other skaters do need to take note of Evan’s training. He doesn’t attempt or land a single jump in this run through.
Ice “Prancers”: OD Top Four
As Tracy Wilson said, ice dancing used to be mocked as ice prancing. Well, these days, with the degree of technical difficulty and artistic brilliance, that’s a less commonly held sentiment. Now, ice dancing is hipper than ever, particularly thanks to coaches Zoueva & Shpilband (“The House of Z&S”)…which embodies the best taste musically and choreographically, as well as peerless training.
The Original Dance event was VERY impressive. Not a single team that was aired made a substantial mistake, and I only witnessed a single fizzle from John Kerr (which was very minor). What a change from Torino. It’s likely because ice dancers are just more comfortable with the demands of the CoP now, whereas last time they were still adjusting and pushing themselves, apparently too far.
Domnina & Shabalin (DomShabs): Aside from ALL the controversy surrounding this “Aboriginal” program, it just didn’t technically or artistically stack up next to the programs that followed. The transitions appeared rough around the edges, and not of the highest difficulty. Their characterizations and interaction were über cutesy and clowny (I love me a good clown, in the right context!). I’m very surprised they didn’t make the easiest change to her costume under-color, from the controversial red to any other friggin’ color. At least some adjustments were made, thankfully including the removal of his brown face makeup. I wondered why Aboriginals would do an Eskimo kiss (their final move). Well, in 1982 Inuits (“Eskimo” is considered pejorative) were officially recognized as Canadian Aboriginals. BTW, where were their CD tribal Snuggies in the kiss ‘n cry this time?
Davis & White (Marlie): They were on fire, and threw all caution to the wind! Their twizzles were smokin’. This youtube sensation continues to draw in audiences (and more skating fans…please). It’s one of the few ice dances I find myself returning to again and again, because it’s so fun, infectious, and fresh. Good for them for crafting something that truly reflects the dance and culture it aims to revere.
Virtue & Moir (Voir): Perfection! They delivered flawless character, confidence, carriage, and edging. Their choreography was strongly linked to the music, down to flamenco head snaps, dress whips, and arm accents. The integration of their moves is astounding, true ice DANCING!
Belbin & Agosto (Belgosto): I wonder if they are wishing they had stayed with Z&S, as they seem to have the magic touch with the top teams, and are creating programs that are unique and unbeatable. This Moldavian folk dance (by Linichuk) felt emotionally junior. Their technique is so strong, a more sophisticated program would have landed them higher, I fear. They should have been placed in third for this dance, but with three points to make up, I felt it was unlikely they’d medal. I’m disappointed, but their program didn’t make me want to defend them as much as I otherwise would. I noticed Tanith say “it’s OK,” after the scores were posted. I can’t tell if she really is OK with it, or if she’s just resigned to being the forgotten team here. Frankly, I almost sensed that energy out there on the ice, that they knew it wasn’t their time. (Am I projecting?) We all knew that even if they skated great in the FD, they were up against the wrath and waning medals of Mother Russia.
jcm’s costuming thumbs-up: There was a lot to like here! Marlie’s Indian, elegant and perfectly suited to the program, with her Choli (beaded top), Lengha (split skirt) and his Sherwani (wedding jacket); Voir’s Flamenco, her red silk charmeuse dress and his waist-coat were romantic and lush. I couldn’t keep my eyes off them; Delobel & Schoenfelder’s (DelShoes) Can-Can, complete with tulle skirt for her and scarf, beret and vest for him, all with pink accents. Thumbs-down: (surprise!) DomShab’s “Aboriginal”, nuff said.
I’m battling a terrible cold and sore throat. Staying up past midnight nightly watching these Games likely hasn’t helped. Why, oh why is the left coast on such a delay? More advertising dollars for NBC? Pathetic! I’m sure a lot of potential viewers drifted away because of this poor decision.
When I sat down to watch the opening, all I could think of was how unlucky Vancouver was to have to follow Beijing. Beijing spent over $300+ million, and have a culture that is already primed to partake in such a large-scale, perfect orchestration of the masses. However, I respected Canada’s aim to keep it less expensive (even if that still meant a walloping $30+ million). After all, the Olympics are important for national pride, and international athletic competition and camaraderie, but it shouldn’t replace feeding mouths and rebuilding cities.
“We Are the World”…again, REALLY? At least J-Hud was in the mix, making it a bit more legit. In the initial, historic portion of the ceremony, I really appreciated the strong presence of the indigenous native nations, particularly the aboriginal people, and the nod to their cultural impact.
The greeter minions (see photo, in background), decked out head to toe in snowy white, looked like rather vacuous members of an Eskimo cult, or life-sized “It’s a Small World…” mascots, courtesy of Disney. One in particular caught my eye on multiple close-ups. He was highly entertaining, and had the infectious enthusiasm and gloriously bad dance moves of one of The Wiggles. I was reminded that believing you’re really good is half the battle in convincing others that you actually are. The female greeters also called to mind the great ole winter icon Suzy Chapstick.
In the parade of athletes, it was a pleasant surprise to see so many figure skaters bearing their flags: Kevin van der Perren (Belgium), Julia Sebestyen (Hungary), Alexandra Zaretsky (Israel), Song Chol Ri (N. Korea), and medal contender Stéphane Lambiel (Switzerland)! NOONE waved their flag with more fey elegance than Stéphane. I was struck by some of the more memorable athlete names: Hubert von Hohenlohe (sounds like a drunk ‘n merry Austrian prince), and Bjoergvin Bjoergvinsson (what were his parents thinking?)!
K.D. Lang was channeling Wayne Newton. She sounded fantastic singing Leonard Cohen’s (unfortunately overdone) “Hallelujah.” Her voice is very well-preserved, after 25+ years as a recording artist. The digital video images projected on the floor were stunning, especially when a simulated school of orcas (spouting out their air holes) passed across the ocean surface. The artistic highlight of the ceremony was the aerial dance “Who Has Seen the Wind”, performed by Montreal’s Thomas Saulgrain, to Joni Mitchell’s acoustic recording of “Both Sides Now.” It was spiritually transcendent, filled with sincere wonder, and his journey reminded me a bit of Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince.”
The most compelling moment was the minute of silence, for Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili (Team Georgia in photo, above right). How rare it is for a group of that enormity to share in silence, and what a reminder it was that modern society works far to hard to fill up all the still or quiet moments in life. Silent meditation is so rife with meaning…as much or more so than activity. Near the end, Measha Brueggergosman did her best Jessye Norman impersonation, complete with protruding neck veins, unhinged jaw, and mother nature/goddess delivery. I enjoy her art, and appreciated her inclusion, but this presented her as an operatic caricature.
Overall, the host country did a great job of milking their budget, as it didn’t feel cheap at all, and the silly mishaps were easily forgiven.
The Writing’s on the Wall
Well, not that it’s a surprise, but the collective opinion of contest participants consider Yu-Na, Plushenko, Shen & Zhao, and Virtue & Moir the ones to beat. Out of 28 submissions, Shen & Zhao received ALL BUT ONE first place prediction ordinal, and Yu-Na received all but three. Sound like a load of expectation and pressure? Sure does! But, they’ve proven to be able to carry that gracefully, far more often than not.
The few renegade, dark horse nods were appreciated, such as the lone ones predicting gold for Flatt (by Aaron at AL&S) and Delobel & Schoenfelder (by Jahiegel), and silver for Dube & Davison (CEB’s, one of only four nods they received)…perhaps goodwill gestures, or just a contest strategy in betting on underdogs? Receiving a single vote each were Nagasu, for bronze, and Weir, Kostner, and Zhang & Zhang, all for pewter.
Interestingly, although Rochette and Ando received a few first place predictions, not a single one was given to Asada! Just not her time, eh? She, Lysacek and Savchenko & Szolkowy were very strongly settled in second place. And, you have confidently placed Belbin & Agosto just off the podium (except my mom, who has them in first…wishful thinking?).
In the mens, you have predicted the first double medal since the U.S. sweep in 1956 (Cortina d’Ampezzo), and only the third double medal in history. And, Chan and Takahashi are considered to be in a near dead heat for pewter. They are the masters of the component score, but apparently not considered consistent enough in their jumps.
The contest is now closed. You can post further predictions for fun, but they won’t be elligible. Here are the combined results of your predictions. They seem reasonable…now let’s see how this REALLY plays out!
Drum Roll Please…
1) Shen & Zhao
2) Savchenko & Szolkowy
3) Pang & Tong
4) Kavaguti & Smirnov
1) Virtue & Moir
2) Davis & White
3) Domnina & Shabalin
4) Belbin & Agosto
Seven Days & Counting!
The light’s at the end of the tunnel now, with the opening ceremony just one week away. Now is the time I start wishing I had forked out the dough to attend (waaaahhhhhh!!!). Thankfully, I can live vicariously through blogger friend Aaron, at AL&S. He’s been selected as the Gold Blogger, all expenses paid! This honor couldn’t have been awarded to a nicer, more knowledgeable guy. I am so proud of, and excited for him (…can you say insane jealousy?). I’m lobbying to be his towel boy. Be sure to follow him online, if you want the real behind-the-scenes (click on button at right). Go Aaron!
I just posted my own predictions for my Olympics’ Podium Predictions Contest (which of course don’t count). I’m so pleased at the level of participation, and it’s especially nice to see a few fellow bloggers and family represent: incl. Aaron, Matthew at VR=A, and my mom! The men’s result is easily the hardest to predict. A coin toss or Magic Eight Ball consultation (ala State of the Skate) could probably offer an equally accurate result, given how deep that field is.
The Russian Surge
A lot has shifted in the skating world in the eight months since my post about the end of some long-standing Russian reigns. It revealed my not-so-covert desire for these “reigns” to be passed on. With Plushenko’s successful comeback since, that’s now much less likely in the mens. Even “DomShabs” (or “Moksana”), who barely held it together at Russian Nationals will probably make it onto the podium, with a fight and some helpful nudges from a few biased judges. And, Kavaguti & Smirnov are raising the bar with each competition. Just shows you how resilient and determined the Russian skating community is.
Torino Ice Dance: OD Hawt Mess
We all remember the gasp-inducing affair that was the ice dance competition in Torino, with costly mistakes from several top teams. First, there was Denkova & Staviski (gold medalists one month later at Worlds!) falling out of contention with a botched spin, as well as some biased judging. Then there was Fusar-Poli getting dramatically dropped by Margaglio on their final lift. And, who can forget the stare-down that ensued afterwards, worthy of a Latin Telenovela!
Most tragic of all was Dubreuil getting hurled across the ice by Lauzon, also during their final lift. I wonder if any such slip-ups (or “fizzles”) will be deal breakers in deciding the medals. I certainly hope not, but it did make for some unforgettable and unexpected outcomes in Torino.
My Wish Short-List
I’m praying that Akiko Suzuki, Johnny Weir, Jeremy Abbott, and either American woman (see below) lands on the podium. Akiko and Sparkly-Boy are probably longshots, and really only viable for a bronze, but I can dream! I’d also really like to see Takahashi and/or Oda snag a medal. And, of course, many of us are also hoping for an historic U.S. ice dance gold!
Speaking of ice dance, wouldn’t a North American sweep in ice dance be positively scrumptious?! I would also find it compelling to witness an Asian sweep (ala the Asian Invasion) in the ladies’ competition, in which case, maybe Morozov was right?
Ladies’ Dark Horse Trend
Will the next Sarah, Tara, or Shizuka please stand up? Who might be the unexpected dark horse for gold here? No, neither Tara nor Shizuka came out of nowhere (having won a previous Worlds), but they certainly weren’t the favorite. Judging from recent past results (offering varying degrees of surprise), perhaps we should really be putting our money on Ando, Flatt, or Suzuki, the current viable underdogs, rather than Yu-Na, Asada or Rochette?
My fingers are crossed that Flatt and/or Nagasu deliver. If not, as I speculated, this will be the first time in 11 Olympics (40+ years, since ’64) that an American woman doesn’t stand on the podium. Oy vey!
I wish all the best to each and every Olympic skater (and athlete). My truest hope…that they each may perform to the best of their ability, and walk away from the Games with only the best of memories of what they laid down on the ice, and experienced throughout!