After two weeks out of the country, in a place where it was easier to escape because Internet access was (delightfully) spotty, it’s time to weigh in about a couple things that happened during the time away.
Today, figure skating. Tomorrow, Olympic bid city selection.
As predicted, almost nothing of consequence in the big picture happened at the International Skating Union’s biennial congress, as figure skating’s old guard voted to stay the course toward making their once-popular sport insignificant.
Despite calls from many respected members of the figure skating community for him to resign, Ottavio Cinquanta remains ISU president for two more years, unless he can orchestrate another maneuver to extend his term again even though he already has hit the age limit, 75. The congress thankfully rejected a proposal to raise its office holders and officials’ maximum age.
Anonymous judging, a key part of Cinquanta’s checkered legacy in 22 years as ISU boss, stays for senior-level events, even though a majority (a reported 30-24, with two abstentions) voted to scrap it. A two-thirds majority, or eight more yeas, was needed to pass it.
Stunningly, South Korea was among those to support anonymity, preferring renewed subservience to The Great Leader Cinquanta after its failed protest of the women’s result at the 2014 Olympics. (The word kowtow apparently translates well to Korean.)
The ISU gave that South Korean complaint the back of its hand, dismissing it on a technicality. It also said it was perfectly OK to have judges with monstrous conflicts of interest, including being the spouse of a top national federation official, and OK for the same judges to be hugging skaters they just judged, as Russia’s Alla Shekhovtseva (the spouse in question) did minutes after Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova won the gold medal in a controversial decision over South Korea’s Yuna Kim.
The ISU decision on Shekhovtseva said: “The Alleged Offender did not deliberately or negligently breach the rules; she responded reflexively when the skater raised her arms for an embrace.”
You can’t make this stuff up.
Relentlessly determined to make every effort to reduce figure skating’s TV attractiveness, the sport’s pooh-bahs rejected the idea to have the free skate run in exact reverse order of the short program finish. Why would you want to add excitement by having the leader go last?
The idea of cutting 30 seconds from the pairs and men’s free skates so they would be the sane length (four minutes) in all four disciplines was surprisingly rejected. After all, who wouldn’t want to see 30 seconds more of the slop with which all a handful of top pairs fill out their programs?
Dead Sport Skating.Copyright © 2015, RedEye