Thursday, February 6, 2014

Day 0: Team-work! Team-work! Team-work!

This morning I tried watching women’s moguls on my Chromebook, but the buffering was every five seconds or so. My other computer ended up buffering, too, but it managed to actually show most of the events. Today’s roundup: women’s moguls, men’s team figure skating short program, pair’s team figure skating short program, women’s slopestyle, .


I gotta say I really enjoyed the team figure skating setup. There are only ten skaters in each group, which means the rounds go faster, and we’re probably only seeing the best skaters out there.


Another awesome visual was having all the teams in their own personal kiss-and-cry areas rinkside. When I first tuned in, the male skater from Germany was performing, and then I was shocked to see the entire German team with him in the results area, going crazy with German flags and other various items! From other teams I saw scarves, crazy hats, and teddy lions. (I think that’s what I saw Team GB holding.) That was a great way to show the camaraderie of the skaters. Figure skating is made out to be an individual sport (even in pairs and ice dancing) and this showed a completely different side to figure skating. I really like it!


Mini Blurbs


Integration! My students today calculated figure skating totals - they added the component and technical scores and then subtracted the deductions. They enjoyed watching the performances and determining if the skater(s) would get deducted. Sometimes they would come up with “Why didn’t he get deductions?  He landed on two feet!” I have some future figure skating judges in my classroom.


They also spent some time today discussing the geography of Europe and highlighting Russia’s history. We’ll be talking more about Russia on Monday.


Plushenko strikes again: Yes, Evgeni Plushenko is an amazing jumper and technically wonderful. It’s clear that he’s trying to get some more artistry points, especially since in 2010 Evan Lysacek beat him out pretty much soley because of his artistry.


I think it would be fun to hear him do a routine based on something lighthearted or goofy. Every piece he picks is POWER! DRIVE! INTENSITY! (BORING!)


Slopestyle: I hadn’t seen any women’s slopestyle, but I had seen some men’s slopestyle. The men’s was full of twists, flips, helis, and more. I know I was just watching qualifications today, but the women aside from Torah Bright and Jamie Anderson weren’t really doing all that much. I hope they bring it all out on Sunday for the final.


It’s pretty interesting to see the setup of slopestyle - the run isn’t timed, and you can choose to do as much or as little as you want when it comes to spins and flips. No routine will be the same. That kind of scoring wouldn’t have flown 30 years ago. It’s very 21st century-style thinking there.


The dude from Canada: Everyone has such positive things to say about Canada’s Patrick Chan, but I really haven’t seen his best work when I watch him. He’s a world champion, so he’s not like Jeremy Abbot, who just freezes in international competition, but I’ve seen some great skaters from Europe that I know will probably be better than Chan.


(By the way, if the USA qualifies for the free skates, I wouldn’t be surprised if Abbot gets kicked out in favor of Jason Brown, which the US team can do between the short and long programs.)


Pairs: My kids watched two pairs’ figure skating routines, including Americans Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, and they were audibly awed by the spins, lifts, death spirals and throws by the pairs couples. It was clear that they no longer thought figure skating was only for the ladies.


By the way, how about that routine from Canada’s Megan Duhamel and Eric Radford? Through the legs! Into his arms! Over her head! Crazy death spiral! So many little things that other pairs skaters aren’t doing. Canada drives me nuts sometimes, but I have to agree that the routine was great. Oh, and Radford COMPOSED THAT MUSIC HIMSELF. Now I’m jealous.


Weather: I remember in Vancouver the skiers and snowboarders weren’t too pleased with the snow in the mountains. Today looked incredible in the mountains of Russia.


Save my knees, please: I will never do moguls. Just watching them ride those little hills makes my knees ache. The moguls actually looks larger and more treacherous this year. My knees hurt even more.


That’s it for tonight. Tomorrow: a live blog of the Olympic Opening Ceremony!