Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Go Figure

There isn't much I can realistically say about a goalless draw that I didn't see, so instead I will write about my new favourite sport, figure skating.

Although the Winter Olympics are much derided, I have actually rather enjoyed watching them. Although NBC here in the USA have paid a small fortune for the TV rights, their coverage can be a little trying to say the least. "...and now we interrupt this exciting ice hockey tussle between two countries that don't speak English and probably didn't support the Iraq invasion, to bring you exclusive action from the uphill boblseigh where our own Hank Bubbleberger III is currently lying 37th..."

There is a pivotal moment in every sports fan's life when a special performance ignites previously unconscious passions. Moments when a simple sporting event seems to transcend its status as 'sport' and becomes a metaphor for life itself. For my generation, it was Ian Botham's 149 not out at Headingley in 1981, the McEnroe/Borg 1980 Wimbledon final, the 1985 Ryder Cup victory at the Belfry, or perhaps England's monumental World Cup semi-final against Germany in1990.

However my figure skating 'moment' occurred just a couple of days ago when American pair Tanith Balbin (pictured) and Ben Agosto took to the ice in Torino. Although they compete in a pairs competition, Agosto didn't impress me as much as Balbin and I couldn't decide why. Perhaps it was her effortless execution of the triple salchow (with pike), double toe loop and inside axel? Either way, it was strange because I never felt this way about Jayne Torvill, despite her achievements easily surpassing those of young Balbin. My wife is similarly confused since I had previously spent the entire Games berating the status of figure skating as a 'sport.' Perhaps it's just that unpredictable 'magic' of sport?


At 1:34 AM, Anonymous Bob Miller said...


With respect to your infatuation with Miss Balbin (a Canadian who only just got her American citizenship), it should be pointed out that she and her partner are ice dancers where the jumps you mentioned are not allowed. I believe you are thinking of singles and pairs figure skating.

By the way NBC wonders why their viewer ratings for the Olympics are much lower than expected. Could it be that it is because they same-day delay everything to prime evening time, when everybody already knows the outcome of all the events? When you already are aware that ski-racer Bodi Miller choked again, are you going to be terribly interested in tuning in for a look? Have they not heard of people picking up information from something called the internet? Here in this country, the CBC comes on live very early each morning with full events coverage and then recaps at night. A preferable means of doing things I would think.

By the way speaking of unusual Olympic events, a newspaper writer here noted that the two-man luge looks like a bar-bet gone bad!!

At 2:22 AM, Blogger New York Addick said...

Thanks for pointing out my error, though it unintentionally emphasises how most male skating viewers will happily watch Miss Balbin without knowing their triple salchow from their triple toeloop.

I agree that the NBC coverage is slightly odd though they are facing an annoying time difference. They would struggle to sell enough commercials to fund the coverage if the bulk of their coverage occurred during daytime.

At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While NBC New York and CBC Toronto operate in the same time zone, only one hour apart by air travel, they do march to different drummers and NBC is obliged to go after the long dollar on its advertising support. However, they are definitely between a rock and a hard place as the unsatisfactory viewing levels are a direct result of poor product delivery. There is the added factor that Canada's much smaller population has a higher viewer interest level per capita. In any event we are pleased with the coverage received from the CBC (and TSN) and as this is being written, our total medal haul of 19 places us in a three way tie for second place and 6 away from the pre-Olympic target of 25 medals as determined by the Canadian Olympic Committee. There have been seven or eight fourth place Canadian finishes in various events and some shocking underachievement (i.e. men's hockey!!) which could easily have been medal accomplishments, thus equalling and exceeding the targeted total. The fact that Canadians won medals for the USA and Australia doesn't count! With a fairly young squad, it looks promising for the Canadian team when we host the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver/Whistler, where the target will be 30 medals or better.

At 9:28 PM, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

Sorry, that last posting was not from "Anonymous," it was from me. I simply forgot to sign in properly!


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