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Everything posted by Karenina

  1. Has the former Delta Center been renovated since 2002 to improve the sight lines? Figure skating fans still gripe about that venue 20 years later - I seem to recall some large concrete pillars blocking views of the ice from some seats. If the Maverick Center has better overall sight lines, then figure skating fans would be perfectly fine with a smaller venue.
  2. I disagree. NBC's ratings for the Beijing Games were dismal. I'm not sure how good the ratings were for Tokyo either, but the shine is off the Olympics with the US viewing public right now. I could be wrong, but I'm not seeing a bidding war for future media rights with the other networks. ABC/ESPN certainly don't need the Olympics to fill their channels and streaming platforms, and neither Fox nor CBS have as many additional cable channels to support the same number of hours NBC provides.
  3. No, it won't be an issue. These are two previous hosts from two major NOCs. I'd bet a double of Sapporo and SLC all but guarantees that Toyota renews as a TOP and NBC pays a pretty penny for the new broadcast contract. It's nothing but a win-win and, if the poll results are accurate, I fully expect for both Sapporo and SLC to move to the "targeted dialogue" phase and a 2030-2034 double award at the next IOC session (Summer 2023, right?) or possibly even earlier.
  4. That article was about NBC's ratings... But, overall verdict on these Olympics... Thank God they're over. Venues were bland and unimpressive. The brown hills during the first week and the industrial site re-vamp for the Big Air venue were depressing. There was nothing charming or intriguing about these Olympics. The ceremonies were underwhelming - the only exciting thing was the Milano-Cortina handover segment. Bach and Xi got exactly what they deserved with this and the sooner that blowhard Bach is tossed out by the rest of the IOC the better. Won't happen, I know, because we've got three really good hosts coming up in the next 6 years, but a gal can dream.
  5. Last event of the Olympics starts in just over 30 minutes. Really hoping that Sui/Han can pull off a home gold in pairs.
  6. TSL is almost always better when they have guests like Edmunds or Meagan Duhamel (2018 team gold, 2018 pairs bronze) than when they're on their own (those are the sessions to take with a hearty grain of salt).
  7. Yes, the gala is happening. Invited to skate so far: Men - Nathan Chen USA, Yuma Kagiyama JPN, Shoma Uno JPN, Yuzuru Hanyu JPN, Boyang Jin CHN, Morisi Kvitelashvili GEO, Keegan Messing CAN, Vincent Zhou USA Dance - Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron FRA, Victoria Sinitsina/Nikita Katsalapov ROC, Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue USA, Madison Chock/Evan Bates USA, Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri ITA, Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier CAN, Olivia Smart/Adrian Diaz ESP, Shiyue Wang/Xinyu Liu CHN Women - Anna Shcherbakova ROC, Alexandra Trusova ROC, Kaori Sakamoto, JPN, Young You KOR, Alysa Liu USA, Loena Hendrickx BEL Pairs - TBA after the FS (but I'd bet hard cash on Wenjing Sui/Cong Han CHN and Cheng Peng/Yang Jin CHN being invited)
  8. Yes, Bach will have to wait until next month for proper chastisement from Putin, lol.
  9. Worlds will be in Montpellier. Torino is host to the Grand Prix Final next season. I seriously doubt we will see Kamila there. She has already been discarded by Eteri & Co, given the way they treated her post-skate. I don't know what you saw, from the post-competition footage but, Valieva looked absolutely devastated. There was no joy or happiness. The woman talking to her after she was deserted by Eteri, Sergei Dudakov (technical coach for Team Tutberidze) and Danny G (their crap choreographer) was a Channel 1 producer or production assistant. They didn't even stick with her to console her once she was off the podium, and they've already gotten grandpa to take the fall for the TMZ in her system, even though they're going to demand the B sample be tested because they don't believe that it was really in her system. FWIW (not much), Bach in his press conference today called the treatment of Valieva by her entourage "chilling". And that's exactly what it was. The problem with Valieva (and Shcherbakova and Trusova and most of the other skaters at Sambo-70) is that they have pretty shoddy jump technique that isn't being properly dinged by the judging system currently, and the technique they're using relies on remaining as light and small as possible. Raising the age minimum will help, but fixing the way the tech panels call rotation on jumps would also de-incentivize the shoddy technique that relies on abusive practices to keep these girls as tiny as possible for as long as possible. I have no idea whether or not we'll see Valieva again on the international competitive stage. She is talented as heck but after today... One has to wonder if she'll ever be the same competitor she was before the past 3 days.
  10. Russia would have fought tooth and nail to let her skate in the Women's event, regardless of the Team Event. She was the odds-on favorite, and with good reason, given how she skated the entire season up until today. I lay the blame fully at the feet of that ridiculous CAS appeal panel who determined that not letting her skate would cause "irreparable harm". After seeing her melting down before our eyes on the ice and the post-competition reactions from everyone... It's tragic.
  11. Hard to say. There are a lot of factors at play - like who sticks around through Milan, as well as what the judging code rewards in the next quad, and that's not really known yet. They're very good with the choreo elements but still have a lot of work to do on their levels with the step sequences. Personally, I'm hoping that the judging code requires some closed dance holds next quad because I think there's too much of the open and side-by-side "dancing" at this time. As far as who sticks around - Fear/Gibson are going to have to work a lot harder at maximizing their choreo elements and lifts to catch up with at team like Chock/Bates, who do this even better. I don't see them surpassing Stepanova/Bukin of Russia if they stay for another quad. I can see them moving ahead of Guignard/Fabbri despite G/F's superior skating skills - for me, G/F while lovely just lack that "it" factor that would take them to the next level. I can also see them moving ahead of Fournier Beaudry/Sorensen, who've only said they're in through Montreal Worlds in 2024, but FB/S are going to have the Canada #1 push next season that might keep them ahead of F/G. I also don't see Fear/Gibson staying ahead of Hawayek/Baker, who were sidelined for the early part of this season with Hawayek's concussion injury. The Olympics were a gift for Fear/Gibson, just to remain in the top 10 because they were surpassed, all season, by teams/countries they were ahead of last season. They should be in contention for a medal at Euros next season, though because the field is going to thin out considerably with expected retirements. I didn't love the Alien & Astronaut Love Story program from Chock/Bates as much as the Snake Charmer program, but there were some nice moments. I'm fine with them coming in 4th because they had issues in the Rhythm Dance. I thought Hubbell/Donohue should have been much closer to Sinitsina/Katsalapov after the RD, and S/K have a much easier program, but they do have their strengths. It was pretty close and, in the end, I'm fine with the results - mostly because Katsalapov managed to save his two best skates of the season for the Ice Dance event. US teams going forward - Green/Parsons are clearly going to challenge Hawayek/Baker next season for US #2, since it sounds like Chock/Bates are probably sticking around for at least next year. Carreira/Ponomarenko bounced back nicely after Nationals with the bronze at Four Continents and I guess that Anthony has a knee or foot injury that is going to require surgery in the off-season, so we'll see how they do next year, but they're by no means the clear #3. Both Bratti/Somerville (brand new team this season) and Wolfkostin/Chen (coming up from juniors - he's Karen Chen's little brother, btw) beat C/P at Nats and they're really exciting teams. I don't think it's all that obvious, right now, which three US teams will be competing in Milano. The US ice dance pipeline is as strong as ever, especially when you look at some of the junior teams who are going to stay junior next season and probably won't be competitive for major international assignments (4CCs, Worlds, Olympics) until the 27-30 cycle.
  12. Can't say for sure but a couple of usually fairly reliable sources on the FS forum I frequent (both of whom are in Europe) have indicated they're pretty sure Alexandra Trusova is likely clean. They can't say with 100% certainty, of course, but they wouldn't say this if they didn't have sound reason to believe it, and neither are supporters of Eteri Tutberidze by any stretch. Based on some of the comments made by the main choreographer for the Team Tutberidze skaters, I'd say it's a lot more questionable how healthy Anna Shcherbakova is - she's at least been encouraged in some unhealthy eating habits which could lead to disordered eating. Almost all of the skaters in that camp have had significant over-use training injuries or eating disorders, so there's definitely something wrong, IMO, but there's ZERO chance that Eteri herself will ever blow a whistle to take the whole system down. She's on record as saying that they needed to find a replacement for the now-banned meldonium and the team doctor for the Sambo-70 skating school is a guy who got banned in 2008 for doping the Russian rowing team. I'm of the opinion that any investigation into Valieva's entourage will turn into a nothing-burger from RUSADA. Oh, no doubt. Her technical BV is such that it will be impossible to beat her, and the judges while being a bit more reserved with the usual "Skating While Russian" upgrade in GOEs and PCS marks, they weren't exactly withholding them either during the SP this morning. No reason, whatsoever, after the SP, to believe the podium won't be the Russian sweep as predicted before this scandal broke.
  13. It's happening - news broke on Monday, before the Valieva story, that the ISU Executive Council passed a proposal (86% in favor) this week to put forth a gradual age increase for all senior competitors at the ISU Congress to be held this June. It will go from the current 15 to 16 in the 2023-24 season, and then increase again, to 17, in the 2024-25 season. Most proposals from the ISU Exec Council are passed with minimal debate by the Congress, so there was little doubt this would pass. And now, with the Valieva situation, there seems to be a sentiment that skaters competing on the senior level should be old enough to not fall under the "Protected Person" status of WADA's Anti-Doping Code. It's a sizable shift from where the figure skating community was, even a few months ago, but it's necessary at this point. The skaters LOVE the Team Event. Don't expect it to go away any time soon. Synchro is working on their own proposal to be added to the Olympic program, with smaller (12 skaters) teams. If anything should be dropped and replaced by Synchro, due to a lack of international competitiveness, it's Women's Ice Hockey, but that won't happen, so we'll see if Synchro can get in for 2026. Eh. His Short Program is one of the best skating programs I've ever seen, but his Free Skate is pretty dull, IMO. Chen has outgrown his "Rocketman" FS in the last 2 years - his FS last year was much better, but it was fine for the Olympics, and his SP is wonderful - best I've seen him skate "La Boheme" was during the Men's individual event - so expressive and really hit the musical highlights. I can tell you don't follow figure skating if you were worried that Fear/Gibson would make it through to the Free Dance. They finished about where they were expected to finish today, but I won't be surprised if they drop behind Hawayek/Baker tomorrow - Kaitlin & Jean-Luc's FD this season is SOOOOO beautiful. I love me the fabulous Disco Brits as much as any other fan but their Lion King FD isn't their best work. Hopefully next season they'll get something better. And, no one else in the world is in the same class as Papadakis/Cizeron. NO ONE. I'm not even a particular fan of theirs but they are truly several cuts above the rest of the field in Beijing. They didn't slip out of synch at all - they delivered their Rhythm Dance today superbly. I've seen it several times already this season and today was just like a chef's kiss. But, yeah, tomorrow should be interesting. I'll be curious to see if Hubbell/Donohue can hold onto a medal - they tripped in the Free Dance in 2018 and lost out on bronze as a result. I'm hoping they can move ahead of Sinitsina/Katsalapov, whose FD this season is crap. I love the Spaniards FD this season so much - wouldn't mind if they pulled ahead of the #2 Canadians (Fournier Beaudry/Sorensen). CAS is hearing the IOC/WADA/ISU appeal Sunday evening (Beijing time) and hope to have a decision by Monday afternoon in Beijing. Valieva is allowed to practice because RUSADA lifted the provisional ban (that's what is being appealed - WADA/IOC/ISU are saying that RUSADA misapplied the procedures). I don't think she's pretending all is normal - she's been running the gauntlet of the Mixed Zone with her hoodie pulled up and completely closed to avoid the media questions and apparently broke down in tears at the end of her practice session yesterday - those of us in the US have seen some of the Women's practice cams when NBC has made them available on their Peacock platform. If the appeal is upheld by CAS then Valieva will be out - and ROC won't be able to replace her because the SP draw has been held already - the ISU doesn't allow for replacement of athletes once the draw has taken place.
  14. This cauldron is just as underwhelming as the opening ceremonies were. Big fat fail from China on all aspects - the medals are uninspired, the cauldron is a joke, the ceremonies were meh, the color palette of the indoor venues is dull.
  15. Figure skating fans are speculating about Shen & Zhao as a possibility - 3 Olympic medals, including gold in Vancouver.
  16. FS fans are concerned that at least one of the Russian pairs teams (Mishina/Galliamov and Boikova/Kozlovskii) who shared the Worlds 2021 podium with Sui/Han will somehow test positive once in China.
  17. I'm more convinced than before that the surface in the center is an ice rink. There's no reason to for it to be empty when the pre-ceremony performers are square dancing in children's cartoon-esque outfits unless they can't go out there without falling because they're wearing street shoes instead of skates.
  18. No, you are wrong and, apparently, lack basic math skills. Beijing is 17 hours ahead of the West Coast. A ceremony that starts at 9pm Beijing time on 2/4 will start at 4am Pacific time on 2/4. The coverage that starts on 2/3 in the evening here in the US will be live in Beijing on the morning of 2/4. Trust me, I've got the Figure Skating events already saved on my phone calendar and the FS Team Event starts 2/3 at 6pm Pacific, which is 11am on 2/4 in Beijing.
  19. Disagree. I saw an NBC promo for the Opening Ceremony last night and it specifically referenced "Ice and Fire". Which, apart from making me think of Game of Thrones, makes me think the speculation about an ice rink and a very fiery cauldron lighting are spot on. Opening Ceremonies are the evening of Feb 4th local time. Per NBCOlympics.com's schedule, I can watch it live at 4am PST, which means, just like the last two East Asian Olympics, the primetime broadcast will be on Friday evening.
  20. This has the potential to get really ugly, really fast, if the IOC can't get the Beijing organizers to back down... https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/beijing-olympic-committee-testing-threshold-covid-19-1.6318270
  21. Well, the problem is that, apart from Sapporo and SLC, there isn't necessarily a good option for 2034 that exists, even in the hypothetical, and while one could emerge within the next few years, the more pressing issue is that while SLC and the USOPC are more than willing to take 2034, unless Sapporo steps up in the next 6 months for 2030, then the IOC is going to have to pull the trigger on SLC for 2030 which leaves them hoping that either Sapporo steps up for 2034 or some other good option for 2034 does emerge. Right now, my guess is that the IOC would happily award a double to Sapporo & SLC if they can get Sapporo on board. If not, then I expect we'll see SLC awarded 2030 next summer. I don't see the IOC holding out until their 2023 session to make the 2030 decision.
  22. LOL - the IOC's all "well, as long as the athletes are there, you do you, USA, and we'll just continue on our merry little way, disregarding all of China's human rights abuses."
  23. Nah, even Trump has said that a full athlete boycott isn't the way to go as it isn't fair to the athletes and it didn't work in 1980. RWB will settle for a diplomatic boycott because that's all we're going to get at this point.
  24. Okay, Jan. Tell that to the organizers of the other skating competitions still taking place around the world - there's a World Cup Speed Skating competition going on in SLC this weekend, there are hockey and basketball games still being held, Broadway hasn't shut its doors, etc. The reality, whether you like it or not, is that the world is moving on and dealing with this virus and accepting a certain level of risk. The Japanese chose not to accept a degree of risk that other countries have determined is acceptable. That's their choice. But, what I'm telling you is that it unless Omnicron is much worse than Delta was last summer, the likelihood of an event like Worlds being cancelled is pretty damn low. I'm glad I'm not on the WHO board also. I wouldn't want to be a stooge for China the way they were when this started two years ago.
  25. Uhm, no. It's presenting facts, which clearly don't line up with your "OMG, the sky is falling!" prognosis. There isn't any reason to believe, based on France's ability and willingness to host two JGP events back-to-back in August, with at least as many participants as will be participating at Worlds in March, that Worlds will be any different. Of course, I acknowledged in my post that we don't know what will happen yet with Omnicron but if it's like Delta, then I'm fairly confident in stating that Worlds will be held. The decision to postpone the GPF/JGPF was made because the Japanese government couldn't figure out what it would allow/not allow with regard to non-citizens entering the country to compete in a strictly controlled bubble in a timely fashion this week. And it was only earlier today that they finally decided that Japanese athletes returning from training overseas to participate in upcoming national championships in various sports would be allowed to continue training at sports venues while quarantining for the mandatory 14 days. Only time will tell whether or not the Japanese government made a knee-jerk decision to ban all international travelers from entering the country for the month of December, but I'll be blunt - if the GPF/JGPF were scheduled for any other country save Korea or China - it would be going forward next week as scheduled. Other countries are proceeding as normal with regard to international sporting events this week and next week despite WHO declaring Omnicron a "variant of interest".
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