Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Fairy Tale Ending Every Figure Skating Fan Wants

An Olympic Gold Medal for Michelle Kwan. She's considering the dream herself. Michelle Kwan dominated the figure skating scene from about 1995 until three years ago when an injury forced her to pull out of the 2006 Winter Olympics. She had the total package. She's known now for her grace and presentation skills but she started out at the jumper and a strong athlete. But while other jumpers came and went, she consistently held her own, winning NINE national championships and five world championships, a silver Olympic medal and a bronze Olympic medal.

And those last two medals are what still give her fans pain. She "should" have won a
n Olympic gold medal. In 1998 the devil Tara Lipinksi "stole" it from her. Or so it seemed the way some of Kwan's more rabid fans would talk. The viciousness of some the attacks against Lipinski actually turned me into a Lipinski defender in internet skating discussions.

My daughter was eight at the time and had just begun to skate and she was enchanted by Lipinski. When Lipinski won the gold medal, my daughter said "Everyone said she couldn't win the gold medal but she didn't believe them and she went out and skated her best and won" and you have to be thankful for a role model like that. But Kwan fans never forgave her. Lipinski went pro at 16 --never giving Kwan a chance to beat her again --another unforgivable sin. But she paid a heavy price for that triple-loop/triple loop that wowed the judges and had to have hip surgery at age 18.

I have my own theory was to why Lipinski won - which will only make sense to rabid fans who followed the scoring system. If anyone was overscored - it was Chen Lu of China whose presentation scores were too high. She skated before Lipinski. Having given such high scores to Chen Lu, the judges had to give higher presentation scores to Lipinski - and THAT's why Lipinski beat Kwan. People who are so gung-ho to bring back the 6.0 scoring system forget about it's strange quirks that often confused the casual fan.

Anyway I really really would love to see Kwan back at the Olympics. Figure Skating just hasn't been the same since she left. And everyone loves a fairy tale ending.

Update - I posted this link on my facebook with a comment about this being the fairy tale "nearly" every fan wants and was chided because there are fans that don't remember Michelle Kwan and there are fans who would be disappointed if their favorite were shut out. Yea yea yea. I guess Michelle Kwan still can spark a debate but I deleted the discussion because I dont' care enough to argue about it on facebook.

I still say everybody loves a fairy tale ending.

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