Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Maybe judging not so bad

My essential impulse, given my general fondness for misfits, eccentrics and troublemakers, especially those who also have talent and skills, was to root for Johnny Weir to blow away Evan Lysacek in men's skating last night. I had to admit, however, that while Weir was very good, Lysacek was close to phenomenal and deserved to rank well ahead of Weir. Actually, I'm sorry Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland had a couple of glitches in his program; he was actually my favorite when it came to style. I'm like many people; I've followed stories about Weir and Lysacek in the newspapers without having seen either of them skate for at least a year -- I just don't follow skating as closely as I do football or basketball and Jen hasn't pushed me to watch. So seeing Lysacek skate was something of a revelation. I had thought that nobody would really push the Russian Plushenko, but Lysacek did.

My previous complaint about judging had to do with judging the final pairs programs, and the essence was that the scores didn't show country favoritism so much as they followed conventional wisdom and scores in the short program. It seems to me that one should be able to have a mediocre of poor short program and still make up ground by doing well -- reverting to one's real ability level in some cases -- in the long program, as I thought Denny and Barrett had done in the pairs. But the judges didn't seem open to that; their first impression seemed immutable, based on reputation more than performance. That could happen again tomorrow night. We'll see.

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