Nam Nguyen at the 2010 Olympics Figure Skating Exhibition Gala Skate
Viet Nam is a country in Southeast Asia not exactly keen on winter sports, never mind figure skating, never mind men’s figure skating in its macho patriarchal culture. I know. I’m Vietnamese. It also means I can also tell you it’s a hypocritical patriarchal society because everybody knows the Mother runs the house. That’s why our ultimate cursing is towards the Mother, and nobody cares much for cursing our Fathers.
Wow, that link was insightful! I just looked up a link to demonstrate what I knew of Vietnamese cursing and never knew there were so many. But trust me, all of it is mostly rare compared to the curses towards one’s Mother.
Anyhow, at the 2018 Winter Olympics, wherever it may be held, there just might be huge Vietnamese interest in men’s figure skating. That would be due to a kid named Nam Nguyen from Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. At just eight years old, Nam was the youngest skater ever to become the Canadian National Juvenile Men’s Champion. His outstanding free skate there is below. The kid didn’t miss a jump and was also very artistic.
Just in January, Nam finished 3rd in the Junior Men’s category as an 11 year old, behind two 17 year olds (thanks for the correction by Britt in the comments #3 and #4 below). That placement earned Nam a chance to perform at the 2010 Winter Olympics Figure Skating Exhibition Gala Saturday night. He was quite the showman there, though nerves probably caused him to fall on his first jump. Watching him, the only show man in the building who could have outdone him was Evgeni Plushenko. Canadian champion Patrick Chan had better watch out! This kid could jump and punch the lights out and has a ton of charisma to boot!
That said, the nerdy get up they dressed Nam in didn’t exactly do his image a lot of good, despite tearing off a jump suit to start his routine.
It’s hard to predict the future, of course. Lots of people who try don’t do very well, whether their name is Nostradamus or Not a Damn Chance. However, if Nam continues to work hard, stays injury free and his Parents don’t make him study more than he skates as Vietnamese Parents are prone to do in a culture that values education so much, the kid has got an incredible future in figure skating. He won’t be able to compete until the 2018 Winter Olympics due to age restrictions. However, he should be able to make an impression on the Canadian national titles a few years before that.
Everyone who watches men’s figure skating pretty much knows by now that Evgeni Plushenko has said the quadruple jump is the future of men’s figure skating. A few egotistical judges, who self-appointed themselves to be the judge of that, rewarded Evan Lysacek with the Winter Olympics gold. Supposedly, Evan’s his triple jumps and graceful artistry while dressed like a grease ball in a black jump suit with sparkles was superior to the ultimate ice showman’s quads and other skills.
The main defense of Evan’s gold being fair and legit is that this is the new scoring system (see summary below the poll).
OK. Let’s theoretically accept that is correct for a few moments.
If so, then why not tear down the gender barrier and have the ladies compete with the men?
Queen of the Triple Axel, Mao Asada of Japan
20 of the 24 male figure skaters at the Olympics level didn’t do a triple Axel. Rod Black and Tracey Wilson cited on CTV during Olympics exhibition gala broadcast. Meanwhile, Mao Asada of Japan, the Queen of the Triple Axel, can do them like crazy. She did three in her free skate! That gives her a pretty good chance at 4th place right off the get go, She can do other jumps and combinations like the men. And who’s going to tell me her artistry and grace is worse than any of the men?
So if some of the ladies can jump better than most of the men, and they’re more graceful and artistic, what chance would Evan Lysacek have for the gold if he competed against them?
He’d get bronze, at best, with stiff competition from Johnny Weir. Top two spots would be contended by Mao Asada and Yu-Na Kim of South Korea. Mao only got silver… and not because she was a jumper and not artistic, either. She was elegant, skilled and graceful. She was just beaten by a better skater on the night. Both were beautifully artistic and graceful, having great footwork and covering the ice at least as good as the men, and could jump better than many!
So under this new scoring system, if you could get away with winning on triple jumps and rely on footwork and artistic impression to win, then let’s get the women a chance to skate with the men. Let them show Evan what that’s really all about, cause artistic grease balls in black jump suits with sparkles ain’t doing the trick for me to watch the sport.
Get a few girls who can kick some guy butts? Now you’re talking! 😉
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.4
The New Figure Skating Scoring System
The International Skating Union introduced a new scoring system that took effect internationally in the 2005 season. It is intended to shift focus away from the judges and onto the skaters.
The system is designed to allow judges to focus on the quality of each element performed and the five program components. It also eliminates the scoring of skaters in relation to other skaters.
Oversees the judges to make sure they follow the proper procedure
Identifies each element as the skater performs it
Canadian Olympic silver medallist and former world champion figure skater Elvis Stojko wrote an article trashing the Olympics’ men figure skating results called The Night They Killed Figure Skating. It pretty much sums up my sentiments. But who was I to say such a thing? Thanks for setting the record straight, Elvis! You tell them! They had the ultimate showman back on ice and they’re going to drive him away for more pansies to be competing. Some people just can’t get over how insignificant they are, you know? Pity the sport. Evgeni was very diplomatic in defeat at the podium ceremonies, though. A showman to the last moment.
After the men’s figure skating short program, Evgeni Plushenko was in the lead and said something to the extent that the future of men’s figure skating was in the quad, or quadruple jump. The story went through the press as a challenge to all male figure skaters’ manhood if they did not do quads in their programs, as he vowed to be a man among boys. (CTV News, Feb 17 2010)
“Without a quad it’s not men’s figure skating.”
— Evgeni Plushenko, three-time world champion and 2006 Winter Olympics Champion
Well, tonight, in the long program, Evgeni did a very difficult quad-triple combination, and was still beaten by the American Evan Lysacek, who did not do a quad jump.
The difference was Lysacek had a lot of elements piled up in the second half of his program where they had 10% more value. Evgeni and Evan actually had the same “component” score for elements in their program. Shockingly, Lysacek beat Plushenko in the technical component despite Evgeni having piled up points for his quad-triple axle combination. Evgeni had a full minute without jumps to finish up his program. Both skaters were nearly flawless otherwise.
Lysacek finished a point ahead of Plushenko, with Evan getting 257.67 and Evgeni getting 256.36 points.
Scoring systems and all, some of it is still human judgment, and I can’t help but think that if Evgeni had kept his mouth shut, he might have gotten gold. You can’t look at his comment on the future of skating just as an insult just to the skaters like the media did. Who do you think judges the event and truly determines the future of figure skating? Some people seriously need to get over themselves!
All and all, though, what a night of brilliant skating!
Daisuke Takahashi won bronze with a distant 247.23 points, but was the first Japanese man to end up on the men’s figure skating podium at the Olympics.
Patrick Chan of Canada, who I’m not a particular fan of, I must say, finished 5th. Maturity and charisma wise, he was literally a boy among men.