During the month of March, I broke my wrist, a surgeon removed my gall bladder, and my old laptop started tripping the electrical breakers in my house. And I still had a better month than the U.S. Figure Skating team.
An exaggeration? Only slightly. The United States had a dismal showing at the 2012 World Figure Skating Championships, winning only one medal. And that silver medal is still baffling ice skating enthusiasts. I’m the last to cry French Judge (a.k.a. wolf for those of you who don’t remember the Canadian Pairs team at the 2002 Olympics), but the good ole U.S. of A. might have been cheated. Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the US ice dance champions and 2011 world champs (the first US skaters to ever win an ice dance gold) skated a difficult program brilliantly but wound up second. Even though their main competition, the Canadian team of Virtue and Moir, skated a lackluster program. Are the Canadians the new Russians?
And that’s the good news. Jeremy Abbott, our Men’s Champion finished 8th--the second lowest score for the top U.S. man since World War II. Combined with Adam Rippon's 13th place, that’s the lowest aggregate finish in history for the top two U.S. men.
The ladies did slightly better. Ashley Wagner, the U.S. champ rallied in her long program to finish fourth, but my ever inconsistent favorite, Alissa Czisny, finished a dismal 22nd. Yikes. On a more positive note, Carolina Kostner won the first ever ladies’ gold for Italy. Carolina has worked hard for this well-deserved honor.
And finally, the pairs teams for the U.S. finished 8th and 10th. The red, white, and blue skaters aren’t a threat in the division, but American teams typically do a bit better.
Placements, even without medals are extremely important. Why? Because the finishing order determines how many skaters get to compete for a country in the Olympics and/or the World Championships—nope, countries don’t automatically get to send three skaters. To earn that coveted trio of skaters, a country must have two skaters finish in the top two OR have the top two placements less than 14. To send two skaters, one skater must place in the top 10 (or the top two placements less than 29).
Therefore, Ashley Wagner’s s rally to get 4th keeps two skaters on the women’s team in 2013 and Abbott’s eighth (dismal as it was) keeps a duo of men. Amazingly, the US will send three ice dance teams to the 2013 Worlds. Very important in the year before the Olympics. Throughout history, the trend has been very strong individual skaters for the U.S. (both men and women) and weaker teams (ice dance and pairs). Clearly the trend is reversing.
Do you think the emerging dominance of pairs and ice dance teams over individuals as good trend?