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Skate equity


 

Pairs figure skating (and its close cousin, ice dancing) really is unique among  sports. In most, men and women take part in separate competitions, usually of necessity. Very rarely, as in the equestrian events, they compete against each other directly, or, as in mixed doubles tennis, side by side.

But only in figure-skating do they fuse into a single entity: every moment of the performance is a collaborative effort. Their roles are different, but complementary — and equally important. That must account for its popularity. There’s a moment just before they start their routine, when the two skaters look at each other: invariably they grin, as if sharing a private joke. It’s like watching a Hepburn-Tracy movie, an idealized vision of relations between the sexes.


 
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Skate equity

  1. You're an enigma Andrew Coyne.

  2. Indeed, it is the only sport that reminds me of The Young and the Restless.

  3. invariably they grin, as if sharing a private joke.

    The joke they are probably sharing is wondering how many minutes before yet another Zamboni breakdown. Sweet Jesus, what third world country is putting these games on?

    • it is truly too bad there is no medal event for national self-loathing. we could truly sweep the medals in that one I am sure!

      • I don't know s&m…I guess it depends on if Heather Mallick competes as a Brit or a Canadian.

      • Oh for the love of God…climate change paranoia strikes again.

        Maybe, Canadian Kyle Parrott suggested, they should have gone with a Zamboni.

        "Zambonis work," Parrott told The Canadian Press.

        Indeed, in a late-day announcement Monday, the Vancouver organizing committee known as VANOC declared they would be doing exactly that. A Zamboni ice resurfacer from Calgary was to be on the ice by Tuesday, they said. In an effort to preserve the carbon-neutral goal of the 2010 Games, organizers originally went with the Olympia machines, which run on electricity. By day's end Monday, they were clearly rethinking that decision.

        "I realize they wanted to make a green Games … but Zambonis in the past have worked for years and years and years," Parrott said.

  4. This post isn't really about "figure skating" is it.

  5. I don't know. Synchronised swimming, or even synchronised diving, are sports where the participants are, as Coyne so metrosexually observes, "..fuse[d] into a single entity: every moment of the performance is a collaborative effort."

    • Winter.

      Winter.

    • Actually, in those sports thae movements are mirrors of each other, not collaborative efforts involving different but collaborative roles combining to create a final effect greater than any that could have been achieved either singly or by simply mirroring one another.

    • There's multi-gender synchronized swimming now?

  6. You know, I'd wondered the same thing about skate equity last night, Andrew. At least I think it's the same thing. I haven't looked – do the rules prohibit skate equity, or is it just that nobody has tried? Surely it can't be long, either way, although it strikes me that there might be other considerations – can there be equity without direct competition with traditional skaters? And will new categories of skating undermine the traditional pairings? Not that these are reasons to oppose equity; it will just be interesting to watch.

    And to be clear, whatever Coyne is talking about, I'm talking about same-sex figure-skating pairs.

  7. Brasseur and Eisler skating to Patricia the Stripper — so funny, so smooth, so perfectly well done. You can still watch that on YouTube.

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