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Winter Olymics in Sochi!


Maggie Mae

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I love the Winter Olympics so much. It's really nice to see people from my hometown competing, and sports that I participate in getting some recognition. However, I'm saddened by how political the Olympics have become. Unless they've always been political and corrupt, and I'm just now noticing.

Is anyone one else excited? The USA Opening ceremony costumes/uniforms are hideous!

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Have you seen how much the uniforms are? I like me some Ralph Lauren, but only at the outlets during a sale. $800 for a coat is a bit much. Like, more than my rent.

I generally don't get excited for the Olympics. I'm more of a world cup gal. I think this year it does seem more political. Or like you, maybe I just noticed it more, but the safety of the players seems to be more of an issue this year. I guess the upside (if there is one) is that they don't have to wear those awful-looking sweaters outside of official ceremonies.

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The Olympics have always been political, corrupt, and had doping scandals from their inception in Ancient Greece. We love them because despite all that, there are wonderful moments of the human spirit at each games.

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I love the Olympics! At the Winter Games, I especially like the skiing (both Alpine and Nordic), snowboarding, ski jumping, the sledding sports, and speed skating. Those are the sports more a test of skill than is Figure Skating. Figure skating judging just seems too subjective.

I don't know how much I'll watch this year. It is 31 Days of Oscar on TCM and then there's the rather reprehensible politics of Russia concerning their gay citizens and visitors.

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I miss living in Canada with their massive coverage of the games. We get SFA here since we have very few athletes, but I'll catch what I can online. My husband and I loved watching the biathlon in the last games, it's an amazing sport! I also like the downhill skiing.

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Despite all the reasons not to, I plan to watch what I can. I'm also committed to completing a rather ambitious artistic/creative challenge in the month of February, so that more than anything is likely to curtail my viewing. I most enjoy the really weird niche sports you never see anywhere but the Olympics, like bobsleigh, curling, and biathlon.

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I love the Olympics! At the Winter Games, I especially like the skiing (both Alpine and Nordic), snowboarding, ski jumping, the sledding sports, and speed skating. Those are the sports more a test of skill than is Figure Skating. Figure skating judging just seems too subjective.

I don't know how much I'll watch this year. It is 31 Days of Oscar on TCM and then there's the rather reprehensible politics of Russia concerning their gay citizens and visitors.

There are two scores in skating. One is the Technical Segment Score (TSS) which is not subjective at all any more. Every single element has a base value and then receives a Grade of Execution (GOE) which is based on specific criteria. Base values are determined not by the judges but by a technical specialist who also calls errors that require mandatory GOE deductions including under rotations or wrong edges on jumps. This scoring makes the technical score very concrete and the sport a test of skill. And frankly, if you don't think there is any skill in jumping up, rotating your body in the air three or even four times then landing on one foot on a thin blade on ice...what does require skill?

The second mark is still a bit too objective. It is called Program Component Score (PCS). Five categories are judged in it on a point scale of 1 to 10. Three of them: skating skills, transitions and performance/execution do have some specific criteria that must be meant. The remaining two, choreography and Interpretation remain very subjective.

As a long time serious skating fan, I can tell, though, that if you understand scoring and the technical details of what makes good skating elements, most competitions are judged much more fairly than in the past. The system does have some flaws, certainly. I would anticipate that the only event where less subjective scoring may win the day will be men's. One skater has frequently been gifted with extremely high PCS scores even when making multiple and very visible technical mistakes.

And I am looking forward to the Olympics! I also enjoy skiing events and just all of the pageantry.

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There are two scores in skating. One is the Technical Segment Score (TSS) which is not subjective at all any more. Every single element has a base value and then receives a Grade of Execution (GOE) which is based on specific criteria. Base values are determined not by the judges but by a technical specialist who also calls errors that require mandatory GOE deductions including under rotations or wrong edges on jumps. This scoring makes the technical score very concrete and the sport a test of skill. And frankly, if you don't think there is any skill in jumping up, rotating your body in the air three or even four times then landing on one foot on a thin blade on ice...what does require skill?

The second mark is still a bit too objective. It is called Program Component Score (PCS). Five categories are judged in it on a point scale of 1 to 10. Three of them: skating skills, transitions and performance/execution do have some specific criteria that must be meant. The remaining two, choreography and Interpretation remain very subjective.

As a long time serious skating fan, I can tell, though, that if you understand scoring and the technical details of what makes good skating elements, most competitions are judged much more fairly than in the past. The system does have some flaws, certainly. I would anticipate that the only event where less subjective scoring may win the day will be men's. One skater has frequently been gifted with extremely high PCS scores even when making multiple and very visible technical mistakes.

And I am looking forward to the Olympics! I also enjoy skiing events and just all of the pageantry.

You pretty much said it all. I'm a big fan of figure skating in general, and I cannot wait for it to start. Who are your favorite skaters this Olympics? What do you think about the new team event?

I am very excited for the Olympics to start! I am planning on watching what I can of the figure skating, the hockey, and the skiing. I have also been following the political issues surrounding this Olympics more than I have in the past because they have been brought up in two out of the three classes I'm taking this term (not a surprise, since those two classes are human rights classes). I can't help being excited to watch though, because this is the one time winter sports take over the television and the internet!

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There's always been a political aspect, but it sure does seem to have gotten more attention before these Olympics simply because where they're taking place and the contrast between what's going on there and the huge focus on gay rights in the West. I mean, the mayor of Sochi literally said that there are no gay people in Sochi recently, and that they aren't welcome. This is bound to cause uproar.

That said, I'm looking forward to the games, despite the sour taste left by what's going on. I'm from Norway so the winter Olympics are always fun for us, because winter sports are so big here compared to the summer Olympics, which are mostly just kind of depressing.

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My son will insist on watching Team Canada for both the men's and women's hockey. I'll try to insist that he jump only on the old couch, and not the new one, since he tends to get carried away.

I'm more cynical, and basically waiting to see what goes wrong. Not a fan of Putin, the anti-gay policy, the high risk of terrorism, or the massive corruption that's making these games so insanely expensive.

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You pretty much said it all. I'm a big fan of figure skating in general, and I cannot wait for it to start. Who are your favorite skaters this Olympics? What do you think about the new team event?

I am very excited for the Olympics to start! I am planning on watching what I can of the figure skating, the hockey, and the skiing. I have also been following the political issues surrounding this Olympics more than I have in the past because they have been brought up in two out of the three classes I'm taking this term (not a surprise, since those two classes are human rights classes). I can't help being excited to watch though, because this is the one time winter sports take over the television and the internet!

Favorites:

Ladies: YuNa Kim is divine but I have always loved Mao Asada's delicacy on the ice. A win for either one would be fine with me. I hope Wagner can sneak in for bronze, but I would be surprised if she does.

Men: I LOVE Jeremy Abbott. My mom and I had a really fun chat with him when we attended Nationals last year. I hope he has an Olympics he feels good about, unlike last time. And Jason Brown impressed us at Nats a year ago. He was one of our three most memorable of the skaters we saw for the first time there (not because they were there for the first time--but because they were people not shown on television). As for gold...I'd rather see Hanyu, Takahashi or Fernandez win than Chan. And Pluschenko is apparently skating. He's a wild card; I think his legs may be held together by string and duct tape at this point. Most seem to think Chan is a lock. I have a feeling, though, that Chan might not see such generous PCS if he skates sloppy. An outcome like last year's World's on the big stage of the Olympics would not serve the sport well at all and I think they know it. If he stays upright, he probably is a lock for Gold.

Pairs: Not a lot of preference. One of the faults of the new judging system is that pairs programs all look the same, to me at least. I really enjoy watching it, though. And even our not-so-stellar U.S. pairs blew me away live when I finally got to attend a competition last year. You don't always realize how high the lifts are or how far the girls are thrown on television.

Dance: I don't really watch. But I hope Davis/White can make history and be the first U.S. team to win!

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Everyone here is getting pretty keyed up about it - we had an Olympic torch photo op at my school recently (no, not THE Olympic torch). However, at the same time, everyone's really tense. The security situation is really freaking everyone out, in Sochi and Moscow and many other cities. Combine that with exorbitant costs (truly astounding even by Olympic standards) and I think this is not a particularly happy Games for the Russian people. My teen students are particularly vocal about it.

I keep things light, tease people about how Canada will totally win at hockey, but the majority of opinions I've heard are "We'll just be relieved when it's over."

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I heard on the news last night that the governor of Sochi has stated there are no gays in his city...but gays are welcome at the games....watch for the fundie influx.

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I heard on the news last night that the governor of Sochi has stated there are no gays in his city...but gays are welcome at the games....watch for the fundie influx.

They were welcome as long as they "respect the laws of the Russian Federation and [don't] impose their habits on others". In other words, only welcome as long as they don't tell anyone they're gay.

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I'm definitely a figure skating fan, and I also plan to watch curling because I love the Norwegian team's pants.

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My younger brother bought a pair of those argyle pants during the previous Olympics, and every single time we took the bus together I ended up pretending I didn't know him because people kept staring and he was just basking in all of the attention. Ugh.

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I do like figure skating, but I think Tara Lipinsky ruined it for me. I just didn't like her and I can probably skip her commentary.

I do get why there are separate scores for technical and artistic merit (I watched the '72 Winter Games and saw Janet Lynn get the Bronze) and I'm not thrilled with the emphasis on jumps (which I know take an enormous amount of skill) to the almost exclusion of spins, etc. Or so it seems.

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I do like figure skating, but I think Tara Lipinsky ruined it for me. I just didn't like her and I can probably skip her commentary.

I do get why there are separate scores for technical and artistic merit (I watched the '72 Winter Games and saw Janet Lynn get the Bronze) and I'm not thrilled with the emphasis on jumps (which I know take an enormous amount of skill) to the almost exclusion of spins, etc. Or so it seems.

Spins actually get more credit now than under the "6.0 system" of old. They were just fillers then and would never make or break a program. Now they are given their own points and grades of execution. Along with step sequences, the difficulty and importance of spins has increased with the points system. To give a concrete example, higher scores on elements like spins, spiral sequence and step sequence are how Sasha Cohen beat Irina Slutskaya for her silver medal in 2006 in spite of errors on two jumps. Had it only been a jumping contest, Slutskaya would have beaten her. On a negative note, the system's emphasis on combinations and hyper-flexible positions has made a lot of the skaters do the exact same spins regardless of how well they can perform them to get the highest levels.

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The Olympics have always been political, corrupt, and had doping scandals from their inception in Ancient Greece. We love them because despite all that, there are wonderful moments of the human spirit at each games.

Really looking forward to the sport.

The political aspect appears to be more maybe from the US side? Not much of anything about that this side of the pond to be honest. Maybe old Ruskie prejudice and history tainting your political aspect? Yet to see any country with a perfect 10 for gay rights anywhere in the world.

It is fascinating how different a view we see about events from different countries.

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There is always some political controversy at every Olympics. Chinese human rights, Russian or American boycotts, let the Palestinians march under their own flag or not, boo or not boo this or that country's team at the opening games, oh-my-God-those meanies who HATE GREECE won't let it have the Centennial Games.

Political controversy around the Olympics is hardly an exclusively American phenomenon, and this year the US has not been the sole country to point out that Russian laws against public expression of gay life are homophobic bullshit. S'OK. Just business as usual.

Let the Games begin. :lol:

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There is always some political controversy at every Olympics. Chinese human rights, Russian or American boycotts, let the Palestinians march under their own flag or not, boo or not boo this or that country's team at the opening games, oh-my-God-those meanies who HATE GREECE won't let it have the Centennial Games.

Political controversy around the Olympics is hardly an exclusively American phenomenon, and this year the US has not been the sole country to point out that Russian laws against public expression of gay life are homophobic bullshit. S'OK. Just business as usual.

Let the Games begin. :lol:

Behave!

The only thing that matters is that the 2 SUPERPOWERS outdo each other in points :lol: Been like that for decades. It is pathetic and predictable on both sides. Whilst in actual fact the normal folk just marvel at the prowess of the athletes.

The tables of medals seems more important for the wrong reasons at times,because of that. It was a running joke in London.

I have previously quoted and linked to the Russian hideous expression of gay life on here. It does not differ to many countries. Including mine and yours. Does the US actively encourage education in school for homosexuality? Is it positively taught? Is it positively discouraged? OR are we fudging? I think we are the former here.

The Russians have said what? Let's be very honest Aretejo...they may have SAID it. Not like it is not the way it is ...and worse where we live :(

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Spins actually get more credit now than under the "6.0 system" of old. They were just fillers then and would never make or break a program. Now they are given their own points and grades of execution. Along with step sequences, the difficulty and importance of spins has increased with the points system. To give a concrete example, higher scores on elements like spins, spiral sequence and step sequence are how Sasha Cohen beat Irina Slutskaya for her silver medal in 2006 in spite of errors on two jumps. Had it only been a jumping contest, Slutskaya would have beaten her. On a negative note, the system's emphasis on combinations and hyper-flexible positions has made a lot of the skaters do the exact same spins regardless of how well they can perform them to get the highest levels.

I'm glad to see that spins and footwork are given their own grades now. That's a good part of what made old time skating so beautiful to watch.

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Really looking forward to the sport.

The political aspect appears to be more maybe from the US side? Not much of anything about that this side of the pond to be honest. Maybe old Ruskie prejudice and history tainting your political aspect? Yet to see any country with a perfect 10 for gay rights anywhere in the world.

It is fascinating how different a view we see about events from different countries.

There's a bunch of controversy here in Russia, but it has nothing to do with the LGBT stuff. Mostly to do with financial mismanagement, which is truly staggering. The international community is much more concerned with the social problems. There will be much bigger repercussions from the former problem, though. Not that the first isn't worthy of concern and investigation, it's just that there are so many more problems than the LGBT.

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I love the Winter Olympics so much. It's really nice to see people from my hometown competing, and sports that I participate in getting some recognition. However, I'm saddened by how political the Olympics have become. Unless they've always been political and corrupt, and I'm just now noticing.

Not sure how old you are but, yes, they have always been political. Off the top of my head here are some political events that are forever tied to the Olympics:

1. Munich Games 1972 - terrorists captured 11 Israeli athletes and held them hostage for a brief period. At the end of the day, all were killed along with a German policeman and most of the Black September terrorists involved.

2. 1968 Mexico Games -- Black Power salute by American athletes on medal stand during awards ceremony.

3. 1936 Berlin -- the fact that the International Olympic Committee allowed these games to take place in Nazi Germany was bad enough but they also permitted Leni Riefenstahl's free access to all aspects of the games. She made a documentary that was basically an ad for the Master Race with the Olympics as an example of same.

4. Moscow 1980 -- President Carter insisted that the US boycott the games because of the Soviet's invasion of Afghanistan. Sixty four other countries joined in the boycott. (Who knows, the Russians may still be pissed about this 'slight' and this may be part of the issue this year).

5. Los Angeles 1984 -- Tit for tat. The Russians and other Eastern Bloc countries passed on this because of 4 above.

6. Lake Placid "Miracle on Ice" hockey game where the US beat Russia became way more than a hockey game because of the political climate and the tension between our two countries in 1980.

I'm sure there are more but those come to mind. Apart from the Berlin Olympics, I have a first hand memory of each of them.

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