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It's Icy Out There... or
The Naked Russians Are Coming

by Amy Zidell

02.25.02

In honor of the Winter Olympics I dug up this piece, which appeared in print in its original form in March 1994.

Prologue:
(Before the classic piece, some thoughts on the 2002 Winter Games. Since it seems that once again, figure skating held the most drama - about the event itself - and not necessarily on the ice, I'll stick with that sport.

The sport is figure skating, not face skating, so explain to me the need for ultra near microscopic close ups of the skaters. I'm not a director, but if it had been up to me, I would have followed the lead of other sports broadcasting traditions that tend to keep the namesake of the sport in camera view: keep the eye on the football, basketball, baseball, FIGURE SKATING. Perhaps the responsible party comes from a dermatological industrial film background. Even then, why zoom in when the skater is blowing their nose waiting for marks? There's just no reason for that. I would also make sure that I didn't loose sight of skaters who were skating, on the ice, like the silver medal performance of Russian ladies figure skater Irina Slutskaya. This bobble was complimented by an audio slip up as well, with a man's voice frantically yelling in a whisper, "Stay with her, stay with her!" Alas, in an effort to correct this mistake, there was a tad of over compensation, which resulted in the near ice porn incident Friday night during the skating exhibitions. You may recall this was when the camera followed the mens figure skating gold medal winner, Russian skater Alexei Yagudin, behind stage and filmed him changing his shirt. As he moved to change his pants the camera started to follow in a southernly direction until the camera movement stopped with a jerk at an upper Speedo shot. If only the camera stopped because of good taste. One can only guess, though sadly the issue of shrinkage probably weighed heavily. Maybe the Russian contingent should focus their complaints on U.S. television coverage.)


[Remember back to Tonya and Nancy]
...03.94
Well, I obviously survived my family Ski Trip, I can't go into more details now. One thing I can talk about is how much we enjoyed watching the Olympics. I thought Nancy Kerrigan skated like an angel. Okay, so my Mom thought that. I thought she skated really well.

Now I must admit, when I was younger and my parents watched Olympic ice skating competition, I used to think, "Ugh how boring." Either figure skating is getting better or I'm getting really old because I was hooked on the Lillehammer performances.

The other day I saw a story on a tabloid TV magazine show about Nancy Kerrigan's attitude. Apparently there's some stink about her not enjoying the wait for some medal ceremony, something about not loving a parade, and not gliding through the publicity junket the same way she glides around on ice. Gee, I guess maybe the problem is she's human! What could she be thinking? I for one love to wait in line after a busy day on ice. I think all parades are intellectually stimulating if you concentrate. I can't think of a nicer way to spend my afternoon than by answering the same inane questions repeatedly and having flash bulbs blaze off around my face blinding me while people shout at me. What could Nancy be thinking? I don't know why she would be bothered by any of this, can you?

Come on, let's give the poor girl a break. She's spent a considerable amount of her young life preparing as an athlete, not calculating how to hit all the tacky talk shows in a month about how the extremely short skirts on the skating outfits have traumatized her all these years. Which, by the way, brings up an interesting point. Why are the women's skating outfits so damn short? The men get to wear pants. Isn't it cold out there on the ice? My goodness, throw that girl a sweater, please. The basic rule of thumb is this: If you are wearing an outfit on the ice that if worn on a Southern California beach along with oil would secure a trophy, or at least some mildly warm beer as prize, for a bikini contest IT'S TOO SHORT!

Okay, so Nancy spent a long time in Norway far far away. Then she flew back home. A long long way. Now it's time for a parade. Oh boy. Look everyone loves a parade. That of course refers to the spectators. How'd you like to stand up in a moving vehicle sucking up exhaust fumes for miles on end? I'll tell you; doesn't sound like much fun to me. Some feel Nancy thought this was corny. Is this a news flash? Isn't that redundant a "corny parade." Parades by nature are corny, that's what makes them paradable. Nancy was just the first to publicly admit this fact, a daring and pioneering act. No one before had the strength nor courage to face this ugly truth. Some people are annoyed she didn't stay for the closing ceremonies. At least she brought the right shoe laces.* Did you watch the closing ceremonies? If you thought a parade was corny... well let's just say they were festive. I've got a friend who's got a friend who lives in Norway. According to this friend, as many Norwegians as possibly could left the country to get away from Olympic insanity. So why not Nancy? Of course at this point she may want to go back to Norway, to get away from the insane American paparazzi. I don't think that's corny at all.

* If I recall correctly, this refers to Tonya having trouble with the laces on her skates. She cried, she showed the judges her skates, it was all very dramatic - coming back now?


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