Pairs Freeskate – More Medals, More Pretzels

By Jocelyn Jane Cox

[FYI- this works backwards, so read from the bottom then back up, if you’d like. I intend to insta-blog again for Men’s Freeskate on Thursday night…I’ll sign in as soon as I get home from the rink!]


Shen and Zhao: Well, tanked on a lift, but did lots of high ticket elements late in the program. AND: did a old -school pull-through, but into a lift! Fourth Olympics. Five points ahead after Short. First Place.

NBC didn’t even show or mention the American’s final placements (10th and 13th). But I agree with Dick Button for once: “It was a wonderful evening.” Lots of strong skating and no disastrous falls. Phew!

Good night!



Kavaguti and Smirnov:  I am uncomfortable watching women this thin on the ice. I felt the same way about Sasha Cohen this year. (I am also uncomfortable commenting on other people’s weight, but I fear for their safety and health and fear for young girls they might influence.) (Well, honestly, I fear for these pair girls at any weight.) (But this is just my paranoia.)

Savchenko and Szolkowy: Love Out of Africa. Thumbs up on the spread eagles into the Throw Triple Sal. Likewise for the Spread Eagle/Plank-ish ending to that lift. (Wish the commentators would tell us the name of some of these newer lift positions/ and lift exits. If they need help coming up with names, I volunteer my services.)

Pang and Tong:  Woooo hooooo! Only team that prompted me to applaud here from the futon. They’re like ice dancers. Gorgeous. Notice, when he throws her, how much air he takes, himself.

One more to go…


11:15 Time for tonight’s serving of pretzels. And to wonder who on earth named it a “death spiral.”   It’s probably the least scary and dangerous of all the elements we are seeing tonight.

My little friend Wiki tells me Potopopovs attempted to change it up in the 60’s, calling the Back Inside a “Cosmic Spiral,” the Forward Inside a “Life Spiral” and the (all too rare) Forward Outside, a “Love Spiral.” I think any one of these would be better than the current name. What do you think? Leave a comment below if so inclined.


10:55 Zhang and Zhang: That fall on his elbows did not look fun. The Hubs gives a thumbs up to their ending position, though.

On Sheherazade: it is a beautiful piece of music, but can we take a break from it? Maybe just take this and Phantom of the Opera and put them in the vault for a while? Maybe just a few decades. In fact, a lot of this music is tired.

On typing while trying to watch the TV screen: challenging.

Mukhortova and Tarankov: The Hubs admits that this is the most he has ever watched any Olympics and any sporting event, period.  He says: “Is it a new thing that the guys are wearing such normal outfits? He looks like he just got off his shift at the Banana Republic.”  Yes, it is a new thing – seems like lots of teams are following in the footsteps of Sale and Pelletier. ( I believe this is their same music.)

Dube/Davison: “And this guy is from the Gap! That’s just a long sleeve T-shirt and Dockers!” (…maybe I’ll get him in figure skates, yet!)

I’m sad D/D didn’t have a better skate. Was rooting for them ever since the camel spin accident. Can’t imagine doing another one after that and the PTSD she must have had.  She looks awesome, though. Still wondering why their scores are so high…? Perhaps my local technical specialist will enlighten? Or perhaps he is asleep, preparing for an early-morning skate.

Also wondering why all the Death Spirals look so slow – possibly because they are trying to hold them for so long.


10:31 Bazarova and Larianov. I dig the one-sided collar. The Russian Jackets are cool. Is it true that they are required to put them on in the Kiss and Cry for promotional purposes?

The back story on Yao Bin: inspiring or heartbreaking? Both, I suppose.

The Hubs on Langlois and Hays: “She’s so little.” Yup, that’s one of the main requirements of a girl pair skater. Liliputian. That, and nerves of steel. Not to mention biceps of steel.


10:03 Evora and Ladwig just skated. Mark is to be commended on his spirals. He is doing his species proud.

Bezic: (approximate quote) “Evora and Ladwig have been together for eight years and never been on the podium at Nationals [dramatic pause] until this year.” I am a sucker for this kind of stuff.

Enormous Throw Triple Loop. And their One handed Reverse Lasso etc etc etc lift: excellent.

Notice how Costas and Co. are suddenly pushing the “personal best” notion since, in this case, the Americans are nowhere near medal contention. I approve and request more of the same. The constant focus on medals is tiresome. (Thank heaven Canada finally got a gold on their home turf – the commentators can now stop harping on this.) I like that the rink announcer is mentioning when the scores are a team’s personal best. This does bring some perspective and context. Then again, every event has different judges and different callers…


9:25 Okay! Just got home from the rink two hours later than expected – dead battery in the parking lot, got a jump, tossed up a salad, now ready to see the skaters jump….

Denney and Barrett just punched in a great, redemptive Freeskate. Bravo! Impressive for being together only 18 months.

The above clipart and in fact this entire insta-blog is dedicated to all previous, current, and future pair skating women. I have an insane amount of respect for you.

To be continued…and in the mean time, check out this humor piece about the Olympics:



  1. WinterGH · February 16, 2010

    Love seeing Zhoa throwing the football – staying chill or at least trying to.

  2. Van Couver · February 16, 2010

    Bezic needs to be replaced. Personal best for Barret & Denney? Gimme a break.

  3. WinterGH · February 16, 2010

    true on the gap clothes, but sort of allows focus on the skating.

  4. CyndiT · February 16, 2010

    agree on other names for death spiral. love spiral seems most appropriate.

  5. skatergirl · February 16, 2010

    ha! Your skating pretzel person is funny. I agree that the Death Spiral needs a new name. I vote for Cosmic spiral.

    I also loved Pang and Tong – it looks like they won the freeskate, deservedly.

  6. Sauna · February 16, 2010

    Actually alot of these girls look alarmingly thin. I know they have to be light enough to lift but only Dube, Denney and the other Canadian girl look like they eat enough to support all that training.

  7. DVJ · February 16, 2010

    I loved the German team,loved the Out of Africa music,so beautiful.
    And I love the Chinese teams and their coach,they are just amazing.Someone should make a movie about Bin’s life.

  8. Paulie · February 16, 2010

    What about that heart! That the Russian/Japanese woman revealed! Was that cool or cheesy?

  9. Ann-Marie · February 17, 2010

    A few unconnected thoughts:

    I watched this event longing for the Calgary Olympics. The best ever for figure skating in my opinion!

    I am very happy for the medalist, LOVE that the Russian streak is over, finally!

    So true about the death spiral-it’s the illusion that gives it it’s name-right? Everybody is switching hands in it now too-different! (or am I dating myself again?)

    What is with all the blade grabbing these days? And leg pulling up? It is just ugly and uncomfortable to do and look at!

    D/D were fun to watch and had great choreography which told a story. So many programs were just people skating to music. I’m giving them a gold medal for their costume and music choice-“The Way We Were”, “they used to date”…come on!

    Love that the Japanese/Russian girl gave up her citizenship to represent Russia…that is what needs to happen. I can’t stand these people who call themselves American, are American, train in the US, and then go off and represent another country just to say they made it to the Olympics! Have to admit, after all the training, time, money, etc. it is tempting but still totally unpatriotic (and somewhat cowardly! see: family of ice dancers from New Jersey representing 2 countries other than their own-a disgrace!)

    Finally, it is clear that I need to watch these events with another skater around so I can vent to that person instead of your blog! My Hubs just won’t do!

  10. JoAnn · February 21, 2010

    I myself wondered about the girl from NJ now representing the country of Georgia where her citizenship was pushed forward by the country’s Prime Minister or President. I read that she has dual US/Georgia citizenship and did not think that was “allowed” by the US.

    And she has never set foot in Georgia!

    Her mom is Japanese and her sister and brother represent Japan. To me, that is much more understandable than the Georgia thing.

  11. Stephanie Barone · February 23, 2010

    Just showed my 5 year old little figure skater the pretzel spiral and I quote “She should have pointed her toe.” LOL! Love the blog. Thanks!

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