Tue Feb 21st, 2006 at 01:53:31 PM EST
As you are by now well aware, my beloved Belbin and Agosto have been competing in the Olympic ice-dancing competition. The last few days have been an emotional roller coaster. From the giddy highs of Tanith Belbin's last-minute citizenship, to the deep despair of the team placing sixth in the Compulsory Dance, you've all been right here with me.
And it hasn't always been easy. I know. We were all so happy back during the Opening Ceremonies. We were younger then. And naive. No one could have predicted the dark days that followed.
I don't think anyone anticipated me turning all philosophical, pondering the deeper meaning of the games and the very nature of competition. Not to mention the unpleasant turn my last thread took with it's vaguely threatening tone.
But you know what? I never promised you people a rose garden. The ONLY promise I made was that I'd bring you along for the ride, and that MAYBE I'd tell you who won and who lost, who "didn't ooze Latin" and who "reeked of seduction," who plunged to abject failure and who ascended to glorious victory.
Oh, and I may have... not promised exactly, but stated rather definitely that there'd be no grievous bodily injury. But what is the exact definition of "grievous" anyway? I can't be right all the time. I'm the first to admit I'm not perfect.
So follow me over the jump or don't. It's your choice...
Things couldn't have been more tense after Friday's Compulsory dance. The top six teams had a point difference of only 1.42. Any of the top eight teams could've been in contention for a medal. My beloved Belbin and Agosto were wallowing around in sixth place.
The gold medal favorites, Navka and Kostomarov of Russia had come in second after a surprise comeback by Italy's retired Barbara Fusar Poli and Maurizio Margaglio. Despite their disastrous choice of moss green for their costumes in the compulsory Waltz, Bulgaria's Denkova and Staviski were in third.
The Original dance would be done to Latin rhythms. The first group of five skaters all did pretty well. I was pleased to see Scottish siblings, Kerr and Kerr, deliver a charismatic performance. Sinead Kerr was wearing a skirt made of fringe, which turned out to be the fashion this season. Everyone was wearing fringe. The other trends were men with their shirts open to the waist and, for some unfathomable reason, wearing little gauzy skirts over their pants.
The venerable Dick Button was our commentator for the evening, and he was pretty much irritated by every performance. Each team in turn "did NOT ooze Latin!" It really got to him. As the evening wore on, he got more and more pissy about it. Not only were the Ukrainians NOT oozing Latin, according to Dick, but their twizzles were UNattractive and UNgraceful.
Finally the top skaters. Israel's Chait and Sakhonovsky came on the ice and they did well, but her skirt was a giant poof of white feathers.
Photo from the European Championships, but it's the same dress.
Now, as far as I know, feathers in costumes have been banned from Olympic ice since Oksana Baiul skated to Swan Lake and shed pink feathers everywhere, so I was worried. Sure enough, right at the end, feathers started flying off her skirt and blowing all over the place.
Next, the top team from France started oozing Latin and Dick went crazy! Not only did it ooze, he said "It REEKS of Latin music! It REEKS of dance!! It REEKS of... just... you know, the quality of seduction. Oh god -- I LIKE THIS!" He got a bit carried away. The skaters actually fell right afterwards at the end of their program. Was it the stray feathers? Or did they hear Dick and get freaked out?
Only six teams left with the Russians next to last and Belbin and Agosto at the end. These are all top skaters and the competition will be vicious. THE NEXT THREE TEAMS FALL! I mean literally! One of the teams, Canadians Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon actually have an injury when she crashes to the ice, landing on her hip, and can't walk. He has to carry her to the Kiss and Cry area.
Next up is the Italians, currently in first place. Her dress is HIDEOUS! It's a green skirt with a PINK flounce in the back and it has big, gaudy flowers down the front. I can't believe what I'm seeing, but the crowd goes wild and they look confident. They skate a wonderful program and THEY FALL! That's five teams in a row now!
When the Italians get up, she just gives him a look that would kill him dead on the spot if it could. She glares at him. She fumes at him through the scores. I worry about him when they leave the building.
Before the Russians skate, I see Navka tucking something into her duffle bag. I wonder if it's voodoo dolls, but I don't see any fringe. They go out and skate a perfect program. Now it's up to my beloved Belbin and Agosto -- they were in sixth, but I must say with all of their competitors falling, there's definitely an opening for them.
Besides Belbin's dress, which makes her look a little bit like a sausage that's burst out of its casing, they skate a marvelous program and, yes, they ooze Latin. The Original dance ends with the Russians in first, Belbin and Agosto in second, and the Bulgarians in third.
The next night is the Free dance. Things go smoothly for most of the teams until it's the Italian's turn to skate. They show clips from last night's fall and long shots of The Glare. They inform us that the Italians haven't spoken to each other since, that they arrived separately, and that they also did their warm-ups separately.
Sure enough, they show them and they won't even look at each other. Oh, this couple has some amazing chemistry and we are feeling the hate. I'm really worried about them on the ice -- what if they hurt each other? But they skate a clean program and it's actually... passionate! The audience goes nuts and they complete the drama by reconciling right there on the ice and kissing each other to several standing ovations. We see them backstage later, and he's bawling his eyes out while she calmly drinks water.
The Ukrainians skate well, but they are dead slow and seem very cautious. This seems odd given the fact that he's wearing what appears to be genie pants and a gauzy skirt and she's wearing a fringe bra. You'd think they'd be going nuts out there.
The Russians skate next and she's actually trembling and praying before they go on the ice. They skate perfectly but, again, without the oomph you usually see. Still, they get huge scores.
Belbin and Agosto are next and they are amazing! They skate to flamenco music and they really give a performance. They have the audience right there with them. They do make a couple of small errors, like Tanith briefly touching her foot down on a twizzle, but it doesn't seem to spoil the look or feel of the program. The audience goes crazy! It's the performance of a lifetime!
We wait for the scores. The Russians are way ahead in first place. Next are Ukraine and Bulgaria. The scores come in and Belbin and Agosto take the silver! They get better scores on the technical than artistic and the audience boos the hell out of the judges. It also bumps Bulgaria off the podium and I think they were robbed.
What a night. I can't wait for the grudge match at the World Championships!