I realized something on Monday night while watching the Olympics:
Figure skating has become excruciatingly boring.
This makes me sad, since I’ve liked figure skating my whole life. (I’m not exaggerating. One of my earliest memories is going to the Ice Capades when I was six, to see Dorothy Hamill fresh off her gold-medal performance in the 1976 games. She fell on her butt the minute she skated out.) I’ve tuned in to at least part of the skating each night since Monday’s epiphany, and rather than discovering it was an off night, my initial reaction has been confirmed.
I’ve chatted with friends about this, and it’s not just me. Explanations vary: a weak crop of contenders, a seeming lack of passion from the athletes, the confusing new scoring system, NBC’s crappy coverage & commentators, even the lack of compulsory figures in the competition. For me, though, it boils down to one thing more than anything else: the music.
Now, I understand that there’s a rule that the music can’t have lyrics, but I’m pretty sure there isn’t one against using songs from this century. Or hell, even the past quarter century. So far this Olympics, first the pairs and then the solo men skated to songs that were already past their prime when Hamill was wowing Innsbruck. “Send in the Clowns”? “Theme from Love Story”? “The Impossible Dream”? Using the same music, of course, means that the routines all look pretty much the same too, and after 30+ years, it’s gotten pretty damned old.
(And, perhaps, this could explain the lack of passion from the skaters — after all, what 21st century teen or 20-something feels a close, personal connection to the title track of a movie that came out when his/her parents were in kindergarten?)
So, I end my rant with a heartfelt plea: Lady Gaga, please save figure skating. Your flair for flashy showmanship is just what’s needed to wake up this sport. Make up some remixes without the vocal tracks and overnight them to Vancouver. You’re our only hope. Well, and maybe the choreographer from Glee, but I don’t want to be greedy.