In an Olympics fraught with controversy, nothing has come even close to the shit show that was Ladies Figure Skating two days ago. I’m talking “petition” angry. Where did it all go so wrong? Let’s rehash.
Starting with the youngest competitor, Russia’s Yulia Lipnitskaya, who is only 15, but somehow had the horse sense to think it would be in good taste to skate as the little girl in the red coat to the score from Schindler’s List. This idea falls somewhere between Julianne Hough dressing up in blackface for Halloween, and Justin Bieber pounding his chest and pointing up to Anne Frank in heaven, on the bad taste spectrum. My ancestors would be rolling over in their mass grave if they saw this thing.
Yulia, who was Russia’s Tiny White Hope for gold these Games, finished in fifth place overall. But given that she’s so young, she still has plenty of time to come back to South Korea in 2018. Though I am dreading the moment she debuts her long program as Celie in The Color Purple.
America’s ladies did O.K. for themselves too. Fifteen-year-old Polina Edmunds is nothing but good vibes (her fan-girling for Yuna Kim is beyond adorable), and did our country proud with her solid routine. (I PRETENDED NOT TO SEE THIS.)
American Gracie Gold also wowed on the world’s stage, and thankfully has another few seasons to go until Matthew Weiner pulls the Fat Betty trigger?
Then there is Ashley Wagner, a girl who finished seventh in the overall competition, but has earned the world’s gold in “Being Overly Dramatic.” There is not a camera in space that could miss her borderline-ticky facial expressions, from the famous “Bullshit” GIFf that opened these games to Wednesday’s score/thumbs up combo, to last night’s over-the-top post-performance fist pump:
The girl is just too much. She’s the girl at theater camp you’re dying to shake but CAN’T.
O.k., you guys have been patiently waiting to lose your collective shits this entire article, so let’s talk about what really happened last night.
Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova came into yesterday’s skate in second place behind South Korea’s Yuna Kim (or Kim Yu-na if you fancy). Yuna had won gold in Vancouver four years ago, and was the sure thing shoe-in favorite to win again last night.
Adelina began skating to a top-five fave classical piece, Saint-Saëns’s Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op.28, and put on what I thought was a great show. Energetic, powerful, Adelina was as “on” as you could get on the ice, and the Russian crowd let her know it. It was hard not to get worked up over it, a nation supporting one of their own. Some of her moves defied “bone logic,” like this one:
And while to the naked eye of a non-expert (mine) I didn’t see really any mistakes in her performance, there was one two-footed landing that even Costas himself could see through his infected haze:
Not a full on fall, but certainly not a clean, effortless landing. Little did I know while watching, this would soon be known as:
I thought she killed it, and the panel of Seven Anonymous Judges agreed, giving her 224.59 points, 22 over her personal best.
Yuna’s work was now cut out for her. Skating to “Adios Nonino,” she glided across the ice like a ripple on a still lake, landing her jumps with an ease that almost made it look too easy. It was not the kind of performance you stamp your feet to, but rather lower your monocle down and mutter, “. . . how very . . .” under your breath. She was perfect. And she knew it. Sitting in the results box, waiting for her score, you could see it written on everyone’s face: