February 12, 2006

Goodbye Michelle... time to root for Emily.

Come on, get on the plane Emily. Don't let the snow slow you. Ice will conquer snow!

So Michelle Kwan has withdrawn from the Olympics.
You knew that was going to happen -- after that fall yesterday in practice. It's hard to give up after all these years, hard never to get what it has seemed so long was your entitlement. But to petition your way onto the team and get the slot that was Emily's -- that was not the prettiest form of entitlement. And to occupy that slot when you aren't ready to use it, that's an awful way to end your career. So you've done the right thing -- probably the only thing you could do -- and withdrawn.
[Emily] Hughes, 17, was contacted immediately at her home. She is the younger sister of 2002 Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes. She will join Sasha Cohen and Kimmie Meissner on the United States team.

Cohen said graciously that she was disappointed for Kwan.

"I was a little bit shocked," she said of hearing about the withdrawal. "I know how tough it is to come back from an injury. It's great that she tried and I'm sorry that it didn't work out."
Aw, she's only 17. She doesn't have to lie any better than that! Go, little sister Emily!

CORRECTION: I mistakenly read that last quote as being from Hughes, but it's Cohen's. So the cute lie comment is all wrong. Sorry.

18 comments:

reader_iam said...

It is sad to see Kwan's career ended this way, but I have to say there's some justice there, too, for Emily, since that appointment was a little "off" in that it didn't seem quite "cricket," so to speak.

I remember my father saying years and years ago that he hoped he had the good sense to lay down his instruments before he started to make a fool of himself in public performances and get in the way of the next generation.

That sort of seems to apply here, too.

Sad, though.

John R Henry said...

She'll join Sasha Cohen?

What the heck is Borat doing figure skating?

Oh well, I suppose it is no wierder than some of the other stuff he has done.

What will Kazakhastan have to say about this?

John Henry

Robin said...

It may not have 'seemed' fair for Kwan to get that slot, but her 'entitlement' was because SHE placed fourth in World's last year. The US would only have had two slots in the Olympics, but for Kwan's finish which gave them three slots. So really, it was fairness--not some weird skating nepotism that caused the Figures Skating Association to give Kwan the slot after she demonstrated her fitness in a tryout. (Groin injuries are tricky--it's too bad she reinjured herself. She's been very hard on her body over the years. One wonders if it is worth it, especially since it's a choice made by Kwan at such a young age.)

Kwan's excellence in both skating and character has brought US Figure Skating a great deal of positive attention over the years inspiring countless young girls to follow in her footsteps. In this day and age of selfishness, like the class act she is, she's bowing out rather than competing and losing--kudos to Michelle. I imagine there are some skaters who would have flailed around and competed anyway finishing miserably rather than give up the spot. It seems unlikely we'll see someone with such character in sports competing anytime soon.

Meanwhile, good luck Emily--fate has given you an opportunity--take advantage of it and have the time of your life!

Gerry said...

I am not a big ice skating fan, but despite that I found Sarah's performance last Olympics to be absolutely electrifying. Damn, she kicked ass.

Susan said...

I noticed several of the women pairs skaters were
wearing UNITARDS.
They used to be illegal but one of the commentators said the rule had been
changed. I wonder if we'll see them on the singles women too.

Ann Althouse said...

Susan: I hope so. I think the little skirts are a bit ridiculous. It's absurd that they should be required. Quite aside from whether there's a feminist problem with making women wear skirts, the skirt breaks up the line between the torso and the legs, obstructing the view of the form to be judged.

Michael Farris said...

" I found Sarah's performance last Olympics to be absolutely electrifying. Damn, she kicked ass."

I'm a sort of fan who can tell the different jumps apart and critique them and in purely skating terms that performance wasn't that great (I'll spare you the technical details unless you ask).
Hughes was the best on a night when the better skaters were a little off and in front an appreciative home audience. But in overall terms it was a fluke and it wasn't surprising that she was never able to skate like that again. And according to new judging standards, that exact same performance wouldn't even win the bronze medal now (she consistently underrotated jumps and that just kills skaters scores now).

And Kwan did nothing unusual to get on the team, only the top finisher is guaranteed a place on the world/olympic team and the petition process is always available for those who are injured but otherwise qualified.

W said...

feces-eces-eces

W said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bruce Hayden said...

I was frankly surprised that she was doing as well as she was. My understanding is that skating has traditionally been a very young woman's sport. Michelle was probably a bit old for it even at the last Olympics. Staying that competitive in this sport over that many years is quite impressive.

Michael Farris said...

Traditional age of olympic champions has been about 20 or so. There was a downward tick over the last few due to increasing jump content, but ... Russian skater Irina Slutskaya (silver medalist last time) is an almost sure thing for the womens gold medal this time and is older than Kwan.

Jen Bradford said...

I like the skirts, even if most of the outfits are pretty hideous. They've already gone so far in the direction of difficulty versus artistry, it seems too bad to neuter them also. In gymnastics the "dance" part of the floor exercise has always felt like lame filler between runs. I don't want that to happen on the ice!

vw: clawg

Gerry said...

"Hughes was the best on a night when the better skaters were a little off and in front an appreciative home audience. But in overall terms it was a fluke and it wasn't surprising that she was never able to skate like that again. And according to new judging standards, that exact same performance wouldn't even win the bronze medal now"

If any of that was supposed to make it any less electrifying, it probably accomplished the opposite. A complete underdog came up with the performance of a lifetime at exactly the right moment to take advantage of an unlikley confluence of circumstances that will never be replicated again. That is not a less impressive feat, it is more of one.

Michael Farris said...

gerrry, as a spectacle, Hguhe's '02 victory can't be beat, as skating it was very good, not great.

Wade_Garrett said...

I too found Sarah Hughes' performance in 2002 to be really exciting, even though I generally prefer the distance/timed sports like speed-skating, cross-country and downhill skiing, track and field, swimming, rowing, and so on.

The team sports (think: the Miracle on Ice) and the judged sports like figure skating are really popular, because they have the best "storylines," but often the most predictable competition. Hopefully this winter will be a little different.

Noumenon said...

Ann, I wonder what it was about Cohen's quote that made you say, "Aw, she's only 17. She doesn't have to lie any better than that!" Is there one part of it you could flag that says, "Oh, immature liar"? I'd like to improve my technique.

----------

"I was a little bit shocked," she said of hearing about the withdrawal. "I know how tough it is to come back from an injury. It's great that she tried and I'm sorry that it didn't work out."

Smilin' Jack said...

"I was a little bit shocked," she said of hearing about the withdrawal. "I know how tough it is to come back from an injury. It's great that she tried and I'm sorry that it didn't work out."Aw, she's only 17. She doesn't have to lie any better than that!

Cohen said that, not Hughes. And Cohen was on the team anyway, so nobody had to lie.

Ann Althouse said...

Jack. You're right! I misread that. I thought it was Hughes (and obviously assumed she was happy to get the chance to go). I'll correct it.