Of Black Auras and Brilliant Stars

Oh my God! Johnny Weir was right! Not only do Black Auras exist, but they show up in this doctored photo of US Speedskating's Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick!

Okay, so maybe the auras don't exist, but there certainly is a feeling of blackness surrounding these two US Skating stars. When the world's nations can usually agree to an "Olympic Peace" and a cessation of hostilities in celebration of the Olympic Games and its ideals, it's pretty embarassing and downright obscene when two US skating sensations are openly at odds, if not at all out war, with each other.

The last time I checked, there was no "I" in "Team." Davis and Hedrick are on the US Speedskating Team. But far be it for them to support each other and make decisions that are best for the team. Both are in it for "I" alone. Davis only wants his individual glory, and despite Hedrick's rhetoric to the contrary, he is only interested in his individual glory--specifically five gold medals that now are not possible, and at best, will only number three.

It's a good thing the 1980 US Hockey Team learned to put aside individual differences and become a team to win the Gold Medal. It's a good thing the Detroit Pistons learned to pump up each other and rejoice in each other's success instead of their own--otherwise they would be like the Kobe show in L.A. It's a good thing Michelle Kwan's interest was in fielding the best possible Olympic Team for US Women's Figure Skating, otherwise young Emily Hughes would not have her spot and Kwan's reputation as a legend and icon would have been tarnished.

Unfortunately, Davis and Hedrick can't see beyond their Golden Medals. And if for a moment you think Hedrick is out for the glory of sport and challenge, think again--he's a leading contender to be featured on Donald Trump's Sixth Season of The Apprentice.

Black Auras or not, there certainly is a black cloud hanging over the US Men's Speedskating Team. But over in Ice Dancing, all the clouds definitely have a silver lining! Sunday night Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto of the United States skated the most difficult Original Dance technically in a competition filled with uncharacteristic falls and moved up from sixth place to second with only the Free Dance left Monday night.

Less than 1.5 points out of first place, GOLD is in sight for the Reigning World Silver Medalists. Most remarkable in that no American Dance Team has won an Olympic Medal in thirty years. But again, I have to emphasize the word "Team." For that is what Tanith and Ben are. Neither would be in this position without the other, and neither would be in this position were it not for a bill signed New Year's Eve by President Bush making Tanith Belbin a US Citizen.

Four years ago, Belbin and Agosto qualified for the Salt Lake City Olympics, but as Tanith was a Canadian citizen the couple could not compete. During that time, Tanith and Ben came to the realization that what they wanted most out of skating was to be the very best that they could be, and to be the best, it meant skating with each other, not looking for other partners with a nationality that would allow either of them to compete for their own country.

So Belbin and Agosto took the long road and matured as a team, winning the silver medal in the 2005 World Championships, putting them in a position to win the first US medal in Ice Dancing in thirty years--most likely a silver, but with a real shot at the gold. Should that happen, the reverberations in the skating world will be Tsunami like in proportion, and overshadow both the French Judge Scandal from the Salt Lake City Olympics and the Tonya and Nancy debacle from 1994.

Ah, figure skating...what other Olympic sport routinely provides such high quality drama? This time next year no one will remember Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick, but Belbin and Agosto will be international stars, and their pictures will be plastered all over Wheaties Boxes everywhere--unless Sasha Cohen or Emily Hughes should win Gold in the Ladies event later this week. Stay tuned, folks. Stay tuned.



8:00 am--11:00 am: Live men's curling, USA vs. Canada; USA

10:30 am--1:00 pm: Live women's hockey bronze medal game; MSNBC

1:00 pm--6:00 pm: Live women's hockey gold medal game; women's bobsled; NBC

5:00 pm--8:00 pm: Women's curling, USA vs. Britain; CNBC

8:00 pm--11:30 pm: Figure Skating Ice Dancing Final; Alpine skiing men's giant slalom final; freestyle skiing men's aerials; ski jumping K125 large hill team final; NBC

Thanks for reading.


AubreyJ said...

Very enjoyable read, Matthew...
Keep them coming......

February 21, 2006 3:36 PM

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