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13 Februar 2006

Made in China

Zhang & Zhang
It's official: I HEART the Chinese Olympic pairs skaters. All of 'em. No one overly impressive with delicate, sexy style a la Peltier & Sale, but nonetheless all heart, all around. Sniff! You've probably heard this story by now and I'm sure Bob Costas will share it as an Olympic Tale of Human Drama, but here's my version: OK, so cut to almost the end of the pairs skating competition. While the Russians and two other Chinese pairs likely had gold, silver and bronze locked up in that order, Zhang and Zhang, the sort of underdog-last-pair-to-go from Team China hit the ice.

The routine starts, everything fine, they're not bad at all. Then hurling out of a first major quadruple Salchow (cheeses!), she cah-RASHES onto her knees (yikes!) and slides into the barrier. Collective crowd gasp. Ew, she's not looking like she can even move her legs well, let alone keep skating. To the music dying down, her partner escorts her to safety on the sidelines, tears starting to flow, doctors examine everything...what will happen?

Enter the magical mystical Olympic Spirit, whoosh, at this point, I'm getting all teary over the agony because dayum, not only would my knee be KILLING me, but I'd be like, uh, sorry I fell and this really sucks right now and everyone's watching. All gone in such a, crash?

Tick tick. Tick. Then she steps back on to the ice, clearly in pain but something must've clicked. She's got a flash of 'kickass' in her eye. It spreads to her partner. The crowd is clapping in unison. At this point, I'm teary and goosbumpy, chanting to the TV, "Come on, come on, you can do it... FINISH, just get out there and finish, you can do it!" They skate around lightly as the music cues up to where they left off and they continue--the routine keeps unfolding without flaw as they nail jumps and twirls. Woah.

The music stops, Z & Z get the standing 'O', are all misty-eyed, wait for their scores, get ice on the knees, and--clinch not third place but the silver medal. Gasp, SNIFF!

You may say I'm a goober, but it was a genuine feel good moment at how this tiny skater from China was as big as tutto Torino. I just find it Most Interesting because as far as I know, China doesn't have a skating tradition, I mean who's ever heard of Chinese skaters in the last ten years? Apparently (and of course, this is one of those Tales of Human Drama I heard, but what can I say, I'm a sucker for them), their coach was one of the pioneers of the sport there back in the day, getting booed off of the ice at world events because he and his ice partner only had photos of skaters after to which to model their training, and they just couldn't measure up athletically or stylistically. And now his mentees get the silver and bronze and fourth with all heart. Shown also by the dear Russian pair who got the gold.

Inspires me to get up off my ass and just DO IT.

Don't worry, I don't mean I'm gonna start figure skating. I just mean everything else I need to get doin'

Share your fave Olympic moments to date HERE:


At 14 Februar, 2006 11:22, Blogger Ron said...

So with figure skating..not so much. BUT any other competitive skating and I'm down (well..really just all varities of Speed Skating). It's hard but my favorite moment so far (even though my heart is completely in TEAM USA) was seeing the Italian...i forgot his name...come away with bronze (5000m) and thereby receiving the first medal ever by the Italians for speed skating. He fought so hard for it!

On the flipside seeing Ohno fall was heartbreaking.

At 14 Februar, 2006 11:23, Blogger stefanierj said...

Dammit, I missed this!! Had to turn in early, but did you see the whole heartwrenching story about the Chinese coach, when he went to the world cup as half of China's first pairs team, he got LAUGHED OFF THE ICE?? That alone was so heartbreaking, I am SO GLAD his guys kicked ass.

But Dick Buttons has got to STOP with the "They aren't going low/high enough" and the other commentator with her every sentence starting with "Under the NEW rules..." soooo annoying.

At least NBC finally got their sattellite/tape delay problems fixed..I was all, hello, this is big boy television, folks.

At 14 Februar, 2006 11:53, Blogger Kat said...

I saw this routine last night, Lis. Loved them and the heart they showed. WOW!

My fave Olympic moment is not from these Olympics, but from the '88 games when Dan Jansen, our local hometown hero (We ADORE him!) was trying for the medal--the same day his sister died of lukemia-- and fell. Fast forward to 1994 (after a spill and elimination in 1992) when he finally won gold. The guy is awesome and inspiring. He just never gave up! It's what Olympic memories are made of!!

At 14 Februar, 2006 13:28, Blogger Lisaopolis said...

Hey Ron thanks for posting. I totally hear you on the Italian getting the bronze, that's what the Olympics is all about, to me. Awesome.
Stef--totally, the coaches story was heartbreaking with a happy end.
Kat--I remember Dan Jansen well and his story. I couldn't believe how he pushed through in spite of it all.

At 15 Februar, 2006 23:10, Blogger Emily:) said...

omg, I lovvvved this story too. Know what other story I thoguht was cool about the Chinese skaters too? They did a profile of the team's coach and apparently he was in the pair's compeitition years ago and the audience laughed at him and his partner's performance. Who's laughing now, biznatches?!!!

At 17 Februar, 2006 00:50, Anonymous Anonym said...

didn't they take longer than allowed timeout to prepare after the fall? i guess its a judgment call? an emotional winner nonetheless.

At 17 Februar, 2006 23:33, Blogger Lisaopolis said...

I just chalk it up to the 'new rules' that, really, who can care anymore to follow? Sixty point something or other rather thingamajig yeah.

Long live the judgment calls, pairs skating has been one of the feel good stories of the Games so far, despite Bob Costas' toting the showboating 'losing the gold, not winning silver' of the US snowboard-cross chick.

At 18 Februar, 2006 11:26, Anonymous Anonym said...

YEA its easy to vilify her for showing off but u have to consider her age, type of sport and heat of the moment. she was a good sport about it tho, i have to admit. i might have smarted off to bob. she looked like the "lost" hundley sister. lisa u have to try for a nordic olympic sport next yr. u not too old. haha

At 18 Februar, 2006 14:06, Blogger Lisaopolis said...

Who's vilifying? The snowboarder was fine, and plus, she'll be back. Bob was the dork. Hmm, do we have a lost snowboarding sister? Do share! No real names on blog, please, thanks;)

I'm totally training for Vancouver 2010, fear not!


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