Several quick updates about the figure skating landscape.
1] The ISU is still holding the Grand Prix series, except they’re just not holding most of the Grand Prix series, and also the Grand Prix series won’t count for placements, and also the Grand Prix series will be almost entirely domestic competitors for each competition, and also … okay, more accurately the United States, Russia, Japan and China are still holding their events, despite the general public’s concern that it might harm the health of skaters. Well, the United States, Japan, and China are still holding their events in spite of public concern. In fairness to Russia, they actually did respond quickly to public comment that a grave threat existed to the health of their skaters. Unfortunately, they mistook what fans were talking about, and ploughed ahead with the GP series while locking up Eteri Tutberidze (somehow, even her prison cell is made by Gucci).
2] But also real talk WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION? Medvedeva is going back to Eteri? Literally everyone else is fleeing Eteri like panicked civilians from a 90s disaster movie? Russia suddenly cares about injuries to young skaters? Wait no, strike that. Other Russian coaches only just figured out that to take down Eteri they just needed to pretend to care about injuries to young skaters? And … Plushenko actually has legit students now? Y’all, how much do you want to bet that Plushenko never intended to ever be an actual coach, and now he’s stuck with half of Eteri’s entire roster being like … fuck now I have to run a skating program.
3] Shoma Uno has a new Youtube channel and, umm, it turns out he’s actually funny and charming? Yes, that Shoma Uno. The one who, prior to this, was thought to act so nondescript that his most famous character trait was napping. In fairness to Shoma, there’s a consistent problem in the skating world where Asian skaters are infantilized, either by playing up their every ordinary behavior to emphasize their ‘cuteness’, or by treating them as having not developed a personality in alignment with the ‘Asian robot’ prejudice. Though in fairness to me, I’ve always felt admiration towards the Asian skaters for their nuanced personal attributes and attitudes towards skating, in large part because as an Asian person myself I’m used to the kind of scrutiny they face. And I’ve still always kinda assumed that Shoma’s mind was an Eldritch void of sleepyness and the desire to shotgun an entire cow in one meal.
4] Nathan Chen’s short program this season has been getting a lot of strong feedback! It’s a good sign for a skater who has always been known more for his jumps than for being a cohesively strong skater. On the other hand, Nathan has always had a habit of downgrading the rest of his programs as he ups his technical content through the season. But I think that this is a stronger start than we’ve seen him have before, which indicates that he’s trying to develop strong all around skills, which I really respect him for. I also respect Vera Wang for dressing him in something that doesn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out. Also, it seems that Vera’s collaboration with the NASA Fluid Mechanics Laboratory has finally paid off, as she’s managed to design an outfit with a shirt that won’t ride up on Nathan. Impressive. I had honestly forgotten what it was like to experience a Nathan Chen program where he remained fully clothed.
5] Yuzu is not competing this season. I have no jokes for this. Dude has asthma, and I totally respect him for taking care of his health. Hey Yuzu, how are you planning on spending your well-deserved break?
Okay. Maybe one joke.