A Skaters Guide the Olympics Mens Skating Competition
It's been a couple days since I guided you through the pairs event, and now I'm back to let you know which men to pay attention to in the Olympic men's free skate. The free skate, or long program, as any skater will call it, is 4 minutes and 30 seconds of grueling torture. I once had a Russian coach who told me that the long program required the same exertion as running 2 miles in four minutes. I have zero way of testing this scientifically, but it sounds about right, so let's just treat it like it's a fact.
The men's event in Pyeongchang has a deep bench of amazing athletes. And like it or not, the men's event these days is about one thing and one thing only: quadruple jumps. In a quadruple jump, a skater takes off backwards, rotates four full revolutions in the air, and lands again on one foot on a backward outside edge of a skate. A snowboarder might call it a 1440, but in skating we just count full revolutions because we're not math nerds. While spins, step sequences, and artistry will play a significant role in who lands on the podium, the gold medal will likely come down to who does the best job of achieving their #quadgoals.
There is no joy in Pyeongchang, mighty Nathan has struck out. Almost no one had more pressure on him in the men's event than Nathan Chen, anointed this season as a gold medal favorite and the Next Big Thing in American skating. Seemingly crumbling under the pressure, Nathan Chen's delivered a disastrous short program, falling on a quad lutz, stepping out of a quad toe loop and putting a hand down on a triple axel. He currently sits in 17th place with no hope of a medal. It was the type of heartbreaking performance that caused me to pull a full Tyra Banks, yelling at my television, 'I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you!' I guess I'm just embarrassed because I told all my co-workers that Chen was going to win gold, much like I insisted last year that there was no way La La Land could possibly lose Best Picture and that Hillary Clinton was solidly ahead in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Point is: I'm bad at predictions, and it's foolish of you to even continue reading.....
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