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Greasyjohn
Greasyjohn
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February 4th, 2018 at 6:41:29 AM permalink
I took an interest in figure skating watching the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan affair unfold in 1994. In order to fulfill the gambling relevance of this post, at Bally's, Las Vegas, the odds-makers put Harding's chances for Olympic gold at twelve to one; Kerrigan's, at seven to two. The favorite was the 16-year-old Ukrainian skater Oksana Baiul, who gets odds of two to one.

I have watched many hours of skating performances since then, from Sonja Henie, Janet Lynn, Katarina Witt, Michelle Kwan, Sasha Cohen and Julia Lipnitskaya. But here's what I think is the best performance ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GDdHQmcK7g
Wizard
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February 4th, 2018 at 7:23:16 AM permalink
Quote: Greasyjohn

In order to fulfill the gambling relevance of this post, at Bally's, Las Vegas, the odds-makers put Harding's chances for Olympic gold at twelve to one; Kerrigan's, at seven to two. The favorite was the 16-year-old Ukrainian skater Oksana Baiul, who gets odds of two to one.



I thought you couldn't bet on the Olympics in Nevada in 1994. Even now you can't bet on events that are heavily decided by judges, like figure skating.

In other figure skating news, I just saw I, Tonya. I highly recommend it.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
beachbumbabs
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February 4th, 2018 at 8:14:59 AM permalink
I have to agree about Oksana. I was living and working in Portland around that time, and the city was Tonya-mad, first about the triple-axel, then her chances as an underdog, then of course the assault. So we were immersed.

Oksana was so far above the both of them in competition it was breathtaking. The first time I saw that foot-over-her-head spin I was amazed. Then I found myself waiting and waiting to see it again in the long program. She did not disappoint. Her whole program was just beautiful, and you're right - I don't think anyone else has come close since.

The only other skating performance that moved me like that was at the 2003 world championships, which they held in Washington DC. I went for the couple's long skate, and the Chinese pair that took the gold was so far above their competition the entire audience was screaming and crying at the beauty of it.

If you can sort of ignore the commentators and focus on the performance, the music and the crowd reactions, I think this video captures some of the universal joy we all expressed towards the end.

If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
ThatDonGuy
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February 4th, 2018 at 8:31:02 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I thought you couldn't bet on the Olympics in Nevada in 1994. Even now you can't bet on events that are heavily decided by judges, like figure skating.


You could in 1984; when was the ban put into place?

And wouldn't boxing and MMA be considered "heavily decided by judges"?

1994 Olympics figure skating trivia:
1. Katarina Witt skated after Kerrigan and Baiul in the free skate. Had she not fallen and, for some sentimental reason, the German judge placed her first, then, thanks to the judging system of the day, Kerrigan would have won the gold after all, in part because two of the judges who had Kerrigan first in the free skate had Baiul third.
2. The new scoring system involves an official called the Technical Specialist, or "Caller," that identifies the moves (e.g. jumps) as they happen so the judges can score them. The first one ever to be used was 1994 Olympic men's champion Alexei Urmanov.
Greasyjohn
Greasyjohn
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February 4th, 2018 at 11:51:04 AM permalink
Here's another performance. The artistry, sense of dance and feeling she puts into her skating is wonderful. There are lots of skaters who try to skate with feeling but it often seems like an affectation. On the outside they are trying to convey beauty, but on the inside they are desperately hoping to nail their jumps. When Oksana skates she bears her soul.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4W2u0CXryc
Last edited by: Greasyjohn on Feb 4, 2018
SOOPOO
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February 4th, 2018 at 11:57:44 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Even now you can't bet on events that are heavily decided by judges, like figure skating.



Joking right?

Boxing!!!
MMA!!!

And others would say NBA, NFL, NHL too!
Greasyjohn
Greasyjohn
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February 4th, 2018 at 1:51:09 PM permalink
Quote: beachbumbabs

I have to agree about Oksana. I was living and working in Portland around that time, and the city was Tonya-mad, first about the triple-axel, then her chances as an underdog, then of course the assault. So we were immersed.

Oksana was so far above the both of them in competition it was breathtaking. The first time I saw that foot-over-her-head spin I was amazed. Then I found myself waiting and waiting to see it again in the long program. She did not disappoint. Her whole program was just beautiful, and you're right - I don't think anyone else has come close since.

The only other skating performance that moved me like that was at the 2003 world championships, which they held in Washington DC. I went for the couple's long skate, and the Chinese pair that took the gold was so far above their competition the entire audience was screaming and crying at the beauty of it.

If you can sort of ignore the commentators and focus on the performance, the music and the crowd reactions, I think this video captures some of the universal joy we all expressed towards the end.



The foot-over-her-head spin you refer to is the biellmann spin. It is named after Denise Biellmann. Although Denise Biellmann did not invent the spin she popularized it.
Wizard
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February 5th, 2018 at 11:22:15 AM permalink
Quote: ThatDonGuy

You could in 1984; when was the ban put into place?



Yes, it comes back to me now that the El Cortez put up bets where Sky Lab would crash. This was in 1979. I think the powers that be felt it gave the state a bad image and cracked down on that kind of thing more and more.

Quote:

And wouldn't boxing and MMA be considered "heavily decided by judges"?



Good point. I think gambling is so associated with boxing it would be kind of ridiculous to not allow it. Ultimately, the rules are kind of vague. Same issue with the "device" law. Gaming has never clarified what counts as a device. It falls somewhere between a strategy card and a hidden camera, but where?

Quote:

1994 Olympics figure skating trivia:
1. Katarina Witt skated after Kerrigan and Baiul in the free skate. Had she not fallen and, for some sentimental reason, the German judge placed her first, then, thanks to the judging system of the day, Kerrigan would have won the gold after all, in part because two of the judges who had Kerrigan first in the free skate had Baiul third.
2. The new scoring system involves an official called the Technical Specialist, or "Caller," that identifies the moves (e.g. jumps) as they happen so the judges can score them. The first one ever to be used was 1994 Olympic men's champion Alexei Urmanov.



Yes, this is rings a bell. I just saw the movie I, Tonya, which I highly recommend. One of my favorite scenes is at the end where Tonya remarks that on the podium when Kerrigan was given the silver medal, and I'm paraphrasing, "Her face looked like she had just stepped in poo." It is more funny taken in combination with other remarks. Given your interest in the sport, I highly recommend you see it.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.

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