Sunday, January 15, 2006

Weekend recap

What a great weekend for a variety of sport happenings.
I didn't get to watch too much of the US Figure Skating Championships but I have been following the news. My musing about the potential irony of a Sarah-Hughes supported Michelle Kwan petition for a spot on the Olympic team came to fruition. Provided that Kwan can prove she is healthy and has the right stuff she gets to go to Italy and Emily Hughes is relegated to an alternate position despite her third place finish at nationals. I can see both sides of the argument and don't really have a strong feeling one way or another as my interest in figure skating has waned of late. What actually got me a little more excited as not this Kwan controversy but the American men's competition, which was quite competitive this year. Weir turned in a flawless but not very exciting (despite the costume) performance. But I was very impressed with third place finisher Matt Savoie whose performance was beautiful. Defying gender stereotypes, Savoie had considerable more artistry in his program than the majority of the women I have seen of late. And he just seems like a really good guy. He has been with the same coach who taught him to skate when he was ten. He never left home to find a better training facilty outside his native Illinois. And in the fall he is going to Cornell Law School--an institution near and dear to me. Sure he has little to no chance at medalling in Italy next month but his program Friday was excellent and he deserves a spo on the team.
I think there were some pretty important football games this weekend but all I know is that the Patriots--the only team I care even a smidge about--lost so I am no longer obliged to pay attention. And it was clear that basketball season is in full swing as I channel surfed the other night and found at least half a dozen basketball games from which to choose--but chose none.
But the Australian Open started today (which is really tomorrow in Australia) and I was very excited to see that ESPN2 is covering it at somewhat normal hours. I used have to stay up until the wee hours of the morning to watch in years past and with classes starting this week that was not going to be the best schedule. Thankfully the coverage is much better and the excitement started early this year. Venus Williams was just upset in three sets by an 18-year old Bulgarian who is ranked 94. Fascinating match.
On the sidelines the commentators actually spoke of the recent two-year ban of another Bulgarian, Sesil Karatantcheva, which was somewhat of a surprise to me. They failed to say anything profound though I did feel my early comments on this issue were validated by Mary Carillo who also noted that the pregnancy "excuse" for the presence of elevated levels of a banned substance was equally problematic. I would like to hear the commentators say more on doping in tennis but that is unlikely. Boris Becker came out years ago and said this was a problem and no one batted an eye. I think at least there is some blinking going on now.

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