Friday, March 03, 2006

Torino's Guide To The 2006 Winter Olympics Ice Dancing Competition

Yes, I know many of you are devastated that the Winter Olympics have come and gone, exiting the airwaves with all the fanfare of an episode of "That's So Raven." But we do have a treat for those of you who remain mystified by the Games' most curious sport, ice dancing. Or, as I like to call it, Emmanuelle on Ice (that's for you Cinemax fans out there). So, straight from the Torino Games, an official copy of Torino's Guide to the 2006 Winter Olympics Ice Dancing Competition.

"Benvenuto a Torino! The I.O.C. would like to welcome everyone to today's ice dancing competition. To aid in your enjoyment of this dynamic sport, we have compiled this informative brochure to address some of the more frequently asked question about ice dancing. Divertiti!"

Q: Ice Dancing? Really?

A: Yes! Since 1976, in fact. And Olympic history buffs will be interested to know that ice dancing narrowly beat out several other sports that were also up for consideration that year. It is widely believed that ice dancing's bid ultimately succeeded after a strong push by the French delegation who viewed it as their only shot at an Olympic medal.

Q: Are there any rules in ice dancing?

A: No, not really. The name pretty much says it all.

Q: What should one look for?

A: The true fan of ice dancing looks first and foremost at the outfit. Toreador uniforms, pirate tunics, anything worn by Cher. The importance of the outfit simply cannot be understated. It's generally accepted that a couple could basically do the Shimmy for four minutes and still expect to win if their outfit is first-rate.

Q: I've seen ice dancing competitions where the women appeared to be wearing little more than lingerie. Are there any limitations on one's choice of costume?

A: Just one: "The outfit must not give the effect of excessive nudity inappropriate for an athletic sport." This is also known as the "no pasties" rule. [N.B. Curling and Luge have similar restrictions.]

Q: How is ice dancing different than pairs skating?

A: There is no lifting or other strength moves permitted in ice dancing.

Q: How is it different than the Ice Capades?

A: The Ice Capades does not award medals.

Q: I remember some kind of judging scandal at the last Olympics. Has the sport addressed this issue?

A: Indeed. In the past, medals were often awarded based on reputation rather than performance. Nowhere was this more evident than at the Salt Lake City Games. As you may recall, several eyebrows were raised when the Russians took gold despite a nasty spill by the female that left her unconscious and crumpled on the ice, a spastic leg twitch her sole contribution for the last half of the performance. When pressed on why the couple received the gold, several judges regrettably maintained that her leg was, in fact, twitching to the beat and thus did not detract from the overall performance. The new system should prevent similar incidents.

Q: Has ice dancing been tainted by the performance-enhancing drug scandals currently afflicting other sports?

A: Quite the contrary. The I.O.C. long ago decided that steroids provide absolutely no conceivable advantage to ice dancing. In fact, many of you might be interested to know that the competitors often aid their performance by ingesting many of the same substances that you take for that extra boost of confidence on the dance floor. Vodka Red Bulls, Jaeger shots, even a hit of Ecstasy. All staples of a winning regimen.

Q: Is that why one of the skaters started licking the ice during the last Games?

A: We're not sure, but most likely.

Q: My neighbor thinks I'm crazy but I swear I saw the silver medalists' from the last Games smoking during their free skate. Did I?

A: Good eyes! Yes, the French pair was, in fact, smoking during the free skate. Another little known fact about ice dancing is that competitors are allowed to smoke discreetly at any point during their program. However, this rule has been revisited after numerous complaints from health organizations and, thus, this year all smoking will be relegated to the post-skate score booth.

Q: Do the competitors choose their own music?

A: In a manner of speaking. Competitors are free to choose their own music so long as it comes from the Celine Dion oeuvre. This rule has grown in importance ever since the disaster four years ago when the American pair made the impulsive decision to hit the ice to Ol' Dirty Bastard's "You Don't Want to Fuck With Me."

Q: Any surprises on board for this year?

A: You bet. Rumor has it that the Canadians have nailed the Centipede in several recent competitions and there is hope that the Swiss will attempt the first ever triple toe loop Running Man in Olympic competition. No one's cleanly landed one yet.

Q: I've heard that ice dancing can be very sensual. Is it family friendly?

A: More than ever. We are very cognizant that many people still associate the sport with that unfortunate incident in the late eighties when it was determined that the French team basically dry humped for a good portion of their original skate. You'll be glad to know their silver medal has since been revoked.

Q: Why haven't the Germans done well in ice dancing?

A: Good question. Most experts point to their athletes' repeated struggle with White Man's Overbite. It truly has been the bane of the sport for them. It's still early, but reports so far list Gunther as day to day.


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