So this morning while eating brekky I was watching the Ladies Moguls' final from Vancouver, and while I am not a skiing buff, I recognize skills when I see them, and can certainly differentiate degrees of difficulty when I see them.
The first one I saw was the third-to-last lady, Heather McPhie of the USA. She came downhill perfectly, until on her second jump/trick combo the rear of her ski hit the ground before everything else and cacked her landing up, causing her to fall over, but moments later she was back up due to skilful use of the next mogul to boost her body upright. For that, I say Heather, well done! Mad props to you!
However, the last skier to go was the USA's Hannah Kearney. Again, a flawless run, but she played it safe on the jumps. A backflip, nothing special. Then a 360, plain, ordinary, no tweaks. She finished in the lead with 27.86 seconds, a mere 0.05 seconds ahead of Jennifer Heil, clinching the gold.
There are seven judges. Five for the turns and two for the 'Air'. The only difference between Hannah's and Jennifer's runs apart from the time that I could see was the jumps. And I thought Heil's, being more complex, should have been given a higher degree of difficulty than Kearney's, but evidently according to the rules they are the same difficulty.
The air judges gave Heil a 2.2 for the first and a 1.9 for the second, Kearney a 2.2 for the first and for the second a 2.3. I realise they are specially trained for the job, but I fail to see how a plain old 360 with no special tweaks beats out a Back Puck/Pike Position. I know I know nothing about the sport, but that crestfallen look on Jennifer Heil's face when she thought she had it in the bag, only to have it snatched away by an American with a boring routine... call me an old softy, but I wanted to go to Vancouver and rip those judges a new one. How dare they judge a complicated jump like that by the same standards as the American girl's boring jumps? Outrageous. I felt like writing a terse letter to the International Olympic Committee. "Dear Sir, I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms about the standard of judges you employ for the ladies' moguls event...."
Why do we need to compete? Why can't we just dispense with the rules and make the Olympics be just a bunch of people getting together and playing just for the sheer enjoyment of the sport? Like kids in the playground playing kickabout with 30 a side. Nobody keeping score, no-one having to live up to anyone else's 'standards' or 'rules'... just doing it for the sake of it.
Kinda goes back to what Michael Leeman once said when I saw him and Bev Bos at an auditorium in Everett, WA, right before he sang the song 'Right Field'... "Give sports back to the kids".
Here are the brilliant Peter, Paul and Mary singing it.