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Okay, continuing in the spirit of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, I was forced to watch some of the men’s short program figure skating last night.  I tolerate watching it in order to spend time with my wife, time that is in short supply in what can only be described as the busiest week I have ever had, not including the week where my cloning machine spat out a half dozen pseudo-Nicks and I had to chase them down through a series of comic misadventures.

Anyway, while watching this spectacle of exceptional athletes doing exceptionally silly things, I had two thoughts.

The first came from my wife’s surprise at me describing figure skaters as athletes.  I pointed out that these are people that can generate enough power from their legs to spin through the air like a rogue top, or enough upper body strength to pick up a full-grown woman (sort of) by her nether regions and keep her up there with one hand and nary an embarrassed quiver.  There is no question that they are elite athletes, but I find it very hard to watch them prancing about in sequins and plunging necklines (the women’s outfits are even more embarrassing).

I think that it would be way more fun for them to do a skills competition instead of an “artistic” number.  For example, there could be a spinning event.  The figure skaters could compete to see how many revolutions they could make in the air after a 100-metre run-up.  Or a skating long jump (don’t toe-pick at the end of that one, though).  Or some kind of skate-cross where they go through a winding, jump-ridden course at high speeds, doing lutzes and axels off of ramps for extra points.

Really, anything would be better than another dance routine to “Flight of the Valkyries.”

Somehow, as I was saying this, Russian men’s figure skater Evgeni Plushenko heard me making fun of his sport, and made a statement that I could not possibly have imagined coming from the mouth of a man wearing a sparkly spandex unitard.

I will clean up his broken English and summarize his words as follows:

“If there is no quad, it isn’t men’s skating.”

I would have no idea what the significance of this was were it not for Brian Williams, CTV Olympic anchor extraordinaire, who pointed out that this was a direct challenge to Patrick Chan, the Canadian figure skating wunderkind, who said that he was definitely not going to attempt a quad jump.

(From what my wife tells me, the quad jump is way harder than the standard triple jump, and only a few skaters can do it.  I honestly can’t seem any kind of a difference, even during the slow-motion replays, but I’ll take her word for it.)

As the statement sank in, I finally realized what this Plushenko guy had done.

He just called out another male figure skater as a pansy.

He looked him in the eye and said that he was a wuss and belongs in the women’s event.

This guy:

Really? Really, Evgeni? You think that you should be calling out where the lines of masculinity are carved into the ice?

This guy just accused Patrick Chan of not being man enough to don a designer spangled piece of chiffon and flesh coloured hosiery and mince about through the strains of “Theme from Romeo and Juliet.”

I really don’t know what to say to that.  Referring back to Monday’s post, I say we should put the two of them on the ice together to see who the toughest man of the men’s short program really is.