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May 7, 2013 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Apparently there was some sort of controversy surrounding Schuba at the 1972 Olympics... And then figures was eliminated in 1990. Anyone have any more info?

What are we watching here?
posted by KokuRyu at 7:05 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Figure skating once had two components, the free skate (speeding around, jumping, etc.) and the compulsory figures (from which figure skating takes its name), which consisted of tracing and retracing variations of a figure-eight in the ice, measuring symmetry and form. The clip here takes highlights of that from the Olympics.

Apparently there was some sort of controversy surrounding Schuba at the 1972 Olympics...

People were in love with the little blond girl and not Schuba.
posted by Fukiyama at 7:13 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Forgive me for not keeping on top of my 1972 figure skating trivia, but would you care to elaborate? The YouTube comments indicate this is remarkable footage, but I have no idea who the little blond girl is.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:25 AM on May 7, 2013

Wait, this isn't a beer commercial? That judge really does have Gowron eyes?
posted by Brocktoon at 7:31 AM on May 7, 2013

Sorry about that. The second girl, the one in blue, was beloved because of her graceful free skating abilities which were so much more fun to watch by the TV audiences. When Schuba would win all the competitions due to her insurmountable leads built up in the compulsory figures portion, people were confused and outraged. The skating authorities got the message and over time phased out compulsory figures.
posted by Fukiyama at 7:39 AM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

People were in love with the little blond girl and not Schuba.

More importantly, everyone saw the free skate, which Schuba did much worse at, and almost nobody saw the figure skate, which Schuba did markedly better at. At the time, the figures score was worth more than the free skate score -- 60% to 40% -- so everyone "saw" an inferior skater win the gold, when in fact she won because of her superior skate earlier in the compulsory figures.

Schuba blew away everyone in the figures, but placed 7th in the free skate, the worst performance in the free skate by a gold medal winner. Later competitions lowered the figures to 33%, then eventually discarded them.
posted by eriko at 7:43 AM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ah, that makes more sense. Thanks for the background eriko and Fukiyama.

Man they wore short skirts back then
posted by KokuRyu at 7:47 AM on May 7, 2013

I think it's kind of a shame that there's no more real "figure skating" in skating competitions. It's the kind of oddly meditative and quietly intense competition that I actually find kind of compelling. Plus I grew up reading White Boots by Noel Streetfield, so I think of the compulsory figures as the nerdy, self-disciplined core of the sport and the free skating as the flighty, showboating froth.
posted by yoink at 8:33 AM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

That's some fine editing.
posted by hawthorne at 9:50 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have this thing for older (1960's and 1970's) documentary footage of Japan. I love the colour of the film, and I love the documentary style. I collect a bunch of links to that sort of stuff on YouTube, but it's all in Japanese, so just outside of the MetaFilter sweet spot.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:38 PM on May 7, 2013

Sorry about not adding more context. I was kind of rushed before I had to go and couldn't decide if I wanted simply to garner reactions to the clip itself or spend time explaining the whole controversy since it's kind of convoluted if you're not a skating person.

KokuRyu, you summed up my thoughts. When i first saw this, I was blown away at the surreal atmospherics of the clip. Given I had no real clue what they were doing when I first saw it, I was thinking, "Is this for real?"
posted by Fukiyama at 7:06 AM on May 8, 2013

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