Greeson: Figure skating and college football are more alike than Johnny Weir knows

Greeson: Figure skating and college football are more alike than Johnny Weir knows

February 13th, 2018 by Jay Greeson in Opinion Columns

Mirai Nagasu of the United States performs in the ladies single skating free skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

They let the Games begin.

And we're off. Olympics all day and all the time.

Hey, there's Mike Tirico. And it's impossible to get him confused with skating commentator Johnny Weir, who I feel certain is destined for his own reality show at some point in the near future. Buckets, that's a fellow with a style sense that is all his own.

Moving on, because we as a society cannot go through a big event without getting offended about something, NBC has relieved Joshua Cooper Ramo of his broadcasting duties after his comments during Friday's opening ceremonies. Petitions and social media angst. You know the drill.

It's fair to note that NBC has planned more than 2,400 hours of coverage from the 18 days in Pyeongchang.

Jay Greeson

Jay Greeson

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

And while we're here, the line of what is and is not offensive to some seems to get more and more blurry with each passing international event. Consider this: We were forced to read and hear how a dictator's sister was "stealing the show" according to some reports, and the CNN puff piece on her made her seem more Kim Kardashian than Kim Yo Jong. That said, the CNN defenders will assuredly toss out that they did point out that her dictator brother, who many believe murdered one of their brothers as well, "has ruled with an iron fist since coming into power." Uh, you think so, doctor?

Anyhoo, the Games, as it does every four years and like soccer does at the World Cup-level, has drawn huge interest from all walks of folks in this country. And the soccer comparison — it's patriotism for the vast majority of us, folks — is perfect because no one is screaming that this is halfpipe's time to surge in popularity or that the reason someone doesn't like moguls is because they don't understand the moguls.

That said, the moguls, the halfpipe and even the star of the winter games, the figure skating events, are really tough for the average fan to follow because, simply put, there is so much that is judged and interpreted.

Weir's insight aside, there's simply no way for most of us to know what we're watching. The Canadian men's skater Sunday night fell twice and still ran away with the event.

Yes, he fell, which for the longest was always thought to be the clear and ultimate sin in the sport, and managed to have notched enough tricks to build up enough credit for the judges to believe he was the best.

That's when the light bulb went off. Of course that makes perfect sense.

Style points. Degree of difficulty, or as college football fans know it better, strength of schedule.

Determining the best figure skater is like determining the best college football team. Perfect routine filled with less-than-strenuous jumps and hurdles, you are Central Florida and can finish fifth.

A couple of stumbles here and there, but beating some perceived big boys, well, that can get you to the medal round and from there, it's anyone's guess.

Who blocks and tackles better? Who executes? Who converts on third down in the biggest moment on each side of the ball?

Who triple axels and lutzes better? Who sparkles? Who converts on the triple in the biggest moment at each end of the rink?

That clears everything up. (Now all we need is Weir to do some play-by-play in, say, Starkville.)

Contact Jay Greeson at or 423-757-6343.

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