Monday, January 23, 2006

What if ESPN Covered the Olympics?

Note: What follows is the second installment hypothesizing what the United States would suffer through if ESPN covered the Winter Olympics. In today's piece, the outgoing Sunday Night Football crew of Mike Patrick, Joe Theisman, and Paul McGuire cover ladies' figure skating...

Patrick: Hello everyone, along with Joe Theisman and Paul McGuire, I’m Mike Patrick. Tonight, the ladies take center stage in what is easily the most anticipated event of this entire Olympic Games. Ladies’ singles figure skating. It doesn’t get any better than this! Joe, in your mind, is there anything that can compare with ladies figure skating?

Theisman: Not in the context of the Winter Olympiad. For four years, all of us have been waiting for this moment. The fans, the coaches, the officials, and, of course, the skaters. Now the moment is here. The question is this: which of these skaters has the focus, the drive to bring home the gold medal.

Patrick: And, Paul, this is a unique night, indeed, as there are 12 different countries represented in the 12 finalists here tonight.

McGuire: But it wasn’t supposed to be this way. The U.S. has had a tough go of it so far. Two of the three skaters fell during the preliminaries, leaving only Sasha Cohen in the competition tonight. It’ll be interesting to see how she reacts to the pressure.

Patrick: Speaking of Sasha Cohen, she is on the ice and ready to go! She will be attempting a Triple Lutz and a Triple Sowcow during this performance. The level of difficulty is off the charts! If she is able to pull it off, she will be putting a lot of pressure on the other skaters to follow!

Theisman: The thing about Sasha Cohen is that she is a bit of a gunslinger. She never seems to do anything by the book.

McGuire: She’s the ladies’ figure skating equivalent of Brett Favre. She improvises when necessary in a sport that doesn’t traditionally allow for a great deal of improvisation.

Theisman: Speaking of Brett Favre… If you’re watching, Brett, PLEASE come back and play next year. The Packers need you and the NFL needs you.

Patrick: Brett, we need you. We love you. Please play some more football.

Theisman: Here comes the most difficult part of the program- the Triple Lutz/Triple Sowcow combination.

Patrick: SHE GETS THROUGH THE TRIPLE LUTZ! AND NOW… OH SHE JUST MISSED LANDING THE TRIPLE SOWCOW. That’ll definitely lead to a deduction in the scoring. Now her performance is over. While we are waiting for the scoring, we are unveiling a new wrinkle in the coverage of figure skating. It’s called ESPNJudge. Even though instant replay isn’t available to the judges here tonight, we will present the performance as though it were available. In this situation, Cohen’s coach would have thrown the red flag because there may have been some debris on the ice just at the spot where she was attempting to land the triple sowcow. So here is the replay of that moment, in extra slow-motion.

McGuire: See- she loses her footing right… THERE! That’s where she started to fall. I don’t see any debris. If this were a real situation, I think the call would stand.

Theisman: No, Paul, you’re wrong. Look a little closer. There is definitely an ice shaving there. That could be construed as irrefutable visual evidence to overturn the call and not cost her the mandatory deduction for the fall.

Patrick: Remember, the call on the ice would have been that there was NO interference by the ice. There must be irrefutable visual evidence, as according to the rules that ESPN has enforced on ESPNJudge, to overturn a call on the ice. The poll on indicates that 55% of you would let the call stand. Great job, loyal ESPN.comers.

And the beat goes on…


James Byner said...

I say the call stands. She would need to complete the landing and perform a "figureskating move" in order for the jump to count. She clearly didn't do this.

Matt Tavani said...

Patrick: And now let's go to the virtual call by figure skating official Dick Buttons...

Buttons: After reviewing the play, the skater was not impeded by any foreign objects during the attempted triple sowcow. While there were some ice shavings on the surface near the intended landing location, by rule, these are not considered to be obstructions, as they are created by the use of the surface itself. Furthermore, it is clear that even if she had landed the jump, the skater actually would have only completed two and a half rotation. Thus, in addition to the .5 deduction for the fall, the skater will be penalized half the distance to a 6.0. The ruling on the ice stands and the skater is charged her first timeout.

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