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Monday, February 10, 2014

Julia Lipnitskaia Steals the Show:

The Olympics are always fun.  They're guaranteed to be the best television sensation of the year.  But I think these Russian Olympics are something special.  Russia came out strong from the very beginning, with a beautiful opening ceremony that puts previous ceremonies to shame.  And then it debuted the finest figure skater in figure skating history -- Julia Lipnitskaia.  In her short program she showed off the most beautiful spins figure skating has ever seen or done.  And in the long program she created an artistic, soulful experience while landing every jump and continuing to execute tremendous spins like it was nothing.  She was so much better than everyone else it was no longer a competition, but more just an exhibition of what true beauty is all about.

South Korea's Kim Yuna will have a shot at Julia later on in the Olympics, but honestly I don't see how anyone can compete with perfection, even if it's Kim.  The rest of the Russian figure skaters were also good, but even they were simply dwarfed by the presence of this 15 year old goddess.  Skating personal bests in both events, she's simply transcended the limits of possibility by performing inside her host country, something that brings out the best in its athletes and the best of Russia for supporting and celebrating these athletes.  Kim Yuna is good, but she's not skating for her home country inside her home country.  She can't put on a red Russia hat after the event and smile beamingly at the crowd as she delivers her nation their first gold medal.  Ordinarily, as an American, I cheer for America at the Olympics.  As an otaku, I'm always happy to cheer for Japan as well.  But this time around I'm cheering for Russia.  I want Russia to enjoy these Olympics they spent 50 billion dollars to prepare.  I want Russia to stop drinking vodka for a bit and realize just how great a nation it can be when it sets its mind to something.  I want Russia to come out of these game re-energized and reborn.  After seeing Julia Lipnitskaia doing what she's done at just age 15, who wouldn't want to try harder in their own lives?  She is the face of these Olympic games.  She is the face of Mother Russia.  She is the heart and soul of Sochi 2014.

In 2010, Evgeny Plushenko should have won gold in men's figure skating in Vancouver, but it was awarded to a mediocre Evan Lysacek instead.  In London 2012, Russian Viktoria Komova should have been awarded the gold medal in women's individual all around gymnastics, but it was instead given as an affirmative action gift to a mediocre Gabby Douglas.  This time Julia Lipnitskaia was judged fairly and Russia has the team figure skating gold.  Four years late, but justice was finally served.  At the apex of the artistic athletic world stands Russia.  No one else compares.

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