The Norman Transcript


February 17, 2014

Olympics column: High drama on the ice

SOCHI, Russia — If you thought “All My Children” was good on TV, wait until you see it on ice.

It’s already headed for a Winter Games near you. The folks who run the International Olympic Committee may not know much about soap operas, but they learned long ago that anything on which you can slap a pair of figure skates is bound to be an easy sell.

Take ice dancing (please).

It’s an exhibition masquerading as a sport. It’s about as competitive as opening a can of soup. And unlike the rough-and-tumble world of pairs figure skating, there’s no jumping or lifts above the head allowed.

But because of the almost-boundless appetite around the globe for anything figure skating-related, if you put two people in cocktail-hour outfits, have them twirl, twizzle and quick-step around a rink to schmalzy show tunes for just under three minutes — voila! — somehow it seems a lot more compelling.

Even more so the better you come to know their backstories.

Few couples in ice dancing stay together for long and plenty wind up representing a country other than the one in which they were born. There are exceptions, of course: The top two pairs in Sochi, Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White, as well as Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, grew up near each other and have been partners since roughly the age of 10.

And to be sure, there are plenty of mercenaries in other sports in Sochi, too, the most notable being speedskater Victor Ahn, formerly of South Korea, now of Russia. But only in ice dancing does it seem more a requirement than a happy coincidence.

Fully one-third of the 24 couples who competed in Sunday night’s short-dance program featured at least one member whose participation required a new passport. The brother-and-sister pair skating for Japan that kicked things off, Cathy and Chris Reed, were born in Kalamazoo, Mich., still train in New Jersey, and have a sister, Allison, who used to skate for Georgia but now competes for Israel.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 5.49.44 AM.png Julian Wilson, Geneo Grissom take on more suitable roles for 2015 season

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches....

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woodard joins successful soccer team in Stillwater

    Haley Woodard has been one of the preeminent multi-sport stars in the state for several years. The Norman North senior is a state champion in track and soccer and has been an integral part of a basketball team that’s been to back-to-back ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Smoke turns corner at Indy

    INDIANAPOLIS — Drivers always say there’s something magical about Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the opportunity for NASCAR to race there opened the door for one of Jeff Gordon’s most treasured victories. It was a race Tony Stewart ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Roma tops Liverpool

    BOSTON — Marco Borriello scored in the 90th minute to give Roma a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in a preseason friendly Wednesday night at Fenway Park. There were limited chances until Borriello volleyed in a corner from in front of goal....

    July 24, 2014

  • Marcus Mariota helps Oregon’s PAC-12 title chance in preseason polls

    LOS ANGELES — Although Marcus Mariota knew he would be under a spotlight when he stepped onto the famed Paramount Studios lot Wednesday, the Oregon quarterback is getting quite comfortable in his starring role....

    July 24, 2014

  • Majka wins 16th stage, Nibali leads

    PLA D’ADET, France — On the last of four Pyrenees ascents, Rafal Majka winked at a French TV camera and tugged playfully at a motorcycle’s antenna....

    July 24, 2014

  • Aggie’s QB Chuckie Keeton talk dominates Mountain West media day

    LAS VEGAS — Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton got his junior season off to a superb start, only to have it derailed by a knee injury in Game 6....

    July 24, 2014

  • Heavily favored U.S. group faces off against world’s best female golfers

    OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The inaugural International Crown is unique for what it isn’t. Thirty-two elite players from eight countries will compete at Caves Valley Golf Club to determine which nation has the best women’s players in the world. ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Weir, DeLaet attempt to end 60-year Open drought

    MONTREAL — Mike Weir was well aware that it has been 60 years since a Canadian won the Canadian Open....

    July 24, 2014

  • NCAA infractions chair responds to ‘cheating pays’

    The chairman of the NCAA’s infractions committee says a number of factors could be the cause for the lack of activity by the group that prompted Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby to call the enforcement program “broken.”

    July 23, 2014