Dear Gossips,

A couple of days ago, Johnny Weir, while broadcasting during the Olympic women’s figure skating short program, described the marks like this (with minor paraphrasing): 

“Anything between 70 and 75 points is good; 75 to 80 is great; a score over 80 is Russian.” 

Did you watch the women’s figure skating final last night? Are you Evgenia or Alina? Every night during figure skating, my friend Iain and I have been texting back and forth during the performances. Figure skating judges love young, plucky figure skaters, like the Oscars love young, plucky actresses. This also happened in Sochi four years ago when there were many, many people who thought Yuna Kim should have won back to back gold medals. If Alina Zagitova skated clean, it would be predictable…and it was. But was it artistic? I mean, she’s an amazing jumper. And that’s all her program was, to me – a tutu jumping all over the place, not much else. Obviously I’m all about Evgenia Medvedeva. 

Evgenia is only 18, younger than Queen Yuna was when she won in Vancouver. There’s no reason why she can’t compete in 2022 at the next Winter Games in Beijing. But that probably won’t happen. Alina Zagitova might not be back either and she’ll be an ancient 19 by then. I linked to the New York Times feature on Russian female figure skaters last week - did you read it? It’s a factory over there. Their program is producing champion after champion, it’s true. But it doesn’t seem like they’re interested in a legacy champion. It’s one and done. They have 12 and 13-year-olds right now coming up in the system who are working on quad jumps. (Like Alexandra Trusova, currently 13, who almost landed a quad Salchow in competition last year.) Which is why their careers could be so short. Because they’re pushed to spend everything they have so that they can peak during the Olympics and, sometimes, there’s nothing left. Right now, Evgenia is already a dinosaur in their minds. 

Wouldn’t it be great though if Evgenia could train with, say, Brian Orser? Is it even possible for them to leave the Russian program and go elsewhere if they’re not wanted anymore? How is it even possible to be the best, at only 18, and have to consider retirement because there are 12 year olds in the pipeline? Can you even imagine what an Evgenia-Brian Orser partnership would look like?!? 

Tonight… Big Air! 

Have a great weekend!

Yours in gossip,