Kalani Simpson


By Kalani Simpson

Thursday, February 14, 2002

It's not wrong,
it’s just figure skating

HAPPY Valentine's Day. Can you feel the love?

The feel-good is gone from these games, and we're left disillusioned, disappointed, disenchanted, disgusted and all riled up by yet another media-made crisis of the century. Once again, the fire of controversy rages while the Olympic flame burns. Once again, there are arguments and accusations and conspiracy theories everywhere.

And so the searing question of the week is this: Bob Costas -- face lift or no face lift?

I'm not sure. There's nothing definitive, nothing really different, nothing you can put your finger on, except that there's something oddly "off," something indescribably strange about his appearance on NBC Olympic broadcasts.

Maybe it's just because I'm looking for it, maybe because here at the office, some guy is running around yelling, "Face lift! Face lift!" I assume he's talking about Costas, although it could have just been a general suggestion.

Oh, the other, so-called "real" controversy? The hissy fit that won't die? It's not much to me, but it must be big, because Scott Hamilton is in a tizzy, Christine Brennan is outraged, and even Katie Couric, bless her heart, has covered the story. Television personalities everywhere are incensed.

Well, first (and bear in mind this has absolutely NOTHING to do with the fact that we, the Star-Bulletin, are owned by proud, patriotic, ice- and country-loving Canadians who could have me fired), let me go on record as saying North America's Sweethearts were ROBBED! They won gold! It was juice!

That said, what do you expect? The most shocking thing about this whole fiasco is that people are actually shocked -- SHOCKED! Let's not forget that this is figure skating we're talking about. Sure, I thought the Canadians won, but I am not a skating judge. You are not a skating judge. We know what we see, but not of what we speak. We are not criminally insane.

(Did you see them when the camera panned over the panel? It looked like a cast of villains from a 1960s Batman movie.)

This happens all the time, only about, oh, 84 times in the last 84 years. It's part of the rules. This is what you get, as I wrote a few weeks ago, when you cross sports with the Golden Globe Awards.

Weird things happen. After the performance of your life, they give it to someone else as a lifetime achievement award. Best Supporting Actress goes to an 11-year-old kid. Joan Rivers (now that's not just a face lift, that's a clean and jerk) makes fun of your outfit on national television.

You do what the Canadian skaters are doing. Smile, as the envelope tears your heart out, because your turn is coming. Or not. But that's the way it is, and you knew the rules when you signed up. Repeat after me, "It's an honor just to be nominated."

The rest of this, the whining and the protests and the shock, are hypocritical. You say the decision was wrong? It's not wrong, it's figure skating.

It's comforting, in a way.

The only sure things in life are death, taxes and the East German judge.

Kalani Simpson's column runs Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
He can be reached at

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