Sun 23 Mar 2008
While Canada has a reputation internationally for being hockey-obsessed, those from the Great White North know that figure skating is really king. It’s a dirty little secret here that most hockey players are failed figure skaters. For proof, one need not look further than the graffitti in the bathroom stalls; for every “Gretzky for P.M.”, an “Elvis Stojko for Queen” is never far away.
So this past weekend was a banner one for Canucknuckleheads, when Sudbury, Ontario’s own Jeffrey Buttle captured gold at the World Figure Skating Championships in Goteborg, Sweden. He was the first Canadian world champ since the aforementioned Stojko left the competition in a bloody, if smartly assembled heap in Switzerland eleven years ago.
But what should have been an unfettered celebration of the triumph of an unlikely under-labradoodle was anything but, as silver-medal winner Brian Joubert of – big shocker here – France attempted to sully Buttle’s accomplishment with allegations that he only emerged victorious because he took the easy way out.
You see, Buttle won the title despite not attempting a quad jump all week. For the uninitiated, a quad jump is where the skater twirls a transcendent four times in the air, rather than the standard, merely magical three. Said Joubert:
“I am steel disappointed bee-cows Jeffrey did ze perfect competition. ‘E did not do mistakes, but ‘e didn’t try quad jumps, and I was dees-appointed a-bowt it. The new judging system eez like that. Eet’s better to do simple and clean than to try some-zing diff-ee-cult.”
Zut alors! Save the sour grapes for the Bordeaux, Brian. While it is true that Buttle did not attempt a quad, consider:
- that Buttle smoked Joubert (not literally) in the scoring by a full ten points;
- that all four of Buttle’s jumps had a difficulty level of four (the highest), while Joubert had two fours, a two and a three;
- that, according to the Globe & Mail, “Joubert also got docked for taking off on the wrong edge of two flip jumps”, which you just do NOT do, EVER;
- the irony of a Frenchman calling out anyone for cowardice.
Like a true Canadian, Buttle handled the accusations with grace bordering on sassiness: “He’s entitled to his opinion. But I guess, today, the judges agreed with me.”
We cannot wait until these two meet on the ice surface of battle (or should I say, Buttle?) again. But until that time, Joubert can console himself by resting his head on his brie pillow, biting down on a medal of shameful, shameful silver.
Vive le Canada!