Wednesday, December 14, 2005
International Rice Skating
In the world of ice skating national champions compete for international recognition. They are judged on a combination of skills—the confluence of technical and interpretive skills that culminate in a memorable and worthy performance.
Condoleezza Rice is currently America’s ice skating champion, lifted into the international arena by overwhelming partisan support. But out on the ice she stands alone, save for an isolated partisan crowd, and faces European judges inherently critical and wiser and older than she.
As the music swells she begins her routine cautiously, defensively but then quickly builds up her energy. Starting with some easy but crowd pleasing double toe-loops and salkoes she gathers momentum before launching into a spin. The pace now quickened she proceeds to the footwork section, traversing the ice with dazzling changes of position and direction before finally lining up for a double-triple combination capped with a camel spin.
The scores are posted. On both technical merit and interpretation the European judges are less than impressed. Rice’s "Rendition Rhapsody", and her originality, though recognized counted against her.
With disappointing scores Rice’s response was to attack the judges—not a tactic that will turn them around any time soon.
Will she be back next year to finally clinch worldwide acclaim and financial nirvana? Or will she be relegated to the exclusively American professional ice-skating circuit, performing "oil’s Well That End Well on Ice" or "Rendition Rabbit Saves Christmas"? Only time and millions of wasted dollars will tell.