Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by caseyedwards, May 13, 2010.
and if so did you think it was good? Just saw it browsing in a library.
It's worth the read for the early history of Shen/Zhao alone.
I loved it and loaned it to friends who are not skating fans. They loved it as well, especially Shen and Zhao's story.
The main reason I thought of getting it after looking through it was for the parts on Shen and Zhou so I will get it. Thanks.
Yeah the S/Z part is definitely the best part of the book and certainly the most researched. Don't remember anything else being too special but it was nice to read a skating book of any kind that was exclusively about pair teams.
I enjoyed the background on Shen and Zhao and Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze. Hope you enjoy the book!
I collect skating books and it's definitely a good read. Agree that the best of it is Shen/Zhao.
I read it a few years back and would recommend it. As others have said, the background info on the pairs is very interesting.
I would recommend it too.
By far the best book on skating I've ever read.
Excellent book - I found myself rewatching the event and appreciating it much more
The Shen/Zhao section is superb. You get a strong sense of the sacrifices that they and all athletes and coaches make, basically living like monks, in dorms. And a v. good account of how far the Chinese skaters have come since the earl 80s.
I also liked the fair play aspect, how the author gave a good account of how hard a road it was for the Canadians in their long careers (seperately and together) - they persevered far longer than most athletes, hoping against hope that there was a perfect match for them.
The background on the Russians, the drama of Elena's injury, is told, too - along with the genesis of the team's elegant free skate. I really envy the author, getting so much time with these legendary coaches, learning about their training methods, just getting to watch their students at work.
I liked it--you basically come out wishing all the skaters could win (and post-Vancouver the ending is even better, because really, I think Shen/Zhao come across best and the ending of the book is about them.)
You also can really appreciate how much Sale and Pelletier's families gave up for them (and that winters in Quebec would SUCK, though now I really want to take that trail ride vacation "The Inns of the Gaspesie.") And all the coaches in the book come across well.
I warn you, you will also want to hunt down Elena Berezhnaya's ex-partner Shliakov and beat him with a crowbar. But not in the head, because if he passed out he wouldn't feel it.
I like how the book gives some real insight to all 3 camps and their totally different views and perspectives all at once, and the unique pathes each took.
As a huge pairs skating fan, I would definitely recommend this book, even to people who know nothing about figure skating. Very interesting read and also very enlightening about these athletes, their coaches, and the sport in general
Well, I found the book to be sort of a mixed bag. I loved the stories of all three pairs teams and grew to really respect what athletes must go through to reach this level. S&Z's and Elena Berezhnaya's stories were especially gut wrenching reads.
Stylisitically, I found Goodwin's prose a bit thick at times. For example, I remember a passage with her describing Marie Reigne LeGougne along the lines of "As a typical Frenchwoman , she treats every event as an occasion, and has long red hair that she curls extravagantly over her shoulders" .
I was seriously at that.
I found her treatment of the politics part of the book to be a bit too uneven. I wished she had made more of an explaination of the judging criteria , or had gone into some of the explanations that the panel in SLC (both sides) had given after the fact. Instead, it consisted mainly of inconclusive anecdotes, and continuous regurgitations of the fact that the ISU never really followed through with investigating anything that might have taken place off ice.
All in all however, it was a decent read, I thoroughly recommend it.
I basically agree with what has already been posted - The Second Mark is pretty good, the background on what the SLC pairs had been through to get to that point in their careers was very interesting, and the section on Shen and Zhao is the best one (the pictures of Xue and Hongbo as kids were extremely cute). I do agree with escaflowne9282 that Goodwin kind of dropped the ball on the political part; it seemed rather rushed and not as well-researched.
I also have to say that there seemed to be some factual errors, and it kind of made me wonder how accurate other parts were. But it's certainly worth reading; I don't think anyone else had as much access to the parties involved.
Forgot to mention that I re-read the book right after Shen & Zhao won Olympic gold -- it was really fun to read their story again knowing that the best was yet to come for them.
Zemgirl, can you elaborate on what the factual errors were?
To be honest, I don't remember specific things, but I do recall coming across mistakes with regard to things like ages and timelines - so not major points, maybe, but the effect created was kind of sloppy. Goodwin clearly had a lot of source material and mistakes were bound to be made; it just made me wonder if there were other errors that I didn't catch.
I read it when it first came out, and knowing only S&P's story, it was enlightening to hear the history of all three teams. I, too, remember remarking factual errors based on what I knew of S&P (can't remember specifics right now) that led me to believe there could also be factual errors about the other teams (not that I'd know any better). It does take away a little from the apparently "well researched" book, but the errors were definitely not significant enough to discredit the whole thing. I really should read it again sometime... though I lent my copy to family and don't think I have it back...
So far so good-the prologue is well written and now onto the skating teams.
I liked it very much. I found the background of all 3 pairs pretty interesting, but what dismayed me was that she strongly insinuated that Tamara Moskvina knew of the abuse Elena suffered and looked the other way, until her horrific accident. Also, it would seem that Anton was a bit hot-headed and difficult in his own way. Kind of made me disgusted at the thought of this very young, easily intimidated girl in the hands of badly behaved men.
I have nothing nice to say about S & P---so I'll say nothing
The story of Shen and Zhao was very interesting and I felt sorry for the young and poor Shen Xue. Happy ending there, though!
According to the book, Moskvina was working with Sikharulidze to get Berezhnaia out of the abusive partnership and relationship, and this was planned for after Euros. Her former partner slashed her head open during a practice for the competition.
Yes, I know..I read the book. But it seemed to me she knew about and didn't do anything but disapprove. The abuse was evident and I got the feeling that he just got away with it. Elena didn't have a parent there to protect her and Tamara didn't react until it was too late. Somehow, I just got the feeling from the book that these men skaters could behave has they pleased--you know, a boys will be boys attitude.
Not to sound cold, but what was she supposed to do? She didn't really have any authority over Shlyakov, and if she kicked him out Elena would have gone with him (which was pretty clear in the book.) Yes, the men could do as they pleased, though not as much as in Moscow (which is also evident in Katia Gordeeva's book--no abuse, but the Moscow school pretty much was an army camp.) What else could she have done? I hate to tell you this, but the police weren't going to care or do a damn thing even if someone HAD complained.
This. It made me love them even more. The part about little Xue's bleeding feet and her dad sharing their one dumpling
This was a great book-not just a good figure skating book or a good sports book but a good book period. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for all the recommend posts! She was really good at describing and researching what the pairs were feeling when the skated in the free skates. Learned a lot about the training aspects and about Canada, Russia, and China skating history and also political history in Chiina. I mean skaters are bad at some points during the cultural revolution but then they perform in front of the communist leadership-so arbitrary.
About the mistakes-Shen Xue is described as being born in 1980 or 1981 and that was wrong.
Lots of talk about the throw quad salchow with the Shen and Zhao and the training for it is so brutal. I couldn't help but think of Tamara Moskvina coaching Kavaguti and Smirnov and her going through the training of it and now how she is like Bin was a little bit now in trying get wins by doing that.
There is also the stuff about the Russian men in pairs being so consistent and the jumpers and lots of time the women weren't always good there. That made me think of Trankov's reaction when he fell at the Olympic short program!
I wish the author talked more about the short programs and the other judges who voted for B/S in pairs and not just the french judge. Like I have in other places it was just a taste thing when it came to eastern judges and western judges.
I feel like David Pelletiers reaction in the Kiss and cry was expalined by going into his short temper a lot. She also doesn't mention what I read in the New York Times about how even if the french judge vote was ruled invalid that would have made a tie which was to be broken by the short program which the Russians won 6/3.
But very good book worth reading!!
The problem was there was neither precedent nor codified procedure for determining who should have won in this case, not for the solution mentioned in the Times, not for replacing LeGougne's marks with the substitute judge's, and not for any other proposed solution.
Oh-the substitiute judge was mentioned briefly but I forgot about that part. Yeah so the ISU just created its own solution very clearly.
One that managed to piss everyone off.