Jun 17, 2012
As their name implies, figure skating fluff pieces are not exactly among the most intellectually demanding things aired on television. In the rush to seek out the lowest common denominator to broaden the appeal of figure skating to the unconverted masses, many fluff pieces tend to be high on melodrama and cheese but low on actual information (particularly of the technical variety needed to fully understand CoP) about the sport itself. Though some of the die-hard skating faithful bemoan the lost opportunity for educating the masses, there is nonetheless a special place in my heart for the typical cheesy fluff piece. Here are some of my favorites that have survived the copyright purges on Youtube:
Death on Ice, 1989 Worlds
A kitschy little fluff piece on the 'dying at the end of the program' trend before it was banned by the ISU.
Brian Joubert in Poitiers, pre-2004 Europeans
Brian Joubert has had quite a few amazingly fluffy fluff pieces made about him. From this particular one, we learn about Poitiers and really important things like the name of Mr. Joubert's dog (Blade), his off-ice hobbies and what he likes to do on dates (talk).
Brian Joubert at the beach
I have no idea what was supposed to be the point of this fluff piece showing Brian Joubert frolicking on a Connecticut beach, but it still amuses me endlessly.
Stephane Lambiel, Stephane Lambiel's dorky hat and Carolina Kostner, 'Valentine's Day'
I don't understand a word of what's being said here, but all I know is that I once watched this fluff piece with a friend who didn't know a thing about skating and we both had trouble breathing before the video even reached its halfway point. As such, it is clear that this fluff piece transcends both lingual and knowledge-based boundaries, an impressive feat indeed.
Daisuke Takahashi, 'Hip hop,' 2007 NHK Trophy
Daisuke Takahahsi's hilariously awkward hip hop moves in this ESPN fluff from the 2007 NHK Trophy makes me laugh like a loon, every time without fail.
Katarina Witt, pre-1986 Europeans LP fluff
I harbor a strange fascination with Katarina Witt fluff pieces. There's something about the unholy combination of Jutta Mueller, Karl-Marx-Stadt and the horrors of 80s fashion that inexplicably draws me to them (in addition to Ms. Witt herself, of course). It's unfortunate a bunch have them have disappeared off Youtube over the years, but this one is one of my favorites among the ones remaining. I especially love the smile of pure pleasure Ms. Witt gives the CBC interviewer when he tells her that the American magazine he's showing her only features the biggest sports stars.
Yu-Na Kim, Mao Asada, Kimmie Meissner, Miki Ando, 2007 Worlds Ladies LP
There's a thin line between heart-warming and sentimental drivel, but this fluff piece manages to mostly hit the sweet spot of satisfying my secret cravings for all things saccharine. Plus, some interesting backstage shots.
Alexei Yagudin vs. Evgeni Plushenko, 2002 Olympics
To paraphrase Kanye West, this is one of the best skating fluff pieces of all time....OF ALL TIME. Why do I adore this fluff? Let me count the ways: the melodramatic music...the ominous Soviet imagery....the absolutely priceless quotations ("We kind of hate each other," "I train hard....so I will always beat him," "Coaching them was like having two wives")...the overly dramatic slow-motion....and so on. The source material of the Yagudin-Plushenko rivalry was a goldmine for some amazing fluff material, and by Jove, did NBC deliver. I fail to see how even the most oblivious person could watch this fluff and not want to watch the 2002 Olympic men's event.