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Figure Skating to Macho Up by Stan Silliman humor sports comedy cartoons articles


Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
Figure Skating to Macho Up

        With the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics on the horizon Canadian skating officials are calling for their men to be more macho. They even persuaded Charlie Gibson to report about it.

    Skate Canada, the sport’s governing body, wants to draw in the hockey crowd. In doing so, there is a triple–lutz of controversy. On the one hand, gay groups like say this is a slap in the face. Cyd Zeigler, their co-founder says “Gay men like figure skating. They like watching it.  They like the well-designed outfits. If you want to turn it into hockey, why not just put two guys on the ice and let them body check each other and punch each other. Do that and you will lose our fans.”

    Canada was home base for one of the more macho figure skaters – Elvis Stojko – who flexed biceps while wearing leather jackets and hockey hair. Stojko won silver medals in the 1994 and 1998 Olympics but was told afterwards he wasn’t artistic enough. He says “They always wanted a softer more balletic style.  I moved to where they understood the word ‘macho.’” Stojko is now coaching skating in Mexico.

    Canada is looking for a resurge in popularity. They want more fans to follow men’s figure skating. They thought the popularity was reigniting when Jeffrey Buttle won the gold medal at last year’s world championships but he unexpectedly retired.

    Canada has no plans to kick out their gay skaters says Skate Canada marketing director Debbi Wilkes. “That would be suicide. Gay or straight is not the issue. Our competitors have to be tough. We’re going to show through our campaign the toughness of our sport. And, of course, the frilly sequins have to go.”
Figure Skating to Macho Up by Stan Silliman humor sports comedy cartoons articles
    How are they going to do this, we ask?  Ms. Wilkes answers, “We’re going to feature pieces showing the skaters are not just rich kids using daddy’s money for lessons but come from all walks of life. Some could have been hockey players.”
    Everyday Joes, we’re thinking. Like you might feature one skater who could have been a policeman?    
    “Yes, I think we have one who was interested in police training,” say Ms. Wilkes. “Also one who spent time in the Navy and one who grew up on a ranch, great human interest stories.”
    So you’ll run out a different piece each week and show how hard skating practice is and show lots of falls. Have you also got any construction workers? That’ll draw a few fans.
    “I think we do, from one of the Indian tribes near Calgary. We’ll have film where he tied rebar and we’ll have another guy coming into work on his motorcycle.” 
    I think we understand it, now. This advertising campaign will show your skaters as a bunch of macho men, riding Harleys, one who was a cop, another in the navy, a cowboy, a construction worker who is an Indian. So what is Skate Canada going to call these guys - Macho Canadians?
    “How did you know? That’ll be their call letters – MC,” says Debbi Wilkes. “Macho Canadians, the MCs. That’ll be the title of our features.”
    Why, MC? Really, Ms. Wilkes, that doesn’t make sense, a cowboy, an Indian, a construction worker, a biker, a soldier and a cop? For a skating team, it sounds like … why?
    “If you were Canadian, you’d be asking ‘Why MC, eh?’”

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