Glitzy Gala cannot hide figure skating warts

Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:16pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

LONDON, Ontario (Reuters) - The figure skating world championships closed on Sunday as they almost always do with a glitzy gala, arguments and controversy.

With a scoring system that is harder to understand than the theory of relativity and offers about as much transparency as a Papal conclave, figure skating still struggles to connect with the average fan, particularly in North America where their numbers are on the decline.

That confusing system allowed Canada's Patrick Chan to claim a third consecutive world championship title on Friday despite hitting the ice more times than a toddler learning to skate.

The routine was so dreadful that Chan spent the next two days apologizing profusely to fans for his performance but he certainly did not apologize for the win.

"I deserved it," declared Chan. "It's totally understandable that people have their doubts.

"You look at hockey, it's really simple score one more goal than the other team. Figure skating is a little more subjective.

"But I would keep telling people I deserved it and would more than love to explain why."

There were plenty looking for an explanation. Even Chan's fellow skaters quickly challenged his victory through social media channels.   Continued...

Gold medal winner Patrick Chan of Canada arrives for the presentation ceremony at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in London, March 15, 2013. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill