Those in charge will tell you the Olympics is all about sports. They like to claim it is the sports that rule and pesky little details like gay rights just don’t come into play. So I’m sure the double edged sword of the competitions starting and being televised a day earlier than the Opening Ceremonies, and the new event – Team Trophy in figure skating – has nothing to do with figure skating being the #1 draw for viewers of the winter Olympics and that the regular events in that discipline are not held until almost the end of the Games. ‘Cuz high viewer numbers and happy sponsors are a sport unto themselves.
Nonetheless, today kicks of the XXII Games of the Winter Olympics and when the men competing in the Team Trophy event take to the ice it’s gonna seem like there were a lot of little boys in the world inspired by Kristi Yamaguchi’s Olympic gold medal performance in 1992. A lot of those boys will be rice on ice. In fact, the top two podium spots in the men’ events are assumed to be going to Asians. And there’s a good chance an Asian guy will take home the bronze medal too.
That’s a good thing. Not just because I’m a fan of rice, but because it gives me the opportunity to cover a whole slew of Olympians in one post. Not that each is not deserving of their own. I’m fairly certain Patrick Chan – who recently said, “Whether you’re gay or not, you do not have to expose your sexuality on the ice,” deserves his own Gay of the Week post. But then what male figure skater doesn’t? But each will be getting a lot of press already over the next few weeks, and as much as I’d like to cover every single one individually, I already have posts to go of those figure skaters who have been kind enough to bless us with pix of their naked flesh. And I do have to cover other sports at the Winter Game too. As soon as someone reminds me what they are. So without further ado or digression, here are the skating Asian hotties to watch for at Sochi:
Patrick Chan is almost everyone’s choice for winning the gold. And since I won’t be in Russia to console him if he suffers the agony of defeat instead, I’ll agree. The 22-year-old, three-time reigning world champion is favored to become Canada’s first to win an Olympic gold medal in male figure skating having just set a world record during the short program at the Skate Canada International Grand Prix. He also insists he’s not gay. Maybe. But is, evidently, a fan of Pottery Barn. But back to that gay thing. Patrick likes to say – in defense of how gay male figure skaters come off – that you can be one way on the ice and totally different outside the rink. Yup. I think Johnny Weir proved that. No worries Patrick. Just be yourself and the feathered boas will sort themselves out.
Yuzuru Hanyu gave Japan the lead in the new team figure skating competition Thursday night at the Sochi Olympics. Ooops. Spoiler Alert! He’s also Japan’s best chance at winning the silver in the men’s competition. The 19-year-old is the 2012 World bronze medalist and 2013 Grand Prix Final champion where he set a new world record scoring 99.84 in the short program. Often called The new Johnny Weir of figure skating, he’s coached by the out-before-that-other-Brian-was Olympian Brian Orser and has an obsession with Winnie-the-Pooh. So all you bears out there stand a chance.
Daisuke Takahashi is the 2010 Olympic bronze medalist and is considered a strong contender for that place again in Sochi even though it must suck to always be the bridesmaid and never the bride. The five-time Japanese national champion is 27-years-old and says, “A must-have quality for figure skaters is, I think . . . gorgeousness.” So there’s one check box you can tick. He also loves Beyonce and his hair is so fabulous that it actually has it’s own blog.
Tatsuki Machida is this year’s Japanese national silver medalist, a three-time gold medalist in the Grand Prix Series, and another runner-up for the bronze medal in Sochi. The 23-year-old lacks the flamboyancy of his team mate, but still gets my vote for Most Likely To Become A Ladyboy In His Second Career.
You’d think as well a they do in the other gayest Olympic sport (men’ diving) China would be a powerhouse on the ice too. But as we say in Russia, nyet. Nonetheless, Han Yan still need to be counted if for no better reason han he performs to Fats Waller’s Viper’s Drag. The 2013 Four Continents bronze medalist chance at winning a medal in Sochi are probably best summed up by his choice of music for his Exhibition routine, The Impossible Dream.
The Philippines will compete at the Winter Olympics for the first time in 22 years and 4th time overall. And Michael Christian Martinez will be their sole athlete. The 17-year-old Filipino can not always afford a coach and often turns to prayer instead. Which won’t help him much in Sochi considering Russia is such a godless country. Michael competed on the senior level for the first time at the 2013 Nebelhorn Trophy, the last qualifying event for the 2014 Winter Olympics where he finished 7th, earning him his Olympic berth.
Kazakhstan is not the first place you think of when ice skating comes up, but then that’s because no one in America knows where Kazakhstan is located. Or a ever heard of it before. Though since it’s a ‘stan, we do assume we’ll be fighting a war there soon. If we are not already. But Denis Tan is quickly placing his country on the map. The 20-year-old won silver medal at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships, and many felt he deserved the gold. Nonetheless, Denis was the first skater from Kazakhstan to medal at the world championships and may be a surprise medallist in Sochi.
Tan’s fellow countryman, Abzal Rakimgaliev, is not expected to do quite as well. Abzal represented Kazakhstan at the 2010 Winter Olympics, where he placed 26th. Hopefully, the 21-year-old pro will update hi costume choice and skip the low-cut see through blouse he wore in Vancouver. Though it is nice to know even in Kazakhstan they understand fabulousness.
Is Alex Shibutani yet another ice queen? I dunno. And don’t wanna know. That whole sister act thing he’s got going on worries me. The 22-year-old U.S. ice dancer and his sister began skating together in 2005 when Maia was 9 and Alex was 12, and were inseparable throughout puberty, both on and off the ice. So much so that they’ve earned the nickname ‘Shib Sibs.’ Says, Alex, ““It was only natural for us to start holding hands, skating around and doing new tricks and things.” Uh, huh. “People come up to us and say, ‘Oh, I don’t know how you guys do it,” he says. Personally, I don’t want the details. But on the plus side his sibling bonding has helped to hold off thee gay rumors that he’d otherwise face. The Shibs who dance to tunes by Michael Buble and Michael Jackson took the bronze at both the 2013 and 2014 U.S. Championships, but are not expected to do even that well in Sochi.
Hao Zhang skates with a fish named Dan for China. But at least it’s not his sister. An Olympic silver medalist, two-time Four Continents champion, and three-time World silver medalist, the 29-year-old is getting a bit long in the tooth for competitive figure skating. But considering his six feet in height, maybe that’s appropriate. In the Figure Skating Team – Pair Short competition today, he placed third. So maybe China will not walk away skating medal-less from Sochi after all.
Zheng Xun is another tall drink of water from Chinese, measuring in at 6’2”. The 26-year-old Olympic ice dancer is a five-time Chinese national champion. And obviously lets his partner pick out their costumes. I hope.
As a single skater, Japan’s Ryuichi Kihara is a two-time bronze medalist on the Junior Grand Prix series circuit and the 2011 Japanese Junior silver medalist. But since February 2013, he’s been competing in pair skating with some sushi. The 21-year-old and his partner are not expected to place well in Sochi, despite in that performing to Les Miz, the sushi dies at the end of the routine. Which is a big crowd-pleaser as you may well expect.