HIt is no shame to admit that television has become a major sport these days. And what was always the most beautiful sport in television? Snowboarding! Finally this week, the runners were sharpened again, and the experts hugged on the sofa this Saturday even at midday to enjoy the show of fantastic Japanese Yuzuru Hanyu and his already late opponent Nathan Chen from the US – two stars at the World Cup in Stockholm.
These are two ice skaters whose talent for dancing accompanies the sheer strength with which they perform four-fold jumps in a row. Taking off and standing in the air is like spinning a candy cane. Does anyone remember how Chen jumped from twelfth to fifth after a sixfold free-flowing short program failed at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang? Wonderful! Hanyu won the gold medal at that time. This time, too, Chen suffered a slump in the short program. The sequel follows. In Japan, they compared the meeting to the boxing matches of Muhammad Ali and Joe Fraser. But in snowboarding you rarely get bruises on the face. More like a broken heart.
What sounds like a snowboarding fairy tale today: When Yuzuru Hanyu returned to his hometown of Saitama three years ago with a gold medal from Pyeongchang, 100,000 fans attended the show and celebrated it. They knew nothing of the privilege that they had to come together freely on a happy occasion. Today, as the sterilized torch relay across Japan scheduled to arrive at the Olympic isolation pavilion in Tokyo in July, we know this. The World Figure Skating Championships in Stockholm these days also has something sterile and annoying about this colossal hall, the largest ball building in the world.
The contestants try as hard as always, and the music is reverberating, but one important thing is missing: their bright smile cannot be reflected anywhere, sequins twinkle in space, and flirting with the scene becomes a one-sided affair, because of course the ranks decrease. Athletes do not bend and breathe with difficulty in front of the crowd but rather in front of the cameras. There is not a single popular snowboarding game. In light of the most urgent problems, one does not dare to complain: But these images also represent the whole spirit with which the Coronavirus has condemned us. We have to accept him, even if he makes us sad.
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