sometimes it’s really hard not to hate this country.
On an Island north of Siberia, frozen remains of a mammoth have been discovered with blood that is STILL liquid! The 10,000-year-old beast was found on one of the Lyakhovsky Islands in the Novosibirsk archipelago off the northern coast of Siberia. Researchers from the Northeastern Federal University in Yakutsk poked the remains with an ice pick and, incredibly, blood flowed out.
Since the temperature during excavation was -7 to -10 degrees celsius, the scientist say that “It may be assumed that the blood of mammoths had some cryoprotective properties”. How fucking awesome is that!?
is famous for her backflip landed on only one blade; she is considered the only skater in the world capable of this move
Why am I just now hearing about her??????
Because you’re young. She retired from amateur competition after the ‘98 Nagano Olympics and never medalled at the Olympics in her career, but she did win gold at Europeans a bunch of times and silvered at Worlds a few times.
The main thing to understand about Surya Bonaly’s career as a skater is that figure skating is racist as fuck and she never fit the image of a skater, to judges or to commentators. Race and colorism were a huge fucking factor in how she was evaluated and discussed—she’s French, born in Nice, but her (white) adoptive parents lied and said she was born off Madagascar and abandoned by her birth parents to make her seem more ~exotic~, to give you an idea.
Commentators were especially horrid to her and loved to praise her for her “athletic” style but would always criticize her for not being ~artistic~ enough and she always got dinged on artistic presentation. She would always do well in the short program on technical marks and then the long program would be her achilles heel because of how heavily artistic presentation was weighted. (For the younger among you, this is pre-SLC so this is when the old judging system was still being used.)
More proof of how fucked skating is: Surya is also the only woman to my knowledge to ever land a quad toe loop in competition or even attempt one and to this day they don’t want to credit her with actually landing it, because all four rotations were not completed in air. Granted, there is a fair case to be made that it was only a triple, but don’t doubt that race played a role in that. They hated on this woman from the minute she got on the ice.
And yes, she landed that famous backflip on one blade at the 98 Olympics in her long program as one last FU to the system that had been fucking her for her whole career. Which is the real reason you should know who she is, tbh. Never was there a badder bitch on ice.
I remember when my mother threw her slipper at a television when Surya was receiving her marks in 1994 at Lillehammer.
Why yes. I will reblog Surya Bonaly.
And it’s not just youth, either. I was following figure skating pretty closely in the 1990s and my wife and I still have these moments like, “What was her name…that skater from France with the backflip…” “OH! I know exactly who you’re talking about, but I can’t remember…was it…” “Did it start with an S, maybe?”
But she was awesome. Now, I certainly agree with the above poster on the “figure skating is racist as fuck” thing, but that’s far from the only way in which the fuckedness of Olympic figure skating manifested itself in the 90s. In addition to not being able to get over Surya’s African descent, there was this rigid adherence to a particular feminine ideal of body type and style that was a disadvantage to any woman whose self-presentation was ‘too’ athletic and insufficiently pretty. You could get away with that if you were Katarina Witt and you sexed up the judges just as hard as you could the whole time you were out there, but otherwise, they had a real preference for slender and willowy. Same aesthetic that governs ballet, and whose psychotic enforcement by the men in charge makes the film _Black Swan_ so unbelievably painful that I could barely get through it.
Then there’s the ways in which my favorite pairs team, Shen and Zhao, got penalized by European and American judges over and over again for their programs not conforming to Western ideas of romance. They were so wedded to the heterosexual romance narrative as the template for evaluating these routines. I’d be listening to them talk about how they don’t have enough ‘artistic expression’ and yelling at the TV, “Did you fucking SEE that throw jump? Forget ‘romance.’ THEY CAN FLY!”
Sorry. I guess my feels about this are still strong within me.
Just want to point out that privileging a specific body type (slender and willowy) can also be racist. Black (and Latina & Native) female bodies are REGULARLY and ROUTINELY attacked for being too sexual or too masculine (or too fat, see criticisms of the Williams Sisters & Taylor Townsend in the predominantly white world of tennis, frex). There are a handful of sports that are still coded incredibly white (and wealthy), and figure skating is one of them (along with tennis, ballet, and dressage). So bodies perceived as non-white or not-white-enough get dinged for being “wrong”— for being too sexy, too muscled, too square, too squat, too whatever— and that is used as an excuse to score the performer lower. Wrong body. Wrong artistry. Wrong.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that the body ideal thing is separable from racism, but I can see how from that comment it looks like I did. I guess my point was that this demand to conform to that body ideal impacts everyone in the sport, though I am sure it was and remains a much bigger problem for skaters who aren’t white. In fact, as I think about it, the only other ladies’ figure skater of African descent that I can remember hitting the big time was Debi Thomas; and she took a lot of crap about her ‘style’ too.
Since I don’t follow figure skating any more I have no idea whether it’s different now, but my guess is no.
I wasn’t trying to CORRECT you or anything, I just think it’s a thing that (white) people OFTEN over look, to the point where you have an elite athlete like Taylor Townsend castigated for “being fat” when she’s an incredibly active well-muscled person. The Williams sisters both got this, in addition to having people mock their bodies by, like, sticking cushions under their pants to “dress up” as them. You know? CF also Nicki Minaj getting shit for her cover of “Anaconda” while similar images grace the cover of Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition with no shocked outcry.
The oppressive beauty standards that white women face in modeling and dancing etc is also hugely influenced by anti-black misogyny