Weepy Figure Skaters Take the Gold in Crying

When tears flow, ratings soar
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2010 7:38 AM CST
Weepy Figure Skaters Take the Gold in Crying
Evgeni Plushenko of Russia looks dejected in the kiss and cry area in the men's figure skating free skating on day 7 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, February 18, 2010, in Vancouver, Canada.   (Getty Images)

The real drama in figure skating isn’t on the ice; it’s in the kiss-and-cry, the off-rink area where skaters wait with their coaches to receive their scores. This is where viewers are treated to memorable performances both ecstatic—take Evan Lycasek’s waterworks after the men’s short program last week—and anguished, like Nancy Kerrigan howling “I want to die” after losing a 1993 championship, the New York Times observes.

Knowing the kiss-and-cry is at the heart of the pageantry that makes figure skating a perennial ratings-topper, the Olympics have spruced the area up “from a blue curtain and a bucket of flowers on the side to plastic ice sculptures and crazy sets,” an NBC producer said. The US team even undergoes kiss-and-cry training sessions, watching videos that warn them to avoid “fidgeting, playing with their mouth,” and “unladylike” sitting, skater Mark Ladwig says. (More figure skating stories.)

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