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Worlds 2010, the balance

Thanks to the much appreciated radio and video broadcasts that only Colombians are able to deliver these days, I felt once again at the center of the action during Guarne's World Champs. What's more, modern technology allowed me to be in touch almost constantly with many of my friends that were racing and/or coaching over there, so the "inside scoop" (if any) was quick and reliable. True, the 6 hours timelag forced me to stay up all night, be a zombie during the day and dismiss a relatively new girlfriend after a week... But hey, she's the one at the wrong side of the bargain, isn't she?
Anyway, I saw most of the races (even the qualification rounds), and aside from being thrown up the ceiling and under the carpet on a rollercoaster of emotions and thrills, I suspect the amount of data collected allows me to deliver my usual crude and possibly objective analisys of our annual World skating fest.
So there you go:

The Balance

General remarks
This ought to be the most rained over Worlds in modern history. Bloody water poured day in day out over the suffering athletes, while making rich MPC honchos all the way. That being said, there were no big glitches, no noticeable scandal to report, except maybe that nasty habit of keeping the track off-limits for non-Colombian skaters prior to the officially scheduled training sessions. Some skaters were not happy with the food, other had to deal with less than perfect accomodation, the racing program could have been a bit flexible given the bad weather... All in all, it was not another Cali disaster: Colombians are getting better in the organizational and logistical areas, and it shows. But at any rate, nobody should complain about anything! Please, always bear in mind that we can only be grateful to Colombia, since this edition of Worlds should have been located in Venezuela, a nation hosting many of the worst corrupt and inept arseholes the planet has ever seen, in spite of a noticeable growth in terms of skating proficiency and skaters.
And what was with the scarfs? I mean, I know it was damp and chilly up there, but WTF? How are they going to survive if they ever switch to ice?

Thumbs up
● The crowd! I can only imagine what it means for a skater to be racing in something similar to a football stadium, feeling the ovation of thousands of supporters. And it must be said: it's a polite bunch, no booing and plenty of applause even if the winner was not local. Colombian fans teach a valuable lesson to lesser countries with bad attitude and stupid hooligans.
● Kudos to the people in charge of the pubblic announcements and race informations: this time their English was understandable.
● Press: not the best ever, but it worked. My reporter got what he needed, results were poured at a reasonable rate.
● Live broadcasts: thanks Teleantioquia and Vallepatin! It looked like watching the best show EVER on the telly (even if it was a computer screen). Good job also from the anchormen and relators.

● The tracks: non homologated size and coating, not the best choice of design, technical glitches (noticeable especially when it came to drying the surface). But a few brocken bones are not sympthom of a dangerous and awkward infrastructure, it was just a bit more difficult to handle at high speeds, unforgiving for those lacking technical prowess (definitely an advantage for pint-sized and agile skaters).
● Judges: At least we can say this time they were a bit less idiotic and useless than usual. My guess is that such status entirely depends on Mr Maiguel Contreras being the chief referee. He's one of the very few of his mob that deserves our full respect.
● Official website: annoying music, poor contents, not much to see aside a few pictures and the medal tally... tough a thousand times better than any of the Asian versions of past, or Gijon'08, for that matter.

No negative remarks, then?
Not this time, it seems. Sorry guys!

The Athletic stuff

Lesser level
The world economical crisis, change of venue/date and other causes contributed to a much scaled down event, since many countries presented reduced delegations or were missing altogether. Some people will not like this, but with many Asian champs absent (notably Koreans) added to the altitude factor, bad weather and non-homologated track, to me these were lesser World Camps. As a result, hometown skaters literally ate the opposition in most categories. Believe me, now I know the Colombian anthem by heart! At times, it was a one-man show, an almost boring repetition of the same old same (the junior ranks in particular). Having said that, at times I found myself munching my nails or hanging from the ceiling lamp at the end of several races. Wow! I keep telling that our sport is getting more and more spectacular, speed and strategies higher and better. Could it be that I'm getting older and easily excited? That's a fact, as well as our sport reaching superior stages in perfomance year after year.

● World records?
Not quite, excuse me. I realize it was a last minute venue change and politicians must make concessions to their local counterparts, but the ratification of records established on this NON Vesmaco track would be yet another blow at our sport's reputation. I mean, dind't you agree on a certain homologated type of track and coating? Then follow your own rules, for fuck's sake! Otherwise we would be at square one. Again.

● Marathons suck
While I enjoy a lot every kind of race, I'm getting quickly bored by Worlds' marathons. I mean, what's the point in having countries teaming up to 8 skaters, against the rest wich generally have one or two? Apparently this is going to be a stand-alone event, with different rules. Don't count me in, thanks.

2010 World Champs Awards

● Best New Kid on the Block: Iran. Through the years, since the arrival or Mr Roberto Perrone to jump-start persian skating, its athletes have been developing little by little to the point in which they are noticed around the pack not only by their silly attires anymore. But it must be said, though: Mr Ennio Mumeni (former Italian national team coach) was contracted this season by the persian federation... Obviously he did a remarkable job, but as of today (november 2010) he has not been paid. And to think that during a Tv interview, their alledged "coach" (some youngster) stated that they were in contact with Elias del Valle to hire him! Please be warned: something's smelly in Iran's resourceful federation... Learning from their older peers, I guess.

● Best new entry: Venezuela's ladies. Katarina Rumpus (GER).

● Best Talent confirmations: Bart Swings, Andrés Muñoz, Mareike Thum, Giulia Buongiorno.

● Newer new entry: Peru. Welcome to the family!

● Golden Disappointments 2010
- Male: I suppose Mr Joseph Mantia didn't left Guarne completely satisfied with his bounty. Which wasn't bad, anyways!
- Female: No medals for Ms Nicole Begg? Tsk, tsk. Incredible.
- Team: Italy's demise was monumental. Something's wrong in FIRS/CIC's homesoil (apart from its governors).

● Best fishy thing: Bolaños (ECU) silver medal at the marathon. He's been living and training with Del Valle for years now, so a certain agreement migh have been in place. Which, in my point of view, could be acceptable if not the best example of sportsmanship.

● Best "WTF?": Spain, Australia and Portugal. Where were they?

● Best Nothing Happens: the nominees are India, Canada, Holland, Argentina, Chile, Denmark. Always there, but for years no signs or progress nor decadence in these teams...

● Biggest surprise: Japan's medal. Arigato sumimasen!

● Most emotional moment: Diego Rosero celebrating his umpteenth and last world title. Hasta siempre, compañero!

● Lifetime Achievement Awards: Mr Kalon Dobbin (stil capable of winning medals!) and Andrea Gonzales. While most of their former adversaries are planning to take part in master's races or getting an artificial hip, these two still perform at the elite level. Cheers!

● Golden Skate, female: Yercy Puello, Erika Zanetti, Brigyte Méndez

● Golden Skate, male: Mantia, Bowen, Muñoz, Swings.

● Next Superstars: Mario Valencia (USA), Meng Chu Li (TPE), Escobar + Hurtado + Vivas (COL)

● Best Looking Guy (voted by our female friends and associates): Mantia – Muñoz

● Miss Worlds (voted by our male friends and associates): Romy Muñoz – Valeria Riffo (Chile) – Vicky Rodriguez (ARG)

● Best Coach – The nominees are:
- Elias del Valle: he knows the score, definitely.
- Pancho Fuentes: Venezuela is starting to fly high with this chilean pilot.
- Paolo Bomben: he's got three athletes in Italy's national team, a true genius.

● Best Judge
Are you kidding me? Piss off.

● Best Skinsuit: Korea - NZ

● Moron of the Decade: It has to be him...

Marcello Bresin

A day at Vesmaco's