Next to Tonya and Nancy, Gary is probably the most controversial skater
people around here love to bash/praise. Despite the fact that he
is the designated sacraficial lamb at every competition he goes
to, I hope he hangs around for a long time. You either like the
guy or you don't, and I happen to like him. His programs are
so bizarre that they are impossible to judge, which is why he always
gets low marks. I don't care whether he wins or not, I just want to
see him perform.
For the people who hate Gary (or at least hate his skating), I understand
the reasons why. The complaints are, for the most part, legitimate. For
some of the same reasons, and others, I happen to like the guy. As Scott
Hamilton said, it's apples and oranges. He's different and you either like
what he gives you or you don't.
Here are some reasons why I like him:
1) He is an entertainer. There are few skaters that can work a crowd
2) You never know what he's going to do next (at least you don't if you
don't see him very much). It's refreshing to see somebody constantly
performing new material. Frankly, I'm sick of seeing the same programs
and the same moves over and over and over again.
3) Regarding his improvised programs:
3a) It takes major league balls to make up a program in front of 15,000
people. I can think of few, if any, other skaters that would
have the courage, much less the talent, to pull it off.
3b) They are exciting! You have no idea what's coming next, and neither
does Gary. It's like watching a story unfold that could go anywhere.
3c) I would _love_ to see a competition where all the competitors had
to make up a program on the spot. Give them their music maybe 15
minutes before they went on. FOX, are you listening?
4) Despite his lack of jumps (which, BTW, he did a triple flip at Sun Valley),
the other things he does are at least as difficult, if not more so, than what the
other skaters are doing. Just because his moves aren't traditional doesn't
mean they are easy. Anybody who skates can appreciate what he does, even
if they don't like it.
5) He seems to have a***loose. While that would be a negative point
on many peoples scorecards, I happen to think it's a positive attribute.
6) He pulled out his wallet and paid off a judge at Sun Valley. I've always
wanted to see somebody do that.