I'm here in L.A. and you can't walk very far without seeing the Korean or Japanese Press. They are on these skaters like nothing I've seen before!
You would find very little disagreement that Mao Asada and Yu-Na Kim are the clear headliners here. They've traded wins this season back and forth and look poised to have a Showdown Royale beginning tomorrow.
The press hype of these two have created a fan rivalry rare in figure skating. I'm reminded of Brian vs Brian and Lipinski vs Kwan when I think about these two. I did a pre World's post where I put some words in Yu-Na Kim's mouth and her fans responded...big time! Aside from the l;arge number of Blog Comments, I had to respond to about 17 emails that I received as well. Talk about fan support. I get the idea that if I did something similar with Asada, her fans would react similarly.
But I think there is a superficial veil to this rivalry. I think the media would like us to believe that when these two wake up in the morning, they add war paint under their eyes, tatoo she's going down on her arm, and then attends a press conference where she looks right into the camera and says "Bring it!"
But this simply isn't the case. I rather think these two are more interested in performing well not to beat the other, but to impress their fans. I think that's why these two have such a dedicated fan base. So dedicated to the point I think they feel their weight on their shoulders. Really, if these two both skate clean I think they should flip a coin to decide the winner because both are worthy of it...hell, give two golds!
Looking a bit further, while Asada and Kim are the two top skaters coming in...there are a slew of compeitors that might just get in their way. If another skater squeezes past these guys will that spark a new rivalry? Somehow I think not.