Nathan! Chen! I am so happy for him (and I was so nervous before that skate, I felt actual physical anxiety in my own body; how do people who actually know these folks do it?)! What a truly enjoyable men’s long program competition we got last night — in addition to Nathan’s triumph, my beloved Yuma Kagiyama took silver,  the also-delightful Shoma Uno wore a bolero for “Bolero” and was rewarded with a bronze, Jason Brown skated beautifully for an absolutely respectable 6th, and one of my notes about someone reads, “I’d wear this top with jeans.” Someone please clip out Nathan’s great step sequence segment so we can all watch it on a loop!

Secondly, we cannot pretend that we’re not in the middle of another potential Figure-Skating Scandal: Tuesday night, I got a late text from Heather saying, “have you seen this?” And it was a tiny news piece that the medal ceremony for the figure-skating team competition had been delayed for very vague reasons that needed legal consultation. Obviously, everyone immediately assumed someone had failed a drug test. This thing has snowballed over the last 30 hours and, indeed, Russian superstar Kamila Valieva reportedly failed a drug test prior to the Olympics and has (apparently) taken a banned substance that is meant to be used for angina (but which isn’t legal for anyone in the EU or US, or even meant for people under 18). Honestly, this is….wild. ROC is competing as ROC this Olympics because they had been running an incredibly complex doping operation. Doping while you are in trouble for doping is some BOLD SAUCE and it feels like the actions of a program who….let’s just say did not respond to their current sanctions as might have been hoped.

Important to remember is that Kamila is only 15 and the Russian squad has been known to dope their athletes without the athlete’s actual knowledge. And if you are an elite athlete and A CHILD and they’re an elite coach and they tell you to take some pill and that it’s B12 or whatever, you take it! You trust them. (Or you want to trust them, anyway.) If these reports are accurate, I suppose it is possible she has been taking this drug for a legitimate medical complaint but as I understand it, you’re meant to get approval for that regardless — this happens not infrequently when folks are on painkillers, for one thing. (Also, “our incredibly fit teenager has angina and we’re using a sketch drug to treat it” is not very believable.)  The women’s competition starts on Tuesday, so we should know a lot more about what’s going to happen by then — both ROC’s gold in the team competition and, of course, whether Kamila is allowed to continue are question marks. Personally, I feel like if you’ve been doping, you should be disqualified — that is also the actual precedent — and if I were a skater who was clean, I would have…a lot of thoughts right now. Feel free to discuss (and I recognize that news may have broken while I slept, so feel free to keep us up to date). I guess it ain’t figure-skating if something isn’t going down.

ANYWAY, lots to talk about this morning, so let’s DIG IN. (Also: I only watched the top two groups, and that’s who’s in the slideshow, so if anything thrilling happened in the other rounds, fill us in! I understand there was a good ponytail.)

[Photos: David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock, FAZRY ISMAIL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock, Natacha Pisarenko/AP/Shutterstock, Bernat Armangue/AP/Shutterstock, Jae C Hong/AP/Shutterstock]