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Straight Sports and Goofy-Footed Feats

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Only in America is figure skating labeled a "gay" sport ["Out? In? Or Past All That? Johnny Weir's Fancy-Free Skate," Style, Feb. 17].

First, a study done a few years ago on how fit one must be to be an elite figure skater and get through a 4 1/2 -minute program found that skating requirements beat both basketball and football. For someone to rotate in the air three or four times and land on a narrow blade takes more balance, strength and power than running for a touchdown. Male figure skaters are some of the strongest and best-conditioned athletes in the world.

Second, which sport sounds more "gay": A bunch of men in tights grabbing pigskin from between a man's legs and slapping each other on the behind after a good play, or a man in tights working with a flexible, muscular woman and lifting her above his head?

If the straight boys in this country were smart, they'd sign up for skating lessons. Not only would they get into fantastic physical condition, but skating is a surefire way to meet girls.

ALLISON MANLEY

Chicago

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The Feb. 17 front-page article "New Olympic Event Is a Five-Ring Circus" failed to mention one fact about Seth Wescott's fantastic gold-medal run in snowboard cross that didn't go unnoticed by most boarders:

He went "goofy foot." Mr. Wescott and halfpiper Hannah Teter, who also won gold, board with their right foot forward, facing left, while most skateboarders, snowboarders and surfers ride with their left foot forward. Or at least they used to back in the day.

SEAN McCLELLAN

Alexandria

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