Figure skating judges are into: 19th century Slavic folk music, frou-frou princess outfits, poetic dancing, dignified twirls.
Figure skating judge are NOT into: popular music, utilitarian clothing, power over grace, fun.
It’s no wonder, then, that French-American figure skater Surya Bonaly often received a chilly reception from judges throughout her career (she's retired now). The skating dynamo was known for puting her middle fingers up -- way up -- (you know, metaphorically speaking) rocking explosive routines, athletic-looking costumes and flouting rules about what skaters could and couldn't do on the ice. Many also assert she fell victim to outright racism consistently receiving lower scores than her white counterparts.
Her most epic performance? Her 1998 Olympics free skate routine, in which she became the only figure skater—of either gender—to complete a one-bladed back flip. See? Badass.
At the time this move was illegal because—as the rational went—jumps must be landed on one blade, and it would be impossible to land a flip in this way without serious injury, unless, of course, you're Surya Flipping Bonaly! Frustratingly, the judges still deducted the illegal move from her score—because, as previously-noted, they hate all things fun—but she earned a reputation as Figure Skating Rebel and Ultimate Athlete Supreme.
Though the figure skating contenders for Sochi seem pretty conformist (if I hear one more comment about how spot-on Gracie Gold's name is, I swear I'm gonna . . .) maybe we'll get lucky and see less princess and more badass on the ice.