...Kwan's withdrawing and the International Olympic Committee's acceptance of Hughes as the replacement was the standard figure skating study in emotional untidiness. To begin with: In what other sport does a routine medical diagnosis — albeit one that persuaded Kwan to surrender her gold-medal dream — occur in the middle of the night?The "second theory"? What's the first theory? Presumably, the first theory is that Kwan came to the Olympics because, despite her injury, she really was ready to skate, but then she fell down in practice, causing a new injury, which demanded that she withdraw. Is a fall that aggravates an old injury a new injury? Falls are common in skating. But the question is how the I.O.C. interprets "new." I haven't seen the precedents. But I would think that the desire to replace a team member happens quite often, and perhaps it's not supposed to be easy to claim new injury.
Even Bode Miller was asleep at 2:15 a.m. when Dr. Jim Moeller said Kwan had a "new" groin injury (as Olympic rules demand to replace an existing team member), not an aggravation of the one that kept her out of the United States trials last month, in which Hughes finished third behind Sasha Cohen and Kimmie Meissner....
Did the I.O.C. play along with the semantics of the "new injury" claim because it was sensitive to more allegations of America hating? Did Kwan come here only to generate commercial face time to appease her sponsors?
The second theory seems unlikely, given the risk of scorn that could have befallen Kwan and her carefully shaped image as the Chinese-American Girl Next Door had she skated miserably, leaving critics to cry that she gave Hughes — and by extension her country — the shaft.
Araton's prose is carefully crafted so that you can't say he said anything unkind about Kwan, but you read the column and find the suggestions have been planted that she took advantage and received special treatment.
I SHOULD ADD: Most of the column is fluffy stuff about Emily Hughes. The ominous but sweetened material about Kwan is buffered by feel-good material about the nice and happy teenager who's gotten the call to replace her.