Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Where flags of convenience figure large

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At the European figure skating championships this week I kept wondering how it was possible that whichever skater was on the ice, there always seemed to be lots of fans waving just the right flag.

And then I spotted the lady who had been jiggling her Union Jack quickly folding it up and taking out her German flag and wafting that around with just as much enthusiasm.

Then I noticed the blue, white and red pompoms — very handy to shake in support of Dutch, Russian, French or British skaters.

Can you imagine wearing a Tottenham Hotspur shirt and taking it off to reveal an Arsenal shirt? And then putting it back on when Spurs score? It doesn’t even bear thinking about.

Figure skaters don’t always need sparkle to shine

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Costumes are a huge part of figure skating and sequins are almost de rigueur — many competitors here at the European championships in Tallinn this week look like they have rolled around in a glitter pot forgetting they were covered in glue.

It’s when there is no shine that you really notice the outfit.

World champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin’s token nod to the norm was a smattering of sparkle at the top of the back of her red dress on Tuesday, while they will look like they are wearing just body paint and leaves for their Aboriginal original dance on Thursday.

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