Figure skating is the quintessential American sport, not merely because it is fiercely individualistic while at the same time incredibly conformist, but also because the athletes and fans, like the American electorate, have an extraordinarily high tolerance for corruption. It is surprising that the sport is not more popular in the U.S. It has long been the most popular sport in the Winter Olympics, but that is probably damning with faint praise because winter sports tend not to be very popular spectator sports, what with the standing out in the cold and all that. Still, figure skating has experienced a marked decline in popularity in recent years, so much so that the United States Figure Skating Association, now known simply as U.S. Figure Skating, lost its long-standing television contract with ABC and has had to accept what is rumored to be a much less lucrative arrangement with NBC.

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