Monday, Feb. 15, 2010

Culture Clash

Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia
European Championships 2010

Ice dancers Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin — the favorites to win gold in Vancouver — showed up at this year's European Championships with a program supposedly inspired by aboriginal cultures. To the shock of many in the Australian Aboriginal community, however, the Russian pair donned bright red loincloths, brown bodysuits and a scattering of fake eucalyptus leaves. Australian Aboriginals dismissed the outfits as offensive and lacking authenticity. But Shabalin said the pair had drawn inspiration from all of the world's aboriginal cultures, not Australia's in particular. With medals on the line, however, they're not dancing around the controversy any longer: the pair ditched the costumes on the eve of the Olympics.