SI: I've heard that the judges actually count Christopher's personal life—his undisciplined life-style—against him.
BB: Definitely. They like Eldredge, and in this sport, if the judges like you, that helps. Todd is young, and he has assumed the role of the leading man. He's got a very mature sense of himself as a competitor for someone who's only 20.
SI: What about the women?
BB: I don't think some people expect Midori Ito of Japan to make the comeback I expect her to make. She's notorious for liking the underdog role. What makes Midori exciting is she jumps with such wild abandon. She throws herself into these jumps, and people are thinking, god, is she going to hit this? Then she lands it, and she's just as excited as everybody else is.
SI: Of the U.S. women, who finished one-two-three in the worlds last year, the only jumper who compares with Ito is Tonya Harding.
BB: There's remarkable strength and control in Tonya's jumping. She jumps like a male skater; she doesn't just fling herself in the air. There's an assurance that she's going to land it when she takes off. She knows exactly what she's doing. She's in the air, and...boom! It's sensational in its own right, but not like Midori, who throws herself into the air and...whoa!
SI: Is not having the triple Axel enough of a factor to keep Kristi Yamaguchi from winning the gold medal?
BB: My first inclination is to say yes. The judges don't seem to care that much about the way the skaters perform the in-between stuff—the spins and stroking and things like that. Kristi has a youthful elegance, [but] the judges are not concentrating on the artistic side of women's skating at all.
SI: Can any of these women hold a candle to Katarina Witt in her prime?
BB: Technically they do more jumps than Katarina did. But it's relative. She was technically a good skater when she was competing, [and] Katarina was a great actress on the ice. That's why the judges really loved her. Nobody acted like she did. Katarina knew how to flirt even when she was nervous. Not to mention, she's beautiful. She's gorgeous. And she knew she could get away with anything. People do what works.