Monday, December 20, 2010

Skating Updates

It is that time of year again - Christmas AND many countries national figure skating championships. While many have been going on, the most notable thus far (at least, to me) would be France's Nationals and the Czech Republic's (for the men, of course).

At the Czech Championship, Tomas Verner took the gold with 221.20 points after winning both programs, while Michal Brezina, whom is recovering from a fairly recent stomach surgery finished second with 202.76 points.

At the French Championship, Nathalie Pechalat (coincidentally, Verner's girlfriend), and Fabian Bourzat won the ice dancing title to no one's surprise, and by a margin of over 20 points. They finished with a total of 166.44.

In the men, Brian Joubert claimed the title with 231.85 points after Florent Amodio made several significant errors in the short program and found himself playing catch up. Florent did win the freeskate, but not by enough to overcome the 10 point difference between himself and Brian and he finished in second place with 222.55. Alban Preaubert and Chafik Besseghier finished in third (213.90) and fourth place (202.94), respectively. Even more surprising than Brian's victory may be the fact that he did not attempt a quad in the freeskate, although he reportedly did in the short.

While the U.S. Nationals are still a month away, the American men aren't being ignored - Jeremy Abbott recently talked with Universal Sports and talks about the Grand Prix season and Nationals, among other things. I would have to agree that Jeremy is the frontrunner for the men at U.S. Nationals, but I'm afraid that his mentioning that and feeling like he is the leading man in our country may jinx him, as there are certainly some others in the mix, such as Adam Rippon, Brandon Mroz, and Armin Mahbanoozadeh. (Though I don't, by any means, feel that Jeremy is getting arrogant.)

Speaking of Adam, Mr. Rippon has recently spoken to Lois Elfman for Ice Network about his holiday plans and has also written a new blog on his website with some insight about his experiences at Skate Canada and Skate America.

Don't forget, Japanese Nationals is coming up this week and along with it, plenty of excitement and many questions. How will Mao fare? Will Daisuke be back to normal? And how well the youngsters Kanako Murakami and Yuzuru Hanyu perform? I'm really looking forward to seeing the answers to those questions and more!

P.S. Anyone who happens to find/upload youtube videos of Japanese Nationals or comes across any interesting news about it or even the results (as it can be extremely difficult to find results online for other countries' nationals, though I think I know somewhere I can find them for this particular event), please feel free to share in a comment here or tweet me. Thanks!

EDITED 12/21: Practice groups and event schedules are up on U.S. Figure Skating's website and much to my surprise, Ryan Bradley has been listed in Practice Group B for the Senior men. I had no idea he was competing!

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