Saturday, January 29, 2011

U.S. Nationals: Men's Short Program

That was certainly a mixed evening for my favorite skaters, but let's get started, shall we? 

Keegan Messing: Skated to Robin Hood. A little scratchy on the triple axel, but his triple lutz-triple toe covered a TON of ice. I was stunned. Triple flip was solid too. All of his spins were really, really good and he did a nice split jump preceding the last one.  I thought he was great, it certainly was more than I expected. While waiting for his scores he said, " It doesn't really matter, I had fun." 37.61 TE 32.18 PCS = 69.79 (4th)

Adam Rippon: Sigh. Poor Adam. Stepped out of the triple axel at the beginning, which they dinged him really hard for, then the triple flip-triple toe was fine, and a surprise fall on his Rippon triple lutz. The spins and footwork were all fine, but either there wasn't a lot of emotion in the program tonight or I was too busy spazzing out over his fall to notice it. He was really disappointed. I pray he skates better than this on Sunday.
32.76 TE 34.56 PCS -1.00 = 66.26 (9th)

Brandon Mroz: Opening quad toe was a little wonky, so he did a double toe instead of a triple on the end of it, and he had to hold the triple axel, but the triple lutz was fine. Death drop was slow as sin and I didn't like one of the variations on his camel spin, though the basic position was fine. Footwork fine, as with most of the field, it wasn't particularly interesting. Again, I appreciate that he IS trying to get his artistry up to snuff, but while he does have some facial expression at times, it doesn't really do anything for me. Just not my favorite skater, but at least he stood up and rotated. 37.96 TE 33.65 PCS = 71.61 (3rd)

Jonathan Cassar: His music was Tango de Roxanne. Triple lutz attempt was titled in the air and ended up as more of a 2 1/2 lutz, resulting in a fall. Double axel was pretty and his triple loop-double toe was fine. Spins were all good and one had a nice catchfoot variation. He really sold his footwork sequence and ended with a nice spin. If he wants to contend though, he needs more difficulty. 24.84 TE 32.14 PCS -1.00 = 55.98 (17th) * Jonathan's necklace popped off at some point while he was skating, causing a ten minute delay while flower sweepers inspected the ice for it. Frank Carroll stood in front of Jonathan and covered him with his warm up jacket so he could search for the necklace in his costume. You just can't make these things up, haha. Parker Pennington eventually found it while he and his group were warming up.  

Jeremy Abbott: His basics really are fantastic. Triple flip-triple toe was nice and the triple axel was good, but the triple lutz was just a bit wonky; he had to work for it. Spins went from alright to pretty dang good, and his footwork was sharp. I liked the performance quality of this program more than I have previously. 38.57 TE 39.82 PCS = 78.39 (2nd)

Wesley Campbell: Triple lutz-double toe was a little tough, with a lean on the former, and he turned out of his triple axel. He finished up his jumping passes with a nice triple flip. His spins were on the slow side, but I really loved his upright variation on the combination spin. The footwork felt like it went it for ages, and he skated slowly in general. 32.07 TE 27.28 PCS = 59.35 (14th)

Jason Brown: Capable of a triple axel but only went for a double for security, but it was done well enogh. Triple lutz-triple toe was pretty and his triple flip was alright. I didn't like the variations on his flying camel but his sit change sit and combo spin had good speed. I liked the use of his arms in the choreography. Some of his jumps were nice and he was fun to watch, but you can still see some juniorish characteristics to his skating. He has time yet though. 33.71 TE 30.61 PCS = 64.32 (11th)

Douglas Razzano: Triple axel and quad toe were both good, as well as the triple toe-triple toe, though I'm still pondering why exactly he chose such a simple combination. His final spin was good too, but he skated really slowly in general and without much spark. The only excitement in the program was the jumps.  Coach wasn't happy with the components scores, but I thought they were fair. 40.72 TE 28.89 PCS = 69.61 (5th)

Parker Pennington: Parker choreographed both of his programs this season, apparently. Fall on the triple axel, but his triple lutz-double toe was fine and his triple flip was good. His skating skills stand in stark contrast to Razzano's. His spins were pretty good too. Gotta hand it to him for being persistent (this is his 9th Nationals), but not much stood out. 27.38 TE 29.11 PCS -1.00 = 55.49 (19th)

Andrew Gonzales: Nice triple flip-triple toe and double axel, but didn't have his timing right on the lutz and doubled it and fell. Good skating speed in general, and most of his spins were alright. 29.02 TE 26.39 PCS -1.00 = 54.41

Ross Miner: Great triple axel right off the bat! The triple lutz-double toe after that was rough though, but he came back with a good triple flip. Nice speed, spread eagles, and some interpretation today. His flying spin traveled, but the other two were alright. I thought he could have been score a little higher.  He's growing on me. 35.66 TE 32.33 PCS = 67.99 (6th)

Grant Hochstein: Triple lutz-triple toe was a bit tight, but his double axel and triple loop were good. His arm positions on the camel change camel were really nice, as were the rest of his spins and his footwork. Good skate, but not enough content to place very high. 34.37 TE 31.39 PCS = 65.76 (10th)

Sean Rabbitt: Program to Thriller and Beat It by Michael Jackson, with a white bedazzled glove to boot. Hand down on the triple lutz-triple toe but a fine triple flip afterwards. Cool transition to a double axel, which he unfortunately fell out off and then fell during some dancy choreography. Some spins slowed toward the end. Footwork was cute though. Too bad about the mistakes; he was fun to watch at least. 26.27 TE 26.15 PCS -1.00 = 51.42 (21st)

Scott Dyer: He happens to be from my state, so I immediately had to root for him. Triple lutz-triple toe was tight, followed by a pretty double axel, and then a fall on a triple loop :-/. He has some nice spin positions, but they can be slow. Nice footwork and I liked the costume. Darn. He kind of reminds me of Paul Wylie for some reason. 28.03 TE 28.75 PCS -1.00 = 55.78 (18th)

Ryan Bradley: Quad toe-triple toe was pretty good, then a great triple axel and triple flip! Color me impressed. Spins were just alright, but the footwork, while fairly simple, was fun and character driven (Well, it is Ryan Bradley after all ;) ). He really worked the crowd and tried to sell it throughout. The crowd definitely bought it, giving him a standing O. After he got off the ice he said, "One year too late, eh?". Ryan was ecstatic upon seeing the scores, screaming. Good for him! It's difficult not to root for Ryan Bradley. 43.89 TE 36.50 PCS = 80.39 (1st)

Christopher Caluza: Triple lutz-triple loop was tight at the end, but nonetheless pretty impressive. His triple flip and spiral into a double axel were good too. Crowd was clapping along to his footwork sequence, which had a neat cartwheel like move at the end. Spins were pretty good in general. He was fun to watch and while rough around the edges, there seems to be some potential there. 31.87 TE 27.41 PCS = 59.28 (15th)

Lloyd Ting: Nice hydroblade to a good double axel and he held onto the triple flip, but fell on the back end of his triple lutz-triple toe. Footwork wasn't very impressive and his spins and general skating were rather slow. 23.82 TE 21.68 PCS -1.00 = 44.50 (22nd)

Joshua Farris: Fall on the opening triple axel, but his triple lutz-triple toe was good and his triple flip was really nice. Spins were good with an interesting variation on his flying camel. Solid except for the axel. I liked him a good bit. 34.47 TE 27.44 PCS -1.00 = 60.91 (13th)

Jason Wong: Leaned forward on the first half of his triple lutz-double toe combo and fell out of his triple axel, which is a shame because it was pretty close. Spins were alright and I liked his skating skills and split jump. Simple footwork though, and while the music and overall effect was pretty, it could have been more interesting. 32.48 TE 29.72 PCS = 62.20 (12th)

Richard Dornbush: Held onto his triple lutz-triple toe and his triple axel had a scratch to it, but it was landed. Stepout on the triple flip too, unfortunately. Sit change sit was great and his spins in general were quite nice, with some good variations. Footwork was kind of good and his general skating was pretty smooth. I enjoyed him. 35.32 TE 32.39 PCS = 67.71 (7th)

Armin Mahbanoozadeh: I like the arm movements in this program. Good triple axel and triple flip-triple toe! Spins all pretty good as usual, and footwork was fine, but an unfortunate fall on his triple lutz. Darned shame. I'm really pulling for him this season. 34.42 TE 33.35 PCS -1.00 = 66.77 (8th)

Alexander Johnson:Fall on the triple axel and he had to hold the triple lutz, but his triple flip-triple toe was nice. Spins were alright to good, but he didn't have my full attention after Armin's mishap. 30.30 TE 28.00 -1.00 = 57.30 (16th)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nationals and Europeans Ice Dancing Updates

Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat won Europeans with 167.40 overall. Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev were second with 161.14, Sinead Kerr and John Kerr third (157.49), Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov fourth (153.48), and Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali climbed up to fifth with 145.92.

Free Dance Results
Overall Results

Meryl Davis and Charlie White are in first place after the short dance with 76.04. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani in second with 70.47, while Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein are in third with 61.74. Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt are 4th (58.59), Madison Hubbell and Keiffer Hubbell fifth (57.91), and Shannon Wingle and Timothy McKernan round out the top six (55.07).

Europeans and U.S. Nationals Updates

Kiira Korpi is in first place after the ladies short program at Europeans, with 63.50. She and Ksenia Makarova (second with 60.35) each landed a triple toe-triple toe combo. Sarah Meier is in third with 58.56, Viktoria Helgesson fourth with 54.70, Elene Gedevanishvile fifth with 53.68, and in the perhaps the biggest surprise of the ladies short, Carolina Kostner is in sixth with 53.17 after falling on an underrotated triple toe-triple toe AND a triple loop. Alena Leonova is thirteenth with 48.40.

Short Program Results
Article on the Ladies short

Article on Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy winning Euros and about the men's short program. Apparently Florent Amodio and Brian Joubert are rooming together.

Another article involving the European men and pairs. 

There is validity to the complaints about the temperature at the rink by the skaters competing at Euros. ISU President Ottavio Cinquanta claims they'll be more vigilant about the venues in the future.

Icenetwork article about Jeremy Abbott's arrival in Greensboro and Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig's new short program to "Sing, Sing, Sing". Jeremy is unsure about adding the quad, but plans to have it in the freeskate at Worlds.

Article on the pairs short program from Nationals.

NFL schedule could affect when Nationals is held in coming years.

Three U.S. Champs battle for this years title

Ryan Bradley is planning two quads and two triple axels in his freeskate, while Armin Mahbanoozadeh is hoping to put a quad in early next season, but not quite yet. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

U.S. Nationals and Europeans Updates

Mirai Nagasu won the ladies short program at U.S. Nationals with 63.35. Not far behind are Alissa Czisny (62.50), Rachael Flatt (62.32), and Agnes Zawadzki (61.54). Christina Gao and Vanessa Lam are in fifth and sixth respectively with 58.43 and 57.61. Ashley Wagner, who is reportedly struggling with the flu, sits in seventh (54.63) with Yasmin Siraj in eighth (49.91),and Caroline Zhang in tenth (48.48). Mirai was also charming the heck out of reporters in the mixed zone, saying things like...

"I have to do jumps anyway, so why not go ahead and land them?" and "The title was Total Package; I think it should have been Potential Total Package" (about her SKATING magazine cover.).

Her skating aside, things like that really make me cheer for Mirai. She's young, she's adorable, and she can make me laugh. The personality doesn't seem put on in any way - she's just acting like the seventeen year old girl that she is.

Eleven year old Nathan Chen completely decimated the rest of the field at Nationals for his second Novice National title in a row. His coach says that Nathan is planning to move up to Juniors next season and is working on a triple axel off ice. I really hope that he manages to stay injury free over the next few years and can adjust his jumps well as he gets taller - he clearly is a talent.

Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin are in the lead after the pairs short program with 64.30. Second are Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig with 62.87, third Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker with 58.10. Defending champions Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett are fourth with 57.79. Protocols for the short program are available if you click on Senior Pairs short program on this page (they also seem to be available for all other categories shortly after the events are over.)

Starting orders are up for the men's short program and the short dance.

Onto Euros...

To no ones surprise Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat are in the lead after the short dance (66.91). In second are Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev (65.46), third Sinead Kerr and John Kerr (62.87). Rounding out the top six are Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov (60.93), Ekaterina Riazanova and Ilia Tkachenko (60.91), and Nora Hoffmann and Maxim Zavozin (58.00). Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali are buried in ninth (57.18).

Short Dance Results

Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy claimed their fourth European crown with a final score of 206.20, despite losing the freeskate to Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov (203.61).Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov grabbed bronze with 188.24 and Katarina Gerboldt and Alexander Enbert, fourth(169.95).

Pairs Short Results
Pairs Freeskate Results

Florent Amodio has the lead after the men's short program with 78.11. Michal Brezina sits in second with 76.13 and Artur Gachinski third with 73.76. Kevin Van Der Perren is in fourth (73.61) followed by Tomas Verner (72.91), Samuel Contesti (72.78), and Brian Joubert (70.44). Gold medal favorites Brian and Tomas both fell once and based off the protocol it looks like Brian struggled with all of his jumping elements. Personally, I'm certainly hoping that Florent holds onto the lead for his first senior international title and am also hoping that Tomas will come back strong with a solid freeskate.

Men's Short Results

Monday, January 24, 2011

Canadian Nationals Results

Do keep in mind that National Championships, especially Canada's, tend to have inflated scoring. That said, based off protocols and word of mouth, it sounds like some skaters really stepped up to the occasion and I am curious to see some of these performances when they surface on youtube.

1. Patrick Chan 88.78 SP 197.07 FS = 285.85 Total
2. Shawn Sawyer 77.64 SP 151.45 FS = 229.09 Total
3. Joey Russell 69.41 SP 134.61 FS = 204.02 Total
4. Kevin Reynolds 61.76 SP 130.09 FS = 191.85 Total
5. Elladj Baldé 66.07 SP 124.09 FS = 190.16 Total
6. Liam Firus 60.66 SP 124.74 FS = 185.40 Total 

1. Cynthia Phaneuf  60.77 SP 111.55 FS = 172.32 Total
2. Myriane Samson 49.75 SP 108.07 FS = 157.82 Total
3. Amelie Lacoste 50.86 SP 100.86 FS = 151.72 Total
4. Alexandra Najarro 52.12 SP 95.26 FS = 147.38 Total
5. Adriana DeSanctis 47.81 SP 96.42 FS = 144.23 Total
6. Jessica Dube 48.81 SP 82.09 FS = 130.90 Total

1. Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch 64.73 SP 122.90 FS = 187.63 Total
2. Meagan Duhamel / Eric Radford 57.71 SP 113.63 FS = 171.34 Total
3. Paige Lawrence / Rudi Swiegers 59.38 SP 108.73 FS = 168.11 Total
4. Mylène Brodeur / John Mattatall 58.78 SP 104.34 FS = 163.12 Total
5. Kaleigh Hole / Adam Johnson 48.71 SP 92.15 FS = 140.86 Total
6. Brittany Jones / Kurtis Gaskell 48.36 SP 86.54 FS = 134.90 Total

Ice Dance  
1.Vanessa Crone / Paul Poirier 65.80 SD 98.41 FD = 164.21 Total
2. Kaitlyn Weaver / Andrew Poje 65.64 SD 97.54 FD = 163.18 Total
3. Alexandra Paul / Mitchell Islam 61.57 SD 92.33 FD = 153.90 Total
4. Kharis Ralph / Asher Hill 57.27 SD 86.30 FD = 143.57 Total
5. Tarrah Harvey / Keith Gagnon 55.34 SD 80.61 FD = 135.95 Total
6. Sarah Arnold / Justin Trojek 47.13 SD 78.59 FD = 125.72 Total

Full results & protocols

Friday, January 21, 2011

Skating Updates

U.S. Nationals Icenetwork Streaming Times (All Eastern Standard Time). NBC should be airing the last group or two in each senior event live. Check local listings.

Icenetwork spoke to Rachael Flatt about her new short program to East of Eden. They also spoke to Agnes Zawadzki and Brandon Mroz about their preparations and hopes for Nationals and about Brandon's shoulder injury.

Yasmin Siraj spoke to Universal Sports about the Junior Grand Prix, Nationals, and triple axels. 

Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin are excited about how their Grand Prix season went and think that their results will help them be taken more seriously at Nationals. 

Armin Mahbanoozadeh took the time to chat with Universal Sports on Skype.

Lastly, don't forget to make your Fantasy Skating picks for U.S. Nationals and Europeans!

30 Days of Skating - Day 28: Favorite & least favorite costume

While I've seen plenty of insanely bad costumes over my years of watching skating, there is one costume that has been seared in my brain. I remember seeing this Emanuel Sandhu costume one season (which season it was, I can't recall) and watching him do that much hated A-frame spin. Word to the wise: banana colored spandex and A-Frame spins are never a good combo.

On the other end of the spectrum, here's a handful of my favorite skating costumes (though I'm sure I'm forgetting some others).
Johnny Weir: "Otonal" costume, '04 -'05
Daisuke Takahashi: "Eye" costume (2nd or 3rd costume), '09-'10
Michelle Kwan: "The Feeling Begins" costume, '02-'03
Sasha Cohen: "Romeo & Juliet" costume (2nd version), '05-'06
What are your favorite costumes? Comment with a link to a picture of it or a video of the skater performing in it!

30 Days of Skating - Day 27: Your favorite figure skating moment of all time

It's really, really hard to pick just one. I think my favorite skating moments have been when a skater I love has an amazing skate and wins a title that they truly deserve.

That said, one moment that really stands out to me is when Irina Slutskaya won Worlds in her home country in 2005. Say what you will about Irina's skating in general, but I was absolutely thrilled for her after all she had gone through with her mother's illness and then that life threatening heart condition of her own. I think it was a true example of fighting spirit and, combined with her showing at 2004 Worlds, a love for skating.

Monday, January 17, 2011

30 Days of Skating - Day 26: Saddest figure skating moment

For me, I think that it is the day Sergei Grinkov died of a heart attack. He was only 28 when he died. Honestly, I was very young when he died and I haven't seen any videos of their skating in quite awhile, but I remember watching the My Sergei tape several times. Gordeeva and Grinkov are a legendary pair and their story is a really beautiful one; it is a shame that it ended in such tragedy.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Skating Updates

Meryl Davis and Charlie White talk about their preparations for Nationals, including changing a section of the music in their free dance and how that program differs from ones they've had in the past.

Patrick Chan is planning on putting two quad toes into his freeskate at Canadian Nationals as a test drive for Worlds. They will be back to back and he is also taking out his first triple axel.

Evan Bates talks about what he and Emily Samuelson have been doing while he's been off the ice and how he is recovering. He and Emily are also planning to attend the free dance in Greensboro.

Richard Dornbush was interviewed by Universal Sports and shares what he learned from Nationals last year, who his favorite skaters are, and how he started skating.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are still uncertain that they will be competing at Nationals. They reportedly are leaving the decision until the last minute but should be announcing their final decision in the next few days.

Lastly, Rachael Flatt has gotten a new short program to East of Eden, a Michelle Kwan staple. Comparisons are inevitable and likely to be unfavorable, but at least it is something different for her. She will be debuting the program at Nationals.

P.S. If anyone has any suggestions for things you'd like me to write about, feel free to leave a comment to let me know! I'd love to have some new ideas. =)

30 Days of Skating - Day 24 and 25

 Day 24: Skater you love, but nobody else does.

I don't think there's any skaters I really like that are particularly unpopular. I mean, I've been interested in Armin Mahbanoozadeh's skating since last Nationals, but his popularity seems to have gone WAY up (deservedly so) since his bronze at Skate America.

 Day 25: The quad. Give your opinion.

It's a difficult jump and can be beautiful when performed well, but I think way too much emphasis is put on it. Maybe it wasn't worth enough points is the past, making the risk greater than the reward , but now I think it's gone completely the other way and it makes me crazy. A fall on a quad shouldn't be worth more than a very well executed triple lutz. That is ludicrous.

Friday, January 14, 2011

U.S. Nationals: A Preview

With U.S. Nationals coming up, I thought I'd take a look at who is competing and give my thoughts on who the medal contenders likely are and who I'm simply looking forward to seeing.

The ladies really are a wildcard event this year, so any guesses I attempt to make are very likely to be wrong. That said, if Alissa Czisny skates clean and rotates, her odds of winning are pretty high. That is a HUGE if though, as consistency is far from her strong suit. Rachael Flatt has been on the decline recently and been hampered by injury, but even when she skated clean this season, she still finished behind girls who had less difficult content or mistakes, so it'd likely take mistakes by others and her much heralded consistency  to defend her title. Christina Gao and Agnes Zawadzki are still relatively inexperienced, but if they can put together two solid programs, it may stand them in good stead, given the inconsistency of this field as a whole. Ashley Wagner didn't have as successful of a Grand Prix season as she did last year and her main challenge here will probably be to land on one foot and not blow the short program. I'm not sure if even skating clean will be enough for her to win without frontrunners making mistakes.

Caroline Zhang has recently changed coaches again, this time to Peter Oppegard. I'm not sure that is such a good idea with Nationals so close, but either way, unless she's improved an incredibly amount since Skate America, she probably won't be much of a factor here. Finally, Mirai Nagasu is definitely one of the girls I'm hoping will step up here (and easily my favorite of the U.S. ladies). She had a rough start at Cup of China, but skated much better at Trophee Eric Bompard to win the silver medal and hopefully, she'll look even more improved here. Mirai tends to skate well at Nationals and if that trend continues, I wouldn't be surprised to see her in the top two and on the World team.

Despite a somewhat disappointing Grand Prix season for both of them, Jeremy Abbott and Adam Rippon still appear to be the frontrunners for the men's title. Jeremy will again have the pressure on him to defend his prior titles, while Adam will be aiming for his first senior National medal and a spot on his second World team. Jeremy tends to skate really well at Nationals and if he is clean, I think he will be extremely tough for anyone to beat. Adam has yet to place better than fifth at Nationals on this level, but is usually a consistent competitor and is capable of getting big numbers ( He got over 166 points at the Japan Open, the highest score for any of the men). Like Jeremy, Brandon Mroz is coming off of silver and bronze medals from his Grand Prix, but in his case it wasn't entirely expected. While Brandon is pretty solid technically, his components are sorely lacking compared to Adam and Jeremy; in order to beat them, he's going to have to outjump them and while he has a fairly consistent quad which may assist him in that, he'll likely still need them to make mistakes.

Armin Mahbanoozadeh surprised just about everyone by placing third at Skate America, beating Adam in the process. His spins are among the best I've seen this season and his jumping ability is nothing to sneeze at either. If he has a clean short and free, Armin could definitely be a factor here. Meanwhile, Ryan Bradley's decision to compete has added another level of interest to the event; I'm really curious to see how he skates, and the fact that he has his quad and triple axel back along with his trademark charm could really put him in contention for a medal here. Lastly, Ross Miner, Grant Hochstein, and Richard Dornbush seem like good bets for finishing in the top 10 and may be able to sneak in for a medal if some of the more experienced men make mistakes.

Pairs this year is a tossup, with three teams being the most likely contenders. Defending champs Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett didn't have the results they were hoping for so far this season while Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig and Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin fared better, each grabbing a bronze at one of their respective Grand Prix events, with the latter team even being named as an alternate for the Grand Prix Final. Also of interest is the new team of Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker, who teamed up this past August. They don't have much competitive experience under their belts yet, but are reportedly showing a lot of promise for such a new pair and while I don't expect them to medal quite yet, I'm looking forward to seeing how they skate.

Ice Dance
It is needless to say that Meryl Davis and Charlie White are the heavy favorites for gold - it would probably take multiple falls in both programs to knock them from that top spot. With Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates out due to injury and Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto's retirement, the podium is free and clear for teams like the Shibutanis and Chock and Zuerlein to make their move. Both teams grabbed two bronze medals at their respective Grand Prix events, though the Shibutanis arguably had deeper fields at their events. I haven't gotten to watch Chock and Zuerlein myself yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing how they stack up against the Shibs head to head.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Skating Updates

Ryan Bradley talked to Universal Sports about the heartbreak of missing out on the Olympics by one placement and what is inspiring him to compete at Nationals this season. I wish him all the best at Nationals!

Sarah and Drew also spoke to Ryan about his comeback and to Rachael Flatt about her debutante ball that she attended with Patrick Chan as one of her escorts. They also spoke to several other skaters about their New Years Resolutions.

Christina Gao was interviewed and talks about training with Adam Rippon, her goals, and the Junior Grand Prix.

Johnny Weir is officially coming out in his autobiography "Welcome to My World" (which hits stores this Tuesday) and in the excerpt that is in the latest issue of People magazine .

 NTV apologized for filming Yu-Na Kim without permission, though still maintains that the footage they shot was shot in a public rink and wasn't filmed secretly with hidden cameras.

Universal Sports talks about two time Russian champion Adelina Sotnikova and this year's fourth place finisher at Russian Nationals, Julia Lipnitskaya.

Evan Lysacek will be skating in the exhibition at U.S. Nationals and filming his exhibition program for the RISE movie.

The starting orders for Canadian Nationals are online now and reveal that Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir plan to compete there.

Jeremy Ten will not be competing at Canadian Nationals, as he had surgery on a chronic foot injury. I for one am definitely wishing him a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him skate pain free in the future.

Lastly, the Stars on Ice tour is going to Japan. It has the skaters that are on  the Canadian and American tours this year as well as Takahiko Kozuka, Shizuka Arakawa, Daisuke Takahashi, Miki Ando, and a few others on select dates. If only the American tour had this kind of a lineup!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

30 Days of Skating - Day 23: Skater Everybody Loves But You Don’t

 Miss Alissa Czisny.

While Alissa's skating has some really wonderful qualities, she doesn't really do as much for me as she seems to for many other skating fans. I'm glad that she has worked on her jump technique and everything, but I still don't find them aesthetically pleasing or particularly well done. Kudos to her on her Grand Prix Final win, and while it's good to see someone who is reportedly such a nice person win, I wasn't really impressed by either of her programs there; she stood up on the jumps, which is better than usual for her, but simply avoiding falling (and fallouts, save for that double axel) doesn't make a great skate to me. Also, for as much as her artistry is complimented, it doesn't stand out or really get me invested in the performance. Maybe it's just not my taste, or maybe I just hold the ladies to a high standard artistically because of  growing up watching Michelle Kwan, but either way, it doesn't really impress me much.

In all fairness though, Alissa is a fantastic spinner, has nice spirals, and is obviously a beautiful girl - but her skating is just not for me.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

30 Days of Skating - Day 22: Favourite & Least Favorite Commentator

I'm not really a huge fan of Scott Hamilton's commentating, although he's gotten somewhat better since he first started, and Nancy Kerrigan's commentating on Ice Network drove me crazy too.

One of the best things about streaming skating live online is definitely the lack of commentary most of the time; I've gotten so used to not having commentators that when there actually is skating coverage on tv, it feels like the commentators are interrupting my own thoughts. :P

That said though, I still really like Dick Button, Terry Gannon, and Paul Wylie as commentators. Mr. Button cracks me up and I really miss the days when he was commentating frequently. Also, the British Eurosport guys are pretty good, and it was fun hearing Kurt Browning commentate a few times as well.

Monday, January 3, 2011

30 Days of Skating - Day 21: Team Johnny or Team Evan?

Warning: This will probably unleash my inner kraken.

Team Johnny. As I've mentioned a couple of times, I have been a Johnny Weir fan for a very, very long time.  And actually, I was a fan of Evan Lysacek too until the 06' - '07 season. At that time, Evan's skating lost the sense of fun it had and began to bore me, and things he'd say in interviews began to irk me, especially his need to be the "masculine" skater and whatnot. Of course, taking digs at Johnny, who happened to be my absolute favorite, certainly added fuel the fire.

I also became annoyed with Evan's use of skating music war horses - I mean, every skater uses some common ones at some point, but starting in the '05 - '06 season, he went to town with it,  using Carmen (for two seasons), The Feeling Begins, Tosca, The Firebird, Bolero, Rhapsody in Blue, and Scheherazade.

Then of course, the cat fighting eventually began and while Johnny certainly did play his part in it, I tend to think that it made Evan come off worse. Despite that though, I do have to give Evan credit for being determined and realizing his goals, even if I still can't reconcile myself with the fact that he is an Olympic gold medalist (I never, ever really even considered that happening for some reason). Johnny accomplished a lot less competitively, which will probably be a source of frustration to me for a long, long time. I get the feeling that Johnny is this generation's Christopher Bowman, in a way. As beautiful as his skating is and as ridiculously talented as he was, he just wasn't as dedicated as most of his competitors. I mean, do you honestly see Johnny ever putting in all the work that Evgeni Plushenko put in for his comeback?

As much as I love Johnny, he seems to be becoming more of a gimmick than anything else and I fear that he is making figure skating look like a joke not just with his off ice projects, but even with his latest on ice endeavors (i.e. His last performance on Skating With the Stars... with a birdcage.).