Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Bloggers - Being Respectful?

Aaron from Axels, Loops and Spins wrote a great post about the snarking and bashing that happens on a lot of figure skating forums. But what about it coming from actual bloggers themselves? Phil Hersh has long been attacked for his Chicago Tribune articles, but I felt this one really took the biscuit. He did a question and answer session (of questions he made up himself!) Notable quotations include:

"Czisny and Kostner would clean so much of the ice with their bottoms the resurfacing job would be much easier."

"Yuna Kim could stand still for four minutes, and she still would deserve higher component scores than Rochette at her best."

"There is everything to like about Belbin-Agosto and Davis-White as people and performers. And performers is the key thing, because that is all ice dance is about. It's all in the eye of the beholder -- great entertainment, archly camp at times, incredibly hard to do well...and no more a sport than ballet."

Now, I don't know about you, but as a blogger I would never say things like that about skaters. People might argue about how high Rochette's PCS scores are, but to say that about her is clearly not true, and Hersh knows that - in his attempts to make an entertaining, controversial blog post he is merely putting down skaters who do not deserve criticism like that. Bloggers are allowed to question, of course they are, that's our job. But flat out put skaters down? I think not.

Furthermore, I'm not a professional blogger; I get no money for this, I just do it for fun! But Hersh is EMPLOYED by the Chicago Tribune, as well as other publications to write about skating, and so has an obligation to write fairly and honestly, I feel. I hardly have to mention how his writing skills are not reflective of his professional blogging position; at one point he says Rochette got Level 2s "on all three of her four spins".

I should add, this is not a personal attack on Hersh. I don't mean this in an offensive way, as I am merely questioning his post and opinions. He has some good points in his post as well, and attempts to apologise to Jenny Kirk after criticising a very excellent post she made about Cohen's Grand Prix withdrawals (with limited success!)

Do you agree with what I'm saying about Hersh's post? Judging by the comments at the bottom of his article, many others are outraged/exasperated/amused at his post. Or do you think this post is just giving him a wider audience, and catering to his controversial style of blogging?

Monday, 23 November 2009

So here are my thoughts from Skate Canada, the last Grand Prix event.


The mens event really had all to play for, but Jeremy Abbott took the gold, landing the only quad jump of the night. Both him and Takahashi made the Grand Prix Final based on those performances, but the real star was Alban Preaubert, who has the only truely clean long program of the night, to a medley of Rolling Stones songs. He is really a fun skater to watch live! Disappointment for Denis Ten though, who dropped from third to seventh with a mediocre free skate. Also there was disappointment for Chan who, despite a masterful program, had a number of falls.
1 Jeremy ABBOTT
232.99 1 2
231.31 2 1
212.28 4 3
4 Michal BREZINA
202.32 5 5
202.25 7 4
6 Patrick CHAN
198.77 6 6
7 Denis TEN
193.33 3 9
8 Stephen CARRIERE
188.31 10 7
186.48 8 8
168.71 9 11
168.54 11 10
12 Jeremy TEN
148.96 12 1


Shen and Zhao have looked pretty unbeatable so far this season, but at this event Savchenko and Szolkowy managed show that they're going to be frontrunners - it was looking shaky after their disasterous outing in Paris. Their new LP, to "Out of Africa", was absolutely incredble, gaining them what might be considered the first 10 for performance and execution PCS ever (though definitely not the last, as we'll see!) It's definitely an "Olympic" program, and their overall score landed them a world record to boot. Other pairs fared pretty well - Dube and Davison weren't perfect, but managed to get the bronze, whilst Mukhortova and Trankov did a nice performance of "Love Story" to nail the silver. Notice that it was exactly the same medallists from Trophee Eric Bompard, but in a completely different order!
206.71 1 1
185.71 2 2
3 Jessica DUBE / Bryce DAVISON
166.93 3 3
4 Anabelle LANGLOIS / Cody HAY
159.95 4 4
5 Caydee DENNEY / Jeremy BARRETT
157.09 5 5
146.91 7 6
143.61 6 7
8 Ksenia OZEROVA / Alexander ENBERT
113.36 8 8


I didn't get to see the ladies long program, but from what I can tell it was a pretty weak field, with missed jumps from almost all of the skaters, including the medallists. However, Suzuki and Rochette still did well enough to make the Grand Prix Final.

1 Joannie ROCHETTE
182.90 1 1
2 Alissa CZISNY
163.53 2 4
158.52 4 2
4 Mirai NAGASU
156.83 3 3
5 Akiko SUZUKI
147.72 8 5
6 Amelie LACOSTE
141.13 6 6
7 Cynthia PHANEUF
132.48 5 9
8 Caroline ZHANG
132.46 7 8
9 Sarah HECKEN
124.40 10 7
123.50 9 10
108.41 11 11

Dance seemed to be the most predictable of the disciplines, but actually had a different podium to what people expected! Despite Tessa slipping twice in the OD, Virtue and Moir walked away with the gold, gaining one 10 for performance and execution PCS in their beautifully executed free dance. They got a huge score as well (204) which is three points above what Davis and White have achieved this season, so we'll have to see who comes out on top in Tokyo. Pechalat and Bourzat did a nice job with their innovative but somewhat errative FD to Requiem for a Dream - that music's getting used a lot this season (both them and Cappelini/Lanotte will be performing to it at the GPF). Speaking of overused music...Weaver and Poje took an unexpected bronze in front of their home crowd to the "Phantom" music, and I like their cuts far more than Chan's and Davis/White's - far more subtle. With a suprise bronze, there has to be some who lose out, and in this case it was Samuelson and Bates, who ended up in fifth with some errors in the free dance.
1 Tessa VIRTUE / Scott MOIR
204.38 1 1 1
2 Nathalie PECHALAT / Fabian BOURZAT
185.07 2 2 2
3 Kaitlyn WEAVER / Andrew POJE
165.64 3 4 4
4 Ekaterina BOBROVA / Dmitri SOLOVIEV
161.68 5 5 3
160.76 4 3 5
6 Madison HUBBELL / Keiffer HUBBELL
141.63 6 6 7
7 Carolina HERMANN / Daniel HERMANN
141.61 7 7 6
8 Andrea CHONG / Guillaume GFELLER
128.70 8 8 8

This event determined the Grand Prix finalists, who I've put below.


Shen and Zhao
Pang and Tong
Mukhortova and Trankov
Savchenko and Szolkowy
Kavaguti and Smirnov
Zhang and Zhang


Nobunari Oda
Evan Lysacek
Brian Joubert
Jeremy Abbott
Daisuke Takahashi
Johnny Weir


Yu-na Kim
Miki Ando
Joannie Rochette
Alena Leonova
Ashley Wagner
Akiko Suzuki


Davis and White
Virtue and Moir
Belbin and Agosto
Pechalat and Bourzat
Cappellini and Lanotte
Kerr and Kerr

Going to be an exciting competition; I'm looking forward to 3rd December already!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

O Canada!

So Skate Canada is over, save for the exhibition, and what an event! I saw almost all of it, and have lots to say, so a big post will be following shortly; for now, here are the results.

Skate Canada Results

Also, the poll has ended! Thanks to everyone who voted. The question was asking who was going to be the most successful skater in the next four year cycle - Adam Rippon, Michal Brezina or Florent Amodio. Rippon won, which I sort of expected, just not by so muh - he got almost half the votes. If anyone has any suggestions for what they think would make a good question for one of my polls, comment below or email km-28@hotmail.com. Thanks! New question will be up soon.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


I know in skating you're meant to expect the unexpected, but this really takes the biscuit. Andrei Lutai, who came 10th in Skate America, got drunk on Sunday night and ended up arrested after stealing a car!
Andrei Lutai, a 23-year-old from St. Petersburg, Russia, is currently in the Essex County Jail in Lewis facing charges of third-degree grand larceny, third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree unauthorized use of a vehicle and aggravated driving while intoxicated.

Lutai allegedly stole a 2008 Chevrolet Impala parked along Main Street next to Central Garage around 10:45 p.m. Sunday. Lake Placid Police Sgt. Carol Hayes said employees of the business witnessed the theft and immediately called police. One employee got into a vehicle and followed Lutai.

Within five minutes, police spotted the Impala and pulled Lutai over. He was found to be intoxicated and arrested, Hayes said.

There may be more to this story than previously thought though:
Barrett said he expects Lutai's case to be resolved quickly because he said there were conflicting reports from witnesses about whether Lutai was the one who stole the vehicle and was behind the wheel. He said the Impala was already pulled over, next to the Econo Lodge on Cascade Road, when police showed up.

"I don't believe he was properly identified and I don't believe he was actually witnessed by police driving the motor vehicle," Barrett said. "At the time of the arrest, there were also serious communication problems with Mr. Lutai."

But for now:
Lutai was arraigned before village Justice Margaret Dorn and remanded to the Essex County Jail in Lewis in lieu of $100,000 cash bail. He's scheduled to appear in village court again at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Updates will be posted here as they come!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Skate America

The results from Cancer.net Skate America 2009 so far are here. Shocker for the mens podium; who'd have thought? I'm really glad though, as I love all three of the medallists, especially Ryan Bradley, who blew me away in his short program in Paris. Pairs wasn't really a suprise, but how great were Shen and Zhao (in the short!)? They're looking like the front-runners for the gold medal in Vancouver, which is understandably worrying Savchenko and Szolkowy, who are apparently crafting a new LP - their current one to "You'll Never Walk Alone" hasn't been well received. That'll be something to look forward to at Skate Canada next weekend.

On another note, my newest poll closed yesterday, and the results were...interesting. I asked about Plushenko's return, and the answer was that people were pleased about it, but only just! It was a closer result than I thought it would be. My new poll is looking past Vancouver and on to Sochi in 2014; who do you think will be the most successful skater in the next four year cycle; Adam Rippon, Florent Amodio and Michal Brezina? All three have only just left the junior ranks, and yet they've all beaten skaters with far more experience and expectation than them; Rippon leapfrogged over Joubert, Preaubert and Ponsero, Brezina managed to place in front of Kozuka and Takahashi, and Amodio surpassed Verner. I appreciate that these results only happened due to errors or meltdowns by the other skaters, but it is still an achievement, and I predict that some of them could beat the old guys when they're all on their game. So what do you think?

Monday, 9 November 2009

Breaking News - Cohen out of Skate America

Sasha Cohen withdraws from Skate America in Lake Placid, citing the same injury that stopped her competing in Paris.

"I have been battling this injury for a while," Cohen said. "After meeting with my orthopedic surgeon, it was determined that in order for me to fully recover, I should not compete this week."

Cohen withdrew from her first Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series assignment, Trophée Eric Bompard, in early October after being diagnosed with tendonitis in her right calf.

"I'm very disappointed I won't be able to compete in Lake Placid," Cohen said. "I've been going to physical therapy and training with every intention of being healthy and ready for this competition."

Cohen says she will continue her physical therapy and training, with the goal of competing at the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, Wash, Jan. 14-24, 2010.

Replacing Cohen at the event is 2007 U.S. silver medalist Emily Hughes. The 2006 Olympian last competed at Skate America in 2006, finishing fifth.

Honestly? This is a real disappointment for all of Cohen's fans. I know she only sees these Grand Prix events as practice but she needs to get her programs out there before Nationals. I'm really pleased Hughes gets to take her place though, it's a great opportunity for her to compete there.

NHK Trophy - Final Results

So here's the full results from NHK Trophy, and my comments on each event.


162.55 2 2
160.85 5 1
155.99 1 3
152.35 3 5
152.19 4 4
142.03 7 6
126.49 6 10
8 Annette DYTRT GER
126.01 9 9
123.97 11 7
119.63 10 11
118.42 12 8

This event shows, to me, some of the weaknesses with the current judging system; how can a skater come second in both the short and long and win overall? I know why it happens, and that it makes sense, but still it confuses me! Anyway, that is what happened with Miki Ando at this event. Ladies have been so erratic and unpredictable over the past Grand Prix events, and I’m sure Skate America will be the same way, what with the supposed return of Sasha Cohen. Despite rumours, she has yet to withdraw. Leonova, despite some errors overall, seems to be cementing her place as one of these “one to watch for 2014” skaters.


232.70 1 1
2 Johnny WEIR USA
217.70 3 3
217.48 6 2
214.29 4 4
208.45 2 6
197.61 8 5
7 Takahiko KOZUKA JPN
186.00 5 10
181.62 7 9
181.04 9 8
10 Jeremy TEN CAN
178.87 12 7
176.36 10 12
12 Kristoffer BERNTSSON SWE
176.01 11 11

Speaking of ones to watch for 2014…for me, this event was all about Michal Brezina. Most people had never heard of him before this event, but he had the only clean long program of the whole event and performed his Gershwin routine really well. His jumps are also amazingly high. It was interesting to contrast his skate with Rippon, whose is definitely considered the other male skater with great things ahead. Unlike Trophee Eric Bompard, he didn’t do too well here, which was a shame. Similarly, Abbott had a bit of a disaster of a free skate; however, as he dryly noted in the Kiss and Cry, at least he didn’t peak too early in the season! The one American man who didn’t underperform was Johnny Weir, who had a great long program, save for the triple loop which didn’t get off the ground. He came into second place, which was great, after Joubert. Joubert skated last and so decided to play it safe after all the disasters of the previous skaters – he didn’t even do a triple-triple combination, but he nailed the quad toeloop, and narrowly missed a fall on the triple axel. Critics have been complaining about his short program win over Abbott, but I think Joubert’s overall win at this event was very much deserved. The other skater who has to be mentioned is Daisuke Takahashi, ending the reign of successful comebacks that we’ve seen so far in this Grand Prix season. He had a number of falls, and I worry that he isn’t properly recovered from those knee problems. His team mate Takahiko Kozuka also had a bit of a meltdown in the long program unfournately. This event probably had the strongest mens competition out of all the Grand Prixs, yet there were, arguably, some of the weakest performances.


1 Qing PANG / Jian TONG CHN
199.65 2 1
193.05 1 2
158.78 4 3
4 Caydee DENNEY / Jeremy BARRETT USA
151.43 3 5
150.71 6 4
137.49 5 6
130.77 7 7
8 Narumi TAKAHASHI / Mervin TRAN JPN
119.48 8 8

I didn’t get to see this event, but Yuko Kavaguti apparently had a horrible fall on the quad salchow, which meant they had to stop their program for a few minutes. This led to a 3 point deduction, putting them in second behind Pang and Tong. Inoue and Baldwin also had a fall on the throw triple axel, but still managed to pick up a bronze medal, which is a real achievement, though it’s a shame about the triple axel; it blew me away in Paris when she landed it!


1 Meryl DAVIS / Charlie WHITE USA
201.97 1 1 1
2 Sinead KERR / John KERR GBR
177.73 2 2 2
3 Vanessa CRONE / Paul POIRIER CAN
165.89 4 3 3
4 Ekaterina BOBROVA / Dmitri SOLOVIEV RUS
160.01 3 6 4
5 Xintong HUANG / Xun ZHENG CHN
154.90 6 5 5
154.61 5 4 6
7 Cathy REED / Chris REED JPN
147.53 7 7 8
145.32 9 8 7
142.33 8 9 9
130.24 10 10 10

…and Ice Dance continues its reign as the most predictable discipline in terms of results. Davis and White looked markedly improved from Rostelecom Cup, and they got a standing ovation for their free dance. Their lifts are really innovative, as are Belbin/Agosto’s and Virtue/Moir’s, which is going to make the Olympics SO exciting! The Kerrs also deserve a mention for getting their first silver medal at a Grand Prix, though they seem to be struggling technically, compared to some of the other couples; they were 10 points off their personal best and were pretty close to Crone and Poirier, which isn’t good news for them in what is almost definitely their last season. Crone and Poirier, however, did great; their free dance, some of which is set to Bohemian Rhapsody, really is a masterpiece. Now that event’s over we’re looking to Skate America; I can’t believe the penultimate Grand Prix is almost upon us! Expect a post of what to expect at the event coming soon.

Friday, 6 November 2009

NHK so far

So, I watched the mens short program from Japan....and here's what I thought. Apologies to Aaron from Axels, Loops and Spins for the blantant rip-off of his "flash" posts!

Mens Results

1. Brian JOUBERT FRA 85.35

Overscored? I'm the only one who seems to think he wasn't! Joubert got a new, less revealing outfit and managed to nail his quad combination. However, his lutz had a turnout and his choreography is not as sophisticated as most of the men who skated before him. I thought, however, it was worthy of first place (though as a very vocal Joubert fan I would say that!) It was dynamic, exciting and a total crowd pleaser.

2. Jeremy ABBOTT USA 83.00

This had to be my favourite program of the event though. Great music, great choreo, great jumps, great new haircut! I reckon Jeremy could win if his LP is as solid as his SP was, especially as Joubert isn't known for having consistant long programs. I'm sure Jeremy has won over A LOT of new fans with that performance; he completely owned the ice.

3. Johnny WEIR USA 78.35

I've heard mixed opinions of Weir's new programs but I really liked it; the music started classic and morphed in guitars. Jumps looked pretty solid, though I felt his spins were a little slow. It was a really excellent performance though, especially after the disappointment of CoR.

4. Daisuke TAKAHASHI JPN 78.18

Oh, Daisuke. Just when I thought your comeback was going alright, that step sequence just came and tripped you up. Hope the long goes a bit better. Good scores, considering.

5. Takahiko KOZUKA JPN 74.05

Another guitar solo piece of music, courtesy of Jimi Hendrix. The music might have been rocking, but I'm afraid the program wasn't. A fall on the triple axel pulled him down, though he did have the highest PCS scores of the event.

6. Michal BREZINA CZE 70.80

I've been a fan of Brezina for a while; whilst technically his program was pretty good, it lacked the spark found necessary for the swing music he was skating to. I think this'll come, though - along with Rippon I think Brezina is a future champion.

7. Artem BORODULIN RUS 69.49

The feed I was watching went down during Borodulin!

8. Adam RIPPON USA 67.15

I thought it was a really nice performance, minus the fall on the triple axel. His face when he received the scores was absolutely heartbreaking; he turned to Orser and said "Why are they so low?" Orser speculated that the lutz was downgraded, but we'll have to see. Honestly? I think he was undermarked, but again, this is coming from a largely Rippon biased viewpoint. I mean, who couldn't be impressed by that "Rippon Lutz"?

9. Daisuke MURAKAMI JPN 66.78

The only Japanese man to skate clean! Nice, but not especially memorable. The "West Side Story" music was fun.

10. Vaughn CHIPEUR CAN 66.55

Love, love, love his "Cliffs of Dover" music"! So fast and enjoyable.

11. Kristoffer BERNTSSON SWE 64.64

Berntsson is fantastic because he always has so much fun with his programs! He might not have nailed the jumps but it was great for the audience.

12. Jeremy TEN CAN 61.69

I know I watched this, but I can't remember anything about it, so I'm afraid it's going to have to go down as a "not very memorable performance." Sorry Jeremy!

The ladies, pairs and compulsory dance have also taken place; see the results here. Pairs was exciting, with Kavaguti and Smirnov giving a great performance. Ladies was, according to those who saw it, underwhelming as a whole, unfortunately. And the compulsory dance was not broadcast, but Davis and White are in first, with John and Sinead Kerr in second.

Monday, 2 November 2009

NHK Trophy Preview

So Cup of China's over, and we're already looking to the next event, which is the NHK Trophy in the adorably named Big Hat arena in Nagano, Japan. Here's a preview of who you're going to see and how they're likely to do.


The mens event is definitely going to be where all the excitement is. All eyes will be on Daisuke Takahashi, who's returning to competition after a season off due to knee surgery. Another skater going for gold will be Brian Joubert, who'll be keen to recover from the disapointment that was Trophee Eric Bompard. Joubert has stated that he plans to keep competing after 2010 as he wants to win every Grand Prix event. He only has NHK and Cup of China to go so he'll be hoping to cross Japan off his list here. The American men coming to this event are also very strong; Johnny Weir will be trying to improve after his poor showing in Russia, whilst Adam Rippon will attempt to capitalise on his bronze medal from Trophee Eric Bompard this season. Jeremy Abbott will also have a shot at the podium, as will Japan' Takahiko Kozuka. The European contigency includes the always entertaining Kristoffer Berntsson and Michal Brezina from the Czech Republic.


The ladies event will be focused, naturally, around the Japanese girls; both Miki Ando and Yukari Nakano are scheduled to compete. Other competitors who might do well here are Alena Leonova, Ashley Wagner and Sarah Meier, who missed the Grand Prixs last year due to injury. Also challenging will be Laura Lepisto, who looked strong at the Japanese Open earlier in the season.


The pairs event will really be a battle between Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov, and Pang/Tong. The bronze medal will most likely be taken by Rena Inoue/John Baldwin, if they can land that throw triple axel as well as they did in Paris. It'll also be interesting to see how the young American team of Caydee Denney / Jeremy Barrett do - they did really well last season.

Ice Dance

Ice dance is probably the most clear-cut in terms of results; most people would predict Davis and White to top the podium, with John and Sinead Kerr in second and Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier in third. The Ukrainian couple, Anna Zadorozhniuk / Sergei Verbilo, could also cause an upset; they came in fourth in China this weekend.

Post your own predictions in the comments below!

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Ladies Long Program from China

What strange results...Rochette managed to pull up greatly from the short, though it wasn't her best performance. It's such a dynamic and high-quality program she's got that I reckon she'll do very well in Vancouver, in the race for silver. Nagasu also had a good skate, minus one fall, but she had 4 under-rotations which pulled her down to 5th.

176.66 4 1
163.27 2 3
163.18 7 2
4 Rachael FLATT USA
157.71 5 5
155.38 1 6
6 Carolina KOSTNER ITA
154.18 3 7
145.99 6 8
144.28 11 4
132.80 8 9
10 Beatrisa LIANG USA
131.39 9 10
11 Bingwa GENG CHN
121.20 10 11
WD Binshu XU CHN

Friday, 30 October 2009

Cup of China - More Results

So here's the rest of the results from the first day of Cup of China.

Ice dance had some really high quality programs. Belbin and Agosto's definitely deserved their score - it was a wonderful performance, as was Khokhlova and Novitski's, despite the terrible music!
1 Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO USA
98.66 1 1
92.78 2 2
3 Federica FAIELLA / Massimo SCALI ITA
89.96 3 3
79.65 6 4
77.83 4 7
6 Xintong HUANG / Xun ZHENG CHN
76.20 8 5
76.03 7 6
8 Kaitlyn WEAVER / Andrew POJE CAN
71.51 5 9
9 Xiaoyang YU / Chen WANG CHN
67.09 9 8

Pairs was a great event...Shen and Zhao were absolutely flawless, and have a ten point lead so the gold is theirs. Another great skate was from the Russian pairs, who were almost unknown before this event.
1 Xue SHEN / Hongbo ZHAO CHN
72.28 1
2 Tatiana VOLOSOZHAR / Stanislav MOROZOV UKR
62.98 2
62.54 3
61.92 4
55.08 5
6 Huibo DONG / Yiming WU CHN
50.32 6
7 Amanda EVORA / Mark LADWIG USA
48.02 7
8 Vanessa JAMES / Yannick BONHEUR FRA
47.28 8

Cup of China Results So Far

Here are the results so far. It's shaping up to be a pretty exciting competition; the ladies and mens long programs tomorrow will be good as the skaters are so close together that who knows who'll win?

1 Nobunari ODA JPN
83.35 1
81.40 2
80.80 3
72.08 4
5 Jinlin GUAN CHN
66.70 5
66.65 6
65.24 7
65.10 8
9 Denis TEN KAZ
64.05 9
10 Ming XU CHN
61.02 10
60.12 11
59.54 12

62.20 1
61.20 2
3 Carolina KOSTNER ITA
61.12 3
59.52 4
5 Rachael FLATT USA
58.80 5
55.46 6
52.12 7
51.28 8
9 Beatrisa LIANG USA
50.76 9
10 Bingwa GENG CHN
47.64 10
44.24 11
12 Binshu XU CHN
37.08 12

1 Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO USA
38.33 1
36.30 2
3 Federica FAIELLA / Massimo SCALI ITA
35.37 3
30.88 4
5 Kaitlyn WEAVER / Andrew POJE CAN
30.40 5
29.43 6
28.76 7
8 Xintong HUANG / Xun ZHENG CHN
27.87 8
9 Xiaoyang YU / Chen WANG CHN
24.73 9

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Russia - A Round-up

I wasn't able to watch the long programs or free dances from this evet, but from looking at the scores...wow. Dance and pairs were fairly predictable, ladies and mens less so (Weir in 6th!). This is shaping up to be an exciting season, and we've only had two Grand Prixs so far!

View all results here.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Rostelecom - Original Dance

So this one stayed basically the same in terms of positions. Have to say though, I absolutely loved Meryl and Charlie's original dance. It seemed really authentic, like they have studied Indian dance, and the final lift was really spectacular.
1 Meryl DAVIS / Charlie WHITE USA
3 Ekaterina RUBLEVA / Ivan SHEFER RUS
4 Vanessa CRONE / Paul POIRIER CAN
5 Anastasia PLATONOVA / Alexander GRACHEV RUS
6 Katherine COPELY / Deividas STAGNIUNAS LTU
9 Carolina HERMANN / Daniel HERMANN GER

Unfortunately I'm going away tomorrow, so there won't be any updates from the long programs and free dance. But expect a full round-up when I come back Tuesday/Wednesday. Good luck to all the skaters!

Rostelecom Short Programs - Ladies and Pairs

Pairs results were fairly predictable, ladies result...less so. Unfortunately I missed almost all of both of these events (doesn't college realise I have skating to watch?) but did catch the end of the ladies. Mao two-footed a double axel in the place of her triple, and didn't even get a combination on the end. Miki also messed up the second jump in her combination. There were also some awful falls, from Jenna McCorkell and Annette Dytrt. But the American ladies, not to mention Sebestyen and Leonova, did great!
57.94 1
57.64 2
57.18 3
56.78 4
55.16 5
51.94 6
51.82 7
51.08 8
42.64 9
42.30 10
40.94 11
12 Annette DYTRT GER
36.76 12

1 Qing PANG / Jian TONG CHN
65.40 1
61.62 2
61.34 3
54.42 4
53.56 5
51.94 6
46.66 7
44.88 8

Now its just the original dance left for today, which is exciting. Apparently Davis and White's is excellent, so that'll be worth watching.

Rostelecom Compulsory Dance Results

So...I'm no expert on dance, but this event was really great! Charlie and Meryl were just...wow. They looked like they were skating a different dance to everyone else. They have a comfortable lead, which I know they're going to maintain this evening and tomorrow. However, I could be completely wrong; I'm watching it on a Russian TV feed and so have no idea what the commentators are saying!
1 Meryl
USA 37.87
2 Anna
ITA 32.73
3 Ekaterina
RUS 30.33
4 Vanessa
CAN 29.94
5 Katherine
LTU 29.39
6 Lucie
CZE 28.08
7 Anastasia
RUS 27.93
8 Ekaterina
RUS 27.89
9 Carolina
GER 25.54

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Predicting Rostelecom Results

That's right, it's time for some predictions from Rostelecom Cup of Russia! Though considering how unexpected the TEB results were (Savchenko/Szolkowy in third!) my predictions will probably be spectacularly wrong.


Mens is probably the hardest to predict, since who knows how Evgeni Plushenko will do? It's his first competition since his success in Torino , and he's been looking very solid in practice. He's allegedly training for 6 to 7 hours a day, and so has a good shot of making the podium, but how will he fare against Johnny Weir and Takahiko Kozuka? They're the three skaters I predict for a podium position, now that Patrick Chan has withdrawn. Others to watch at the event will be Kevin Van Der Perren and Florent Amodio, who will be making his senior Grand Prix debut.


Mao Asada will be hoping to to win after her defeat in Paris. It'll also, reportedly, be the last performance of her current short program to "Masquerade", as she plans to change it after this event to her exhibition piece, "Caprice". The two skaters that will surely be rounding off the podium are her fellow team mate and supporter at Trophee Eric Bompard, Miki Ando, and the American Ashley Wagner, who recently started her own Youtube vlog series. I think another skater who might manage to sneak up to a podium place is Alena Leonova, who recently won the Findlandia Trophy. I also have to wish Jenna McCorkell luck; according to her Facebook, she had huge difficulties obtaining a visa to come to the event and so I hope all that effort doesn't go to waste for her.

Ice Dance

All eyes are going to be on Meryl Davis and Charlie White, especially now that Domnina and Shablin have withdrawn from the event. Their team mates Vanessa Crone and Paul Poitier will also be at the event, and will be likely to make the podium, unless the Italian couple, Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte get in the way. I think these three will be a cinch for medals, but Ekaterina Rubleva and Ivan Shefer might also have a shot. They also have an advantage as they're skating in front of their home crowd, but trying saying that to someone like Brian Joubert!


Again, it'll most likely be a home victory in this event; Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov will be looking to improve on last year's silver medal. However, they'll have stiff competition from Pang and Tong, who won the Grand Prix Final last season. The bronze medal has Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker's name on it; they'll be competing at the event for the first time. This'll be an exciting event, seeing how these pairs fare.

So that's the rundown of the competition; good luck to all the skaters!

Also, I've created a new poll; it's one which I have already run a few months ago but it'll be interesting to see whether the results change, considering it's a new season, with some of the events changed (Cup of Russia and Skate America both have new sponsors, for example).

Rostelecom; what'll happen?

That's right, it's time for some predictions from Rostelecom Cup of Russia! THough considering how unexpected the TEB results were (Savchenko/Szolkowy in third!) my predictions will probably spectacularly wrong.


Mens is probably the hardest to predict, since who knows how Evgeni Plushenko will do? It's his first competition since his success at the Torino Olympics, and he's been looking very solid in competition, but how will he fare against Johnny Weir and Takahiko Kozuka? They're the three skaters I predict for a podium position, now that Patrick Chan has withdrawn. Others to watch at the event will be Kevin van der Perren and Florent Amodio, who will be making his senior Grand Prix debut.


Mao Asada will be hoping to to win after Kim beat her hands down in Paris. It'll also, reportedly, be the last performance of her current short program to "Masquerade", as she plans to change it after this event to her exhibition piece, "Caprice". The two skaters that will surely be rounding off the podium are her fellow teammates and supporter at Trophee Eric Bompard Miki Ando, and the American Ashley Wagner, who recently started her own Youtube vlog series I think another skater who might manage to sneak up to a podium place is Alena Leonova, who recently won the Findlandia Trophy. I also have to wish Jenna McCorkell luck; according to her Facebook, she had huge difficulties obtaining a visa to come to the event and so I hope all that effort doesn't go to waste for her.

Ice Dance

All eyes are going to be on Meryl Davis and Charlie White, especially now that Domnina and Shablin have withdrawn from the event. Their team mates Vanessa Crone and Paul Poitier will also be at the evnt, and will be likely to make the podium, unless the Italian couple, Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte get in the way. I think these three will be a cinch for the podium, but Ekaterina Rubleva and Ivan Shefer might also have a shot. They also have an advantage as they're skating in front of their home crowd, but trying saying that to someone like Brian Joubert!


Again, it'll most likely be a home victory in this event; Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov will be looking to improve on last year's silver medal. However, they'll have stiff competition from Pang and Tong, who won the Grand Prix Final last season. The bronze medal has Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker's name on it; they'll be competing at the event for the first time. This'll be an exciting event, seeing how these pairs fare.

I'm going away this weekend (to Paris, again!) so won't find out whether these predictions were correct or not until Monday.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Trophee Eric Bompard, firsthand

So I'm back from Paris! And what a weekend. This is going to be a seriously long blog post so be prepared!

After arriving in Paris and checking into our hotel we went straight to the arena, POBP Bercy, for the compulsory dance. If you haven't seen it, it's an amazing arena; the sides are covered in grass, and I've always wondered how they cut it, since it's vertical!

1. Tessa Virue/Scott Moir CAN 38.41
2. Sinead Kerr/John Kerr GBR 36.13
3. Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat FRA 35.53
4. Emily Samuelson/Evan Bates USA 31.11
5. Kristina Gorshkova/Vitali Butikov RUS 29.56
6. Kimberly Navarro/Brent Bommentre USA 27.17
7. Madison Hubbell/Keiffer Hubbell USA 27.17
8. Ekaterina Rubleva/Ivan Shefer RUS 27.12
9. Pernelle Carron/Lloyd Jones FRA 26.28
10. Zoe Blanc/Pierre-Loup Bouquet FRA 24.08

I'd never seen a compulsory dance before, and I have to say I really enjoyed it. Virtue and Moir are really in a league of their own; their precision was totally amazing and they managed to keep it up throughout the whole competition. I managed to sit in the 6th row for the whole of Friday's event (it's first come first served for seats, though you can only sit on one side of the arena!). Plus Albena Denkova was sitting two rows in front of me, which was pretty exciting.

Next was the mens' short program:

1. Tomas VERNER CZE 81
2. Nobunari ODA JPN 79.2
3. Adam RIPPON USA 75.82
4. Sergei VORONOV RUS 72.8
5. Yannick PONSERO FRA 72.5
6. Brian JOUBERT FRA 72.15
7. Alban PREAUBERT FRA 66.49
8. Ryan BRADLEY USA 65.21
9. Chao YANG CHN 60.72
10. Javier FERNANDEZ ESP 60.56
11. Peter LIEBERS GER 60.31
12. Vaughn CHIPEUR CAN 51.45

The highlight for me had to be Adam Rippon. His short program, to "Jonathan Livingston Seagull", had the audience in complete silence (which is very rare in France!) as they paid attention. His happiness whilst he is skating is so evident and really makes his skating far more enjoyable to watch. The US men actually did a really great job on the short program; I adored Ryan Bradley's SP, though it didn't score so highly. He skated to the ever-popular "Dark Eyes" and showed real charisma. The audience absolutely loved him, especially on his step sequence, though it only obtained Level One. His triple axel in the program was massive, best 3A I saw all weekend. The other amazing SP was obviously Tomas Verner. When I had got over his costume, I really got into his program; "Zorba the Greek" worked so well for him. Brian might not have done so well, but I still adore that program. I also got a t-shirt with him (and the other French Olympic hopefuls on) for 19 euros.

Then we watched the Pairs SP:

1. Savchenko and Szolkowy, Germany: 72.98
2. Mukhortova and Trankov, Russia: 66.98
3. Dube and Davison, Canada: 64.54
4. Canac and Coia, France: 55.96
5. Inoue and Baldwin, USA: 55.06
6. Dong and Wu, China: 49.70
7. Castelli and Schnapir, USA: 49.50
8. James and Bonheur, France: 38.96

I'm a huge Savchenko and Szolkowy fan, but those painted clown faces? Honestly, they were so distracting, I could barely enjoy their program. I did, however, really enjoy Dube and Davidson; they seem to have recovered from the disappointments of last season. Their body language seems so much better as well, in the kiss and cry and whatnot. On the subject of body language, I had to mention Mukhortova and Trankov - they seemed to have turned a real corner after her cold behaviour last year. Canac and Coic did so well; I had a seriously noisy French family in the rown behind me who screamed and went absolutely nuts when they skated; turned out to be Florent Amodio! Candice Didier was also sitting and watching for most of the events; it's a real shame she didn't get to skate. Dong and Wu were excellent, I thought, though it seems to me she is far more talented than him. Her jumps were totally consistant throughout the warm-up, whereas he didn't look so solid.

Then it was the ladies' event:

1. Yu-na Kim, Korea: 76.08
2. Yukari Nakano, Japan: 59.64
3. Mao Asada, Japan: 58.96
4. Alexe Gilles, USA: 58.22
5. Caroline Zhang, USA: 57.26
6. Kiira Korpi, Finland: 54.20
7. Carolina Kostner, Italy: 51.26
8. Elene Gedevanishvilli, Georgia: 48.68
9. Anna Jurkiewicz, Poland: 43.86
10. Gwendoline Didier, France: 41.96

...or as I like to call it, the competition for second place. Yu-na Kim might have the hugest scores ever (my friend worked out that she could have missed out every single jump and still won) but my does she deserve it. Her James Bond SP was just perfect, and she had a huge amount of support in the crowd; there were hundreds of Koreans, all with elaborately made banners that put mine to shame. Tatiana Tarasova might have been a talented coach, but honestly I think Mao needs to move on. It really was just not working well for her this event. The suprise of the event, for me, was Alexe Gilles. Her SP was mature and elegantly skated, and was really a great Senior Grand Prix debut. Caroline Zhang's program was nice; she might have improve in a lot of areas, including her speed over the ice, but her technique (the infamous "mule kick") seems to be getting even worse.

The last event of the friday was the original dance:

1. Virtue and Moir, Canada: 100.32
2. Pechalat and Bourzat, France: 91.87
3. Kerr and Kerr, Great Britain: 90.86
4. Samuelson and Bates, USA: 77.66
5. Navarro and Bommentre, USA: 77.36
6. Gorshkova and Butikov, Russia: 75.14
7. Rubleva and Shefer, Russia: 74.24
8. Carron and Jones, France: 71.46
9. Hubbell and Hubbell, USA: 70.24
10. Blanc and Bouquet, France: 68.32

The OD of the evening had to be Sinead and John. There were three American country/folk ODs in a row and the best was definitely saved until last. Yes, I have have a British bias, but I think the whole audience agreed with me! The theme (a trucker, Sinead, picks up a hitchiker, John) was clearly obviously, and the music (Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere") worked really well. Virtue/Moir and Pechalat/Bourzat were obviously better in terms on technicality, but for audience fun Sinead and John won hands down. I got talking to a woman sitting near us who turned out to be a family friend who used to coach them when they were young. She told us loads of interesting stuff, including the real reason why Sinead broke up with her partner before John (Jamie Ferguson) and why John was put on the ice in the first place (he was annoying and "full of it" and needed to be kept out of trouble!) I think Samuelson/Bates and Navarro/Bommentre are going to be ones to watch for the future.

The saturday opened with the mens' long program. I managed to get a video of the warm-up:

1 Nobunari ODA JPN 242.53
2 Tomas VERNER CZE 229.96
3 Adam RIPPON USA 219.96
4 Brian JOUBERT FRA 207.39
5 Yannick PONSERO FRA 205.74
6 Sergei VORONOV RUS 204.45
7 Alban PREAUBERT FRA 189.63
8 Chao YANG CHN 178.63
9 Ryan BRADLEY USA 177.65
10 Peter LIEBERS GER 176.52
11 Javier FERNANDEZ ESP 170.16
12 Vaughn CHIPEUR CAN 155.43

Nobunari Oda really stole the show with his Charie Chaplin routine, it was totally adorable. He always looks so young! Speaking of young, again Adam Rippon did amazingly! I felt he looked nervous in the warm-up, but he came out and did a really excellent routine. His joy when he realised he was in position for a medal was seriously cute; I don't know if Ice Network caught it, but he did a jump off the side of the kiss and cry, and punched the air. Aww. He seems really sweet; I saw him talking to Joubert before the warm-up and Verner whilst on the podium. He's friendly! On the subject of Verner, he might not have been able to prevent himself running out of steam in his "The Godfather" LP, but I reckon if he can perform it to the best of his ability, he'll be a force to reckoned with. Speaking of which, I don't think Yannick Ponsero should be written off; his LP to a Gershwin medley was really excellent, despite a number of doubling outs jumps. However, in France he gets very little support, compared to Alban Preaubert; every time he skates, the French fans almost take the roof off the arena! Despite a crowd-pleasing routine to a medley of Rolling Stones songs, I can't say I'm a fan. Similarly, Joubert didn't fare well at all, finishing in the same place as last year. Despite all the faults in both his programs, I though he was great. If he manages to "get his head in the game" I think those programs will fare him well.

There was quite a bit of drama in the pairs' LP:

Maxim TRANKOV RUS 192.93
2 Jessica DUBE
Bryce DAVISON CAN 180.97
Robin SZOLKOWY GER 174.42
4 Rena INOUE
John BALDWIN USA 158.36
5 Adeline CANAC
Maximin COIA FRA 150.18
6 Huibo DONG
Yiming WU CHN 144.45
7 Marissa CASTELLI
Simon SHNAPIR USA 133.01
8 Vanessa JAMES
Yannick BONHEUR FRA 118.66

I can't believe anyone saw that coming; what a meltdown from Savchenko and Szolkowy! It was really unfortunate; they were lucky to end up in 3rd. Better now than in Vancouver, though. The two pairs who leapfrogged over them did derserve their positions. though. Dube and Davidson's program to "The Way We Were" was magical, I felt, and many are comparing the program to Sale and Pelletier. Speaking of S/P, I was one of the people who saw extreme irony in Mukhortova/Trankov using the iconic "Love Story". Whilst I found it hard to get S/P out of my head, I though they actually did a great job. Finally, have to mention Inoue/ Baldwin; man that triple axel was AMAZING. They might be a bit older than most of the skaters at the event but I think they've still "got it". Their program was definitely a crowd favourite.

In between the pairs and ladies event, everyone is forced to leave the stadium. A couple of my friends were staying at the Novotel, the official competitors' hotel across from the arena, so we went to do hang out in the lobby. In the space of about twenty minutes we saw Inoue and Baldwin, who signed autographs and posed for pictures for ages, and Nobunari Oda, who also did the same. We also saw Brian Orser and Yu-Na Kim's mother, holding her dress, waiting for Yu-Na to come down the lifts. There was positively a crowd waiting. Her, Mao and Yukari all came out but were bundled off to the arena really quickly. We also saw Miki Ando (who wasn't competing) with Morosov, just the two of them, a couple of times, which did nothing to extinguish those relationship rumours. Her and Valentina Marchei watched most of the competition together.

Anyway, we had kind of resigned ourselves to the fact that we weren't going to actually talk to any of the skaters/coaches (they were far too busy and we were far too nervous!) so we left the hotel. As we were leaving, I spied Adam Rippon coming in and just had to get a picture. I told him how much I loved his short program and he was seriously nice, considering I was going all crazy fangirl on him! I've obviously cropped my friends out of the picture.

So back to the arena, for the ladies:

1 Yu-Na KIM KOR 210.03
2 Mao ASADA JPN 173.99
3 Yukari NAKANO JPN 165.70
4 Caroline ZHANG USA 153.15
5 Alexe GILLES USA 151.92
6 Carolina KOSTNER ITA 147.63
8 Kiira KORPI FIN 138.83
9 Gwendoline DIDIER FRA 118.07
10 Anna JURKIEWICZ POL 115.06

Erm, so...wow. Yu-na's skate, and subsequent score just blew me away. Brian Orser is just the most amazing coach, period. I want to just give all the European ladies a big hug. I really hope Carolina and Kiira can pull it together. Elene Gedvanishvili might have had a program to Carmen, of all the pieces, but actually she did a really great job.

And finally....to the ice dance.

1 Tessa VIRTUE
Scott MOIR CAN 197.71
2 Nathalie PECHALAT
Fabian BOURZAT FRA 181.64
3 Sinead KERR
John KERR GBR 177.11
Evan BATES USA 158.07
5 Ekaterina RUBLEVA
Ivan SHEFER RUS 155.54
6 Kimberly NAVARRO
Brent BOMMENTRE USA 150.29
7 Kristina GORSHKOVA
Vitali BUTIKOV RUS 145.96
8 Madison HUBBELL
Keiffer HUBBELL USA 143.28 7
9 Pernelle CARRON
Lloyd JONES FRA 140.27 9
10 Zoe BLANC
Pierre-Loup BOUQUET FRA 138.12

All of the top free dances from this event absolutely blew me away. Navarro/Bommentre, Samuelson/Bates, Kerr/Kerr, Pechalat/Bourzat and Virtue/Moir were all magical. Virtue and Moir were especially spectular; I love how they encorporated the lift from last year's FD but added a innovative dismount. Some said that their Mahler music was boring, but I think the complete opposition. That FD has Olympic Gold Medal written all over it, if they clean it up a bit (there were 2 deductions). For this event we sat behind the Kerrs' aunt and cousins, who were cheering them on very enthusiastically.

Then we watched the medal ceremony: pictures below. When all the skaters finished posing for the photographers they all skated off, but we shouted for John and Sinead and they stopped right in front of us to take some pictures, which was nice. Their dad filmed the entire medal ceremony rink-side! And Tessa and Scott and their coach posed for loads of pictures on the kiss and cry and stuff, it was so sweet!

Overall, it was a great event; really got me excited for the rest of the season! Agree or disagree with what I said? Comment below!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Cohen's out of Trophee Eric Bompard

Anyone else see this one coming? Sarcasm aside, it's a real shame that Sasha won't be competing in Paris next weekend due to tendinitis in her right calf. What's even more of a shame is that the event is so close, there probably isn't enough time for them to find someone else to take her place. It was going to be such a great showdown with her and Yu-na and Mao, though it'll still be an exciting event. Jennifer Kirk has some really interesting comments on her blog, which I recommend you read. What do you think about her withdrawal?

Friday, 9 October 2009

Good news, bad news

Been a while since I blogged, and 3 weeks there has been a lot of skating news, both good and bad.

The Good

NBC is going to air some of the Grand Prix series;
The partnership includes 12 hours of live event coverage on NBC Sports during the 2009-10 season, including live primetime coverage of the ladies free skate at the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Jan. 14-24, 2010, in Spokane, Wash. The 2010 U.S. Winter Olympic Figure Skating Team will be determined at the conclusion of this event. Universal Sports, available in more than 56 million homes, will once again offer additional coverage and re-airs of Skate America and the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Excellent for those in the US, where the popularity of skating has seen somewhat of a decline in recent years.

Also, Isabelle Delobel gave birth to a baby boy called Lois on the 1st October. Congratulations Isabelle!

The Japan Open also just finished a few days ago, and seemed to be very successful, especially for Joannie Rochette, whose LP from the event is Program of the Day. I just thought it was wonderful, and will be interested to see how it progresses through the season. She looks in great shape already, and actually got a new personal best of 126.39 points for the program, which is to Camille Saint-Saens' "Samson and Delilah".

Also, the Finlandia Trophy is currently on at the moment in Vantaa, Finland, and finishes on the 11th. Today is the compulsory dance and the mens's short program. Big names in the competition include the Kerrs, Laura Lepisto, Fumie Suguri, Kiira Korpi, Susanna Poykio, Kevin van der Perren and Kristoffer Berntsson. It is also the return of Daisuke Takahashi, who had an injury that forced him to miss the whole of last season, which is exciting. As soon as results get in, they'll be posted here. The full line-up of skaters is available here.

The Bad

It appears Eurosport will not be showing the Grand Prix series this year, due to apparent legal issues. They broadcast every event last year and it seemed to be very successful, but despite impassioned pleas from the die hard fans (myself included, of course) the channel won't budge. Ice Network also announced their subscription schedule today but the Grand Prix series are only available to those in America, sadly.

Kimmie Meissner has also had to withdraw from her two Grand Prix events and thus the whole season due to a knee injury. Things have been tough on Kimmie these past few months and this setback is so awful. Furthermore, there are rumours flying around, which I cannot confirm either way, that US Figure Skating will announce the withdrawal of one of their skaters from Trophee Eric Bompard, which starts a week today. Let's hope this is a false rumour.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Happy Birthday to...

...Brian Joubert and Alban Preaubert! The french skaters share birthdays, though Joubert was born in '84, whilst Preaubert was born in '85. So happy birthday boys! I look forward to seeing you both at Trophee Eric Bompard, in less than a month!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Evan and Johnny talk sense

Evan Lysacek is a good competitor. The clip below from the recent 2009 United States Olympic Team Media Summit shows of Evan Lysacek shows him speakig about his preparation for the Olympics. He has a great attitude, and to me seems to speak like a champion! His drive and focus are really admirable. Watch it below. Oh, and thanks to Aaron from Axels, Loops and Spins for bringing this to my attention.

Speaking of good competitors, Johhny Weir also recently did a Q&A session for his website, and as ever it was fascinating. One answer left me asking questions though:
from Jennie

Q: My question is about Patrick Chan and Brian Joubert. Are you familiar with their war of words? I think Patrick pretty much said that Brian's programs are void of actual choreography so he has to have the quad. If so, who do you agree with?

A: I was at the World Championships and was made aware of their little battle in the press. Brian has always had a very direct way of voicing his opinion through the years and he has had his share of criticism for it. What struck me was that a young boy, only in his second championship wanted to throw down with one of the mainstays of the podium at the World Championships. That would have been like me attacking Yagudin in my first season on the Grand Prix. I found it a bit disrespectful. I believe everyone has a right to their opinion but show it in the correct way. I may not be one to talk about this since my mouth has run away with me from time to time, but I respect every skater who can get out there and show their heart and soul when they compete and in his way, Brian Joubert does that, as does Patrick Chan. I think mutual respect is necessary for all athletes.

What do think about what Johnny says? Personally, I think he was a very good point, as I also have to admit I found Chan's comments "disrespectful" and unnecessary. However, should it be like that? That Joubert has the edge of many more years of competition and so Chan is not allowed to voice his opinion, however harsh it may be, about him? After all, Chan beat Joubert at least twice last season (Trophee Eric Bompard and Worlds). Or is Johnny right that you should be respectful to your "elders"?

Monday, 14 September 2009

French Masters

I was unfortunate in that so far all of the French Masters I've been able to see is Brian Joubert's long program, and even that was without sound. Hopefully the videos will make Youtube soon. Anyway, I comment on this because I think Joubert is going to do well this season. He's definitely got the drive, as this will be his last Olympic shot. His performance from French Masters may show a lack of consistancy (he falls on the quad toe, for example) but in terms of a program it seems fantasic. It is choreographed by Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski, which might have been a controversial choice given Staviski's recent "troubles" but the choreography is great. Joubert seems to have got some really graceful, almost balletic choreography which, apart from his "Hallelujah" exhibition, is a bit of a departure from his usual macho style. Furthermore, his spins have really improved, which is undoubtedly a result of his recent coaching from Lucinda Ruh, the spinning expert. Joubert may not have the jumps completely solid, at least in that performance, but past seasons have shown that he starts off the season weakly and then peaks at Worlds (like many skaters do), so I believe he can do the same this year. I love this program, and I hope my opinion doesn't change once I actually hear it with the music,which is the piece "Overcome", a previous Yagudin exhibition program. It's known that Joubert is a Yagudin fan and one could deduce that he is trying to emulate Yagudin's Olympic success, perhaps? Either way, tell me your comments on the program.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Program of the Day

Program for today comes from the recent Golden West Championships, and is Mirai Nagasu's new short program. Personally, I love it! It's set to the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack but it's not a cliched cut of the music (unlike her Carmen LP, but that's another post...) Mirai's really got great speed now as she skates and the positions she hits on her spirals and spins are amazing, as ever. I'm excited to see her progression over the coming season, and I think she'll do really well.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Belbin and Agosto's Music

They published their music on their website:

2009-2010 Season
Compulsory Dance:Golden Waltz and Tango Romantica

Original Dance: Moldavian Folk Dance

Free Dance: Ave Maria (Caccini:Sumi Jo), Stabat Mater (Rossini)

Thoughts? I'm a fan of this version of Ave Maria (listen to it here) and I think Tanith and Ben can do a good job, judging by their Tosca piece last season. I listened to Stabat Mater on Youtube and thought it was really nice, though obviously it depends which section they use. This music seems to say "It's our time for the OGM" and personally I think they can do it!

For those of you who haven't been on Belbin and Agosto's website, I would say it's the best website of any senior figure skaters, so definitely have a look.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Music Clash Round 2

For this next round of Music Clash I've chosen what has to be one of my favourite pieces of over-used music; the soundtrack to The Mission. Many skaters have used this music, especially the Gabriel's Oboe section, but today I'm just focusing on the use of it for ladies' short programs - in this case, between Alissa Czisny and Carolina Kostner.

For me, this one was definitely a runaway for Alissa; her spiral sequence in the program was fantastic and her cut of the music managed to include a lot of different sections without feeling erratic. She also seemed to have a much better interpretation of each part of the music than Kostner and Czisny's program seemed less rushed. But I'm sure many will disagree with me - what do you think?

I've embedded both programs below. I tried to find the best performance of each but Youtube would not let me embed many of Kostner's programs, such as her gorgeous performance from 2006 Europeans, so I had to settle for the one below from 2006 Worlds, which was less successful for her.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


First piece of news; Lambiel is returning to competition!
"I feel really good, both physically and mentally, and I am determined to take on the Olympic challenge and score a top result in Vancouver," the 24-year-old said in his comeback announcement.

Lambiel held a short press conference on Sunday at the Zurich airport before boarding a flight to Toronto, where he will train for two weeks with Brian Orser, coach of world champion Yu-Na Kim and two-time world junior champion Adam Rippon.

After this trip, the skater said he plans to return to his regular training base in Geneva to work with longtime coach Peter Grütter.

However, it's not going to be easy for Lambiel:
In Lambiel's absence, the top Swiss man at the 2009 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, Jamal Othman, did not qualify for the free skate and failed to secure an Olympic spot for a Swiss male skater at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Therefore, Lambiel will compete at the Olympic-qualifying event, the Nebelhorn Trophy, in Germany from Sept. 23-26 in order to gain his country a spot.

In other news, "The Ice" show took place in Japan last week - check out John Kerr's Facebook or Tanith Belbin's Twitter for pictures.

Evan Lysacek also did what can only be described as a fantastic, if a little racy, set of modelling shots. He looks absolutely amazing, definitely a fallback career for him! The pictures can be viewed on his site, and there are some others at the DNA models website.

Jennifer Kirk also posted a new, informative blog about the quad, which was definitely interesting to read, even if you do not necessarily agree with her opinion.

Hope that's a good enough round-up; in a day or two I will be posting Youtube videos of all the new programs that have been performed so far, to give you a taste of next season!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Evan Lysacek's music choice

Lysacek's LP music will be....Scheherazade.

This music choice gets a bit of a thumbs down from me, I have to say. Evan isn't exactly know for picking unique music (he's used Carmen, Tosca, Bolero and Gershwin medleys in the last few years) so maybe we shouldn't expect too innovative. But this announcement from Lysacek just cements my view that this Olympic season is going to be a lot of the same old, same old when it comes to music choices. We've already got a Scheherazade this season (Zhang/Zhang), 3 Romeo and Juliets (James/Bonheur, Sarah Meier and Kimmmie Meissner),3 Carmens (Dube/Davidson, Mirai Nagasu and Ross Miner) and 3 Phantom of the Operas (Patrick Chan, Weaver/Poje and Yukari Nakano)

I can see why skaters pick such music which has been used repeatedly in the past. They know it is going to be successful, as it has been skated to many times before, and the Olympic year is not the one where skaters want to take risks. Furthermore, it is easier for the audience to get behind music if they recognise it, so from thatperspective tried and tested music is a winner.

However, it seems that the negative aspects of using overused music totally outweight the positives. Firstly, it is easy for skaters and judges alike to make comparisons between the skater and those who have skated to it before; for example, though I'm sure Meissner and Meier will both be successful in their interpretations of R&J, doing it at the next Olympics after Sasha Cohen's iconic OSM-winning LP to the same music will lead to comparisons. This could also even lead to criticism for Meissner and Meier, as IMHO neither can emote quite like Cohen did, and this will clearly be demonstrated when they use her music, albeit to a different cut. The other problem with using famous music is that it instantly conjures up thoughts of the skater who "made it their own". After all, who watched Lysacek's Bolero SP without thinking of Torvill and Dean? I bet you no-one. And that is why some music is better off left alone and should be retired.

What do you think? Are the music choices this season unoriginal, or should skaters be allowed to be given the opportunity to interpret iconic music?

Monday, 6 July 2009

New Skating Blog

A blog written by a former competitive figure skater is always going to an interesting read, and Jennifer Kirk's, the 2000 World Junior champion, is no exception. Her latest blog entry covers the issue of skating eating disorders, and it makes sobering reading. Kirk says:
I saw a skater eat the cheese off of a Cheeto and then throw the leftover chip on the floor of the tour bus in order not to ingest any carbohydrates. I found leftover vomit in the toilet. A skater once told me that they had almost missed the finale because they were busy throwing up their dessert in the bathroom, and another told me that their coach was more weight-obsessed than they were and told the waiters at restaurants that she was allergic to butter and oil in order to make sure no fat would touch her lips. The chatter of non-fat, low-carb, splenda vs. real sugar never ceased.

She also admits to an eating disorder which she attributes partly to her involvement, as well as her retirement from the sport. The post is almost brutally honest, and discusses how many skaters suffer from an eating disorder. I think it should be compulsory reading for all skaters, to show them that actually there is a negative side to skating that they should be aware of.

The full article is available here. Program of the Day is Kirk's 2001 Hershey's LP.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Michelle Kwan takes to the ice again

Michelle Kwan had been mentioning a comeback recently with little conviction, but this announcement will get people talking about it as a real possibility:
Five-time world champion Michelle Kwan will join Kim Yu-na at Ice All Stars 2009.

IB Sports, Kim's agency, announced Thursday that the American star figure skater has confirmed her participation in the ice show, scheduled to take place from Aug. 14 to 16 in Seoul.

It will be Kwan's first action since she quit the sport due to a hip injury in 2006.

All I have to say to this is...wow. This seems to be a literal message from Kwan that she is ready to get back on the ice and take on the best; I'll believe an actual competitive comeback when I see it but this seems like a logical starting point. Maybe she'll take that TBA spot at Skate America, maybe not. In my opinion, Kwan, as 9-time National champion, has "had her time"; her career was one of the most impressive of any skater in history, but I believe it will be difficult to her to keep up with the younger skaters, though inevitably Kwan has the dubious advantage of extensive experience on her side. However, I believe she should be pleased with her lot and give others, who have been solidly training and competing in the seasons up to these Olympics, their chance to shine.

I might not be pro a Kwan return but you can guarantee many other skating fans will. This is a show that fans will be stoked about, to say the least, - on internet forums many people seem to be prepared to fly from America just to see this, at obviously considerable expense!

Aside from Kwan's appearance, it's going to be a fanatastic show anyway:
American Evan Lysacek, Jeffrey Buttle of Canada and Switzerland's Stephane Lambiel, who have won each of the men's singles titles over the last four World Championships, will perform along with world silver medallist Joannie Rochette of Canada and Turin Olympic winner Shizuka Arakawa of Japan.

What are your thoughts? Comment below. Full article is available here.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Alternative Careers For Skaters

Occasionally I think - what would certain skaters have excelled at if they hadn't been skaters? Some instantly spring to mind - for example, I think Kimmie Meissner's sweet personality would make for her being a great junior school teacher, weirdly.

The one career that many skaters would be great at is modelling, and a prime example of that is Tanith Belbin. She recently did a photo shoot with the fashion photographer Seth Sabal (who has shot models such as Miranda Kerr, better known as Orlando Bloom's girlfriend), and the rest of the pictures are up on her website here. The photos are fantastic, and she looks really gorgeous - the photos are very striking. Tanith actually Tweeted about the shoot:
pics from spring shoot up on our site.Don't be alarmed!I think they photoshopped about 20lbs off me!

Anyhow, she looks great. Follow Tanith on Twitter here and me here.

Monday, 29 June 2009

What Makes Your Favourites Your Favourites?

Somebody asked me the other day why I loved Brian Joubert with almost religious devotion. They argued that "There are better jumpers than him, far better spinners than him, skaters with better music choices, better artistic skills, better step sequences.." And so the list went on. So this made me begin to think; why do we (the obsessive skating fans) love our favourite skaters so much? Of course we initially chose it on their skating style and ability, but is there more to it than that?

For example, Brian Joubert, IMHO, is pretty attractive; does this affect my love of him, or would I be just as big a fan if he wasn't attractive at all. Is there some sense of patriotism? I love France, and have always have done, but I'm British, and so don't support Candice Didier, for example, in the same way I do Joubert.

After thinking it over, I came to the conclusion that it's the whole package, for want of a better cliche. Individually his skating style, the strength of his elements, his looks etc might not be perfect, but put it all together and in my eyes, he is.

I'm going to end this self-indulgent post by asking you who your favourites are and why. We'll be back to proper news posts tomorrow, I promise!

Friday, 26 June 2009

With Respect

....Program of the Day is what, in my opinion, was the best skating program set to the music of Michael Jackson. A number of skaters, including Emily Hughes and Ben Agosto have commented on his death on Twitter.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Rochette addresses Peru poverty

I think this has been slightly overlooked in the skating world and I'd like to draw attention to it - Joannie Rochette recently went to Peru for a week. She brought back some heart-wrenching stories:

Rochette said the one time she was overcome with emotion was when she met a single mother of three children who was so embarrassed by the state of her home that she didn't feel worthy of Rochette's visit.

"She took me in her arms and started to cry. That really touched me because that lady really wanted to make a good impression on me. Even if they don't have much, they give everything... It was hard to see this woman fighting through her life [to survive each day]," Rochette recalled.

The trip, as well as helping to draw attention to the issues that people in Peru have, helped Rochette get some perspective on her skating:

"There, just having food for their next meal is great and I complain when I fall on my triple Lutz, so just seeing that was really different," said Rochette, 23, who used one week of her planned three-week vacation from skating for the journey to Peru.

I think this was a fantastic thing for Rochette to do; in the build up to the Olympic season, it's easy to get wrapped up in your goals and your training. This trip obviously had positive effects for both Rochette and the communities she gives. As celebrities, albeit minor ones, go, skaters seem to be hugely altruistic.

Full article is avaliable here It also discusses her preparation for next season and her sponsors; was anyone else aware she was sponsored by Molson beer?! Alcohol and figure skating - doesn't seem like the most logical combination!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

US Men - Update

Just a quick post to update you on Johnny Weir, Evan Lysacek and Jeremy Abbott.

EVan has a new journal up - it's pretty interesting, though littered with references to his many sponsors! You can read it here.

Johnny Weir has also posted a new jounral - his is longer and more personal, covering his emotions after his disaster at this year's Nationals all the way up until today. He also gives some hints about his music, which sounds...interesting to say the least! Read it here.

Jeremy Abbott has also released his music choices:

SP Music: A Day in the Life by The Beatles

LP Music: Jupiter from Gustav Holst's "The Planets Suite"

Also, on another note, Kristin Fraser and Igor Lukanin who represented Azerbaijan have retired, citing the impact on financial and physical pressure in skating.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Music Clash

...is a new regular post I'm going to be doing. The concept is simple; I'll post two (or more) very different programs but with the same music, and you leave a comment to which you prefer.

Today, I'm talking about the Amelie soundtrack; personally, I believe the music to be just gorgeous.Many skaters have performed to the music, but I've just chosen two. Who skated to it better; Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto or Sarah Meier?

My personal preference is for Meier; the delicate nature of the music perfectly suits her gentle and graceful style. I also felt the music reflected her personality somewhat better than it did for Belbin and Agosto; however, make up your own mind below.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Skating vs School

There have been a number of skaters recently who had decided to sit out the upcoming season to devote themselves to their studies (Brittney Rizo, Katrina Hacker) as well as some who have prioritized skating over school (Emily Hughes). Many have, and continue, to manage both (Alissa Czisny). This poses a very interesting question - what should get priority? It's difficult to have a proper college experience if you're constantly training, and in the same way it's hard to train properly, especially when you get to National level or higher, if you're constantly having to catch up on assignments. So it's seems like a natural decision to take time off from school or work part-time/from home to get in the necessary amount of training. This technique has worked for a number of skaters; both Michelle Kwan and Sarah Hughes have recently achieved university degrees at 28 and 24 years old respectively.

However, does this all-to-simple conclusion actually hold a large number of drawbacks? By being at the rink whilst all their peers are at school, elite skaters are missing out on some valuable experiences, and some might say a proper childhood. Going to school is could be deemed too be necessary for them to have some sort of escape from the sport and to associate with people who aren't skaters.

Obviously it depends on a skaters' circumstances, but if you were an elite skater (or the parent of one) would you take the route of Hacker or Hughes? Personally I would be more inclined to do as Emily Hughes does; her attempts to balance skating and a full college course last season had very little success, and school will always be there in the future, whilst the probability of being a successful skater declines with age.

Image from people.com.

Thursday, 11 June 2009


You'll notice that since I've put the blog back up I haven't posted anything - this is because there has literally been no skating news! As soon as there is, you can guarantee you'll hear it here first. In the meantime, check out my Twitter:


If you look down my friends' list, you'll find a huge number of elite skaters who twitter, including Tanith Belbin, Yu-Na Kim, Emily Hughes and Adam Rippon, so make sure you follow them, as some of their posts are fascinating.

Monday, 8 June 2009

I'm Back!

That's right, Ice Addiction's hiatus is over! And what skating news I've missed! I'm not going to cover it, as many of the other skating bloggers have covered all of the issues sufficiently, but I will be posting daily about all sorts of things, as skating doesn't stop in the off-season. First post coming up soon.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Good News and Bad News

The good news is that Sasha Cohen is returning to competitive figure skating! Check out Axels, Loops and Spins for the details.

The bad news is that this blog is going on a brief hiatus. With exams, I just can't post as often as I'd like to, but they'll be over in a month and we'll be back to daily updates. If you need to contact me in the meantime, email km-28@hotmail.com. Thanks!

Thursday, 30 April 2009


At the end of every season, there's always some partnership break-ups, and this season is no exception. Firstly, Tiffany Vise and Derek Trent have ended their partnership;
After six years together, Tiffany Vise and Derek Trent have decided to end their competitive partnership.

Trent has chosen to retire from competition, while Vise has formed a new partnership with Don Baldwin. She will continue to train in Peoria, Ariz., under the tutelage of Jill Watson.

"We are thankful for the time and success we had as a team and will continue to support each other in the future," commented Trent. "We want to thank U.S. Figure Skating, our fans, coaches, families and friends for their wonderful support over the past years."

Also, somewhat more shocking, the French ice dance team Pernelle Carron and Matthieu Jost have ended their partnership, citing "incompatibilité d'humeur" or irreconcilable differences for the split. Carron has already found a new partner, Lloyd Jones, a young British skater whose previous partner, Danielle Bennett, skates at my rink! It's a small world in skating. Anyway, reports say that they almost broke up before Worlds; Matthieu is a father now and reported wants to concentrate on his family. Hopefully this will be a successful partnership; Jones has very little experience on the senior stage and so it'll be interesting to see how they fare next season.