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.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Another skating baby....or two!

Within days of Isabelle Delobel announcing her pregnancy, it has come out that Tatiana Totmianina is pregnant with twins...and the father is Alexei Yagudin! Apparently they are engaged, and the babies are due to be born in around October/November. Congratulations to both of them!

In other news, the US has announced their Team Envelopes:

Team A
Ladies: Alissa Czisny, Rachael Flatt
Men: Jeremy Abbott, Evan Lysacek, Brandon Mroz, Johnny Weir
Pairs: Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett, Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker
Dance: Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, Meryl Davis and Charlie White

Team B
Ladies: Becky Bereswill, Alexe Gilles, DeeDee Leng, Mirai Nagasu, Ashley Wagner, Caroline Zhang
Men: Ryan Bradley, Stephen Carriere, Richard Dornbush, Armin Mahbanoozadeh, Ross Miner, Adam Rippon
Pairs: Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, Brooke Castile and Ben Okolski, Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig, Rena Inoue and John Baldwin, Tracy Tanovich and Michael Chau
Dance: Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein, Madison Hubbell and Keiffer Hubbell, Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre, Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates, Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani

Team C and the rest of the press release can be read here.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Skating; going mainstream, one gossip blog at a time

Perez Hilton, the "Queen of All Media" whose infamous gossip site gets astronomical hits, just posted a version of Johnny Weir skating to Lady Gaga's "Pokerface". The program had previously been posted on both his site and this one, but it was a very low quality performance. Now, it is a much better quality video and really shows how great this program is. It's dramatic, dynamic and most of all a really fun routine. It's also great to see Johnny enjoying himself after what can only be described as a shocking and disappointing end to last season. It's not specified, but it's believed to be a performance from the current Festa on Ice show; as you'll see, the audience absolutely lap up the performance.

Weir making his way on to Perez Hilton's site with such a glowing review means good things for the sport; the more skating is publicised, the better the TV coverage will be, for example. This is what Perez posted:

It has finally been professionally filmed!!!
U.S. figure skater Johnny Weir just performed the most faboosh version of Lady GaGa's Poker Face at an ice show this past weekend.

The makeup! The outfit! The moves!

And he sold it.

Love. Love. Love!!!!!!

We know the Lady would approve.

Lysacek and the Lakers: Just a bunch of champions

Evan Lysacek will bve presenting the first ball at the LA Lakers game on Monday. It's fantastic that becoming world champion opens these doors for him.

Evan Lysacek and the Lakers practice in the same facility, the Toyota Center in El Segundo. They've won major titles as the result of their performances at Staples Center, where the Lakers won three NBA championships and Lysacek last month claimed the world figure skating championship.

So it makes sense for Lysacek, an Illinois native who has enthusiastically adopted Los Angeles as his home, to share the floor with the Lakers -- if only briefly -- before they resume their first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz.

Lysacek will be introduced at the game Monday and will present the game ball for the opening tipoff, a well-deserved honor. It will also be a rare occasion when he's surrounded by athletes who are taller than he is: He's about 6 foot 1, extremely tall for a figure skater.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Recycling, skating style.

Program plans have already sprung up for next season, and so far the consensus seems to be that there is going to be a lot of program recycling. Brian Joubert is keeping his SP, Dube and Davison are going to use their Carmen LP again, Vanessa James and Yannick Bonheur are going to keep their Romeo and Juliet LP and Patrick Chan will be keeping one of his programs, though it's yet to be confirmed which is which. And that's just for starters, as there are so many more skaters who won't be confirming music choices for a while.

Personally, I think Olympic season means new programs. Maybe the economic recession is affecting skaters (I read in an article that Tugba Karademir could only afford to have one program choreographed per season, as it is so expensive.) However, it's highly unlikely that that's the reason. Is it unreasonable to pick music, get good choreography and learn two new programs for an Olympic season, and should I be appreciative that we'll get the opportunity to see those programs again? Discuss.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Delobel to become a mother

That's right, Isabelle Delobel is pregnant! She's due to give birth in September...and her and Olivier still plan to go to the Olympics in February.
"At first we were stunned," said Schoenfelder who is married and the father of an almost 3 year old son. "Of course I congratulated Isabelle and then we wondered how we could go on towards the Olympics."

"It is a matter of organization," Delobel added. "Obviously, as time goes by, it will be more and more difficult to train. But with the help of everyone, we will manage it."

They've already made preparations for next season:
They have already crafted next season’s original dance off the ice with choreographer Michel Durand and will adjust it on the ice in the coming weeks.

"In early June, we will work on the new free," Boucher-Zazoui (their coach) revealed. "Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon (2006 World silver medalists) will help us craft the program in Lyon. When Isabelle will be unable to perform the lifts for example, Marie-France will substitute."

Can Delobel be ready in time for the Olympic Games next February? She will miss the French Masters (scheduled for mid-September in Orléans) and the first ISU Grand Prix legs, including Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris (which will open the Grand Prix season in mid-October).

"During the ISU Grand Prix management group meeting in Vancouver at the end of May, we will ask for them (Delobel-Schoenfelder) to skate as late as possible for their assignments," Didier Gailhaguet, the president of the French federation, conceded. "If they are not fit enough, the following event on their agenda could be the French Nationals (mid-December in Marseille) and the Europeans in Tallin (Estonia) mid-January 2010."

Honestly? Medalling in Vancouver, or even getting to Vancouver, seems like a very long shot now. But congratulations to Isabelle! The entire article is also avaliable here.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Looking to next season already...

It might seem awfully soon, but the truth is that this season is over and every skater needs to start thinking about the next one. Through the fantastic medium that is the internet, I spoke to Natalie Pechalat whilst she was at the World Team Trophy. She and Bourzat have already decided what they are doing for their free dance next season; she says it's very different and she hopes that audiences will like it. I also mentioned the Grand Prix season next year, specifically Trophee Eric Bompard, and she said that she hopes to be going to Paris next year, as it's been a long time since they competed there. In light of this conversation, today's Program of the Day is Pechalat and Bourzat's FD from this season; an innovative, fun number which boasts elements reminiscent of Torvill and Dean's Barnum number.

In other news, the Cumberland News recently wrote an article on David King, who skates with Stacey Kemp in pairs for Great Britain. It highlighted a lot of facts which may have not previously been known by their fans;
David said: “I was never the best in my club, I just carried on putting quite a lot of hard work in and now I’m reaping the rewards.

“I think not being a stand-out star pushed me.”

But David needed more than perseverance to succeed, he needed sponsorship which proved impossible to find. Luckily, his own determination was matched by financial dedication from mum Angela and dad Michael.

“I couldn’t have done any of this without them. There’s no funding in the sport, I’m completely funded by my parents,” he said. “They’ve supported me every step.

“They’ve had to put their life on hold for years.”

The rest of the article can be found here.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Apologies and Updates

Apologies for the lack of recent updates; however much I try to ignore it, sometimes I am forced to give school priority over skating. In a few short weeks it'll all be over and I'll be back to giving you daily postings, even if there isn't any news because it's the off season. Speaking of which, the last competition of the season, the World Team Trophy, is about half way through, with both the mens and ice dance medals being decided.

In the mens division, the Worlds pretty much played out again as Brian Joubert took the lead over Evan Lysacek in the short, but Evan narrowly beat his in the long program. Patrick Chan didn't perform quite up to par, falling on the triple axel, yet still got very large scores. The final results looked as such:
1 Evan LYSACEK USA 238.56 2 1
2 Brian JOUBERT FRA 237.09 1 3
3 Nobunari ODA JPN 229.25 3 4
4 Patrick CHAN CAN 217.98 9 2
5 Jeremy ABBOTT USA 205.05 5 5
6 Vaughn CHIPEUR CAN 198.91 6 6
7 Sergei VORONOV RUS 196.70 4 8
8 Takahiko KOZUKA JPN 190.93 10 7
9 Jialiang WU CHN 183.86 8 10
10 Florent AMODIO FRA 182.32 7 11
11 Chao YANG CHN 177.94 11 9
12 Konstantin MENSHOV RUS 165.21 12 12

Here's hoping Kozuka and Abbott can pull it all together for next season; often it's all too easy to buckle under pressure, and if said pressure is taken off Jeremy next season then I'm sure he will perform a lot better than he has done in recent events.

In other the ice dance, Belbin and Agosto win, with Virtue and Moir in second and a suprised Pechalat/Bourzat leagfrogging over a lacklustre Khokhlova/Novitski. Ever since their fantastic win at Worlds, they haven't quite managed to top that performance, which is a real shame as they have such talent and originality.

After the ladies SP, Mao Asada is in first with 13 points over Joannie Rochette, who double-footed a lutz in her usually stellar short program. Miki Ando is in third with exactly the same score as Rochette (62.08) with the two US ladies, Caroline Zhang and Rachael Flatt, in fourth and fifth respectively.
In pairs, Zhang/Zhang take first, with Kavaguti/Smirnov in second and the US newcomers Denney and Barrett in third. Dube and Davidson, the Canadians, are in fourth.

As for team standings currently:

1. United States of America
2. Canada
3. Japan
4. France
5. Russia
6. China

The pairs and ladies long programs are happening tomorrow; be sure to check in for the results. Alternatively, my Twitter account is updated far more regularly than the site, for obvious reasons, and can be subscribed to here.

In more celebrity-ish news, Nancy Kerrigan is going to be on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!, whilst Johnny Weir's reality TV show, Be Good Johnny Weir, has been picked up by the Sundance Channel. If any skater would be entertaining enough to warrant a reality show, it's Johnny Weir, so I'm hopeful it'll make it's way to Youtube so the rest of the world can see Johnny in all his diva-ish glory. This'll obviously take a lot of the financial pressure that he must have on him, which cannot be a bad thing either.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Program of the Day

Today's program is the SP of a skater who isn't yet topping podiums, but definitely shows huge potential to be doing so in the future. Ana Cecilia Cantu is from Mexico, and has fantastic flexibility, great originality; check out her forward sit spin position! Her jumps aren't bad at all, and if she improves her speed across the ice she'll start moving up. The music is from the movie Beetlejuice, and her choreographer is David Wilson. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Maths to make your head hurt

Over at Ice Network, Sarah and Drew were looking at Yu-na Kim's fantasticly huge scores:
We were pondering Yu-Na Kim's exceptionally high, world record-breaking total score and wondering how she would have stacked up against the men. Since the men's components are multiplied by 2 in the free skate, and the ladies only by 1.6, and since men are allowed eight jumping passes instead of seven, we had to bust out the calculators!

If you multiply Yu-Na's components by 2 instead of 1.6, they would be 85.50, so her total score for the free skate, exactly as she performed it in L.A., would have been 148.69, and her overall score would have been 224.81. This would have earned her fifth place in the men's free skate, sixth overall. But since she would have been able to do an additional jumping pass, we'll give her a conservative 3.85 (the value for a double Axel in the second half). This is a guessing game, of course; who knows whether she could add another jump and land it. We think she could.

If she did, even with 0 GOE, she would have had 228.66 in total and finished fifth in the men's competition. Yet another very impressive statistic from Yu-Na.

That's how amazing Kim is. Watch her SP and LP below and judge for yourself.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Program of the Day

Program of the Day is my favorite performance from the whole of the World Championships. It moved me to tears, and that doesn't happen a huge amount with skating programs. It's Meryl Davis and Charlie White's free skate to "Sampson and Delilah"; absolutely, just perfect. It's an absolute travesty that they didn't make the podium!

Props to those performances that almost won; Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy - short and long programs, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir's FS, Evan Lysacek's LP, Brian Joubert's SP and both Joannie Rochette's performances. There are so many more...what are your favourites?

Friday, 3 April 2009

Another Day, Another Bit of Joubert News

That was quick; after being dropped by Jean-Christophe Simond, Brian Joubert has found a temporary solution to being coachless.
"For next season, before the Olympics in Vancouver, I'm staying in Poitiers. I want Laurent Depouilly to remain at my side and Tatiana Tarasova to be my choreographer."

And there you have it. Depouilly is going to be temporary coach for Brian for the next two weeks, through the ISU World Team Trophy, which is April 16-19.
Depouilly coached Joubert in 2004 and 2005, during which time the Frenchman won his first European gold medal. In 2005, however, the duo split. Joubert thought Depouilly was not professional enough, and Depouilly argued that Joubert was not practicing hard enough.

Is it a good idea to go back to an old coach after that trust has been lost? It's been a long time, so obviously it must just all be forgotten, but there has to be better options for BriJou.
After this first two-week period, the French Federation has plans to ask several skating experts to coach Joubert in all aspects of his skating -- spins, steps, choreography and artistic impression. Their names remain unknown, though.

I guess we'll have to see how Joubert fares at the Team Trophy and wait in anticipation of these elusive coaches' names. One thing's for sure; they're going to have to be spectacular if they're going to get him back on course for Vancouver.

Despite these decisions having been made, Joubert and Simond are still snarking at each other. In this article, Joubert says that Simond was only around at his rink for 125 years, and Simond obviously thinks Brian is lying, and speaks out pretty strongly about it:
"To say that it had become unbearable and that I was only around for four months of the year is a gross lie," he said.

"You must think before saying such things. I really feel betrayed. I don't understand why you'd look to destroy someone rather than just saying that you want to change coach.

"It's really a rotten thing but I don't want to argue. He's probably been badly advised."

Enough already!

The full IceNetwork article quoted earlier can be read here.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Worlds Post Part Two + Some Brian News

Before I get started with the Mens Awards from the Worlds, I just have to mention that Jean-Christophe Simond has dropped Brian Joubert, and so Brian is looking for a new coach. Unfortunately, the relationship did not end on good terms; Brian said that Simond did not believe him when Brian had boot and blade problems earlier this season, and in response Simond said all sorts of horrible's really quite messy. IceNetwork have posted a very long article about it and the possible options Brian will have for a future coach, which can be read here. It's really not a great time to change coach, especially with the Olympic season on the way, but there was definitely problems between Simond and Joubert so he had to leave. Brian has said that he does not want to leave Poitiers, calling it "treason", and this is obviously a big mistake. He needs a really great coach if he's going to get that elusive OGM, and no coach is going to move to Poitiers. Who do you think will be his new coach? Tarasova seems to be the most likely option and I think that'd be great; personally I think Orser would be fanatastic but unlikely, especially after Brian's relationship with Kurt Browning.

Anyway, on with the Mens Awards!

Best LP: It's got to be Evan Lysacek, hands down. To win the mens' world championship in his hometime after a dodgy Nationals must have been fantastic for him, and was definitely amazing for all those watching. The emotion on his face in the last minute, and the crowd rising to their feet during his last spin...what a memorable moment. Curse or no curse, he's going to be quite a force to be reckoned with in Vancover. And with the might of Coca-Cola behind him as his new sponsers, he's going to be pretty much unstopable.

Most Heartbreaking Moment: Brian Joubert's LP. The disappointment on his face after his hideous fall on a double axel, of all things, was just supremely depressing.

"One to Watch" for the Future: Denis Ten. Wow, wow and more wow.

Best Comeback: Nobunari Oda - after missing the last season, he came back with a great SP, despite his dive into the boards, and the emotion he showed after the LP reflected the great performance he gave.

Biggest Diva: Until this season, Patrick Chan had been the perfect gentleman. However, his comments to Brian Joubert regarding the quad, which included him branding Joubert "a sore loser", were unnecessary, and just made him look slightly childish in the face of Joubert's mature responses.

Biggest Meltdown: Okay, so it wasn't a fully-fledged meltdown. But everyone expected huge things from Jeremy Abbott, so it's still sad that he didn't perform to the best of his ability. Abbott is so talented, with a bit more experience he'll definitely be on the podium in the future.

Skater who was overlooked: Takahiko Kozuka. He's absolutely adorable, and so fantastic, but really, IMO, deserves better marks. Hopefully the judges will wake up soon!