Monday, December 26, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Skating Countdown: Day 2: Natalia Mishkutenok and Artur Dimitriev's "Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2"

Natalia Mishkutenok and Artur Dimitriev's 1994 Olympic Freeskate is one of my favorite skating programs of all time. The best way to describe it is dynamic, ingenious, and nothing short of brilliant! J'adore to the tenth degree!


12 Days of Christmas Skating Countdown: Day 3: Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov's "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven

As with Katarina Witt's "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" free program from the 1994 Olympic season, Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov's "Moonlight Sonata" is another indelible skating memory from the Lillehammer Olympics. G&G had already won an Olympic gold in 1998 in Calgary at the tender ages of 16 and 21 but decided to reinstate into the amateur world for a chance to compete at one more Olympics in 1994 as a chance to skate as a married couple and to share their story with the world. In 1988, G&G had not been romantically involved but by 1994, they had married and had a young daughter, Daria. They skated to Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" to tell the story of their lives; to share with the world their love for each other, for their daughter, and for their love of skating together. The result was one of the most beautiful pairs programs that is a celebration of love and life.

The first video posted is G&G skating a perfect rendition of "Moonlight Sonata" at the 1994 European Championships in Copenhagen where they finished atop the podium.

The second video is of G&G skating at the 1994 Olympics. Their Olympic skate had a number of minor flaws, but still earned the pair their second Olympic gold medal.

Enjoy G&G's "Moonlight Sonata"!

"Moonlight Sonata" from the 1994 European Championships:

G&G's "Moonlight Sonata" from the 1994 Olympics:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Skating Countdown: Day 4: Katarina Witt's "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"

Katarina Witt's 1994 Olympic freeskate to "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" is one of the indelible memories of the 1994 Games. Katarina, already a 2-time Olympic Champion reinstated in 1994 when the rules changed and professional skaters were allowed to return to amateur competition. Having nothing left to prove in her career, Katarina chose to compete in the Olympics for all the right reasons: 1.) So her parents could watch her compete in the Olympics for the first time. Having lived behind the Iron Curtain, they were never allowed to leave East Germany to watch their daughter compete and win Olympic gold in '84 and '88; 2.) For the love of the sport; and 3.) To make a statement for peace and a tribute to Sarajevo, the war-torn country that hosted the Olympics for Katarina's first Olympic victory. (The rink that housed the figure skating competition in Sarajevo has since been bombed and destroyed.)

And what a beautiful tribute it is! Perfect (technically), it is not, but profound and poignant it is.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Skating Countdown: Day 5: Scott Hamilton!!

I have to admit that I don't know the music Scott is skating to here. It is a familiar piece, but I don't know the name. But in any case, Scott is terrific and purely enjoyable and FUNNY here in this performance from 1995. Love him! There's no one like him!


A Holiday Bonus: Meryl Davis and Charlie White's "Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss

I already posted this video once this fall, but because I love it oh so much, here it is again to add verve and vigor into this crisp, December day! Also, congratulations to Meryl and Charlie for recently winning the Grand Prix Final championship for the third year in a row!


12 Days of Christmas Skating Countdown: Day 6: Kristi Yamaguchi's "Gold" by Linda Eder

One of my favorite Kristi Yamaguchi routines is set to Linda Eder's "Gold", performed during the 2001/2002 skating season. Kristi toured with this number on Stars on Ice wearing a glittering gold costume. Kristi's elegant, superb skating matches the beauty and power of Eder's song.

At the opening ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, Kristi also performed "Gold", but in regal red costume. The aduio has been disabled on the opening ceremonies performance, but I have included the video anyway, for Kristi's performance is divine, as always. I can't recall the exact storyline of this spot, but it looks like it depicts the progression of a skater from a little girl with a dream, to an Olympic athlete. I remember watching this live on TV my senior year of high school and getting chills watching Kristi skate.

I have an enormous amount of respect for Kristi.She's always classy, dignified and professional. She's everything a ladies figure skater should strive to be. Truly a class act!

I hope you enjoy Kristi's sparkling skate to "Gold" by Linda Eder.

"Gold" from Stars on Ice:

"Gold" from the 2002 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies. (Kristi appears after the beginning of the routine. Sound has been disabled):

Monday, December 19, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Skating Countdown: Day 7:Philippe Candeloro's "D'Artagnan"

The first time sword-fighting has been in a figure skating program and most likely the last time! Enjoy Philippe Candeloro's unforgettable "D'Artagnon" freeskate, in which he portrays the captain of the Three Musketeers, from the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. With this exciting freeskate, Philippe won he second consecutive Olympic bronze medal.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Holiday Bonus: Jeremy Abbott's "Symphony No.3 in C Minor" by Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns

I was going through old skating tapes today and came upon this magnificent freeskate from Jeremy Abbott at the 2010 U.S. Nationals. Prodigious!! What a masterpiece!

Friday, December 16, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Skating Countdown: Day 10:Michelle Kwan's "Dante's Prayer" by Loreena McKennitt

It was announced yesterday that Michelle Kwan will be inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame at the U.S. Nationals in January in San Jose, California. San Jose is also the site of Michelle's first National title in 1996. Here is the article from

Kwan elected into U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame
American legend will receive great honor at U.S. Championships

Michelle Kwan received the most 6.0 perfect marks of any figure skater in history.

By U.S. Figure Skating
(12/15/2011) - Michelle Kwan, the most decorated figure skater in American history, has been elected to the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame Class of 2012. The induction will take place at the 2012 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Jan. 22-29, at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
"Throughout my competitive career, it was always important to me to be a worthy representative of American figure skating and to bring honor to my sport and my country," Kwan said. "There can be no greater honor than to be elected to the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame. I am proud and humbled to become its newest member."

From 1995-2005, Kwan won an unprecedented 43 championships, which include five world titles and eight consecutive (and nine overall) U.S. titles. She is a two-time Olympic medalist, winning silver in 1998 and bronze in 2002. In the nearly 100-year history of U.S. Figure Skating, no American man or woman has won more world titles, U.S. titles or Olympic medals.

Kwan received 57 perfect 6.0 marks in major competitions, the most of any skater in history. She was awarded at least one 6.0 at her last five U.S. Championships, a record that will endure as the 6.0 system is no longer used. At the 1998 U.S. Championships, Kwan earned a record 15 perfect 6.0 marks out of a possible 18.

In 2006, the U.S. Secretary of State appointed Kwan as the first U.S. Public Diplomacy Envoy. In 2010, President Obama appointed her to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, and she was elected to the Board of Directors of Special Olympics International.

"Michelle Kwan is most deserving of this honor," Larry Mondschein, U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame Chair of Nominating Committee, said. "She was the greatest female figure skater of her generation and continues to be a role model today both on and off the ice. The induction ceremony in San Jose will be a fitting tribute to Michelle's many contributions to our sport as this was where she won her first of nine U.S. titles."

The U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame Induction will be held Friday, Jan. 27, in conjunction with the U.S. Championships. For information on the induction and reception or to purchase a ticket, visit

For Kwan's full biography and photos, please visit

In honor of Michelle's honor and impending induction, here is a beautiful video to her skating to "Dante's Prayer" by Loreena McKennitt in the exhibitions after winning her 2nd World Championship title in Minneapolis in 1998.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Skating Countdown: Day 12: Elena Bechke and Denis Petrov's "Spartacus"

The second annual 12 Days of Christmas, Skating Style!!

To celebrate the countdown to Christmas this holiday season, I will be highlighting magnificent skating videos of epic proportions for the next 12 days. It is my hope that you will enjoy these videos as much as I do. I hope the skating performances will make you smile, fill you with joy, inspiration, and hope.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and holiday season!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Celebration of Stephane Lambiel: an Amazing Athlete and Artist

Stephane Lambiel is brilliant. Enough said.

Enjoy his 2010 Olympic short program to the William Tell Overture (one of my favorite programs of his. His final footwork sequence and spin combination is out of this world!):

Enjoy Stephane's 2009 freeskate to Tango music. (This was originally going to be the freeskate he used for the 2010 Olympics, but he later changed it. This performance is not perfect, but I really enjoy Stephane's interpretation of the music and I think he's wonderful!)

Johnny Weir's "Ave Maria" by Josh Groban from Fashion on Ice

I didn't realize just how much I missed seeing Johnny Weir skate until I saw his "Ave Maria" performance on the recent TV special Fashion on Ice and I was blown away. Johnny is one of the most beautiful skaters that the United States has ever produced. That's a lofty statement, but I'll stand by it. He's simply ethereal.


Alissa Czisny's "Moon River" from Fashion on Ice

Two weeks ago I posted a performance of "Moon River" by Josée Chouinard (Click here for the post: I was inspired to post that performance after watching 2-time U.S. National Champion Alissa Czisny skate to "Moon River" in the recent TV special Fashion on Ice. Though Josée is a lovely skater and her rendition of "Moon River" is also lovely, I have to say that I prefer Alissa's performance to the same song and I would be remiss if I posted Josée's program and not Alissa's. Alissa is a delicate, wistful, magical skater and "Moon River" is the ideal vehicle to accentuate those qualities. I hope you enjoy!

Congratulations to Rudy Galindo on his U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame Nomination!

It was recently announced that Rudy Galindo, along with Michelle Kwan, among others, was recently nominated for the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Click HERE to read the news article from Ice

After a vote, the skaters chosen to enter the Hall of Fame will be announced at the 2012 U.S. Nationals in San Jose, California. It would be significant for Rudy to be inducted in San Jose. He is a native of San Jose and the biggest moment in his career--and one of the biggest moments in the United States skating history--came at the 1996 Nationals in San Jose when Rudy brought the house down to win his first U.S. title , becoming the oldest man in U.S. history to win the title at age 26.

In a later post, during my 12-days of Christmas series beginning on Dec. 14, I will highlight Rudy's scintillating U.S. National title freeskate to Swan Lake. Today, to honor Rudy's Hall of Fame nomination, I will highlight his short program from that championship to Pachelbel's "Canon in D". This performance was a preview of greatness that was to come in the freeskate two nights later.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Todd Eldredge's "Your Song" from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack

I just stumbled across this video of Todd Eldredge skating to "Your Song" from Moulin Rouge in the 2002 TV special "Kristi Yamaguchi's Salute to Gold." My family and I saw Todd Skate this program live on the 2002 Stars on Ice tour following the Salt Lake City Olympics and we--along with the entire audience--gave him the most enthusiastic standing ovation of the night. What a terrific performance!

I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Meryl Davis and Charlie White's "Someone Like You" by Adele from Fashion on Ice

As a follow-up to the Jeremy Abbott Adele program that I just posted, I'd like to share Meryl Davis and Charlie White's performance to Adele's "Someone Like You" from the recent TV special Fashion On Ice. This is a very raw song and a heartfelt skate from Meryl and Charlie.

With this program, and Abbott's, I'm a huge fan of Adele's music as skating music. (Does anyone else join me in petitioning for Adele on Ice as the next TV special??)

Meryl and Charlie are having another standout season as the reigning World Champions (though they haven't met their main rivals Virue and Moir in competition yet) and this exhibition is proof of how they are continually maturing and growing as skaters and artists. This performance shows a more vulnerable, personal side of Meryl and Charlie that stretches them as performers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Jeremy Abbott's "Hometown Glory" by Adele from 2011 Fashion on Ice

I feel so much love, admiration, and respect for Jeremy Abbott's skating watching this performance to "Hometown Glory" by Adele from the recent TV special Fashion on Ice.
I am a huge Jeremy fan as it is, but I feel some extra adoration while watching him skate this program.

Jeremy is a true artist on the ice and I know that because I actually feel emotion while watching him skate. Jeremy is among the select few in the world who puts as much emphasis--if not more--on the artistic side of the sport as on the technical side. And when he is able to combine both: wow. His skating seems even more profoundly beautiful this year than ever before. I love how Jeremy's skating is seamless woven together as in 1.59-2.06 when his Arabian flows into a spiral and a spread eagle. Another highlight for me comes at 2:55-56 when Jeremy performs what looks to be reverse "falling leaves"--a floating leap of sorts.

I hope you enjoy Jeremy's performance to Adele's "Hometown Glory" as much as I do!

Brandon Mroz's 2009 Bach Freeskate

At the 2009 U.S. National Championships in Cleveland, OH, Brandon Mroz threw down the gauntlet in his senior debut. My sister and I were in attendance for this competition and it was a thrilling display of controlled technical brilliance and fresh artistic sensibility. I re-watched this program last night on VHS and was again wowed by Brandon's calm and control. What a terrific moment for the then-18-year-old skater!

Since this stunning Nationals debut, Brandon has not been able to reach that level of excellence again. I hate to say it, but I don't even remember his programs from the 2010 Nationals because I don't think they were broadcast on TV. Last season, Brandon's Grand Prix competitions were impressive--he finished on the podium in both--skating to Leonard Bernstein's "On the Water Front," but by the time he reached Nationals, couldn't quite pull it together. He was close, but with the incredible depth of the field at Nationals, good enough only lands a skater outside the top 5.

This season, Brandon has been making waves by landing the first official Quadruple Lutz in
skating history.

My sister and I were communicating via text message last evening as I told her how much I enjoyed re-watching Brandon's 2009 Nationals Freeskate. She asked me what has happened to him in the subsequent years. I mentioned that he's recently made history with his Quad Lutz. She replied: "He can achieve more than that!" And she's absolutely right. Brandon should and could be about more than technical feats.

I felt sad watching Brandon's freeskate to Carmen this season at the recent NHK Trophy competition that was broadcast on TV. As terrific of the music of Carmen is, it is incredibly over-used and Brandon can do better than to resort to using Carmen. The music didn't seem to fit him or accentuate his skating in any way, shape, or form. The performance was flat. Brandon needs to stretch the boundaries and try something different, fresh, and inspiring. Watching Brandon, I did NOT feel that he was inspired. He needs better material. Something that challenges him, reflects him as a person, and brings out the best in him. Brandon is a very talented skater who is capable of great things. Here's hoping that Brandon finds a vehicle that suits him and showcases him as the strong skater that we all know he is.

But in any case, let's celebrate the fabulous effort of Brandon from the 2009 U.S. Nationals that earned him the silver medal.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Josée Chouinard's "Moon River" by Henry Mancini

Tonight I heard the song "Moon River" by Henry Mancini and was instantly reminded of a lovely program set to the music that Canada's Josée Chouinard skated back in 1994. I couldn't find the exact performance that I wanted to post, but I found one from the 1994 North American Open that will suffice. Josée isn't as clean in this one, but the program is still good.

Josée , a 3-time Canadian national champion is also remembered, unfortunately, as the skater who had to skate unexpectedly in the wake of Tonya Harding's broken skate blade debacle at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammar, Norway.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Michelle Kwan's "One More Time" by Laura Pausini from the Message In a Bottle soundtrack

Dear readers, Happy December first! Also, Happy U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame nomination for Michelle Kwan! In honor of these two firsts, today's post is a video of Michelle Kwan's beautiful performance from the 1999 Hershey Kisses Figure Skating Challenge to "One More Time" by Laura Pausini from the Message in a Bottle Soundtrack.

On the tail of Michelle's defeat at the World Championships to Russian Maria Butyrskaya at the 1999 Worlds in Helsinki, Finland, it was important for Michelle to skate cleanly at this "fluff" competition. Not that she ever had to prove anything, in my eyes, but critics were always quick to write Michelle off after one defeat. Michelle showed everyone here why she was a 2-time World Champion and the reigning Olympic silver medalist at this point in time. Pure elegance on ice.

I've always loved this exhibition to "One More Time." I think this performance broadcast on ABC was the only time I saw her skate this. I've been searching for this video on YouTube for quite some time and was thrilled to find it at random this morning while looking for a Michelle program to post. I am also pleased to hear the commentary of my favorite Dick Button.

This program reminds me all over again while Michelle Kwan is--and always will be--the best!

Enjoy this post of Michelle's "One More Time":

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Michelle Kwan Nominated for U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame

This just in! Michelle Kwan has been nominated for the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Skaters will be inducted at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose in January.

(Assuming Michelle gets inducted in January, the location would be appropriate. Michelle won her first of 9 U.S. Championships in San Jose in 1996).

Click HERE to read the article on

Ross Miner's "The Untouchables"

A few weeks ago, Ross Miner turned in an impressive performance to "The Untouchables" soundtrack to finish third at NHK Trophy in Japan. Ross' bronze medal was his first Grand Prix podium finish in his career.

Congratulations to Ross on this fine effort! I am excited to see how this program further develops by the National Championships in January.

Enjoy Ross' "The Untouchables":

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

We are.....Penn State!

In support of Penn State despite the terrible scandal and the announcement of both JoePa and Graham Spanier being fired. We are....better than this. We will get through this. Still Penn State proud.

Abbott Named USA Today's Olympic Athlete of the Week!

Congratulations to Jeremy Abbott for being named USA Today's Olympic Athlete of the Week for his gold-medal at Cup of China last week. Click HERE to see the news brief.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Highlights from Skate Canada: Patrick Chan's "Concierto de Aranjuez" by Joaquin Rodrigo

At last weekend's Skate Canada, Patrick Chan moved up from third after the short program to finish first by less than three points. The reigning World Champion had some struggles with his quadruple Toe Loop in both the short and the long, but rebounded after a fall on the quad in the freeskate with a beautiful quadruple Toe Loop-Triple Toe Loop combination. As commentator Michael Weiss pointed out, Patrick displayed a short-term memory, a critical skill that a top skater needs to have. Immediately after making a mistake, Patrick brushed it aside and didn't allow it to disrupt the rest of his program.

I'm a fan of his new freeskate to "Concierto de Aranjuez" by Joaquin Rodrigo, choreographed by Lori Nichol. Many other skaters have used this music in the past, including Michelle Kwan during the '02-03 season, and Evgeny Plushenko during his '09-10 comeback season, but Patrick brings something different to his rendition. Even though I've heard the music many times before, Patrick makes it feel fresh. I might be in the minority here, but I was never a huge fan of his Phantom of the Opera freeskate (I can't quite pinpoint why...maybe it was the music cuts. My favorite program of his was his "Four Seasons" by Vivaldi during the '07-08 season), but I immediately liked this new one. I see growth in Patrick as a skater and performer. He exudes confidence and his performance is well-rounded and complete. I can't wait to see how "Concierto de Aranjuez" looks when Patrick skates clean.

Highlights from Skate Canada: Daisuke Takahashi's Short Program and Freeskate

At last week's Skate Canada, 2010 World Champion Daisuke Takahashi finished third. The 2010 Olympic bronze medalist didn't have his best showing in the freeskate, but he was on top of his game in the short. His attempt of the quadruple Flip in the freeskate shows he's not slacking on technical content this season, as the whole world has been "upping the ante" since Patrick Chan's quad fest at last year's Worlds.

Daisuke has always been one of my favorite skaters. He's not only an athlete, but truly an artist. I'm looking forward to seeing him skate in his next Grand Prix event.

Enjoy Daisuke's programs from Skate Canada.

short program:

long program:

Highlights from Skate Canada: Adam Rippon's Freeskate

At last weekend's Skate Canada, Adam Rippon finished fourth with his freeskating effort to Bach's "Air & Toccata & Fugue". Adam attempted the most difficult quadruple jump: the quad Lutz. The jump was under-rotated and two-footed, but was still a valiant attempt that showed Adam is here to fight with the upper-echelon of men's skaters this season. He's now working with Yuka Sato and Jason Dungjeon, training alongside a pair of 2-time U.S. National Champs, Alissa Czisny and Jeremy Abbott, so I'd imagine his competitive juices are flowing and he's ready to make a statement this year.

At Skate Canada, Adam's triple Axel's continued to be his nemesis, but what really caught my attention were his other unique elements and combinations. Adam executed a beautiful "Rippon Lutz" (a Lutz with both arms over his head) and a triple Lutz-single loop-triple Salchow combination, the latter of which I've never seen anyone do before! Adam's "in between" movements--spins, footwork, and skating skills--are beautiful. If he can find a way to get his triple Axels consistent and land the Quad Lutz, Adam is going to be very competitive at his next competition, and more importantly for him, at U.S. Nationals in San Jose in January.

Despite the mistakes, I still really enjoyed Adam's performance at Skate Canada. It's evident that he's in terrific shape, and he never let the program or performance quality fall apart after mistakes. He's on the right track. I wish Adam the best for the season!

Highlights from Skate Canada: Akiko Suzuki and Ashley Wagner's Freeskates

Akiko Suzuki and Ashley Wagner finished second and third at last week's Skate Canada with two respectable performances. I enjoyed the choreography and overall impact of both programs. Well done!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Heart of an Artist: Jeremy Abbott's "Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3 (Redemption)" by Muse

Jeremy Abbott's skating is profoundly beautiful. I just watched his new freeskate from Cup of China to "Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3 (Redemption)" by Muse, and was transported to a different place. The mist rising off the ice further added to the program's intrigue. Jeremy's movements are seamlessly woven into this haunting piece of music laced with sadness and yearning. So subtle and enchanting was this program, I forgot the passage of time. When it ended, I was longing for more.

This may not have been Jeremy's best technical performance, but I find myself not caring. His edge-quality, spins, smooth, flowing transitions, and overall artistry is something to behold. I am in full support of a skater who can make me forget that I'm watching a competitive freeskate and instead make me feel like I am watching art in motion.

With this performance, Jeremy, a 2-time U.S. National Champion, moved up from third after the short program to win his first Grand Prix gold medal since his win at Skate Canada in the fall of 2009.

Congratulations to Jeremy on his gold medal! I'm looking forward to watching this program develop in the weeks to come. Good luck, Jeremy!

The Future of Ladies Figure Skating: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva

Meet 14-year-old Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: the new star of senior ladies figure skating.

The Russian phenom blew away the competition, and all of those spectators watching her skate for the first time--myself included-- during her senior Grand Prix debut at Skate Canada last week.

The scary part is that Elizaveta, fresh out of the junior ranks, isn't even the top-ranked Russian. That honor goes to her teammate, 14-year-old Adelina Sotnikova, the reigning junior World Champion.

Elizaveta's skating is fiery and technically-solid, but she also "sells" her programs with incredible maturity and composure. If this is how she skates at the beginning of the season, I'm greatly looking forward to seeing her skate as the season progresses.

Enjoy her stunning performances from Skate Canada! What a debut!

short program:

long program:

Ice Dance Highlights from Skate Canada:

Highlights from Skate Canada: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir's Latin Short Dance

More Highlights from Skate America!

Beauty on Ice: Ekaterina Gordeeva's "Bachianas Brasileira No. 5" by Heitor Villa-Lobos

Ekaterina Gordeeva's rendition of "Bachianas Brasileira No. 5" by Heitor Villa-Lobos is pure magic. The 2-time Olympic pairs champion (with late husband Sergei Grinkov) skated this program at the World Professional Championships in 1998, early in her career as a competitive professional singles skater.

Here, Ekaterina's program is based on the idea that in Russian literature and art, women have an affinity to birds and see themselves in flight. No one better to portray this concept than a skater who appears to effortlessly float across the ice. Ekaterina's beauty on the ice is ethereal . There's no one else like her. This program is an unequivocal gem. And as Dick Button would say, I don't give a "rusty hoot" that her jumps weren't "on" in this program. So what, who cares? Her skating ability and performance are unmatched.

Classic Skating: Jeffrey Buttle's "Samson and Delilah"

Jeffrey Buttle's skating is simply timeless. The 2008 World Champion skates here to "Samson and Delilah". I love everything about this program. Watch, appreciate, and enjoy.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why I love This Sport: Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy's "Pina" freeskate

At last weekend's Skate America in Ontario, California, 3-time World Champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy climbed from fifth place after the short program to first place overall with a magnificently-inventive freeskate. The German team's "Pina" freeskate, the brainchild of their always innovative coach, Ingo Stuer, interprets the work of late German modern dance choreographer Pina Bausch. In an interview, Robin said that fans will either "love or hate it". I am one fan who loves this piece. Sheer choreographic genius!!

Enjoy Aliona and Robin's "Pina":

Highlights from Skate America: Meryl Davis and Charlie White's Latin Short Dance

At last weekend's Skate America competition in Ontario, California, Meryl Davis and Charlie White delivered this high-energy Latin shortdance. With this performance, "Marlie" took a big lead, which they held throughout the event.


Highlights from Skate America: Kevin van der Perren's "Man in the Iron Mask."

At last weekend's Skate America in Ontario, California, the highlight of the men's freeskate was Kevin van der Perren. Kevin was one of the only man to deliver a technically-sound performance in what turned out to be a mediocre splat-fest of a competition. The 29-year-old jumping genius from Belgium executed a stunning quadruple toe loop at the start of the program and then a brilliant combination of triple salchow-triple toe loop-triple toe loop.

After having some difficult seasons in past years, due to injuries, Kevin is finally skating pain-free, and it shows. In winning the silver medal last weekend, the 2-time European bronze medalist is off to a good start in what he says will be his last season.

Congrats to Kevin on his silver medal at Skate America and best wishes to him on his final amateur season!

Enjoy Kevin's "Man in the Iron Mask" freeskate:

Elena Bechke and Denis Petrov's "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" by Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond

Elena Bechke and Denis Petrov, the 1992 Olympic silver medalists, perfectly embody the beautiful, classic style of Russian pairs skating of the days of old. I never saw Elena and Denis compete as amateurs but I grew to love and appreciate their skating on the professional scene. Their careers as pro. skaters coincided with the figure skating boom following the Nancy/Tonya hoopla of 1994.

Elena and Denis blossomed on the professional circuit and won the World Professional title in 1996. They skated with Stars on Ice for seven years. I was fortunate to see them skate during their last year with SOI at a show in the spring of 1999 in Madison Square Garden, NYC.

Here they are skating at the 1994 World Professional Championships to "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" by Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand. The song was an ironic choice, as Elena and Denis, who used to be married, were divorced at the time of this performance. The couple always insisted that their skating actually improved upon dissolving their romantic relationship. The evidence of this assertion is apparent in this terrific artistic program.

Enjoy Elena and Denis' classic pairs skating!

Oksana Grishuk and Evgeny Platov's "The Feeling Begins" from the 1997 European Championships

Two-time Olympic Champions ('94, '98), Oksana Grishuk and Evgeny Platov skated this intricate and exotic number at the 1997 European Championships, earning themselves six perfect scores of 6.0.

Always strong technicians, Oksana and Evgeny pushed the artistic envelope with this story-driven routine to "The Feeling Begins." As the commentator from Eurosport explains, "He fancies her, she says no, and at the end, he throws her in the dungeon."

Oksana and Evgeny's speed, power, and unique choreography makes this program shine.


Highlights from Skate America: Alissa Czisny's "La Vie En Rose" short program

At last weekend's Skate America in Ontario, California, 2-time National Champion Alissa Czisny delivered this lovely and delicate short program to "La Vie En Rose" (Life in Pink).
On You Tube, one viewer commented: " A delightful confection. The performance reminds me of an ice cream sundae with chocolate sauce, strawberries, and whipped cream."
Another viewer commented: "This program made me cry; a gift to the skating world."

Alissa won the short program, and though she finished second in the freeskate, still won the overall championship by a narrow margin over Italy's Carolina Kostner. This win at Skate America is Alissa's third Grand Prix gold medal of her career. Her gold medal is also the first medal won by an American woman at Skate America in four years. Alissa previously finished second at Skate America in 2005.

I hope you enjoy Alissa's "La Vie En Rose":

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Highlights from Skate America: Richard Dornbush's "The Fifth," a variation on Beethoven's Fifth Symphony

At last weekend's Skate America in Ontario, California, reigning U.S. silver-medalist, Richard Dornbush of Corona California skated this impressive short program to "The Fifth," a variation of Beeethoven's Fifth Symphony. Richard finished third in the short program, and fourth overall.

Richard is fast becoming one of my favorite skaters on the competitive scene. I was an instant fan after watching his awesome "Sherlock Holmes" freeskate at Nationals last year. After watching this program, I was again reminded of how much I enjoy Richard's athletic, aggressive style that is infused with good performance ability. His skating is exciting! I'm looking forward to watching him compete the rest of the season.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why I love This Sport: Meryl Davis and Charlie White's "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Struass II

Meryl Davis and Charlie White's sparkling new free dance to "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss II won them the gold medal in a landslide victory at this weekend's Skate America competition in Ontario, California.

I have been re-watching this program all day. What a joy!!! It is everything that ice dancing should be. A terrific way to commence the skating season. Thank you, Meryl and Charlie for giving us this delightful program

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Eric Millot's 1996 Western movie Medley

At the 1996 World Figure Skating Championships in Edmonton, Canada, 4-time French National Champion Eric Millot skated this Western movie medley and finished 7th.

The 1996 World Championship was only the 3rd Worlds that I ever watched, and at that time, I had never seen a program like Millot's Western movie medley. Since, I've seen several Western programs, but I still remember Eric's and how much I enjoyed it at the time. The most impressive moment in this program comes at 4:08-4:09 in this video when Eric performs a blurring triple-loop, triple-loop combination. That was the first time I saw that combination performed (the following year Tara Lipinski started performing it and made history to be the first female to do so).

Eric was never a consistent skater in the times that I saw him compete, but his performance ability always caught my attention. He's a very likable skater. Two seasons later, Eric turned professional and skated in a professional competition that included Rudy Galindo and Victor Petrenko. I cannot recall the name of that event, but I do remember Eric's outstanding program to music from "The Hunchback of Notredame." His skating was clean, free, and joyous. I've tried finding that program on You Tube and have been unsuccessful.

I'm not sure what Eric is up to these days, but I still remember his skating and enjoy it when I re-watch!

Happy Birthday, Brian Boitano!

In honor of 1988 Olympic Champion Brian Boitano's 48th birthday, here is a magical program to "Water Fountain" by David Foster, skated on a glacier in Alaska. Brian's masterful skating is even more majestic against the brilliant backdrop the Alaskan mountains. Happy Birthday, Brian!