Thursday, March 29, 2012

12 Year Anniversary: Michelle Kwan's Gold-Medal Winning Worlds Freeskate in Nice, France

Twelve years ago the World Figure Skating Championships were held in Nice, France, the site of the currently ongoing World Figure Skating Championships.To commemorate those Worlds, I'm posting Michelle Kwan's winning performance to music from the movie soundtrack to the film, "The Red Violin." With this haunting and riveting freeskate, Michelle won her third World title.

I remember that I actually missed this performance when it was broadcast on TV because I was attending a friend of mine's 16th birthday party. I had my mom and dad tape the event for me and I watched it when I got home that evening. I can vividly recall getting chills while watching Michelle's performance. This was the first time that I saw Michelle Kwan get into this aggressive fighter mode where she seemed unable to set a skate wrong. (My sister refers to this as "The Michelle Kwan Fighter Face"!) Michelle's program was technically precise, artistically complex, and skated with a great deal of speed and passion. Brava to the "Kween" for this exemplary World Championship skate!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ilia Kulik's "Seisouso" by Cirque du Soleil

Ilia Kulik, the 1998 Olympic Champion, skates to tango music from Cirque du Soleil in the 1998-1999 Stars on Ice Tour. I haven't seen this program in many years and was mesmerized when I watched it again. Just tremendous!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sinead and John Kerr's "Krwlng" (Crawling) by Linkin Park

How great/cool is this brother and sister team for skating to Linkin Park and for their inventive lifts (she lifts him!)? I really enjoy this program and hope you do, too!

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov's "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence

Check out this awesome short program from the reigning World silver medalists to "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence. It's going to be a close battle at the World Championships next week between this team and the Germans! Can't wait!

Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov's "Porgy and Bess"

Pure beauty, grace, magic, and love. Always loved this number. Hope you enjoy it, too!

Replay: Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre's "One" by Mary J. Blige featuring Bono

I recently posted this performance from Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre at the 2010 U.S. Nationals/Olympic Trials, but it's so fantastic I've decided to post it again. I can't get enough of it. This team, the 2-time U.S. bronze medalists ('08 and '09) exudes such genuine warmth, rapport with each other, love for the sport and love for performing for an audience. I love it. This is another sterling example of what ice dancing is all about: pure dance, performance, happiness, unity, and love.

This performance gives me chills, especially knowing in retrospect that they did not fulfill their dream of making the Olympic team, but on the other hand, they did fulfill the dream of skating their best when it counted and won the audience over with their sincerity and verve. It is also moving that Kimberly thanks Brent at the end of this performance, as she did after every practice and competition during the 2009-2010 season. Now that's true maturity, good sportsmanship, and appreciation for a partnership. Beautiful; Kimberly and Brent represent the spirit of this piece of music "One" in every way.


Robin Cousins and Yuka Sato: Cross-Cultural Connections

Has anyone ever noticed that Britain's Robin Cousins' 1980 Olympic short program was the same musical selection as Japan's Yuka Sato's 1994 Olympic short program? I am not sure what the name of the music is, but both skaters picked this upbeat, lively, jovial selection for their Olympic campaigns, 14 years apart. I remember hearing on the 1994 Olympic commentary that Yuka Sato chose this music because it made her happy. Both skaters do a fantastic job with their programs, bringing energy and personality, really accentuating their incredible footwork skills with quick steps, control, and unbridled joy! It's also interesting that both skaters end their routines the same way. In any case, I enjoy both performances immensely. I'm most wowed by Robin's first-rate body line, classical carriage, and high-flying double axel. Yuka's footwork is terrific and I wish more skaters today would perform it as she does. Both skaters skate with such speed and happiness: skaters of today, take note!

Robin Cousins' 1980 Olympic short program:

Yuka Sato's 1994 World Championships short program:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje's "Je Suis Malade"

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje have been HOT this season! What a season they've had with podium-finishes in every event except the Grand Prix Final in December where they finished fourth. This freeskate to "Je Suis Malade" has been garnering a lot of attention. Certainly this is a breakout season for the young Canadian team and I expect them to be in medal contention at Worlds. Enjoy their dynamic freeskate!

Mia and Alex Shibutani's Latin Short Dance


Wishing Mia and Alex the best heading into the World Figure Skating Championships next week. They are defending World bronze medalists and the competition will be fierce this year!

Meryl Davis and Charlie White's "Die Fledermaus" by Strauss

How much do I love this program? Enough to have posted it three times in the last few months. Effervescent and joyous!!

I feel this is the superior program in the Davis/White vs. Virtue/Moir rivalry this season. This program is special. I am rooting for Meryl and Charlie at the upcoming World Championships in Nice, France and will be hoping that they will sparkle with this outstanding program in their repertoire!

Lynn Kriengkrairut & Logan Giulietti-Schmitt's "Walking in the Sand"

I love this dance team! They had one of the BEST freedances at Nationals this year, in my humble opinion. They finished fourth this year, which was one step up from last year, however I was really rooting for them to win the bronze. Their freedance "Walking in the Sand" is soulful, warm, and delightful. Just plain enjoyable and GOOD ice dancing!!

The first video is from this fall's NHK Trophy.

The second video is from the U.S. Nationals in January.

Brian Joubert's 2007 World Championship Freeskate

Brian's gold-medal winning freeskate from the 2007 Worlds in Tokyo.


Monday, March 19, 2012

In Honor of Michelle Kwan's World F.S. Hall of Fame Election: "Taj Mahal" Freeskate

This is one of my favorite freeskates that Michelle Kwan ever did: the 1997 World Championships freeskate to "Taj Mahal." It is intricate, sensual, sophisticated, beautiful, and brilliant!! The music--and Michelle's skating--has tension, passion, and command beyond compare.

The interview package from ABC Sports that introduces this video also served as an inspiration for me in terms of tenacity, good attitude, and the heart of a champion while growing up and competing in sports myself.

This performance was remarkable considering the difficult season Michelle had had leading up to this point. This freeskate was a personal triumph!

Thank you Michelle for all the inspirational moments you've provided your fans through your magnificent skating and your sterling character!

Michelle Kwan Elected to World Figure Skating Hall of Fame

Michelle Kwan has been elected to the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Click here to read the article on Icenetwork.

Congratulations to Michelle Kwan! I cannot think of any skater who deserves this honor more!

Celebrating the Change of Seasons with Kristi Yamaguchi's "The Seasons"

Here Kristi skates a lovely program to music from the ballet "The Seasons." Kristi is always the epitome of elegance, class, and sophistication on the ice. I thought it would be fitting to post this program on the eve of the first day of Spring.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

One of my favorites: Todd Eldredge's 1996 World Championship Win

Just adore this program. One of my all-time favorite skaters and performances.

Kurt Browning's 1991 World Championship Win

Talk about bringing a crowd to its feet. The music is drowned out by applause before the program comes to an end. Kurt Browning knows how to rise to the occasion and work an arena! Here Kurt wins his second-consecutive World Championship title in Halifax Nova Scotia.

A Celebration of Yu-Na Kim: Olympic Long Program


A Celebration of Yu-Na Kim: Olympic Short Program


Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Brilliance of Brian Boitano, Part 2: "Music of the Night"

Spellbinding!!!! Brian is amazing. My favorite part is the spread eagle at the end of the program. Divine skating! Just as with his Olympic freeskate, this one always gives me chills!

The Brilliance of Brian Boitano: 1988 Olympic Freeskate

Brian Boitano's 1988 gold-medal-winning Olympic freeskate gives me chills. I was not yet five when he skated this in Calgary and was surely already in bed by the time this aired on TV. The first time I saw this program was on the Magic Memories on Ice VHS tape that my Aunt Kitty gave me. Sine then, this program has never ceased to amaze me. It's truly a magical Olympic skate!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Change of Pace: Michelle Kwan's "The World is Not Enough" by Garbage

Something different from Michelle Kwan. This is her exhibition routine from the 2000 season. The music, "The World is Not Enough" by Garbage was the theme song from the 1999 James Bond film of the same name.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Isabelle Brasseur & Lloyd Eisler's "Welcome to My World"

This performance by the 2-time Olympic bronze medalists ('92/'94) and 1993 World Champions is sensational! This program has always been one of my favorites in their repertoire. Though this pair skated to mostly fast-paced music in their professional careers and on the Champions on Ice tour, I always preferred them skating to slower music. I hope you'll enjoy this performance to "Welcome to My World" as much as I do!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Elena Bechke and Denis Petrov's 1999 Stars on Ice program

I re-watched a tape from the 1999 Stars on Ice tour this morning. I watched this spellbinding program from Elena and Denis ('92 Olympic silver medalists) and decided that I must post it on my blog ASAP. I unfortunately cannot find the name of this piece of music, but it really doesn't matter: the point here is that Elena and Denis are remarkable skaters in every respect. Now THIS is pairs skating. Absolutely gorgeous.

Robin Cousins' "The Impossible Dream" by Luther Vandross

Just came across this video on You Tube and absolutely love it. 1980 Olympic Gold Medalist, Robin Cousins of Great Britain skates to Luther Vandross' "The Impossible Dream" at a 1994 team competition. First of all, I adore Robin's skating. Deep edges, soft knees, long flowing movements and an exquisite body line...Oh, how I love thee, Robin!!! Robin is a true master of sport, art, and performance. Robin's genius combined with the brilliance of the late Vandross is a must-see combination. Look for the back spiral-backflip-back spiral combination. I applauded by the end of this performance. This is why I love figure skating!

Mark Mitchell's "Soon" by Michael Feinstein

(Mark Mitchell, center)

Mark Mitchell, 2-time U.S. National bronze medalist ('90/'93) and 1993 U.S. silver medalist and 4th place finisher at that year's World Championships is a truly elegant, polished, and pleasant skater. I remember watching this particular program to "Soon" by Michael Feinstein on television in 1994 and thinking about how wonderful a skater Mark Mitchell was. Eighteen years later, I still feel the same way.

A true testament to Mark's solid skating skills and artistic sensibilities is his success as a world-class coach these days. Mark currently coaches 2-time U.S. bronze medalist and reigning 4 Continents Championship bronze medalist, Ross Miner.

Enjoy Mark's performance to "Soon."


Natalia Annenko & Genrikh Stretenski's "Ave Maria"

Natalia Annenko & Genrikh Stretenski are two beautiful skaters from Russia who won the 1988 European silver medal and finished 4th at the 1988 Winter Olympics. They won the World Pro Championships in 1992 and 1993. I couldn't even find a picture of them online, but luckily I could find several You Tube videos of their divine skating. I remember watching this particular program to Ave Maria on TV back in 1994. What a piece of art!

Ekaterina Gordeeva's "Fragile"

Ekaterina Gordeeva skated this delightful number in the 1998/1999 Stars on Ice tour.
I had the opportunity to see Katia skate this live when I attended S.O.I. in Madison Square Garden, NYC in the spring of 1999.


Rosalyn Sumners' "After All These Years" by Anne Cochran

This is the program Rosalyn Sumners skated in her final year with the Stars on Ice tour during the 1998/1999 season. Rosalyn, the 1984 Olympic silver medalist is a sophisticated and classy skater that I always enjoyed watching. Such a lovely American champion.


Yuka Sato's "Hat Full of Stars"

Beautiful! One of my favorite programs. Yuka is a treasure.