Saturday, April 28, 2012

Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow's 1998 Olympic "Tango" Freeskate

This is one of my very favorite ice dance programs. Totally wonderful. Also totally underscored by the judges, but that's a conversation for another day. For now, let's celebrate the excellence of Elizabeth and Jerod's program. Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Robert Wagenhoffer's "Crying" by Roy Orbison and K.D. Lang

I discovered this program on You Tube about a year ago. I delayed in posting it because I envisioned myself writing something profound that would match the genius of this skater and his performance, but the words never materialized. I realize now that I cannot wait for the right words to describe the value of this performer and his skating because no amount of time will ever help me to achieve that goal. The important thing is to post this video for everyone to appreciate and cherish. It is possible that this is one of the most beautiful fusions of art and sport that I have ever seen. I am struck by Robert's control of the blade, the fact that he makes every movement unique and fresh, every movement full of heart. Robert's lack of weakness and beauty of performance is astounding. I hope you enjoy this performance as much as I do.

Michelle Kwan's 2005 "Spartacus" Short Program

Always inspirational.

Brian Orser's 1984 Olympic Freeskate

Love this!!

Monday Motivation: Paul Wylie's "Carmina Burana"

This is one of my all-time favorite performances. Such passion, power, and spirit!

Robin Cousins' 1980 Olympic FreeskateE

Every time I watch this program I am in awe. The opening delayed axel and double axel are extraordinary! Is there anything not to love about Robin Cousins' skating?

Nancy Kerrigan's "Carol of the Bells" from Disney Christmas 1993

I realize it is far past the holiday season, but just found this video and wanted to share it. It may be April 23, but this Christmas piece by Nancy Kerrigan is simply pure, beautiful skating. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Alexei Urmonov's "Princess of Circus" Freeskate

Plagued by inconsistency and injuries over his career, Alexei Urmonov, the 1994 Olympic Champion, finally skated a solid freeskate at the 1996 Skate America competition in Springfield, MA. If you followed Alexei Urmonov's career over the years, you will understand how significant this clean skate was. In all the years I watched him compete, I can't remember too many clean performances. When Urmonov was on, you can really admire his jumping technique and athletic ability. Even though this "Princess of Circus" program isn't my favorite program, I appreciate Urmonov's technical elements in this piece. Despite being an Olympic Champion, Urmonov is one skater that the media never focused on. I can't remember seeing a single interview with him or reading any articles about him--and I watched every skating event on TV and read every article I could get my hands on, so that's saying something. Therefore, I know very little of this Russian champion. Lately, while watching skating videos from the mid-90s, I've become more curious about Urmonov and his place in history. One cannot deny his jumping abilities, but I often wonder what else he could have been capable of if perhaps guided differently from his coaches and choreographers? Of course, I don't know if Urmonov's flamboyant costumes and skating style was completely his choice, but something tells me that he was misguided, at least in part. There is much I could ponder about this oft-forgotten Olympic Champion, but for now, I'll just post this program as a tribute to what the 1994 Olympic Champion was capable of accomplishing when he was "on."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chen Lu's "The Last Emperor"

Chen Lu, 2-time Olympic bronze medalist ('94/'98) won her first and only World title with this beautiful freeskate to music from "The Last Emperor" soundtrack. I read that "Lu-Lu" worked with esteemed Canadian legend, 1976 Olympic bronze medalist, Toller Cranston, on the choreography of this program. Cranston did a marvelous job in packaging Lu-Lu into a sophisticated, poised, well-balanced skater. Lu-Lu was always a very strong skater before but this program definitely elevated her into the realm of artistic skater. I really enjoy the musical selections and the unique choreographic elements.

Mandy Wöetzel and Ingo Steuer's "In Memory" by Danny Wright

I always really liked this program from the German pair of Mandy Wöetzel and Ingo Steuer. The team used the same program in their 1997 World Championship win. At the Olympics in Nagano in 1998, the team was suffering from an injury as Ingo's shoulder was clipped by a car no long before leaving for the Games. The pair said they would be happy with a medal of any color and they skated away with the bronze. Ironically, 12 years later, Ingo coached another German pair to Olympic bronze when his team of Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy won bronze in Vancouver in 2010.

As commentator Tracey Wilson says in the broadcast this program creates a mood. I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, April 6, 2012

U.S. State Dept. Names Lysacek Sports Envoy

Click HERE to read an article about Evan Lysacek, 2010 Olympic Champion, being named a Sports Envoy by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Lysacek left Friday for Europe; he will visit Stockholm, Sweden, and Minsk, Belarus, in the upcoming week.

Evan Lysacek's 2009 World Championship Freeskate to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue."

This makes me want to stand up and cheer every time!! Evan Lysacek is an exemplary athlete and a gracious competitor and role model. His World Championship win in 2009 in his adopted hometown and training base of Los Angeles was outstanding. Enjoy!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Todd Eldredge's comeback: 1995 Worlds Freeskate to the "Gettysburg" soundtrack

Wow, I had forgotten how fantastic Todd Eldredge's 1995 World Championship Freeskate was!! This event was huge for Todd considering he had been out of World competition for three years and hadn't medaled at the Worlds since his appearance in 1991 where he took the bronze as a 19-year-old rookie. At the Worlds in 1995 in Birmingham, England, Todd was in first after the short program and one has to assume, only lost the gold to Canada's Elvis Stojko because of his one missed Triple Axel. How gutsy to throw in another Triple Axel at the very end of the program. This performance gets two thumbs up in my book. I don't care that Todd won the silver, his courageous performance was worth its weight in gold!


Michelle Kwan and Yu-na Kim's "Hero"

I absolutely adore this! Two glorious and gracious champions!