Sunday, September 30, 2012

In honor of Michelle Kwan's Engagement: "Salome"

Click HERE to read the news article about Michelle Kwan's engagement on People magazine's Web site.

Congratulations to Michelle!! In honor of the 9-time U.S. Champion's good news, here is one of her most famous and lauded programs: "Salome." With this sophisticated, exotic and intricate rendition, Michelle became a world champion at the age of 15 at the 1996 Worlds in Edmonton, Alberta. I remember it well!


Kristi Yamaguchi and Denis Petrov's "One Day I'll Fly Away" from Moulin Rouge

Denis Petrov with wife, Lu Chen.

Kristi Yamaguchi.

1992 Olympic champion, Kristi Yamaguchi, and 1992 Olympic silver medalist in pairs, Denis Petrov (with Elena Bechke), joined forces as a pairs team for the number "One Day I'll Fly Away" from Moulin Rouge on the Stars on Ice tour in the early 2000s. Yamaguchi, before becoming a national, world, and Olympic champion, was a 2-time U.S. National pairs champion with Rudy Galindo. Denis and his partner Elena, were a mainstay on the SOI tour for a decade, but when Elena retired, Denis opted to stay on tour to skate in ensemble numbers. The combination of Kristi and Denis is enchanting. I very much enjoy this program and hope you do, too!

Tara Lipinski's "Second Element" by Sarah Brightman

A lovely program by Ms. Lipinski: "Second Element" by Sarah Brightman.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Skating Tribute to the great Barbra Streisand

On Tuesday, the great entertainer Barbra Streisand gave a rare interview on Katie Couric's new talkshow "Katie." Streisand talked about her upcoming concert in her hometown of Brooklyn, and about how to prevent heart disease, a cause that she has given millions of dollars out of her own pocket.

The 70-year-old Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony-award winner was demure, sophisticated and sweet in her interview, diverting attention away from her own accomplishments and focused them back on the issues of women's health. Streisand said that heart disease is the leading cause of women in our country, contributing to 30 percent of deaths.

In 2008, Streisand gifted $5 million to endow the Barbra Streisand Women's Cardiovascular Research and Education Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Women's Heart Center. Since then, Streisand has raised millions more for the Center.

Click on this link to see clips from Barbra's interview on "Katie." In the second clip on the page, Barbra, Katie, and Dr. Noel Bairey Merz, Director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, share information about women's heart disease.

Click here to read tips for heart health from Dr. Bairey Merz.

Seeing Streisand on "Katie" reminded me of all the phenomenal musical hits that she has had over the years. Her voice is one-of-a-kind amazing! And her hits have left an indelible mark in the entertainment business, in music history, and in our society!
I am reminded of all the wonderful skating programs that have been done to Streisand's songs over the years. A few that came to mind are as follows:

1.) Sasha Cohen's "Don't Rain on my Parade" (from the musical "Funny Girl.")

(Exhibition from the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy. Cohen, the 2006 U.S. National Champion was the silver-medalist in Torino.)

2.) Elena Bechke and Denis Petrov's "You Don't Bring me Flowers" (duet with Neil Diamond that hit No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978.)

(Bechke and Petrov, 1992 Olympic silver medalists perform here at the 1994 World Professional Championships).

3.) Alissa Czisny's "You'll Never Walk Alone" (From the 1945 Rodger's and Hammerstein Musical "Carousel.)

(Czisny, the 2009 and 2011 U.S. National Champion skates following her gold-medal win at the 2010 Grand Prix Final).

4.) Nancy Kerrigan's "With One Look" (from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Sunset Boulevard.")

(Kerrigan, the 1993 U.S. National Champion, skates here at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. Kerrigan was the silver medalist at the Games).

5.) Nancy Kerrigan's "The Lord's Prayer" (from Streisand's Christmas album).

(Kerrigan skates this beautiful program at an exhibition in 1993).

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ekaterina Gordeeva and Ilia Kulik

Caption: Ilia Kulik and Ekaterina Gordeeva with their two daughters: Liza and Daria (daughter of the late Sergei Grinkov).

1998 Olympic gold medalist Ilia Kulik and 1988 and 1994 Olympic gold medalist Ekaterina Gordeeva (in pairs with Sergei Grinkov) have opened their own figure skating training center in Lake Forest, CA. The center is called Kulik's Skating. The Web site, , provides the following description:

"If you are a person who enjoys the sport of Figure Skating, enjoys physical activity and learning, then this is the place for You. Our facility is completely dedicated to sport of Figure Skating and will provide wide range of training activities for competitive and recreational skaters of all levels and ages."

Congratulations to Ilia and Katia on their new skating center. Considering the two are among the greatest figure skaters--Russian and otherwise--of all-time, one would imagine their skating school will attract skaters far and wide.

In honor of Ilia and Katia's new business and skating endeavor, I'm posting two videos of them skating together on the Stars on Ice tour. Their skating skills are a marvel.

The first program is called "Four Corners: Tell me Everything" by Adam Cohen, skated on the 1999 Stars on Ice tour. Ilia and Katia are joined by Elena Bechke and Denis Petrov in this number. I remember seeing this live in Madison Square Garden and loving it! This was the first time that skating fans saw Katia skate pairs since the death of her husband and pairs partner, Sergei, 4 years earlier. As this was also the first year that Ilia joined the Stars on Ice tour, fresh off his decisive Olympic victory, it was also the first time that Ilia and Katia skated together on tour.
Not to speculate, but perhaps sparks flew for them on tour that year, and in this pairs skating number, because rumors started circulating about their involvement soon after.

The second program is called "Si Tu No Estas/Casi Un Bolero." It is from the 1999/2000 Stars on Ice Tour. In this number, Ilia and Katia are joined by U.S. pairs and ice dancing teams, Jenni Meno and Todd Sand and Renee Roca and Gorsha Sur.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kwan-spiration: "The Red Violin"

This commanding performance from the 2000 World Championships was the first time we saw, what my sister calls, "The Michelle Kwan fighter face." Michelle was on fire in this freeskate, moving up from 3rd to 1st. As the British commentators said, "Seven triples added to her supreme presence around the ice.".... "She still has a spellbinding presence."


Back to School Inspiration: Kurt Browning's 1994 Short Program

One of my favorite Kurt Browning programs is his 1993/1994 technical program--the one he notoriously flubbed at the Lillehammer Olympics. I wasn't able to find a clean version of that competitive program anywhere on You Tube, but I did find this video of Kurt performing it at the 1994 World Team Figure Skating Championships. This isn't the best I've seen Kurt skate it, but it's still pretty darn good. There's no denying his technical genius (look at that footwork!) and his effervescent showmanship.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back to School Inspiration: Todd Eldredge's "Independence Day"

One of Todd's best competitive skates at the 1997 Champions Series Finals (now renamed the Grand Prix Final). Todd finished second here to Elvis Stojko. Stojko made history at the event with the sport's first-ever quad-triple combination.

Despite having no quad, Todd's skating had everything else: a high-flying triple axel, fast, centered spins, and dynamic choreography that built as the music crescendos at the end. Bravo to Todd, an American Champion!