Tuesday, December 31, 2013
I saw Nancy Kerrigan perform this program live at the 2010 Caesar's Tribute in Atlantic City. Nancy displayed such raw joy in this performance. It was the best I've ever seen her perform and elicit emotion from the audience. My sister and I leapt out of our seats in applause at the end of the performance. Truly heartwarming to see such a happy performance from the always elegant 1994 Olympic silver medalist.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
This 2008 World Championships freeskate is what made my sister and I Mao Asada fans. To have a jarring opening wipe-out on a Triple Axel attempt, followed up by a triple-triple combination, and a subsequent program of substance and grace, truly showed what courage this Japanese superstar is made of. This performance not only endeared Mao to skating fans, but won her her first of two World Championship titles. Mao's longevity, tenacity, and good sportsmanship has made her a sentimental favorite in this Olympic year.
Click HERE to view Mao's winning freeskate.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Friday, December 27, 2013
12 Days of Christmas Skating Countdown: Day 7: Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko's 1992 Olympic Freeskate to Bach's "Air on the G String" and "Toccata en Fugue."
12 Days of Christmas Skating Countdown: Day 8: Elizabeth Punsalan and Jarod Swallow's "Elvis Medley"
A couple of years ago, I discovered Robert Wagenhoffer via You Tube. It was one of the best discoveries I've ever made. I'm positive that if I had been alive back in the years of Robert's competitive career--he would have been one of my favorite skaters. I've greatly enjoyed watching some of his competitive programs and his exhibitions, in particular. Robert was third at the 1981 U.S. Championships and second at the 1982 Championships. His qualities and artistic impact are, as Dick Button would say, "first rate."
Due to the hectic nature of the holidays, I was unable to keep up with my holiday skating countdown; however, I'm going to continue it now, even if it's a little after the fact.
One of my favorite program's of Yu-Na Kim's is her "Die Fledermaus" short program skated during the 2007-08 skating season. The elegant, sweeping music really suited her burgeoning grace and grandeur at this phase in her career.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Dear Skating Fans,
Last year, for Christmas, I received a very generous gift of tickets for the entire week of the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston, M.A. Unfortunately, due to my job, and a limited amount of personal days, I can't take off the entire week. I am selling my tickets from Sunday Jan 5-afternoon of Jan. 9. Those dates include the novice events (that includes day passes to practices), junior mens freeskate and junior dance.
If anyone is interested in purchasing these tickets at face value---the 5 novice tickets are all $19.50 a piece; whereas the junior men's/dance ticket is $38.50, please reply to this post. Let me know ASAP!!! Provide your contact information.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
The 12 Days of Christmas Skating Countdown: Day 11: Kitty and Peter Carruthers' 1984 Olympic Freeskate
Growing up, I remember watching the video Magic Memories on Ice countless times. One of the highlighted programs on that video is the 1984 Olympic freeskate of Kitty and Peter Carruthers, which won the silver medal. Last night, I dug that performance up on YouTube, and watched it in its entirety. I have to say that I was very impressed, especially when I watched the gold-medal winning performance, and was underwhelmed. The Carruthers, a brother-sister team, are one of the U.S.' most successful pairs team, and the last U.S. team to win an Olympic medal since Jill Watson and Peter Oppegard won bronze in 1988. In 1984 when the Carruthers won their medal, they were the first U.S. team to win an Olympic pairs medal since 1952, when another brother-sister team, Karol and Peter Kennedy, captured silver in Oslo, Norway.
The Carruthers' skate with speed, energy, excitement, and perform the kind of choreographic highlights (such as "pulls") that bring audiences to their feet. They have a genuine performance quality, and you can't help but root for them.
Here's honoring this terrific Olympic silver medal winning performance from 1984. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!
Saturday, December 14, 2013
For the third year in a row, I am posting a 12-days of Christmas Skating Countdown. What the countdown does is highlight some of my favorite skating performances that bring me, and hopefully you, a great amount of enjoyment. What better time to celebrate the beautiful sport of figure skating, and some of the greatest champions, athletes, and artists of our time, than during the season of perpetual hope, giving, and joy?
For day 12 of the countdown, the legendary Paul Wylie will be featured.
Few performers can captivate an audience like Paul Wylie. During his professional career in the year's following his triumphant silver medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville,France, Paul, and his choreographer Mary Scotvold, continually produced magnificent programs. One of those programs was the one that Paul skated during the 1995-1996 season to the soundtrack from the movie "Apollo 13," starring Tom Hanks. A friend of mine went to see Stars on Ice that year and said that Paul's program was her favorite-you could have heard a pin drop in the arena. It's easy to see why.
Sit back, relax, throw another log on the fire, pour a glass of eggnog, and enjoy Paul's "Apollo 13":
The weekend before Thankgiving, the Mussellman's Family Skating Tribute was featured on NBC. The show was filmed at Penn State's brand-new state-of-the-art facility, Pegula Ice Arena, on Nov. 3. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to write an article about the event for The Altoona Mirror newspaper (about 50-minutes from Penn State). Even more fortunate, was my opportunity to interview one of the featured performers, who just so happens to be one of my all-time favorite skaters: Paul Wylie, 1992 Olympic silver medalist. He couldn't have been any more pleasant and friendly. I'm thankful to have had the chance to speak with him and tell him how much I have admired his skating over the years!
If you're interested in viewing my article about the event, featuring the interview with Paul, click HERE.
To read the article I wrote about the new PSU ice arena, click HERE.
While watching the show, I was overcome with nostalgia for the figure skating in the 1990s, when all the greatest skaters from the last few decades, Paul Wylie, Kurt Browning, Ilia Kulik, and Ekaterina Gordeeva, were on TV almost every weekend. Nowadays, the skating shows and events that are televised are few and far between. Furthermore, the amateur stars of today don't have the same skating skills and scope that the greats, such as Wylie, are known for. Much of that is due to the death of the 6.0 system and the birth of the IJS system, but that's a story for another day.
Watching the aging skaters of yesteryear, some of whom are now into their late 30s, mid-late 40s, still deliver programs that show a glimmer of what made them great in their prime, warmed my spirit. I know that might sound cheesy, but having loved skating in the ardent way that some of us who grew up while watching the sport in the post-Lillehammer-era did (and do), it makes sense to feel that way about an event that momentarily-brings back the fond memories of the past and reconnects you with the people who brought so much joy.
To honor the terrific skaters who performed in Mussellman's Family Skating Tribute, I'd like to share performances from these athletes in their prime years; the ones that helped to make figure skating one of the most-watched sports on TV. Long gone are those days, but the memories of the beautiful skating will live on forever.
Paul Wylie's "Carmina Burana" by Carl Off
Just extraordinary. One of the iconic performances of Paul Wylie.
Kurt Browning's "Antares" by The Tragically Hip
One of my favorite programs of Kurt's.
Michael Weiss's 1999 World Championship bronze-medal winning program to the "Mulan" soundtrack:
Calla Urbanski and Rocky Marvel's "Roadhouse Blues":
I saw this performance live at the Caesar's Tribute to American Skating in 2010. It was very exciting and crowd-pleasing! One of the best numbers of the night!
Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler's "Welcome to My World":
Though known for their fast-paced and humorous routines, I always loved their slow numbers.
Naomi Lang and Peter Tchernyshev's 1998 Latin Freedance:
Though this pair never achieved much international-recognition, they were simply fabulous ice dancers in domestic circles. THe winners of five U.S. National titles, Lang and Tchernyshev were the team that preceded the U.S. "breakout" dance team, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto.
Ilia Kulik's "Liebestraum":
A master of his craft.
Ekaterina Gordeeva's "Fragile":
Irina Slutskaya's "Totentanz" short program from the 1996 Olympics:
Kyko Ina and JOhn Zimmerman's 1999 short program to the soundtrack from "The Truman Show":
Silvia Fontana's triumphant moment at the 2006 Olympics in her home country:
Sunday, December 1, 2013
On Friday I attended a Beatles cover band concert in Bethesda, MD. Upon hearing the song "Day in the Life," I was reminded of Michelle Kwan's 1999-2000 short program to an instrumental version of the same song, by artist Jeff Beck. This short program was a different look for Michelle, who in the past few seasons had been very classical and dramatic. "Day in the Life" had a more contemporary, relaxed, jazzy feel. Some Kwan traditionalists were not used to the new look, and while it's not my favorite program of hers, either, I appreciate that she tried something new, and it's refreshing.