Sunday, February 23, 2014
One of my favorite Olympic moments. Michelle showed that her heart of a champion was worth its weight in gold.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
It's been four years since Evan Lysacek became the first American man since Brian Boitano to win Olympic gold!!
Monday, February 17, 2014
Olympic Flashback #8: Tara Lipinski's "Anastasia" short program and "The Rainbow" Freeskate in Nagano in 1998
At the 1998 Games in Nagano, Tara Lipinski entered as the reigning World champion. Even so, it was American Michelle Kwan who was heavily favored to win. Lipinski took a different approach to the Olympics that paid major dividends. While Kwan approached the Games in a more business-like way, staying in a hotel with her family away from the media, instead of in the Olympic village, Lipinski was having the time of her life, soaking in the Olympic spirit. Lipinski's more joyful approach translated to two effervescent,dream performances.
This Olympics in Sochi, I've greatly enjoyed Tara as a commentator with Johnny Weir for NBC's daytime skating coverage. As a pair, the two not only have experience and knowledge, they also have a cutting-edge fashion sense that has kept viewers interested each day, excited to see what the "glimmer twins" will be wearing that day. THE best thing about skating coverage has been these two. So fresh,funny, and fabulous.
"Anastasia" short program:
"The Rainbow" Freeskate:
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Michelle Kwan's "The World is Not Enough" by Garbage exhibition:
Brian Joubert's 007 short program from the 2006 Worlds:
Yuna Kim's short program at the 2010 Winter Olympics:
Marisa Castelli and Simon Schnapir's 2014 freeskate:
The 22nd Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia have begun, and I couldn't be more excited. Friday evening was cozy and wonderful, as I spent the night with my family at my sister's new house, watching the Opening Ceremonies. We enjoyed the parade of champions, critiquing the and the uniforms of each country. P.S.) Did anyone notice those super-chic "femme-bot"-like ladies carrying the sign for each country?
During the ceremony, I also enjoyed the fabulous synopsis of Russian history told through lumineers, pyrotechnics, and sparkly ballerinas. I have to admit that I don't know much about Russian culture, but after the opening ceremonies show, I found myself feeling inspired to read War and Peace, watch the new Anna Karenina film with Keira Knightley,and re-watch the animated Anastasia movie. One news source called the ceremony a "Breathtaking winter fairy tale." Click HERE to see some stunning photos of the opening ceremony.
It was also nice to see the great Irina Rodnina, thee-time Olympic pairs champion, light the Olympic torch, along with Russian hockey legend,Vladislav Tretiak, widely considered one of the greatest goaltenders in the history of the sport.
Citius, Altius, Fortius! I can't wait to see what the Sochi Olympics hold!
Monday, February 10, 2014
Olympic Flashback #2: Evgeny Plushekno's Silver-Medal-Winning Freeskate to "Carmen" by Georges Bizet in Salt Lake City in 2002
Thirty-one-year-old Evgeny Plushenko just wowed audiences with his effort in Russia's gold medal in the figure skating team event over the weekend; however, his performance in Sochi is literally nothing compared to what he did at his first Olympics in 2002. As a 19-year-old in Salt Lake City, Plushenko's technical content was unreal. Entering the freeskate in fourth place after an uncharacteristic fall in the short program, Plusheko threw down the gauntlet in his flamboyant "Carmen" freeskate, nearly nailing a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop-triple loop combination. Plushenko's quad-triple was flawless, but he fell out of the triple loop, narrowly missing his attempt to become the first man in Olympic history to land that combination. In fact, I haven't seen anyone try it since. Plushenko also landed another rare and difficult combination of a triple axel-half loop-triple flip.
In addition to the insane jumping content, this program has all of his usual pomp, circumstance, and famous Plushekno flair. This is a must-see for Plushenko fans. And for any skating fan for that matter.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
The 22nd Winter Games have begun! To celebrate this momentous occasion, I'll be highlighting memorable Olympic moments from some of our favorite champions in Olympiads past. At the 1992 Games in Albertville, Kristi Yamaguchi became the first Asian-American figure skater to strike gold. Her short program to "Blue Danube," a waltz by Johan Strauss, set the tone for the competition and set the stage for Yamaguchi to earn gold in the freeskate.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Two of the greatest underrated U.S. figure skating competitors are Matt Savoie and Ryan Jahnke. Matt is a 3-time U.S. bronze medalist, and a 4-time U.S. pewter medalist. He is a 4-time Grand Prix medalist, including the bronze medalist at the 1999-2000 Grand Prix Final. Matt competed at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, where he finished an impressive 7th.
The Hallmark of Matt's skating was that he performed old moves in new ways. His choreography was fresh and nuanced. Matt didn't emote much in an extraverted way, but he was able to reach many fans over the years through the effect of his superior skating skills. Matt is what skaters call "a skaters skater," which means that he didn't have a weakness. Matt always made impeccable musical and artistic choices and became known for his understated beauty. In a time when big skating personalities and names, such as Todd Eldredge, Michael Weiss, Timothy Goebel, Johnny Weir, and Evan Lysacek, ruled U.S. skating, Matt kept to himself and quietly did his job with class and consistency. Matt's hard work and tenacity paid off in 2006 when he nabbed the third spot on the Olympic team with a masterful program to "The Mission."
Ryan Jahnke was not as successful in national and international events as Savoie; however, he still had a long career with ample international experiences and had a lasting effect on his fans, who will always remember the warmth of his performances and the strength of his overall presentation. In 2003 Ryan finished 2nd in the freeskate at the U.S. Championships, finishing third overall. He earned a spot on the World Championships in Washington D.C. The following year, he finished 4th at the U.S. Championships with, in my opinion, one of the best freeskates of the night that was more than worthy of a top-three finish. In the fall of 2004, Ryan and won a silver medal at Skate America and finished fourth at Skate Canada with an intricate and passionate freeskate to "Piano Concerto in A Minor," by Edvard Grieg. During one his fall events, Paul Wylie was commentating. He remarked that though Ryan didn't have some of the more difficult jumping passes, such as quadruples, like some of his other competitors, the passion, presentation, and flow that Ryan delivered in the choreographic elements of his freeskate was something that couldn't be taught. Ryan's skated is highlighted with classic extention and lines, 'Tano lutzes, and a heartfelt performance quality that his fans will not soon forget.
Thank you, Matt and Ryan, for giving you fans so many wonderful memories!!
The Best of Matt Savoie:
Skating to "Adagio for Strings," by Samuel Barber at the 2005 U.S. National Championships:
Two beautiful performances of "The Mission": At the 2006 Nationals and the 2006 Olympics:
An exhibition to "Solo Amore" by Duetto, skated at the 2005 Marshall's competition:
The Best of Ryan Jahnke:
"Cinderella" by Sergei Prokofiev at the 2003 World Championships qualifying round:
"Piano Concerto in A Minor" by Edvard Grieg from the 2004 Skate America:
Brazilian music medley from the 2004 U.S. National Championships:
"That's Life" by Frank Sinatra at the 2003 U.S. Championships Exhibitions: