Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Baby Ballerinas

The predecessor to Rachael Flatt

The baby ballerinas were the most exciting generation of skating to ever emerge on the scene. They were inspired to skate by Kristi, Nancy and Oksana and were driven by their crazy skating mothers to attain the status, fame and fortunes of Tara, Michelle and Nicole. These pre-pubescent ballerinas were utterly fabulous, each trying to stand out and emerging as being crazier than the next. Before Sasha and Naomi, none of us even knew what pilates was. After that fluff piece, every mother had their baby Asian on the reformer machines reaching John Nicks level of fabulousness.

Winning novice is always said to be a curse, as is winning junior. Winning novice is supposedly the kiss of death. Note how polished and accomplished Elizabeth Kwon is at age eleven. Not having the lanky body type, it is clear that maturity would not agree with her jumps. It is unreal how good she is as 11 years old. Christine Brennan (and surely Elizabeth's parents) ate up the Kwan-Kwon last name similarity. We can only imagine the amount of Asian pressure on this girl's shoulders that had her ready far the spotlight years before it was prudent.

Baby Sasha Cohen was exciting, unpolished and utterly amazing. Her ADD and lack of discipline (along with her amazing technique) was evident, as she overrotates triples and slips off the edge of well-executed combinations. Suzanne Bonaly once said, "It is fine to steal choreography from Sasha.  Sasha stole entire sections of Michelle Kwan's programs."  At this time, Sasha was a Michelle Kwan fanatic. Note that she steals a spin from Kwan's Taj Mahal program and puts it in her program the next season. Knowing Sasha, the program likely changed from week to week.

Baby Jenny Kirk was insanely driven. Note that she was in seventh after the short due to a fluke mistake and came back to nail the long as she always did. Jenny and Sasha both started skating later than their peers, which kept both from peaking too early. Allegedly, the mother of one of Jenny's competitors had once said that Jenny would never amount to anything when it took her forever to learn her double axel. Knowing how obsessive compulsive she is, we can see how those sort of comments drove her to run through her program an extra twelve times per practice session. Note that she isn't even excited by her clean performance, as she did it several times per day.

Frank Carroll's student, Jennifer Markham, had pristine skating skills that are characteristic of the wealthy starlets who can afford to skate with Frank from infancy, yet note the bizarre arm and head position on her jumps that ultimately stalled her progress. It will take years to ever fully comprehend what she was indeed doing. It is up there with Zhang's mule kick.

Other baby ballerinas not in attendance:

-Naomi Nari Nam was currently in the junior ranks and finished fourth behind Sarah Hughes and her underrotated triples. There were no standards for rotation in those days. After the elimination of figures, all of the skater mothers forced their daughters to rotate far before they were ready.

-AP McDonough did not make it to Nationals this year. She originally started out at the same level as Naomi Nari Nam, but struggled for a few years and met up with these girls at the 2001 Nationals.

1. Elizabeth Kwon (3, 1)
2. Jennifer Markham (2, 4)
3. Jenny Kirk (7, 2)
4. Sarah Wheat (5, 3)

6. Sasha Cohen (6, 5)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hello, Mrs. Michelle Pell

Yesterday we discovered who the luckiest man in the world is: Mr. Clay Pell. Since April 2011, he has been courting our Kween and yesterday it was announced in PEOPLE that they are in fact getting married. The article claims that they "think the same" but in terms of his skating knowledge we must know these things:  1) Is East of Eden on his iPod? 2) Did he propose on a cloud while Lyra Angelica was playing? 3) Does he despise triple loops too?

Pell is the White House's Strategic Planner on the National Security Council. He is the grandson of Senator Claiborne Pell who created Pell Grants over 40 years ago. He is a JAG and Lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard. He seems like a prime candidate to being a great First Man.

This Republican duo will certainly make some fantastic babies who will all adorn the White House with cuteness and joy. We can't wait -- KWAN for PREZ.

Photos of her Mr after the jump:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Video of the Day: Grant Hochstein at Mids

It was great watching Grant Hochstein at Mid Atlantics earlier today. Grant is a skater I've always wanted to do extremely well, yet his triple axel has continually held him back. This new program is really great for him. Grant tried to butch it up on the ice, even though he was clearly bopping to Beyonce or Rihanna when he was walking around getting ready to take the ice. After several dreadful and directionless junior men, Grant was the only senior man to compete. It is great to see someone who has floundered at times step up and be the star of the day when it is their moment. Grant's spiral is very Paul Wylie with more extension and toe point. I did it. Loving the transition into the salchow. His triple axel may have been a miracle, but I'll take it. Just please, don't make me watch anymore junior men.

Note: I am not the one groaning about flutzes.

In other news, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney apparently injured themselves on bars today. Maroney's is apparently a serious leg/knee injury. No word on Aly's. Why either is ever touching bars after London is a much bigger question. Get well soon.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Photo of the Day

An update on Ana Porgras. It looks like she will not be pulling a Catalina Ponor anytime soon.

Favorite Things


A great moment by Michelle Kwan and Dick Button. Notice how he even rolls his 'r' when announcing her music.

He just continues to improve and impress as a professional.

This and That

The Fierce Five at the VMAs. Gabby got to perform with Alicia Keys and Nicki Minaj. We're all a bit jealous and yet think Dominique Dawes' music video appearances were slightly cooler because she didn't just do handsprings.

I can't believe I am writing this, but I am extremely excited about Virtue and Moir's Carmen and have been since I first heard the rumors that they were skating to it. I actually was wishing the rumors were true. This is not some junior lady or Brandon Morose trying to interpret the music. Tessa is a fabulous performer and I have a feeling she will be bringing it and working it like no other. It is an opportunity to see what Marina Zueva can do with a tired piece of music. It has been years since we've seen a great Carmen. Luckily, there have been other abused pieces for several years that leave us not all that sick of this old war horse. Frankly, it is something very different from them. We haven't seen them give us drama and it is a far cry from last year's Zwonderful program that so many loved to hate on. People will hate on this for the tired music, but it may actually wind up being something great.

Article about Patrick Chan and Voir. Patrick is training Quad Salchow and Quad Flip. We can only hope this will lead to wild inconsistency that may even put a dent in his scores. Or perhaps we should just hope Skate Canada blows their load a year early by having this pre-Olympic Worlds and winds up with their token silver medals in Sochi. PChiddy appears to be pulling a Kwan 2001-2002 move by firing all of his team... If the Gods punished MK for it, we can only hope that Patrick truly has it coming.

The UCLA Bruins. A few look great and a few look like they have a LOT of running to do on the beach this pre-season. Without Peng Peng Lee at full strength, it could be Florida, Oklahoma or Alabama's year. Mattie Larson will need to step it up three notches and not be a Shayla. Mattie and Sam Shapiro both made it through an NCAA season relatively healthy. Is it just AOGC or are the due for a round of injuries?

Cassie Whitcomb is officially listed as the team manager at UCLA. This was expected after she stopped traveling with the team last year. Luckily, she will still be on scholarship. This is an oft-injured girl with tons of damage to her back. After listening to her talk about the nerve damage in her back in that gymnastike interview at the beginning of last season, knowing her history and struggling through those bar exhibitions, this is likely the best situation for her. It is another case of CGA not panning out at UCLA. CGA Back strikes again!

Lovely feature on Jeff Buttle. He is quite the busy choreographer and show skater.

Feature on Javier Fernandez.

Romney supporter Kristi Yamagichi  debuted her token line we know she didn't design at Fashion's Night Out. Along with the books she probably didn't write, she has had quite the year as a celebrity endorser and we all still love her and pretend otherwise.

Kellogg's Tour rehearsal time lapse. Is anyone going?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

This and That

Gabby Douglas rehearses the pledge at the Democratic National Convention.  I believe currently-competing gymnasts are political about as much as I believe that they are capable of reading above the fifth-grade level.

Genrikh Stretenski (of Annenko and Stretenski) was arrested for improper conduct while coaching in Lake Placid. He denies the claims, though the article lacks specifics. One can only imagine what he did.

Preview of Season 3 of Downton Abbey. Ah, how I long for its return way more than the next TV appearance by Gabby or Jordyn.

Adelina Sotnikova at the Open Moscow Championships. Adelina is sloppily letting her upper body fall as she does her footwork, which is one of my major pet peeves from the Russian ladies. It is a sure sign that they are doing singles because they aren't fabulous enough for pairs or dance. The former Junior World Champion still looks to be adjusting to a maturing body. The sparkle is largely gone.

Nastia Liukin's next move. With her bitch face and tenacity, I think she will make quite the agent or sports executive.

Which celebs Gabby, McKayla and Kyla hope to meet at the VMAs.

McKayla proved she had the best arm of the Fierce Five when she threw her pitch for the LA Dodgers.

A good interview with the lovely Kayla Nowak who has been a major contributor to OU and quite the supporter of her boyfriend Jake Dalton. Kayla hopes to lead her Boomer Sooners back to the Super Six this year and it looks like they have the talent to get it done.

Brittany Rogers is not joining the Gym Dogs until after Christmas. This will either be really good or really bad for the team. It is always an extreme.

Dare Maxwell trains a Shaposh Half

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Routine to Remember

Love for Vika.

Yoga Porn

Simply Beautiful.

This and That

The Shibs get their Geisha on.
 Yes, the Shibs are going to be skating to Memoirs of a Geisha. That team we are supposed to love is getting in touch with their Japanese heritage while hoping we forget what geishas are all about. I don't know that Maia and Alex are the ones to act it out, but I'm anticipating a more generic program in kimonos somewhat similar to Mirai's botched effort. It will just be trained about 10,000 times more than Mirai ever managed to.

Gabby, McKayla and Kyla at a VMAs presser (Jordyn and Aly were at LIVE with Kelly.) Will we ever see them compete again?

Jordyn and Aly on LIVE with Kelly.

Katia Gordeeva and Ilia Kulik opened their own ice skating training session. Imagine her skating skills with his jumps. To. Die. For. The drama of the 'are they or aren't they together' aspect of Russian marriage should entertain the skating moms year round.

Larisa Iordache has recovered from her broken sole. Catalina Ponor and Sandra Izbasa have both decided to continue their gymnastics careers despite Ponor's initial claims of retirement.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Quote of the Day

The quote at 7:45 has been SLAYING me all day.

This and That

Satoko Miyahara's winning free skate.

Courtney Hicks and her dangling free leg were second.

Apologies for the lack of updates, I was in Philly for the weekend not eating cheesesteaks. While I was away...

Courtney McCool and her fiance joined the coaching staff at CGA. It was obvious that MLT was obsessed with McCool when she posted one of her toe point drills on her youtube channel. MLT is OCD but her gymnasts look very generic and very Midwestern. They are in desperate need of style now that Sierra and Alyssa aren't bringing it on from previous gyms. McCool dabbled in coaching her junior year of college when she was injured. With McCool's years of Armine's undoubted attention and own OCD, this could be just what MLT needs to make it to the next level and have World Team Members again. Frankly, Lexie and Amelia could really use McCool's expertise. Brianna Brown made it out of Capital without extension, so there may be a lack of hope in that particular case.

The roster for Finlandia has been released. It looks to be amazing with Johnny Weir's comeback debut, Virtue and Moir, Hubbell and Donohue, Javier Fernandez, Adrian Schultheiss, Kiira Kopri, Julia Lipnitskaya, Ricky Dornbush and Misha Ge.

Chen Yibing announced he plans to continue competing at least one more year. This is not unusual, as most Chinese gymnasts stick around a year after the Olympics to compete at the National Games. Success at Worlds during a Post Olympic year is never a sure thing for them, as they really consider the National Games to be far more important.

The first U.S. International Figure Skating Classic takes place this week in Salt Lake City. Gracie Gold, Ross Miner, Lynn and Logan, and Agnes Zawadzki will all be attempting to rack up some points to help their start order in international competitions, get some exposure and generate a little buzz.

Rockne Brubaker will sit this season out. The official reason is that neither Amanda or Rockne can relocate. You think they would've thought that through before the initial tryout.

Sarah Hughes pulled out of the Japan Open officially. There had been rumors at rinks in the area that she wasn't going to compete. Kimmie Meissner's career is continuing to rebuild and she will be replacing her.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Favorite Things Fri-errr Saturday!

The amount of ironic love I have for this program is simply unreal. I live for the music and the drama, belts and all. I live for Oksana dragging Max's crippled self around. It is just a bit much and I love every second of it.

The shit.

Finally, a medal for our girl.