Monday, August 9, 2010

Favorite Things: TheUSOpenLineJudge's Favorite Skating Programs

The US Open Line Judge is a friend of mine with precise and refined taste. Although she grew up in a conservative Mormon household, the line judge's tenure at music conservatories has made her a fierce bitch. If there is anyone who will point out a heinous layback or a costume that 'makes a girl look like a tank' it is this woman. While I could easily ask her to salivate over Soviet gymnasts for a few hours, The US Open Line Judge and I felt skating would be better as much attention will be devoted to this weekend's National Gymnastics Championships.

After following skating for twenty years, our friend is as jaded and snobby as Dick Button in the most wonderful of ways. She is not overly excited about new American talent. When I asked her if she'd mind doing a list of Favorite Things, her only question was just how many Kwan programs she could choose. I said two of her five programs could be from MK.

Her first choice is Michelle Kwan's short program from the 1998 Nationals because 'it is the complete short program.' Michelle was all about being herself that year and didn't need any animated film soundtracks to express her teenage soul. Even though she was injured and had shaky practices that week, Michelle let it all go, focused on her technique and kicked some major Lipinski ass. Perhaps there will never be another short program as sophisticated, soulful, artistic or orgasmic as this one, but at least we got to live to see it. "She was totally trying to beat Tara with her badass introspectiveness and crystal balls."

Her second pick is Michelle Kwan's long program at 2004 Nationals. Why, you ask? While there are many great Kwan long programs with intricate choreography, this rather simplistic number is her favorite because ''Michelle's character was so kick ass. Less was more. She was all diva and opera and rocking the Vera Wang. It was just heaven." Michelle also squelched Sasha Cohen, the pre-event favorite, for the umpteenth time. In the words of our judge, "who'd she hate more: Tara or Sasha?"

While it wasn't his most technically ambitious performance, Kurt Browning's '93 Worlds 'Casablanca' ranks among her favorites. It was charming, old school and a huge step forward for the Gene Kelly of ice skating.

Taking a controversial and dramatic turn, TheUSOpenLineJudge just adores Anissina and Peizerat's ''Romeo and Juliet'' free dance from the Nagano Olympics. It all starts with the music. Our discerning judge adores their choice of Prokofiev ''over that wimpy overdone Tchaikovsky shit.'' She cites their amazing speed and her gorgeous flaming red hair that went perfectly with the head piece and dress as supporting factors. Her lifting him? An added badass Russian diva moment.

And for her final pick, TheUSOpenLineJudge felt it would be a sin against God not to pick Romeo and Juliet's ''Moonlight Sonata'' from the 1994 Europeans. "While their Olympic program had that electricity, they were cleaner at Europeans. It was so simple and Beethoven is so clean. The costumes are total win. And that last life is a killer! I miss those psycho jumping passes the pairs used to do. Those were so fucking precise!"


  1. Great picks! Tosca is also my favorite MK long program. And G+G are simply perfection.

  2. That A&P FD is the only one I enjoyed from 1998. I was conflicted then, being a brain washed Canadian at the time, but I'm glad I've since seen the light. Brilliant choreography, and one of the best costumes in skating.