Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This and That

Yu-Na's new music is National News in South Korea.  Even with a potential war on the horizon, YNK's new music is still of utmost importance.  Peter Oppegard looks like he is really paying attention to all of the little details.  It helps to have a coach who is also a choreographer.

Members past and present of the USA Men's National Team performed in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.  The director sure liked zooming in on David Durante.  Most of the others were barely even visible.

2010 Shall We Dance On Ice

Videos from Shall We Dance On Ice have emerged on youtube.  I missed the telecast, but must say I adore those Canadian tenors.  Voir may have been doing their Mahler free dance to Instrument of Peace, but I don't mind as I always did love that program.

Tiger Claw

April The White Rapper was one of a kind in the NCAA and now she has her a music video as she embarks on her own solo rapping career.  April was formerly the token white girl in a group of girl rappers.  It gave her street cred, as did training at Karolyi's as a child.

Anne Hathaway, gird your loins...

Hello, this is Tarasova's Mink, bringing you today's celebrity lookalike post.

"There's a scale. One nod is good, two nods is very good. There's only be one actual smile
on record and that was Tom Ford in 2001. If she doesn't like it she shakes her head. Then of course there's the pursing of the lips." 
"Which means?" 

This and That

Cheryl Burke and Derek Hough performed on Regis and Kelly this morning.  Well, it was shown this morning.  If you're enough of a dork to follow them on twitter, you'll know that the segment was taped on Sunday.

In case you didn't get the memo when Stars On Ice announced their cast, Joannie Rochette will not be competing this season.  She will be touring with Stars On Ice in Japan, the US and Canada and earning $ doing it.  Next we'll find out that Sasha Cohen and Evan Lysacek won't be competing.  It is unclear when an announcement for 'My Terese' with be forthcoming.

Monday, November 29, 2010

This and That

Just when I was starting to wonder WTF was up with Yuna Kim, AT Sports released her music information today.  They ignored Orser's earlier revelation that Arirang is her long program and acted like it is still news.  While I can't wait for the Olympic Champion to express that beautiful folk song, I am rather surprised to learn that she will skate to Giselle for her short program.  I also thought line and toe point were hallmarks of a traditional ballet.  Perhaps she is finally correcting her flexed feet...as they will stick out.  The Koreans may like anything she does, but the rest of us are another story.

Team Kim made such a BFD last spring about her wanting to do something Latin or a Tango (even though she skated to Tango de Roxanne for two seasons.)  While Yu-Na was reportedly working with Shae-Lynn Bourne on a short program, both of her competitive programs were indeed done by David Wilson.

It is also curious that AT Sports continues to plan her return to competition at the 2011 World Championships.  One would think she'd want to get the jitters and the level evaluation out of the way at Four Continents, but they insist that she'll return to competition at worlds.  One would think that she must be planning on being in unreal shape the likes of 2009 TEB after this self-imposes hiatus.  If she loses Worlds, the decision not to return at Four Continents will be criticized by everyone in skating and the media.

Yu-Na working with her gays, old and new, on the new programs.

Arirang may very well become the signature Olympic long program we all wish she had.

As for my advice for Giselle, to quote the great Dick Button "point that foot, my dear."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lutz Chat: 2003 Eurotrash Championships

"It is one thing for a Russian to complain because they are in a line of 500 people to buy bread, but Irina is in a much better position that that!"- Miki Yamashita

How could we ever forget having to see Peter Carruthers' bare ass in Switzerland?!

Tis The Season

I want to get on Tanith's Christmas list.

This and That

Jeremy Abbott is "up and coming" as a two-time National Champion.

Stars On Ice premiered last night.  Check out photos from their rehearsals in Lake Placid.

Peng Peng Lee's return to competition.

Jay Clark spoke to GXtra about the progress of the Gym Dogs.  Christa Tanella has vastly improved her strength-to-weight ratio.  It looks like her sluggishness may be gone.  Christa struggled getting through full bar routines all of last fall, but she is currently in the lead-off position.  It is unclear whether she will stay there when Nuccio returns from injury, but she is certainly looking much better than last year.  She looks to be training all four events.  There have been shots of her looking almost powerful on floor exercise.

Friday, November 26, 2010

TEB: Day 1 Part 1

The sixth and final event of the Grand Prix series is upon us.  It certainly feels like it has been a half-baked start to the season after all of the injuries, retirements and downright shitty skating.   Once again, we've have to witness Miki Ando winning two international events and act like it didn't make us want to kill ourselves.  We support Miki's improvement the same way we applaud Bristol on Dancing With The Stars: with severely clenched teeth.

Paris Press Conferences

Pairs Short Press Conference

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lutz Chat: 2002 Hershey Kisses Figure Skating Challenge

More Lutz Chat episodes are finally showing up on youtube.  This episode covers the 2002 Hershey Kisses Figure Skating Challenge from New Haven, CT.  This pro-am will always be remembered for the rink melting to the point of ridiculousness.

"When I have a dinner party, I fill up that ice tray hours in advance."- Miki Yamashita

"That's the thing about your parties, there's always enough ice."-Peter King-Yuen

"The Nancy Kerrigan era is over.  She was a big fat loser."

"If you pick a costume that doesn't give you a waistline, you're gonna look like Bea Arthur!"

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

This and That

Mao Asada practices her long program at TEB.  She did a program without jumps so she could keep us all on edge for fantasy skating.

Brian Joubert practicing.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This and That

The Florida Gators completed another intrasquad before Thanksgiving Break.  Rhonda Faehn just gave birth to a son Isaiah.

BARS- Ashanee Dickerson, -Nicole Ellis, -Brittney Noble, -Alicia Goodwin, -Elizabeth Mahlich.
BEAM- Liz Green, -Randy Stageberg, -Alicia Goodwin, -Marissa King, -Brittney Noble
VAULT- Randy Stageberg, -Nicole Ellis, -Brittney Noble, -Maranda Smith, -Marissa King, -Ashanee Dickerson
FLOOR- Amy Ferguson, -Randy Stageberg, -Marissa King, -Brittney Noble, -Maranda Smith, -Ashanee Dickerson

Absent from the video is Alaina Johnson.  Alaina has been resting a bruised rib for the last two weeks but should be back up to speed in a week or so.  With the addition of Alaina, Macko and Kytra, UF is looking like a contender.

Trophee Eric Bompard - Streaming Schedule

As we expand our waistlines on Thanksgiving leftovers, there will also be an abundance of figure skating to feast on this weekend with Trophee Eric Bompard. Ice Network will once again be live streaming the event, along with Universal Sports continued Grand Prix coverage. In addition to being the sixth and final event in the senior GP series, the results of TEB will also determine the roster for the Grand Prix Final, which takes place Dec. 9-12 in Beijing.

For those entered in USFSA's Fantasy Team Challenge, please note that the Italians, Nicole della Monica & Yannick Kocon, have withdrawn from the pairs event. Adjust your picks accordingly.

Friday, Nov. 26
9:30 a.m. EST: Men's Short Program
11:30 a.m. EST: Pairs Short Program
12:45 p.m. EST: Ladies Short Program
2:30 p.m. EST: Ice Dance - Short Dance

Saturday, Nov. 27
7:30 a.m. EST: Men's Free Skate
9:45 a.m. EST: Pairs Free Skate
12:30 p.m. EST: Ladies Free Skate
2:15 p.m. EST: Ice Dance - Free dance

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This and That

Tara Lipinski was invited to USC Annenberg School for a conversation about the story of sports.

"I've known Tara since she was 10.  Now she looks 12."- Pat O'Brien

Tara starts speaking at 23:42.  Note how long it takes for her to mention the media not believing in her and blindly supporting Michelle Kwan after '98 Nationals.  She blames her loss on a fall.

Pat shares a fun Tonya Harding story at 26:30

Illinois intrasquad, Bethenny Frankel, Samantha Cesario, Elyse Hopfner Hibbs and more!

DWTS: The Last Dance

Thanks to serendipity, I am home to live blog during the Dancing With The Stars Finale: The One Where They Hand Out The Mirror Ball Trophy!  In the words of the great Kelly Ripa, "You're welcome, America!"  After our Canadian cousins did the right thing by crowning Ekaterina Gordeeva and Valeri Bure champions of Battle of the Blades, we can only hope that our nation of fast-food-loving simpletons did the same.

Cup of Russia Wrap Up

Kavaguti and Smirnov were the undisputed highlight of last weekend after The Cup of Russia proved to be another utterly sloppy event.  It will perhaps best be remembered for the number of withdrawals in the Ice Dance event.

What did we learn?

Marina Zueva vs. Valeri Bure

Bring this show to America!

DWTS: The Finale

Part one of the Dancing With The Stars Finale is behind us and we are left to wonder if the American public did the right thing.  Dancing With The Stars is about the best ballroom dancer.  Yes, it is a popularity contest, but it is not a political movement.  Several conservative websites list phone numbers and instructions to vote with fake email addresses for "their Bristol."  This finale truly is the "most talked about" yet, as heads may explode based on tonight's potential results.

NCAA Update

The Gym Dogs' recent floor intrasquad.  Christa Tanella seems to be gaining some power to go along with her new body.  There is no sign of Kaylan Earls, but the rest of the team looks fit.  Hilary Mauro, Cassidy McComb and Kat Ding look to be leading by example.  Shayla Worley was named "Gym Dog of the Week" last week for her leadership and commitment to the team.  Noel Couch looks as solid and sloppy as ever.

This and That

Life is often difficult after gold.  For those who win unexpectedly, it is often even tougher.  After watching her struggle since Salt Lake City, it is moving to see Sarah Hughes look so healthy and skate so well.  It looks like she is skating for herself with great joy once again.

Miles Avery, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Battle of the Blades and more!

Skating With The Stars: A Rough Draft

Skating With The Stars premiered last night and was very much a partial success.  It was a decent pilot that needed tweaking.  While the BBC was hoping for an American hit, it is clear that ABC wasn't willing to invest too much money on a potential flop.  The show was given a half-season to prove itself and after week one, it is already obvious what needs to be reworked should the show be renewed for a second season (or in the case of Sasha Cohen's last reality show, brought back for a second episode.)

Given the immense popularity of Dancing With The Stars and the even greater stupidity of the American public, one could worry that Dick Button would be perceived as some sort of Len Goodman wannabe.  That proved not to be the case, as Dick took all of fifteen seconds to warmup before he was off yelling at contestants to Straighten Their Posture!  Point Your Toe!  Loosen Up!  Or my personal favorite, "get out of your girdle and get on with it!"

Skating With The Stars has introduced us to a new hot mess in the name of Laurie Ann Gibson.  With the sides of her head shaved and outbursts reminiscent of Little Richard, she is one SNL skit waiting to happen.  The best part about Laurie Ann is that she seems to think that she is judging a dance competition.  The more Laurie Ann brings up "the dance," the more Dick Button subtly dismisses her and mentions how "dancing is very different from skating."

As a judge, Johnny Weir is less annoying than one might fear.  Given his random poor taste and Slutskaya/Plushenko love, one might worry about him.  I was pleasantly surprised with how he conducted himself.  He "almost sweat off his weave" after the performance of Rebecca Budig and one hottie named Fred Palascak.  Mommy Dearest does NOT like Johnny's speech affectation one bit.

One eye-rolling moment was Johnny's latest rendition of Poker Face.  Just as the single was overplayed on the radio, this is one exhibition that quit being interesting a long time ago.  In order to add some spice, the production company looked like it paid for a new outlandish costume that Johnny designed.  Unfortunately, Johnny's talent as a designer has always been debatable.  The sparkly onesie is no longer attractive for Johnny now that he eats regularly and practices even less than before.  In fact, Johnny Weir and Tara Modlin are oddly reminiscent of Romy and Michelle dressing for their high school prom and telling one another "we look fabulous!"

It was impressive to see Johnny pull off a triple toe on the puddle-sized ice rink.

The cringe-worthies cast member may be Tanith Belbin, whose delivery is "scripted at best."  The show is aiming to appear technical, but Tanith's explanation of the elementary elements came across as downright condescending.  "The two foot spin!  To add danger, they may even take One. Leg. Off. The. Ice!"

Each week, the stars are tasked to master new elements.  Following each performance, Tanith analyzes the elements, which the judges largely ignore.  It is unclear whether failing to perform an element has any correlation to their score.  Tanith sort of rambles and then announces the judges' scores.  It is unclear why Tanith is commenting, because Polly Positive does not have a judging paddle.  For next week, they could ditch Laurie Ann (must every fly girl have an Ann in her name?) and put Tanith at the judging table.  Her commentary is unnecessary.  Surely, the token British host could manage saying "Johnny! (paud) Weir! (pause) Dick! (pause) Button!"

As Tarasova's Mink put it best, "Tanith is an experienced best scene to be fully appreciated."  While her Stars On Ice commitments have her unable to be a skating pro, we could at least have the pleasure of seeing her change costumes between commercial breaks and channel her inner Vanna White.

In terms of the actual skating, it was as best as could be expected for just five weeks of rehearsals.  While  Laurie Ann couldn't believe they'd only been skating for five weeks, I sure could.  Some of the stars were much better than others.  Sadly, Bethenny was positively stiff on the ice.  Her rigid shoulders and stiff knees kept her from unleashing her inner ice diva.

Rebecca Budig is the token 'plant' of the group.  She already performed back crossovers her first day on the ice and looks positively ravishing with her sexy partner.

Brooke Castile is much more interesting on this show than she was as a rather conservative competitor.  She finds Jonny Mosely "pretty sexy."  Brooke tried to give Jonny tips on "performing at his best when the pressure is the greatest."  To his credit, he reminded her that he is the Olympic Gold Medalist in the duo.

Keauna McLaughlin may have found a new boytoy in her partner.  It didn't take long for him to rip his pants off.  One needs to root for Keauna, as she comes across as a lost puppy beaten down by competitive skating.

Denis Petukhov may already have been the perfect husband.  He is a dreamy Russian who thinks nothing about performing a menage-a-tois with his wife's flamboyant friend on tour.  Now, we need to put him up for beatification, as he is dealing with a noted mental patient.

True Story: I once went mini-golfing with someone who threw a random tantrum like Sean Young.  That friend attempted suicide two months later.

Sean Young is the train wreck who we won't be able to take our eyes off of.  We'll need to keep her around a bit for maximum entertainment.

WestPalmBitch predicts that Denis Pethukov will appeal the the mass of midwestern women who lust after Todd Eldredge.

Overall, the show is engaging enough to deserve a second viewing (though they could really pick up the pace, take fewer commercial breaks and squeeze the show into an hour.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thoughts On The Grand Prix

Yu-Na come back...

In all serious, there is a feeling of a void this Grand Prix season.  Phil Hersh writes about his sense of weariness in his latest blog entry, but he makes a mistake when he points out that the Olympic Champion wasn't even on the radar at this time four years ago.  Yu-Na Kim was the reigning World Junior Champion and debuted on the Grand Prix that fall, winning Trophee Eric Bompard and placing third at Skate Canada.  She wound up winning the Grand Prix Final and TEB was not the last event that season.

As far as ladies skating goes, the top four are not themselves.  Carolina Kostner won NHK with the technical content necessary for gold at 1987 Worlds.

Let's Discuss

Just Discuss

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Skate America: OCD Overdrive

Goodness, pairs skating.  I have found myself watching pairs skating this season.  Perhaps doctors should up doses for the Grand Prix season?  Watching some of these competitions makes me feel more than a little nutty.

First off, I think we all need to thank Kemp and King for flying all the way from Auschwitz to finish last in the pairs event yet again.  It seems that they risk serious injury each and every time on the ice.  Watching them at the Olympics sure had me rethinking the legitimacy of per-country rules.  It is a good thing that he's cute, because I really don't know if I could take the pain otherwise.  There is a special place in my heart for them...along with Alexe Gilles.

This and That

The shocking elimination.  Derek's reaction is priceless.  Even Kristi Yamaguchi and other usually politically correct pros expressed shock on twitter.

DWTS, Asian Games, Cup of Russia and more!

Did you notice something...?

Was it ______________ or __________________ ?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This and That

Shawn Johnson, Skating With The Stars, Beth Twedde and more!

DWTS: Beggin You For Mercy

The finalists on Dancing With The Stars are announced tonight and it could very well be a surreal experience.

Am I dreaming or did Bristol Palin actually make the semifinals?  I'm all about the feel-good, overcoming obstacles story...when the person actually does it.  There is a small problem here: Bristol hasn't learned how to dance or perform.  Bristol Palin dances with the same blank stare as most Japanese skaters.  Nothing is going on with that face!  Given that she has survived elimination six times, there is a very real chance that the Tea Party will indeed vote her though.  The producers had Mark Ballas bring up the suggestion that the right wing is voting her through despite her ineptitude at ballroom dancing.  In a moment up there with her "I can't be sexy, I'm just a teen mom," Bristol told us that unlike typical Hollywood, she isn't fake.  Yes, because political campaigns are so effing authentic.

Skate America: All About The Packaging

Meryl Davis and Charlie White have a problem and it is known as their free dance.  For years, Marlie have performed virtuous programs that have been thematic and often shown off Charlie's performance ability.  While the lady is typically the flower and the man the stem in most teams, Charlie is often more of the flower.  Hie throws his body up, down and around, butterflying over Meryl's back, swooping on the ground and is quite the hulk when it comes to lifts.  Meryl's unique look was drawn upon for their successful Bollywood program, which really highlighted both of their strengths and masked their weaknesses.  Unfortunately, the tango is one of the worst vehicles they've ever hard.

Subject Was Sectionals

Ginger Jackson brought his spunk to Pacific Coast Sectionals.

The Sectional Championships took place last weekend, approximately 10 weeks before the upcoming Nationals.  As always, it was good news for some and heartbreaking for many.

Junior Ladies proved to be the most contentious field this year, with the greatest depth as many of the ladies who competed on the Junior Grand Prix are competing as juniors nationally.  Pacific Coast Sectionals proved to be the toughest field this year, as Mary Beth Marley moved from Mids to PCS for her pairs career.  Mary Beth just missed Nationals a year ago, but came back to qualify in quite the difficult section.  Sadly, Angela Wang and Leah Keiser just missed.  Neither bombed completely per se, but their mistakes were enough to place them 5th and 6th respectively.  Both Angela and Leah are exceptional talents with bright futures.  They should not give up on their singles careers, as they surely would've made it in other sections.  Rules and rules and unfortunately, dreams are crushed every year.  Mids was a tough field last year.

John Nicks' Courtney Hicks has to be considered a considerable favorite for the Junior Ladies National Title after her dominating performances at Regionals and Sectionals.

Frank Carroll has had a rough 10 days as a coach.  Mirai nagasu tumbled in her free skate at Cup of China, Denis Ten fell five times in his free skate at Skate America and junior sensation Leah Keiser finished just short of qualifying to Nationals.  Yet, Jonathan Cassar sparked a rebirth to his career by winning Pacific Coast Sectionals.  It was a welcome success for a skater who has continued to work hard, despite not being the world's most gifted jumper.  Ginger Jackson fought to claim the final spot for Senior Men.  Andrew Gonzales and Christopher Caluza also advanced in Senior Men.

New favorite Vanessa Lam captured gold in Senior Ladies at PCS ahead of Danielle Kahle, who will make yet another trip to Nationals.  Alissa Czisny won by a substantial margin at Midwestern Sectionals.

Lauren Dinh was injured last year and missed a repeat trip to Nationals as a Novice after competing in severe pain.  She came back to win Midwestern Sectionals in the Junior Ladies division.  Nina Jiang has an up-and-down competition, but finished third to qualify.  Katia Shpilband finished fifth, just one spot shy of qualifying as a Novice.  She is someone with a beautiful body for ice dance.  With her edges, footwork, presentation and body line, she should consider finding a partner within the year, as the jumps just don't look like they're ever going to be where she needs to be in order to be successful as a singles skater.  Her strength lies in the footwork, spins and presentation.

Samantha Cesario defeated Melissa Bulanhagui for the Senior Ladies Title at Eastern Sectionals.  Joelle Forte finished fourth in what was likely the toughest Senior Ladies field.  Sadly, an untimely illness kept Christine Mozer from qualifying in Junior Ladies.

Jason Brown, Grant Hochstein, Parker Pennington and Alex Johnson advanced from Midwestern Sectionals for Senior Men, while Jason Wong, yummy Wes Campbell, Scott Dyer and Lloyd Ting advance from Easterns.


Eastern Sectionals

Midwestern Sectionals

Pacific Coast Sectionals

This and That

Asian Games, Battle of the Blades, Ready For Bama, Moceanu and More!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Battle of the Blades

Valeri Bure fell.  Katia and Val will have to escape death yet again.  They are either hot or not with the judges.

NCAA Update

The Gym Dogs focused on execution this week.  (They also signed Chelsea Davis and Sarah Persinger.)  Overall, the team is rounding into form.  Cassidy McComb is in the best shape she has been in since 2008, which is amazing for the team.  If McComb can be at her best, she will be a huge asset to the team.

Kat Ding is taking her gainer front flip noticeably higher and avoiding a landing deduction.  She looks prepared to compete in the all-around and be the leader the team needs her to be.  Gina Nuccio is looking strong, as are Hilary Mauro and Noel Couch.

Christa Tanella still looks sluggish, but she is shown training three events.

Shayla Worley is shown performing a front double full on floor, which is a genius pass for her.  Shay's back needs to be taken care of, as does the rest of her body.  Doing the bigger tumbling passes will strain her fragile body.  A front double full and double pike will be enough difficulty for Shay to score in the 9.900 range with her gorgeous dance and strong presentation.

Kaylan Earls is not shown, which raises some question marks.  Is she injured?  Noel Couch was even shown in a video focused on execution...

The UCLA Bruins held an intrasquad.  Elyse Hopfner Hibbs performed a double layout on floor.  Aisha Gerber competed all four events strongly and Allison Taylor performed a double arabian half out bar dismount.  It is cute that they still pretend every fall that she will earn a spot in the bar lineup.  Monique De La Torre competed a full twisting double layout bar dismount.

The Bruins signed Peng Peng Lee, Cassie Whitcomb and Dana McDonald.  Peng Peng hasn't competed in ages, but they really only need her to be solid on beam, where they are losing two stable walk-ons.  Peng Peng has the added bonus of being a Canadian formerly coached by one of Val's BFFs (Carol-Angela Orchard.)

The Boomer Sooners posted photos and videos of their latest intrasquad on their blog.  KJ Kindler is working her gymnasts' asses off to get them back to the top without Hollie Vise.  With or without Hollie, KJ is here to stay in the Super Six.

This and That

The closest most members of the USA National Team will ever get to hot chicks.  The show will air November 30th on CBS.  Including shirtless Steve McCain!

Skate America - Pairs Results

Does someone care to explain Savchenko & Szolkowy's "Pink Panther" costumes? Their routine, for that matter?

"Watch, it'll be back to Meryl Streep movie themes next week. They'll be skating to Sophie's Choice." - Aunt Joyce

Skate America - Men's Results

"She was like 'he used to represent the US, but he is a traitor. I saw the movie Pearl Harbor with Ben Affleck, and I know how they are.'" - Margaret Thatcher recapping Tonia Kwaitkowski's commentary during Daisuke Murakami's freeskate.

Congrats to the Persian Prince on his first GP Series medal.

Fun At The Asian Games

Jiang Yuyuan is lucky they won.

Deng Linlin- VTBB
He Kexin- UB, FX
Huang Qiushuang- VT, UB, BB, FX
Jiang Yuyuan- VTUB, FX
Sui Lu- UB, BB, FX
Yang Yilin- VT, BB, FX

Koko Tsurumi- UB, BB
Kyoko Oshima- UB, BB
Rie Tanaka- FX

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hot Mess on Ice

This week, I had the pleasure of having a skating lesson from one of my all-time favorite skaters, Jamie Silverstein.  I was up in Ithaca visiting 'He Who Will Not Skate' and let it be known that we were going to the ice rink at a certain time, whether or not he wanted to skate.  (He wound up being intimidated by the freestyle session and wouldn't go, as he has only ever skated in hockey skates---and a few times at that.)

As he got his head was talked off by a skating grandma, I took to the ice and tried to get my balance back.  As an adult skater, the heart is willing, but the schedule is not always so accommodating.  Being off the ice for almost a month, my balance needs to be back under control before I feel comfortable doing anything on the ice.  I feel that I am always trying to get back what I've done before.  There is always a period of progress and then I'm off for a while.  Stop and Go.  Stop and Go.

To watch Jamie Silverstein chase her students around the ice with an abundance of energy, one can hear Tori Amos singing in their head.  Her body is downright slinky.  Her knees just ooze all over the ice and her limbs naturally extend.  It makes you took a look at your own awkward body and feel utterly unworthy.

After she finished up with a student, Jamie skated over just as I was feeling a bit more comfortable on the ice and asked me what I wanted her to take a look at.  Knowing that my back crossovers can be a choppy and a mess at best, I decided to just focus on them.

Do you ever have a moment where your brain seems to just shut off?

When asked which direction I started to start with, I realized that I just think about back crossovers in terms of legs and sides.  So I just showed her...

There may be no worse feeling in the world than watching someone try to smiles and be nice as they take in a horrific sight.  After explaining my difficulties and trying to demonstrate what I 'thought' my problem areas were, I threw my arms up in the air mid-sentence and said "correct! Go to town!"

"When you think of a car, what is better a wider axel or a smaller axel?"
-"Um, I don't know about cars.  I'm gay.  Just put me in position!

Before long, a spark plug of energy was yelling at me to fix my ribs, lift my chest and press the weight of my foot on the wood of the boot.

"You want to not have your free leg be dead weight."
-"Oh I don't want it to be dead weight.  It just is."

It is easier to learn something the right way than re-learn it, so I was given all of the corrections all at once.  At one point, I got nervous when I stopped hearing corrections.

"Am I doing them right?"
-"I had Russian coaches.  I don't do compliments."

I've never sweat so much on the ice in just a T-Shirt.  I'll be back on the ice on Tuesday to keep the progress alive.  The addiction continues.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Skate America Streaming Times

 Friday, Nov. 12
10:00 p.m.: Pairs short program
11:45 p.m.: Men's short program

Saturday, Nov. 13
5:00 p.m.: Ladies short program
6:45 p.m.: Short dance
10:00 p.m.: Men's free skate
12:30 a.m.: Pairs free skate  

Sunday, Nov. 14
2:00 p.m.: Free dance

(Ladies Free Skate will air live on NBC)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This and That

Shae-Lynn Bourne and Patrice Brisbois, Week 6 of Battle of the Blades

An interview with the always intriguing Toller Cranston.

US Sectionals are taking place November 9-13.  Full list of qualifiers.

North Korea was banned from competition for two years after being caught falsifying ages yet again.  It wasn't enough getting banned once for Kim Guang Suk having four birth dates.  Basically, the FIG is sending a memo to all nations to have their cheating in order, like Romania!  Keep those birth dates and passports straight and off of the internet!

China is looking to sweep the gymnastics golds in Guangzhou at the Asian Games, which begin on Monday. China is sending its world teams to the event, but Kohei Uchimura will not be competing for Japan.  Koko Tsurumui will be competing and will hope to challenge the Chinese women.  North Korea is unable to compete at the Asian Games due to their ban.  Roster

Skating With The Stars Promo:

Nastia Liukin tweeted that she is back to two-a-day workouts!

Jonathan Horton and Philipp Boy will have a rematch at this weekend's Champion's Trophy.

USAG is sending some other athletes abroad before the end of the year.

Katelyn Ohashi is heading to South Africa for the Bumbo Gymnastics Cup, December 2-4. Valeri Liukin, Nadia Comaneci and Bela Karolyi will all be appearing at the meet to add their star power.

Toyota Cup, December 11-12  (Individual Event Competition)
Joey Hagerty
RJ Heflin
Paul Ruggeri

Six Juniors will accompany the team to the Toyota Cup for a week-long training camp in Tokyo:
Wyatt Aycock
Kevin Ko
Jake Martin
Cale Robinson
Jacoby Rubin
Jordan Valdez

UCLA is double layout happy this year.  In addition to Vanessa Zamarripa, who spends most of her time on the mats in practice taking a good twenty minute breather between turns (she'll turn it up a notch and always has an abundance of natural talent to rely on), many of their gymnasts are training the skill and performed them at their last full intrasquad.

Sam Peszek face-planted her double layout at the intrasquad and didn't finish the meet, but she is a workhouse and will be fine and ready for all four events.

Elyse Hopfner Hibbs' double layout is a bit low.  She always has a double arabian mount, so she is covered either way.

Tauny Frattone has worked on double layouts for a while and pretty much has the technique down.

Sydney Sawa's is reportedly "an ankle crunch waiting to happen.  She will get carried off during a meet."

McCullough and Courtney are both strong tumblers as well.  UCLA looks strong on floor.  Now they need to have Suzanne-Yoculan-fever and talk about their athletes mounting with Es and dismounting with double pikes (or full-ins, nod to you Chelsa Byrd!) We have yet to see Zam dismount with a double pike.  Mounting with a double layout and dismounting with a rudi would be utterly unacceptable.

Get to know Kelli Hill:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Katia The Great

Simply the Best.  6.0

Guilty Pleasures/My Favorite Things - Tarasova's Mink

That bossy HBIC Aunt Joyce has requested I contribute a post to the ice-cream stand, devoted to one of my guilty pleasures. After some contemplation, I wonder if this is how Gayle feels when Oprah decrees a two-part episode to their vaguely lesbianic adventures in camping. As I eagerly await AJ to appoint me editor-at-large for Aunt Joyce magazine, I have settled on what I hope is as guilty a pleasure of yours as it is mine.

Mind you this was a most difficult decision indeed. "The Best of the Joy of Painting with Bob Ross"? Reruns of "Barefoot Contessa"? Peggy Fleming’s informative-yet-completely-vacuous costume commentary? Kristy Powell’s vault run? All fine choices, but no.

Instead, I dedicate this inaugural “Guilty Pleasure” post to the 1994 Olympics short program of Jenni Meno & Todd Sand. Aunt Joyce’s favorite redheaded Republicans built a successful amateur career on not pushing the envelope, and you can see their legacy of non-envelope-pushing live on in the athletic wizardry of Amanda Dobbs' triple toe-double toe SP combination. 

While decidedly less rich and buttery than anything assembled in Ms. Garten's kitchen or even less hippie zen-stoner as anything painted on the canvas of Mr. Ross, the dynamic duo of Meno & Sand created their own masterpiece of guilty goodness with their '50s-style SP to the music from the Cole Porter musical "Silk Stockings."

Pay close attention to their trademark pairs spin that begins at about the one-minute mark. It is as familiar as coming home to mom's apple pie. (Note that my mother never baked apple pie, but I suspect if she did it would arouse the same feelings of warmth and home that it does when Meno & Sand launch into their spin.) What begins first as a pairs camel then transitions into Todd's trademark "straddle that ass," as he locks his leg over wife Jenni while flapping his arms like a chicken or just another night out on the Jersey Shore. 

Todd was always the trooper, pumping those fists with just as much enthusiasm as he did in their Sleeping Beauty and Nessun Dorma LPs. And their Blue Danube SP. And their Fantasie Impromptu SP. Every time was like the first time with Todd, and for his never-ending enthusiasm he is to be commended with the Bob Ross seal of approval.

As Verne Lundquist pointed out during the CBS telecast, their goal was to place fifth at these Olympics (a feat which they did accomplish. Oops, spoiler alert.) What he did not tell you is that this may very well have been codespeak for "beat those damn Czechs," the uberpretty team of Kovarikova & Novotny, whom they were often in direct competition with during the early stages of their career. But ever the genteel "fell in love at Albertville" storybook pair, we never heard such boorish comments out of Meno & Sand's mouths. (Although if you're looking for spicier commentary from these Olympics, do see Aunt Joyce's post recapping Nancy "SexyEdge" Kerrigan's post-LP comments about Oksana Baiul futile attempts at holding up the medal ceremony because she was bound to cry off all her makeup anyway.) As a result, we are only left to speculate on what sort of saltier thoughts were going through Jenni & Todd's minds at this competition.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's Tough Being A Lady

It is tough being a ladies skater.  One must be delicate yet athletic, expressive yet strong, artistic, yet technically proficient.  Flexibility, line, stretch, finesse, etc become the bane of many ladies' existence.  This is exemplified on the Grand Prix in abundance this season.  For better or worse, it currently takes five cleanly executed triples to win a Grand Prix.  Five triples, a little speed and passable spins and footwork will get you a gold medal every time.  There are no debates going on over who was better.  It doesn't matter and it's all too clear.

Cup Of China - Pairs SP

Tarasova’s Mink here with a brief recap of the Pairs SP at Cup of China.

Evora & Ladwig sit in fifth place with a score of 51.46 after an error-prone short to “The Mask of Zorro”. Mark stumbled on the SBS triple toe; Amanda may have under rotated hers. Mark was also out of synch on their SBS spins. Despite the errors, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they (or Yankowskas & Coughlin) could take the national title away from Denney & Barrett, especially in light of D/B’s seventh-place finish in the free at NHK Trophy, where they placed fifth overall (behind Y&C).

Fresh off their victory at Canadian Nationals, Pt. 2 (which in some circles is being amusingly referred to as Skate Canada), the Russian team of Iliushechkina & Maisuradze finished fourth with a cleanly performed SP. Although they incurred a time-violation deduction that resulted in a score of 55.85, they skated with speed and precision throughout their elements.

The team of Yankowskas & Coughlin finished third after the SP (57.86), performing to another Piazzolla tango.  They completed all their major elements without fail; the only minor quibble was a low landing on their throw triple salchow. Given the pair’s inconsistency in delivering back-to-back clean performances, it remains to be seen whether they will be able to stave off the Russians as well as their compatriots for a spot on the podium.

Unsurprisingly, the Chinese pairs finished 1-2 in the short. The NHK Trophy champions Pang & Tong, have a slight lead of 60.62 over their teammates Sui & Han (the reigning Junior World Champs), who scored 59.58 in their GP senior debut. Sui looks all of eight, while Han appears to be nearing puberty at the tender age of twelve. With their youthful statures, they manage to launch monstrously huge throws with the greatest of ease.

1. Qing PANG / Jian TONG CHN 60.62 30.13 30.49 7.82 7.29 7.61 7.64 7.75 0.00 #8
2. Wenjing SUI / Cong HAN CHN 59.58 35.57 26.01 6.32 6.36 6.61 6.64 6.57 2.00 #6
3. Caitlin YANKOWSKAS / John COUGHLIN USA 57.86 31.20 26.66 6.82 6.21 6.86 6.68 6.75 0.00 #4
4. Lubov ILIUSHECHKINA / Nodari MAISURADZE RUS 55.85 30.53 26.32 6.61 6.25 6.61 6.68 6.75 1.00 #3
5. Amanda EVORA / Mark LADWIG USA 51.46 28.69 22.77 5.82 5.39 5.75 5.86 5.64 0.00 #2
6. Nicole DELLA MONICA / Yannick KOCON ITA 49.81 25.95 23.86 6.14 5.79 6.04 6.04 5.82 0.00 #7
7. Huibo DONG / Yiming WU CHN 46.05 21.74 24.31 6.36 5.89 6.14 6.07 5.93 0.00 #5
8. Kaleigh HOLE / Adam JOHNSON CAN 43.02 23.96 20.06 5.18 4.82 4.89 5.11 5.07 1.00 #1 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mattie Larson leaving AOGC

Catty Comments here with a quick update - Mattie Larson, to no one's surprise, is leaving her long-time gym AOGC in Los Angeles after her team finals floor meltdown. Word is her coaches haven't spoken to her since the competition.

Since Mattie graduated from high school this spring, there is probably an option for her to enter UCLA early. However, word is that she is looking at other top elite gyms, including Brestyan's (Sacramone, Sleepwalker the Raisman), Hills (with no apostrophe - I know, right?!) (Kytra Hunter, Corrie Lothrop, Kupetseses, Elise Ray & Dominique Dawes) and Legacy Elite (Caquatti, Anna Li.) I hope she will either go to WOGA for Valeri to properly code-whore the hell out of her bars & floor and she can learn how to compete beam, or UCLA so she can get healthy and consistent and learn how to compete beam.

Cup of China Short Videos

Mirai Nagasu- 58.76

Cup of China - Ladies Short Results

There is something very very wrong when Miki Ando is first on PCS.

Cup of China - Standings After the Short Program

1.) Mirai NAGASU USA 58.76
  31.73 27.03 6.82 6.36 6.82 6.89 6.89 0.00 #8

2.) Akiko SUZUKI JPN 57.97
  30.46 27.51 7.18 6.46 6.96 6.86 6.93 0.00 #10

3.) Miki ANDO JPN 56.11
  27.99 28.12 7.18 6.75 7.11 7.04 7.07 0.00 #11

4.) Bingwa GENG CHN 51.09
  29.81 21.28 5.50 4.89 5.50 5.39 5.32 0.00 #1

5.) Alena LEONOVA RUS 50.79
  25.57 25.22 6.39 5.93 6.29 6.43 6.50 0.00 #9

6.) Joshi HELGESSON SWE 48.83
  26.14 22.69 5.89 5.46 5.79 5.61 5.61 0.00 #7

7.) Amanda DOBBS USA 46.73
  22.85 23.88 6.07 5.64 6.14 6.04 5.96 0.00 #6

8.) Kristine MUSADEMBA USA 40.80
  21.57 20.23 5.36 4.96 4.93 5.18 4.86 1.00 #4

9.) Min-Jeong KWAK KOR 38.83
  21.12 19.71 5.25 4.71 4.68 5.07 4.93 2.00 #3

10.) Diane SZMIETT CAN 38.17
  19.05 19.12 5.14 4.57 4.71 4.86 4.61 0.00 #5

11.) Qiuying ZHU CHN 35.61
  18.17 18.44 4.79 4.36 4.61 4.71 4.57 1.00 #2

Cup of China - Short Dance Results

If you were really that worried about spoilers then you wouldn't be on here...

Cup of China - Short Dance

1.) Nathalie PECHALAT / Fabian BOURZAT FRA 64.12
  32.71 31.41 7.82 7.61 7.86 8.04 7.89 0.00 #10

2.) Federica FAIELLA / Massimo SCALI ITA 57.21
  26.28 30.93 7.71 7.50 7.54 7.93 7.89 0.00 #9

3.) Ekaterina BOBROVA / Dmitri SOLOVIEV RUS 55.85
  27.93 28.92 7.25 7.00 7.29 7.39 7.21 1.00 #6

4.) Nora HOFFMANN / Maxim ZAVOZIN HUN 52.69
  26.28 26.41 6.61 6.32 6.68 6.68 6.68 0.00 #4

5.) Xintong HUANG / Xun ZHENG CHN 49.70
  25.08 24.62 6.39 5.89 6.11 6.25 6.11 0.00 #7

6.) Kharis RALPH / Asher HILL CAN 48.10
  25.01 23.09 5.75 5.46 5.82 5.93 5.86 0.00 #5

7.) Xiaoyang YU / Chen WANG CHN 45.33
  23.99 21.34 5.36 5.11 5.39 5.43 5.36 0.00 #3

8.) Madison HUBBELL / Keiffer HUBBELL USA 44.47
  23.29 24.18 6.11 5.96 5.79 6.25 6.07 3.00 #8

9.) Xueting GUAN / Meng WANG CHN 40.19
  21.36 18.83 4.79 4.57 4.75 4.79 4.64 0.00 #2

10.) Isabella CANNUSCIO / Ian LORELLO USA 38.34
  19.05 19.29 4.89 4.64 4.86 4.93 4.79 0.00 #1