Monday, February 28, 2011

DWTS: Season 12 Cast Revealed

  • We could be in for a delightful hot mess!  How YOU doin?

  • Sugar Ray Leonard
  • Chelsea Kane
  • Romeo (formerly a Lil')
  • Ralph Macchio
  • Petra Nemcova
  • Kendra Wilkinson
  • Hines Ward
  • Mike Catherwood
  • Wendy Williams
  • Chris Jericho
  • Kirstie Alley

Wieber Is In

Jordyn Wieber was the alternate for the American Cup and Nicole Hibbert of Great Britain withdrew from the meet.  As usual, there will be two Americans girls participating in the event.  The coverage of the event should focus on Wieber, Mustafina and Raisman.  Things just got interesting...

The Princess at Russian Nationals

She may have fallen and taken an extra swing, but the girl is still amazing.

This and That

Johnny Weir uploaded a triple axel and a snippet of his supposed short program.  If it feels a little 2008-2009 for you, it is because Johnny is getting in touch with his subconscious desire to be a third-rate Russian lady.  This music is Masha Butyrskaya's 2002 abomination to Tales of Wandering (aka Tales of a Journey) and he keeps all of those clanging bells.  I do believe the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result.  That said, I always have a soft spot for serious Johnny channeling his inner Russian diva.

Universal Sports interviewed our girl Nastia Liukin.  They asked her nothing of interest, which allowed her to give her standard answers.  "It is great being back in the gym after a year and half off.  We will have to see where it takes me."  Um, if you're going to interview a Nastia or a Kwan, you need to be creative if you're going to get anything interesting out of them.  An interesting interview will result in more hits for your website too...   I'd have asked her, "Nastia, tell us about the reports of you training a layout jaegar from el grip in your bar routine.  Might you consider a new bar dismount?"  'What is the biggest struggle about being disciplined after living freely since Beijing?'  Will we get to see you and your dad argue in Russian again?  Can we beg NBC to give us subtitles?

By giving us the status quo, the interviewer is boring both the athlete and the viewer/reader.  I like that Ms. Liukin will be present at the American Cup to see Mustafina and get even more motivated to work her ass off the the gym.

NCAA Update

If there is one emerging coach in the NCAA, it is KJ Kindler.  I've never had the pleasure of meeting KJ, but I admire her for being a fierce coach.  Oklahoma is not the flashiest team in the country, but they are fit and consistent.  KJ is also taking risks as a choreographer.  I'm not sure what to make of her choreography. It is a bit squatty in general.  There was one squatty move in Vise's amazing routine last year where she squatted and it made me go "hmmm, questionable choice."  Overall, I respect KJ and that man she's married to as a fierce coaching duo.  Here is a woman who had the jutzpah to tell World Champion Hollie Vise, "I don't care that Steve said you could do beam, you're going to get in shape and do all four events.  I don't care that you can't vault."

When I workout, I like to imagine myself being thin and on the KJ diet.  I must wonder if all of the squats in her choreography come from a subconscious love of sending her team to the weight room.  One thing about Ms. KJ is that works with what she has and draws out the talent of her team.  She lost as many, if not more, top routines than UGA from 2010 to 2011, but we don't hear her bitching about it.  I'd be sitting shivah for the graduation of Hollie Vise, but Ms. KJ is working her girls up to be top six on each event.  She has girls who can do all four events, but forces them to be top six.  Senior Natalie Ratcliff had some rough outings on beam and vault and is MIA after a solid NCAA career.  If KJ had Georgia's lineup, I think we'd see a few of their gymnasts being much fitter and competitive on all events.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bross The Boss

As much as I hate looking at those deformed knees, I can't deny the girl is fierce.

Friday, February 25, 2011

This and That

The Latest Gym Dog Show

Shannon Miller will undergo nine weeks of chemo therapy after having an ovary removed following the discovery of a tumor during her annual checkup.

Walter Toigo, an ISU judge from Italy, was suspended for two years following alleged misconduct.

Maxim Devyatovsky won the AA at Russian Nationals.

Jeff Buttle loves being a choreographer.

Alabama defeated Georgia tonight (197.675- 197.225.)  The Gym Dogs looked like a mid-196 team.  The truth is, Alabama is a much better team this season (and last.)  Hoffman, Stack-Eaton, Sledge and Gutierrez are a strong quarter.  The freshmen are getting it together somewhat and the team's potential will only increase when Priess is back on a few events.  Alabama may have entered the meet ranked behind the Gym Dogs, but rankings are deceiving and not always accurate.  Hoffman won the AA with a 39.675 and Stack-Eaton was second with a 39.650.

Kat Ding is back to her normal self: 9.925 VT, 9.950 UB and 8.550 on beam---get her off the beam.  McComb earned a 9.9 on VT and a 9.95 on FX.  Worley tallied a 9.9 on BB.   I will not commend Noel Couch's 9.9 on FX as there is no way she ever deserves to score that high on any apparatus given her built-in deductions.

In other news, Jordan Moore (who rehabbed most of the pre-season) tore her ACL and is out for the year.

Florida lost at Arkansas tonight.  If there is one place where good teams flub, it is always a meet at Arkansas.  It is the only place one ever saw Kupets fall twice in one routine as a collegiate gymnast.  The UF coaches had said that they were going to rest the AAers who were going every week for two weeks, but it appears they only meant two meets (both last weekend.)  The top gymnasts still competed on a few events at each competition, so it is possible that they haven't been all that rested.  Most of the top gymnasts were in the lineup tonight and the big four actually made a majority of the errors.

This could be a blessing is disguise, as the Gators were performing like Gator Teams past who dominated the regular season and last momentum after SECs.  Following next week's meet at Utah, the Gators will have a week off before the SECs on March 19th.  This could be the kind of kick in the ass the team needs to keep from coasting.  An undefeated season is nice for bragging rights, but it doesn't win a National Title.  Many teams need that final ass kicking.  We've seen moments where several of the Gators have been wobbly on beam.  Alaina Johnson and Ashanee Dickerson both fell tonight.  Macko's 9.675 and King's 9.7 on floor were also costly.  Even Alaina's 9.825 on floor is one of her lowest scores this season.  The team finished with a 196.1.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Russian Nationals News Clip

The most we've seen from this year's Russian Nationals thus far.  As previously reported, Aliya Mustafina sat out this week's championships in order to rest for the upcoming American Cup.

Bruins Rounding Into Form

This has not been an easy season for the UCLA Bruins.  While the Bruins were overscored at their last home meet, they displayed a stronger performance than they have.  For once, they looked like a Super Six team.

If Val can pull off an unthinkable NCAA Title this year, her merits as a coach will be unquestionable.  Stranger things have happened.  No one thought Georgia could win in 2005.  This batch of Bruins has yet to find their spark, but it creeping in ever-so-slightly.  Val compares this season to last, but there was certainly more spark last year.  They needed to find their lineups.  This year's evolution appears different in terms of performance level, regardless of whatever PR line is being given.

This and That

Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett announced the end of their partnership today.  Caydee plans to continue and will be a much-wanted partner, while Jeremy plans to go into coaching and show skating.

Gametime with Shayla Worley

UCLA update with Miss Val

Wonderful feature on 'dance major' Jonathan Cassar.  It is bullshit that his PCS were only 68.50, but the judges clearly held him down for not having a Triple Axel.  If PCS were accurate, he'd have scored much higher than Miner and Dornbush.  I'll be nice to our National Champion and not make a comparison.

One year later, Joannie Rochette reflects.

Joannie confirmed that she will compete at the 2011 Japan Open.  She has never been skating better than she is now.

Marlie have sealed their #1 ISU ranking.  They can lose Worlds and will still be the number one ranked ice dance team in the World.

Mao Asada and Miki Ando prepare for Worlds.

Gym Dog Practice Update
Kat Ding has the flu.  Shayla is limited to bars this week.  Ironically, this foot issue could be the thing that keeps Shayla in one piece for the post season.  This makes it more of a challenge for the Gym Dogs to finalize their lineups, but we can only hope that Jay will have learned that he needs to go with greatness when his team's future is on the line and not go with the 9.7s.

Jonathan Horton hopes to me more than 'just a trickster' in 2011.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This and That

The Russian Nationals took place and Anna Dementyeva won the All-Around over Anna Pavlova, which shows how the race for the title was lacking in terms of competitiveness.  Aliya Mustafina participated in podium training, but sat out the meet in order to rest for the upcoming American Cup.

Viktoria Komova competed on three events.  She dominated bars with a 16.700, but struggled on beam and floor.  Vika is still returning from a sprained ankle suffered in December.  According to Zamo, "she has a lot of work to do."  The Russians do award special bonus points, so the score is higher than it would otherwise be.  It does not dispute the fact that her bar routine was killer.

The Ksenias did not compete.  Nabieva and Myzdrikova competed just a few events each.


Allyse Ishino will be out 3-5 weeks due to an ankle injury.  She is scheduled to be back for post season.

Evan Lysacek is up for the Sullivan Award.  Vote Online.

Gator Chomp: Two-Meet Weekend

The Gators had senior night already, which seems pretty ridiculous.  It wound up being the perfect time to switch up the lineup, as many of their all-arounders needed to be rested and the team needed to slow down, as they appear to be approaching post season form a bit early.  The additional depth is a real blessing for them, as they need to be prepared for the unexpected.  Their score for senior night was a 196.850 and they performed just .025 to defeat West Virginia and UNH with a 196.875 on Sunday afternoon.

The lineups look like they have all but set themselves.  Randy Stageberg looks like she has turned her career around and will be a leadoff type on beam and floor for the Gators and the second alternate on vault.  Marissa King looks like she is the definite alternate on bars.

Brittney Noble was back, but this season looks like mostly a wash for her.  She may have another shot to compete this weekend, but they coaches really don't have enough opportunities (or enough of a need) to make her consistent enough to contribute in the post season.  Nicole Ellis' fugly bar routine will have to do.  It isn't pretty, but she hits.

Macko's 9.975 on beam was beautiful and astounding for anyone who followed her elite career.  The girl is really learning to compete and is making a case for herself to be SEC Freshman of the Year.  The SEC rarely ever gives out a co-award, but Macko and Alaina may be deserving this season.

The Gators may not be the most fabulous team ever, but they certainly have exceptional difficulty and consistency.  With improved recruiting, their form and style looks to be on the upswing.

Four Continents: A Reflection

The Four Continents Championships have come and gone.  It is amazing that there was almost no television coverage of the event to be found.  Back in the day, we couldn't get Susie Wynne and Peter Carruthers off of ESPN if we begged.  We used to see Yoshie Onda and Naomi Lang compete year after year and ask ourselves why on Earth we were watching the event.  I believe those craptacular years are the reason we cannot even get Icenetwork to show the event.  The USFSA must care very little about the event, since they hold Nationals right before and sent a hung-over bunch who are still feeling the after-effects of the competitors' banquet.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

History Lesson: 1995 Skate America

The 1995-1996 skating season was regarded as one of the most memorable and fabulous seasons in skating history.  Perhaps it was just a marketing scheme for ABC Sports and Sandra Bezic to make money producing highlight shows, videos and books---but the season was absolutely fantastic.

Skate America kicked off the fall international season for years and in the fall of '95 it kicked off the Champion Series for the first time.  There was plenty of pocket change to go around to the victors: $30,000 for first, $18,000 for second and $10,000 for third.

Back in the fall of '95, the USFSA (with a little $$ help from ABC) put together a field of six ladies that made for must-see TV.  Narrated by Dick and Peggy, this event was one for the ages.

Monday, February 21, 2011

2011 WOGA Classic

The 2011 WOGA Classic is in the books and with it, the early elite season is officially underway.  Most of the girls competing this early are attempting to earn an international assignment in the early Spring.  Ivana Hong did not compete as anticipated.  It appears that Valeri is holding his senior elites out of competition until they are absolutely prepared to make a splash.

Katelyn Ohashi and Madison Kocian were the standout juniors.  Both unveiled numerous upgrades with varying degrees of success.  Jordyn Wieber competed and is noticeably taller than she was a year ago.  While the growth spurt has not been disastrous by any means, she does appear to be in the process of making adjustments to all of her skills.  Gymnastics looks just a tad more difficult for her now.  Lizzy Leduc looks to be improving, but not at the same pace of Ohashi.  That is what happens when you come from GAGE, as opposed to a gym that has shitty technique.

Marine Brevet of France captured the senior title and Katelyn Ohashi captured the junior title.

Katelyn Ohashi's beam routine is the BEST routine of 2011 thus far!  She attempted an upgrade on floor (front layout+double front) but fell.  She also missed her last pass on floor and still won based on the strength of her bar and beam routines.  The girl is a star.

Mykayla Skinner continues to be one of the most horrific, rushed elites I've ever seen.  Even Donna Strauss would likely advise the girl to slow down and learn a little form and technique.

Senior International Elite Results
Junior International Elite Results

An elite qualifier was also held, which Nica Hults competed at despite not having a great level of difficulty or a level 10 season under her belt.

Senior Elite Qualifier
Junior Elite Qualifier

Videos after the jump!

Love Him!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Four Continents Videos

There has been sucky coverage all around for Four Continents, but here are some of the videos available.  My commentary will come after I've been able to watch the coverage the becomes available.  The time difference has made it difficult.  It was too hard to stay awake through all of the craptacular ladies short programs last night.  I fell asleep when girls were still performing 1 1/3 revolution jumps.

While we can usually count on Japanese TV for Grand Prix coverage, they only broadcast the men's and ladies' events (what they're good at.)

2011 Florida @ Georgia TV Broadcast

Finally, the TV Broadcast of the much-talked-about meet.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Four Continents Update

Voir withdrew from the free dance mid-way through after Tessa supposedly felt stiffness in her thigh.  That is curious, as everyone looks at her shin when she skates over to Marina and Igor.  If you've read their book, you need to wonder if her shins are more of a problem than they are letting on.  It is such a shame, as their free dance is absolutely great (what we've seen thus far.)

Men's Short Results

The other few videos available from Four Continents are after the jump!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

In Case You Have A PC

Four Continents LIVE Feed
(Must use Internet Explorer)

This and That

Pang and Tong

Takahashi and Tran

Japanese Training Clip

The overall lack of videos from Four Continents is hurting my soul.  Luckily, I stayed up until 5 AM to catch the short dance.

Ask The Bruins

Evan Lysacek had a live chat with USA Today.  Here is one quote that made me groan and spurred Gaysian Attorney to exclaim, "I hope Dick Button pees on his face."  We get that Scott pays his bills, but the statement is just wrong on so many levels.

I have always admired Scott Hamilton. His expertise and enthusiasm about skating is unparalleled and he has given so much to the sport. He is now so iconic in the World of broadcast as THE skating commentator. I would really enjoy working with him someday.

Voir's Return To Competition

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Question of the Day

Should Iyanla have been giving Vanessa Atler or ANYONE advice on Starting Over?

This and That

Preview of Voir's new Samba free dance.  Finally, they have something to talk about other than her shins and the two months where they didn't talk (and needed to go to couples counseling over.)

And an article about it with cocky quotes from Scott Moir.

A BBC Shawn Johnson update.  They love Shawn in the UK, as she is built sturdily, like typical British women.

Nastia on set for GK, looking fierce and avoiding rice and soy sauce in her sushi.

IG2 gave us a Nastia Liukin interview where they posted about her cameo on Hellcats and her clothing line.  Love Nastia, but who gives a shit?  Tell us about her training!  (They're saving that for their magazine, which has tens of subscribers.)

An article about Shayla Worley 'finding her footing.'  Funny, she could've used it on her beam dismount last weekend!

Anna Li is filming her Honda commercial tomorrow.  She went on the audition on a whim, got it and will now be flipping across a TV screen near you.  I've never been so glad to drive one of their fuel-efficient vehicles.

Tara Lipinski used her day off in NYC to visit coach Craig Maurizi in Hackensack.  The Lipinskis tried to fire Callaghan and make his then-assistant Tara's coach in Nagano, but the USFSA wouldn't have it.  Craig was often seen with Tara by the boards at professional competitions.

Julianne Hough is in talks to star in the film adaptation of Rock of Ages.

Alex Shibutani is writing the only worthwhile blog ever posted on IceNetwork.

Pang and Tong announced that they will marry after Worlds.  The Chinese pairs have an opposite approach to the Russians.  The Russians encourage their pairs to get it on and marry while a competing couple, while the Chinese save that for marriage---which they postpone til after the major competitions of their career.  By that time, the Russians are usually heading to Reno for a quickie divorce.

Kim Navarro is enjoying her time in Europe (who wouldn't, with sexy Michael Solonoski as her cast member and main source of man candy.)

Hannah Whelan, Sam Hunter and Cyril Tommasone were added to the field for the American Cup.  The Mag 7 will also be honored at the event...for no particular reason other than the event being near Shannon Miller's hometown.  The fifteenth anniversary of the win isn't until July.

Elsa Garcia is recovering from hand surgery and hopes to be in top form for the World Championships.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This and That

Evan Lysacek, Sarah Hughes and Tara Lipinski rang the closing bell for the New York Stock Exchange.

Frank Carroll on marking the anniversary of the crash of Sabena Flight 548.

Kat Ding designed four of UGA's leotards for this season.  She aspires to own a fashion boutique after graduation.

Corey Hartung and Nicola Willis are enjoying their life on the road with Saltimbanco.

Alex Johnson is off the ice until at least March with bone contusions and microfractures in his ankle.

Joshua Farris' Nationals were a nightmare.  He has a torn abductor muscle in his left hip, broke his fibula on his second triple axel, sprained a tendon and was in the hospital until 3 AM the night before his long program due to have an allergic reaction after eating at a restaurant.  The boy is tough: he plans on being back on the ice in about two weeks.

Rhonda Faehn on the Gators last meet.

UF Practice Update

Rest assured, Chinese Officials are going to investigate the age discrepancies made by the Chinese Skating Association on their website.  AKA, they'll fake some documents and cut off someone's hands for posting those ''incorrect'' birth dates.

The Russian Figure Skating Federation announced its World Team:
Bobrova and Soloviev and Ilinykh and Katsalapov
Alena Leonova and Ksenia Makarova
Artur Gachinski
Volosozhar and Trankov, Kavaguti and Smirnov, and Bazarova and Larionov

The first token Mao vs. Miki Four Continents preview from Japanese TV

Mai Murakami won Floor Exercise at the Japanese National Championships

Remembering The 1961 US World Figure Skating Team

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the crash of Sabena Flight 548, which killed the entire US delegation en route to the 1961 World Figure Skating Championships.  The sudden deaths of an entire generation of figure skating coaches, skaters and officials remains one of the greatest tragedies in sport and changed the world of figure skating forever.

The story of the team will be featured in RISE, but it is important to remember them for their skating and not just how they influenced Evan Lysacek and provided a cosmic connection for Michelle Kwan.

This and That Bonus

Cheryl Burke is out promoting her book and just made it to the set of Good Morning America with five minutes to spare.  While some commenters on this blog have asked what she could possibly have to talk about, it appears that her book may be worth a read.  Cheryl discusses sexual abuse, self-esteem issues, weight issues and becoming known as a party girl in the public eye.  Sadly, it does not seem that she has made any big revelations about getting it on with Drew Lachey.

Miss Val discussed UCLA's performance at Chicago Style.  Sadly, she is not delivering any of her infamous icy glares at the camera.

For those who can't get enough of this terrible trio, Evan Lysacek, Sarah Hughes and Tara Lipinski will be getting some face time for themselves and promoting RISE by ringing the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange this afternoon at 3:59 PM.

Four Continents Preview

The Four Continents Championships kick off Thursday in Taipei and are the final big tune-up for the World Championships for the non-European figure skating nations.  Four Continents was originally a B or C-list competition that skaters like Yoshie Onda won, but it has developed into a formidable competition due to forced (or strongly-encouraged) participation by the ISU over the last four years.  Skaters use the Four Continents to build momentum and reputation, while trying to avoid giving their peak performance a month too early.  ISU ass-kissing federations, like Skate Canada, treat Four Continents with the utmost importance and will routinely proclaim their skaters the best in the world following a gold medal.  Oddly, Patrick Chan (the PCS-magnet) declined to participate in the Four Continents Championships in order to save his best stuff for the World Figure Skating Championships.  Patrick peaked at Four Continents in 2009 and was unable to deliver another golden performance at this year's World Championships.

Despite Patrick's absence, the event will go on and feature several intriguing storylines.

This and That

This should come as a shock to no one: the Chinese Skating Federation is being investigated for allegations of age falsification.  Kudos to Nancy Armour for getting to the bottom of it.  These allegations originally began as a discussion on FSU.  If true, the allegations mean that Sui and Han are ineligible for Junior Worlds, let alone competing at Senior International competitions under the ISU.  Nancy indicates that the ISU has been very strict about their age rules.  They did not bend from pressure to allow Sasha Cohen to compete at the 2000 World Championships or to allow Mao Asada or Yu-Na Kim to compete at the 2006 Olympic Games.  The IOC is also aware of the allegations, as they indicate that Zhang Dan was ineligible to compete at the 2002 Olympic Games. Though the Zhangs did not win a medal at the time, it is likely that the IOC will have to take action.  This comes less than a year after the IOC stripped the 2000 Chinese Women's Gymnastics Team of their bronze medals due to two team members being declared ineligible.  That decision is largely believed to be a trade-off, as several members of the 2008 Chinese Women's Gymnastics Team had numerous documents showing them to be underage.  The government provided passports and family registration cards, which obviously could've been reprinted by the government to avoid embarrassment.

Kexin Zhang was removed from the entry list at Four Continents after it was revealed that her listed birthdate made her ineligible for the competition.

Bobrova and Soloviev hope to medal at Worlds.

 A recent interview with Alissa Czisny.  This article is proof that an interviewer must ask currently-competing athletes extremely specific questions when interviewing them in order to avoid evasive, worthless answers.  The final question in the interview is "Do you have goals for the World Championships?"  Duh.  Yes, Alissa has goals.  She responded as much and said that one of her goals is to help the US get three spots for next year.  Had the interviewer been prepared for dealing with the BS of currently-competing athletes (Michelle Kwan-type answers), they could've asked, "Aside from skating your best, what are your goals for the World Championships?"  Otherwise, the answer isn't worth the free space it is printed in.

Mark Kerrigan blames cough syrup for failing an alcohol screening while on home confinement as he awaits his day in court for the manslaughter charges he faces for the death of his father.  The Kerrigan family has said they're behind him, which seems to be a giant Jackson-family type coverup support led by a matriarch who doesn't want to see her own kin in prison.  Mark Kerrigan did only blow a .035, which may indicate one drink or the use of actual medicine.

Apparently, this commercial is to sell a phone.  I'm not sure what it has to do with a phone, but I'll buy it if Yu-Na and her DDR-loving friends want to come over and dance around my house.

Ekaterina Gordeeva was interviewed by Lifeskate about her return to Stars on Ice.

Yesterday was a big media day for SOI, as Belgosto went to Boston to drum up interest in the tour and ticket sales.  The cast is currently rehearsing before they kick off their 25th Anniversary Tour and try to convince everyone that it is very different from every other year by bringing back Kurt and Katia (two skaters surely worth seeing any year.)

Evan Lysacek is out doing media today and took a photo reading DWTS-friend Cheryl Burke's book, which comes out today.  Cheryl and Evan are both represented by Yuki Saegusa, a Senior VP at IMG.

Anna Bessonova proved that she is still the HBIC of RSG at the 2011 Miss Valentine Gala.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chicago Style: Level 10 Meet (Featuring Several Elites)

The Chicago Style Level 10 session is the reason the NCAA coaches bring their team to the meet.  The best in the Midwest tend to show up for the meet and show off their stuff with plenty of recruiters on hand.  Current and former elites, as well as Level 10 standouts competed at this year's meet, including: Lexie Priessman, Kayla Williams, Amelia Hundley, Grace Williams, Rachel Spicer and Jessica Howe.  It is noteworthy that the former coaches from Texas Dreams (now at Metroplex) brought their girls to this meet as opposed to their old gym's Texas Prime Meet/Legends Classic.

Videos after the jump!

This and That

The University of Michigan recorded a solid 196.500 today, finishing three tenths behind Stanford.  Nebraska was a non-factor.  The highlights of the meet were Kylee Botterman's 10 on Vault and Trish Wilson's 9.925 on bars after missing two years of competition due to knee injuries.  Trish is from Calamity Gina's gym and like the Gym Dog had a great level 10 career only to have injury after injury in college.  Both had issues during their club careers, but were never the messes they became in NCAA.

A feature on Stolbova and Klimov

ESPN video on the enduring legacy of the 1961 US World Team.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

This and That

Denney and Barrett are out of the Four Continents Championships, after Jeremy's leg was sliced in a training accident.  Marley and Brubaker will replace them.  This is certainly a big opportunity for the pair so early in their career together.

A photo of Jeremy's leg before the 42 stitches.

Ilia Kulik's plans for a skating school were approve in Lake Forest, California.

Paul Ruggeri is out for the season after rupturing the peroneal ligament on the lateral side of his left ankle.

The University of Florida Gators posted the highest score in the country (197.725) at UGA.  The Gym Dogs only posted a 196.600 despite massing cheating for them by the judges.  Shayla Worley's bar scores was questionable when she got a 9.925...after typically scoring a tenth lower each week due to body positions and missed handstands.  The real story was her beam routine.  Shayla was delivering the best beam routine of her NCAA career until missing her foot and falling on her dismount.  Still, the judges scored the routine a impossible score.  The judges were Susan Ammerman, a Brevet judge from Florida and Cynthia Davis, a Level 10 judges from Georgia.

Kat Ding did receive a legitimate 9.975 for her bar routine and tied for the event title with Alaina Johnson.  UF went 1-2-3 in the All-Around with Johnson, Dickerson and Caquatto.  Marissa King only competed vault after suffering a sprained arch in her foot prior to the meet.  It is now time for the Gators to switch up the lineup and avoid peaking too soon.

The meet will air on ESPNU at 7 PM on Thursday, February 17th.

The Crimson Tide put up a season-best score (197.075) last night.

Blahtah posted a 196.975 at home.

The real story seems to be Oklahoma, who scored a 197.225 on the road.  The team is really fit and coming on strong.  KJ Kindler has made sure to request routine inquiries from each meet in order to know where the deductions are coming from.  KJ's choreography is really coming along and many are beginning to feel that she may be as talented as Val Kondos when on top of her game.  Both bar judges awarded Taylor Spears a 9.900 on bars, which makes her one of the most successful WOGA gymnasts in college already.  The girls from Plano are finally being respectable in college.

Victoria Moors became the first Canadian to land a double-double on floor tonight at the Nadia Comaneci Invitational.  Mack Brannan won the AA in the junior division.

A Glorious Moment In Television

The Gym Dog Show

This program was much more fabulous when the head coach loved the gays.  Let this be a warning to everyone: this is what happens when you become Southern and Country.

Is anyone developing a slight crush on Kevin Copp?  Every time that boy identifies a release...  ;)

This show also features another glorious speech from Courtney McCool on coaching...UGA's extemporaneous speaker knows how to turn a yes or no question into a twenty minus diatribe.  "It was as if the breath of life filled me on that beam and kept me from falling on that side somi."

Question of the week...should Jay be in the group that does extra cardio each week?

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Florida-Alabama Broadcast

Suzanne Yoculan had more of a role in the commentary of this meet.  Overall, her contributions were among the more useful.  She pointed out why Marissa King's vault doesn't score as highly as the stuck Yurchenko Fulls and pointed out Ashanee's release being caught with bent arms.  As far as Bart, Suzanne and KJC as a trio, there is still work to be done.  The order of commentary is: Bart Talks, Kathy Talks, Suzanne talks (if there is time.)  Her comments are often a bit rushed during vault and bars, after Kathy names Macko's coaches (who are meaningless to most of the viewers, especially the casual ones.)

Kudos to Suzanne and Sarah for maintaining a straight face when Suzanne told her (from one coach to another) that her heart went out to her during their bar rotation.  ESPN is contracted by the SEC to cover the meet, which is why they tend to be overly nice about everything being shown.  

Florida is leading the country.  They look solid, but they are also benefitting from a lack of competition around the country (as evidenced by the Chicago Style meet.)  They are really gelling on vault, bars and floor.  Their beam routine could really use team pressure sets where they need to achieve a 49.4 or so (twice) before rotating on to the next event.

Alabama is supposed to come on strong later in the season, but there are doubts whether they'll be able to be a true contender.  Ashley Priess is unlikely to do All-Around this season.  Her scores can only replace so much.  The fact that Rachel Terry is competing on floor shows how weak they currently are in some spots.  Geralen Stack Eaton continually looks deflated.  She makes Gina Gogean look happy, but she also tends to be consistent like the Romanian stalwart.

Kayla Hoffman is capable of being one of the top All-Arounders in the country.  Her vault and bars continue to be top-notch.  If she can hit beam and floor, she will be tough to contend with during the post season.

Becca Alexin made the error of going before the green light, which can largely be attributed to her rarely ever being in the lineup.  Many veterans, even Anna Pavlova (in the Olympics), have made that error.

Alabama's girls may be a tad large and in charge, but they can do some huge double layouts off bars and STICK them.  Some of the Gators could really benefit from additional amplitude on their bar dismounts.

Sarah DeMeo and Kim Jacob need to step it up a notch for the team to reach the next level.

Florida prided themselves on doing difficulty and executing it well.  I'd say they are looking better than usual in that respect, but still have a ways to go.  Nicole Ellis' bar routine isn't that difficult, nor does she execute it that well.

Ashanee is apparently working on her form.  Girl could use a little extra help.

Marissa King is looking great on vault and floor.  She needs to get that beam routine consistent.  It may take eliminating some of her skills, as she was quite inconsistent in workouts at NCAAs last year.  Hopefully, she will remain the alternate on bars.  It has never been a consistent event for her.

Macko and Alaina continue to energize the team.  If they can continue to push one another in the All-Around, Florida will look good in the post season.

In closing, any judge that awards Ashanee a 9.9 on bars is on serious crack.

There has been some debate online and among coaches whether or not Mrs. Sloan sitting next to Mrs. Caquatto is an NCAA rule violation in terms of recruiting.  Recruits are allowed to travel with their parents, but they are not supposed to sit with any program's boosters.  It is debatable whether or not a parent is a booster.  They do have a prior-relationship, but that comes from traveling to gymnastics meets.  It remains a gray area.  When Sloan visited UGA, Amber Trani (a former member of the team/Team Manager) was hanging out with Sloan while she was assisting ESPN.  Again---another gray area.  The NCAA rules get a tad ridiculous.  These are obviously minor infractions, as it isn't like they are paying gymnasts under the table or buying them cars...which goes on when most big schools recruit football and basketball players.

View the rest of the videos after the jump.

Chicago Style

LIVE Stream

Setting The Scene
Tonight's Chicago Style meet will be a most curious one for gymnastics fans.  The UCLA Bruins have been off a week after finally putting together a decent performance.  It is unclear whether they will be able to keep that momentum going against two in-conference rivals.  Stanford and Oregon State are two teams with momentum on their side.

UCLA defeated Oregon State at Oregon State in their last meet, but that meet was only decided by half a tenth.  This match-up should prove to be quite competitive yet again.

Oregon State begins on Vault, UCLA begins on Uneven Bars and Stanford begins on Floor Exercise.

Sam Peszek is expected to exhibition on Uneven Bars, which will mark her semi-college debut.  The routine will not count toward the team score.  Miss Val said that the easiest beam dismount for Sam to do will be a double pike.  It remains to be seen if that is the case or a Miss Valism "based on a true story."

It is important for UCLA to keep the momentum going, as their best meet thus far has only been a mid 196.  They really need Tauny to rock a vault, for McCullough to be a total NCAA FX Champion diva on floor and Elyse to shine everywhere.

LIVE Commentary below the jump!

This and That Part Duex

Yu-Na Kim is feeling ready for the World Championships.  Her technical elements will be the same as last season, but she is really focusing on artistry and presentation.  It remains to be seen whether not competing at Four Continents as a warm-up event will hurt Yu-Na and her team.  She hasn't skated in front of an audience since All That Skate LA, not even at her rink's Christmas show.  Yu-Na's programs at Worlds serve as her latest marketing effort to make Koreans fall in love with her again and forget that she gets the hell out of dodge when it comes time to prepare for competitions.  Yu-Na really appreciates her country's support, just as long as she doesn't have to train or compete on home ice.

Cheryl Burke's memoir hits bookstores next week.  I can't wait to hear about how competitive she really is!  Yuki Saegusa represents so many fierce Asians!  (Not to mention Evan Lysacek, who fake bakes enough to obtain that Asian hue.)

Ina and Zimmerman are going to be replacing Sale and Pelletier in certain cities on SOI.  Kudos to John Zimmerman's hotness.  As always, look out for Kyoko's bitchy glares if John makes a mistake.  We can only hope that they will confirm whether or not Marlie and other current stars will be guest-starring on the tour after the World Championships.  The skaters have joined for the last few years, but SOI has really convinced themselves that by bringing back Gordeeva and Browning, they have a whole new tour with a mix of young and old.  It remains to be seen whether or not it has translated into ticket sales.  I'd really like to buy my tickets, but I'm holding out a tad until Marlie is added.  I'd like Jeff Buttle to be added too, as he was quite popular in the US during the 2008-2009 tour.  Unfortunately, a few old times are clogging the performance fees and spots on the tour. In an effort to make the hottest ice show ever, I'd like to see the top skaters..,whether American or Canadian.  I wouldn't mind seeing three dance teams if they were awesome.  Times have changed and the SOI formula needs to catch up.

Lindsay Lohan may be an evil thieving wench, but she set off Fashion Week by making the career of Kimberly Ovitz.  Her $575 Glavis Albino is the hottest new dress.  While it may be inappropriate for court, the bitch looked fierce and the dress is selling out everywhere it is available.  If the financially-troubled star had any business sense, she'd make a deal to receive a portion of the proceeds from whatever she wears to court, as the exposure is making this young designer's career.  Lindsay clearly doesn't take court too seriously, so she might as well make a fashion statement any way she can.  This dress is certainly better than her own lines of leggings and self-tanner.
The Cal Gymnastics Women's team has been saved.  Unfortunately, the team is a non-entity and has been so for a long time.  The team has been saved due to the school's non-compliance with Title IX rules.  The Cal's men's team is the actual team deserving of being kept, but the program is being cut due to the need for equal representation for men and women.  Both teams were going to be cut, but they have reinstated the women's team due to the non-compliance issue was raised (even though they're claiming it isn't the case.)  Sadly, men's gymnastics may very well be a club sport in another decade.  The number of programs still around is so minimal that it risks losing its status as an NCAA sport.  The school is being non-committal about seriously funding the women's team, which means it will likely remain a team that UCLA puts its C-string gymnasts up against and still kicks the shit out of.  If Cal wants to make something of their program, they need a young, energized staff to make something out of it.  I agree with Title IX overall, but it remains sad that the need of schools to have enormous football teams has cut out the ability to finance men's gymnastics when they also have to provide equal representation for female sports.

Make sure your rink uses an electric Zamboni, as recent investigations are showing that rinks have dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.  Only three states regulate the levels of carbon monoxide in ice rinks.  Carbon Monoxide may be the reason why all of Tom Z's students are slow and as boring as listening to Ben Stein's voice.

Peter Vidmar is excited for the Year of the Handstand, USAG's latest worthless marketing promo.  In order to ensure future success in the sport, USAG really needs a 'year of the el grip.'

Bridget Sloan is taking all of her official visits despite being pretty set on becoming a Gym Dog.  UGA desperately needs her and Jay has developed a clear connection with Bridget.  He probably took a cue from Suzanne's book and mentioned how they train fewer hours than the other teams.  Bridget would have to train much harder than she likes to in order to be the team star at Florida.  Sloan is currently visiting Blahtah this weekend and has already visited Georgia and Florida.  She is set to go to college after the 2012 Olympics, which she has little shot of making.

Alicia Sacramone on Behind The Team.

Sexy Kevin and Andrew Atherton were interviewed at Cirque du Soleil Headquarters, where they are training for IRIS.  Both were members of the British National Gymnastics Team and cast members of the Fire Within series, which documented the creation of Varekai.  Both are close friends with Head Cirque Diva Stella Umeh.

This and That

Live Chat Archive with Roz Sumners and Evan Lysacek

Kohei Uchimura is out of the American Cup.  It is uncclear whether he is injured or if the meet just doesn't fit into his training schedule.  The problem with having the American Cup roster determined by the Worlds' results is that many of the athletes will be injured or not prepared to compete in the AA at that point in the season.  It is likely that many top names will be withdrawing or showing up looking like Liu Xuan in '99 (when she was even invited to the meet and showed up looking like complete shit.)

Ask The Bruins

Gym Dog Show

Mariel Box Feature  (Mariel has compartment syndrome, which is the same injury that has plagued Olympic Champion Tessa Virtue and plagued Kristy Powell as a gymnast.)

Christa Tanella is upgrading her floor routine to include a front layout+rudi and Shayla Worley is going to end with a 2 1/2 twist either this week or next.  As of now, she is no longer planning on doing a front double full mount.  Calamity Gina (Nuccio) may compete floor this week, as she is a beast who doesn't need much training time and the rest of the team is quite shitty.  They are using every possible weapon to combat the Florida Gators.  Hilary Mauro will also be back in the lineup.

Mukhortova and Blanchard are splitting up as a competitive pair and Oleg Vasiliev is unsure if he wants to continue coaching.

Paul Hamm updates IG2 on his injury.

Trish Wilson is determined to finally make a comeback after an NCAA career full of injuries.

Tune in to Gymnastike at 8 PM tonight to see their first LIVE broadcast: Stanford vs. UCLA vs. Oregon State at the Chicago Style Meet!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Things of Note (This and That Bonus)

Evan Lysacek and Roz Sumners are promoting the Smucker's Stars on Ice 25th Anniversary Tour via Live Chat on the Seattle Times website Thursday Feb. 10 (Today) from 12:30 PM-1:30 PM  PST.  Let's try to get some interesting questions in and not just all of the fluff.

Bonus points to anyone who asks Roz about competing against Katarina Witt, not popping double axels or asks her why she prefers tan skates.

Does Evan prefer competition to show skating?  Can he do the quad without getting injured?  Who designed his Tango de Roxanne costume?  Will we ever see him wear an actual color?  Does he miss his Dancing With The Stars spray tan?

Questions will be able to be submitted starting a noon, Pacific Standard Time.

Check out Universal Sports' Skype interview with Adam Rippon.

We need to be on the lookout for which networks will be covering Four Continents, as neither Universal Sports nor Ice Network will be broadcasting the competition in the US.  Time for some good ol' fashioned Justin.TV streaming!

Gymnastike will be having a LIVE broadcast of the Chicago Style meet this weekend, featuring UCLA, Stanford and Oregon State.  Hopefully they won't focus too much on teams that don't actually Anne definitely spends an awful lot of time interviewing gymnasts who struggle to get their Yurchenko Fulls around.  Anyone who asks Anne how the hell she is funded also gets bonus points.  Anyone who hands her a book on interviewing will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sam Peszek is set to make her NCAA debut exhibitioning on bars at the meet.  While Sam has never been a real swinger, her name should help her receive a decent score on the event.  If she loses weight like Maloney, we will even pretend that Miss Val made her watchable  and that we always loved watching her clunky gymnastics.

This and That

Nastia Liukin will be making a cameo as herself of Hell Cats.  Her episode will air this spring.

An in-depth interview with Voir:

Ilia Kulik is planning to open up a skating school in the OC.

Niki Tom Article

Absolute Skating interviewed Brian Joubert.

Rumor has it the McKenzie Wofford has left WOGA and moved back to Level 10.  This is probably a wise decision, as McKenzie was unlikely to be ready to make a run at the Olympic Team.

Gym Dog practice report.  Shayla vaulted for the first time in a while  Kat Ding is back training vault and Calamity Gina is doing floor again.  The team has reportedly had good energy.  They will likely put on a good showing this weekend and receive an added boost in their score by having to Georgia level 10 judges on the panel.

Tom and Lorenzo reviewed the fashion from the US Figure Skating Championships.  They covered the ladies and the gays.

Shawn Johnson recently had knee surgery to scope out her knee.  The surgery was before her recent trip to camp.  Chow is saying she may only be doing a few events this summer, but this is Shawn: one of those events is going to be beam.  She isn't a bar specialist.  If she is going to do a few events, it could quickly lead to more.  They don't know how hard to push her knee.  Some of the dance elements and twisting passes are more stressful to her knee than doing double pikes and double layouts.  They aren't sure what the time frame will be for her preparation, but slow and steady could very well win the race.  If they push too hard too soon, Shawn risks a Zmeskal situation where she'll have chronic knee injuries throughout her comeback.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, Margaret Thatcher!!!

Happy Birthday to the woman who inspires us all to be a better bitch!

Martha: The Great Chess Master

Martha Karolyi is approximately 18 months away from retirement.  As she prepares for her final Olympic Games as a coach or administrator, she seems to be making a concerted effort to be going out with the best possible result.  A graduate of the school of sport, Martha knows all about using psychological tactics in order to maximize athletic performance, work ethic and ultimately, competition results.  As a personal coach, Martha (and Bela) trained elite athletes in groups of six.  At the core of each group were two rivals.

This and That

Alissa Czisny was featured in Chrysler ad during the Super Bowl.

Voir's new Samba free dance is a gaytino sensation in terms of music.  They will be skating to Hip Hip Chin Chin by Club Des Beluga and Mujer Latina by Thalia.  Fans of DWTS will know that the Samba is the most difficult of the latin rhythms.  Kristi Yamaguchi even got an 8 when performing the Samba on the hit dance show.

Derek Hough announced that he will not be on the upcoming season of DWTS because he is filming Cobu 3D.  Derek previously starred in Footloose on the London's West End.  There were reports that he'd land a role in the film remake with his sister, but it appears that the producers decided to avoid the incestuous route.

Johnny Weir just closed on a $1.1 Million condo in Manhattan.  Moving away from his coaches in New Jersey would signal he is continuing on the professional route.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

This and That

Jake Dalton won the 2011 Winter Cup.  Danell Leyva was second.  CJ Maestas was third.

Gymnastike's Videos

Combined Results

USAG's videos

Richard Dornbush is working on mastering the quad.  According to his coach, he ''rents'' the jump but doesn't ''own'' it.  He was seen practicing the quad in Greensboro.  Nathan Chen will move up to juniors.  He is working on adding a triple-triple and is beginning to work on a triple axel.

Since everyone likes to over-hype the Russian Juniors, here is a feature on Adelina Sotnikova.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Smucker's Skating Spectacular Videos

A Pair On The Rise

NCAA Update

The University of Florida dominated their meet against the University of Alabama with an ass-kicking by two points.  The Gators' win was impressive due to their score (197.550) and the fact that the stars of the meet were Macko Caquatto, Marissa King and Maranda Smith.  Despite flat performances by Alaina Johnson and Ashanee Dickerson, the squad was able to perform slightly better than last week.  Home scores are always a bit high, but their level of performance was top notch.  Rhonda Faehn told the media that they will have Macko and Alaina do the All-Around again next week before they rest them a bit for two meets before revving up for the bigger meets that will close out this season for the team.  Rhonda seems to be concerned with managing the team and capturing wins, while also preventing them from peaking too early. 

A link to Marissa King's energizing 9.975 on floor exercise.  Don't you just hate it when people disable embedding?  Humorless bitches.

Friday, February 4, 2011

This and That

The Real Housewives of Round Lake: Mustafina, Semenova, Nabieva, Dementyeva, Afanasyeva and Kurbatova.

Voir committed to compete at Four Continents in two weeks!!!

A video update on Shawn Johnson.

Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin both had good showings at last week's training camp at the Karolyi Ranch.  Shawn's natural strength is allowing her to do almost all of her skills already.  While Shawn said she mostly did conditioning and limited skills, other coaches were impressed.  Nastia did bars and beam at camp and her body is slimming down into form.

New photos of her from this weekend's Super Bowl festivities in Dallas show that the diva's svelte body is returning to form.  Aunt Joyce is excited for both Olympic Champions, as the sport definitely could use their added interest and excitement!  Martha and Kathy Kelly are imploring all of the gymnasts to master big combinations on bars and beam in order to make the World Team.  If all goes as planned, the team will be a mix of veterans and newcomers.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

By Popular Request

The free skate of Jason Brown from US Nationals.