Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Land of the Free by Gaysian Attorney

Tonight, Blumberg/Seibert, Wynne/Druar, Roca/Sur, and Punsalan/Swallow were avenged. After decades of torture, the U.S. finally won and then some. Meryl and Charlie did it on Russian soil. They beat scheming Skate Canada. The neophyte Shibutanis medaled over Didier's skaters. Igor and Marina swept the podium. The list goes on and on. As someone who's been watching ice dance since the early 90s, whodathunk that this day would come.

What A Year

I hope you all enjoyed the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships.  The next few weeks are busy ones for me, so I've decided to take a few weeks off from blogging.  I am focusing on accomplishing a few things academically and will be back to give my thoughts in a bit.  For now, I need a nap after the longest season ever.

And let us pray for Komova's ankle to heal.

Yu-Na Kim: The Competitive Debut of Arirang


Friday, April 29, 2011

Quote of the Day

"I prefer the Germans, partly because I remember well when Ingo was the hotness. He could drop me and make my chin bleed and I wouldn't care."- Vanessa Williams, Pageant Queen

The Short Dance: According to Judy

Earlier today, I watched the short dance and wasn't sure what to make of it all.  My knowledge of the discipline has grown exponentially over the last five years, but the nuances of the Golden Waltz are a bit much for anyone to just be making evaluations over that go beyond pure snark.  To be fair, I'm not sure whether Tanith Belbin is even familiar enough with the dance to be providing worthwhile commentary.

Luckily, Judy Blumberg was brought in the school all of us on the Golden Waltz.  Judy's voice may be self-satisfied and her demeanor can grate on some, but listening to her is like learning from a master.  There is a reason why she is a Caller Extraordinaire and used to help teams across America find all of their shortcomings.  Like a good Jewish mother, Judy is able to find fault with almost everything.

This and That

He Kexin's new double pirouette gives her a 7.6 D score if everything is connected.

Cheng Fei performed at today's test event to determine whether she was ready to compete at the upcoming Chinese National Championships.

The Ladies' Short

I just got down watching the ladies short and decided to unfollow a few people on Twitter.  It is about time.  Strangely, I didn't unfollow the Polly Positive morons, as they make laugh.  Today was the big day.  Yu-Na skated competitively for the first time in 13 months.  Alissa Czisny got a rematch at Worlds.  And Mao Asada had a rematch with the Technical Caller Shin Amano.

It was a day that sort of lived up to the hype in the extent that these results will be debated for some time, but it was a sloppy event all around.  When such things happen, the caller seems far more important than ever to make sense of the mess.  Things got murky.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

This and That

Great feature on Yu-Na Kim's return to competition.

Ladies Competition Draw/Time Schedule

Alissa Czisny article.

The roster for the Moscow World Stars has been released.  Vikoria Komova is not on it, which was originally supposed to be the meet her coaches were aiming to have her back for.  It is better that they don't rush her back into competition.

Those competing include:
Anna Dementyeva: UB (Ex.), BB, FX
Ana Porgras: UB, BB
Diana Chelaru
Elizabeth Seitz
Lauren Mitchell: UB (Recovering from an ankle injury)
Oksana Chusovitina (Coaching for Uzbekistan and competing for Germany)
Sandra Izabasa
Tatiana Nabieva
Yekaterina Kurbatova

Cheng Fei is on the roster for Chinese Nationals.  The coaches may decide to have her skip to avoid another knee injury and have her just compete at the University Games in August.

The World Gymnastics Federation/IGC is introducing a professional competition on August 27,2011 on the campus of Lehigh University.  Scheduled to compete are: Hollie Vise, Chellsie Memmel, Jana Bieger, Susan Jackson, Jonathan Horton, Ivan Ivankov, Justin Spring, Brandon Wynn, Andrew Elkind, Sean Townsend, Wes Haagensen, Chris Brooks, Sean Townsend and Steve Legendre.  It is supposed to be some sort of skill-for-skill battle.  The details are sketchy and I'm sure it will be 'interesting.'  This is being filed in the 'I'm considering going to witness this' folder.

Sang Lan filed a $1.8 Billion lawsuit against USA Gymnastics and Time Warner.

Meet Michigan's Two NCAA Champions

Favorite Things Friday! (Gymnastics Edition)

I am going to bed early since Zumba and skating worlds have been kicking my ass.  Here are a few of my gymnastics favorites since there have been so many skating posts this week.

The Men's Long

I slept in and am watching this broadcast on Universal Sports.  Let's pretend this is live.

Two As One: A Pairs Final Report

Last year, I posted a rambling youtube video discussing my utter disgust for the discipline of pairs skating.  I wanted my money back for being forced to suffer through it for much of the last decade (aside from a few brilliant programs.)  This season, the pairs turned up the heat.  I made the executive decision to sleep in this morning.  Basically, my ass wouldn't get out of bed to watch any of them.  I figured I would stay in bed and watch the pairs with full attention.  And I'm glad I did.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Pairs Short



Free Skate Order

Videos after the jump!

Day 1 at Worlds

Today was the first day that mattered at Worlds.  Yes, I'm sure qualifying ''matters,'' but unless Michelle Kwan is competing, I don't feel the need to wake up at 5:30 AM.  Truth be told, I couldn't get myself up for the first three warm up groups of the men today.  I felt that sleep was more important than watching Ryan Bradley's intermediate spins.  I got up for Joubert (take that as you will.)

The Men's Short

A report is on the way.  For now:



Free Skate Draw

Videos after the jump!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Worlds Prelims Video

Takahiko Kozuka's winning program.

This and That

Mao Asada practices her Triple Axel.  Mao reportedly had a great practice and did many Triple Flip+Triple Loops and Triple Axels.  Watch her landing edge, as she still risks <.  The extra month does look like it has helped Mao return to more of the skater that we know and love.  Kanako Murakami is also in the clip.

Ladies Qualifying Report    Mae-Berenice won qualifying, while Min-Jeong Kwak had a disastrous skate and did not qualify to the short program.

Nastia Liukin will be guest-starring on Hellcats on the CW tonight.  I'd watch it live, but NKOTBSB are on DWTS and I need to see the hot mess that is The Voice.  I hope Ms. Liukin will forgive me for resorting to Hulu.

To make up for it, please sign the petition for Nastia Liukin to be on DWTS in the fall.  Imagine her legs doing a rumba and her bitch face doing the Paso and Tango!!!

The rink in Moscow is apparently too hot to handle.  It seems like Ottavio went for the opposite of causing frostbite at the recent European Championships.

The Unveiling of Yu-Na Kim's Arirang

I die.

Old Jump Content (under current base value): 44.15
New Jump Content: 43.00

Worlds Updates

Highlights of Ice Dance Prelims

Ice Dance Prelims Results 
The top six qualified for the short dance.  My fantasy team lives to see another day.

Voir Interview

Monday, April 25, 2011

Canadian Stars On Ice

A tour that dreams of being half full in the States is MUST SEE in the Great White North!

This and That (Bonus Edition)

AEG is partnering with USA Gymnastics to produce the 2012 and 2016 Post Olympic Tours.  Nastia Liukin will be a major part of the creative process, will serve as a spokesperson and a cast member.

Patrick Chan believes he is ready for his first world title.

Tara Lipinski was back on the ice jumping today.  She also seems to be chummy again.  Is she planning on competing at any pro-ams?

The Romanian Gymnastics Team had a TV Special.  Without a translation, Belu and Bitang looks very confident after the recent success of Sandra Izbasa at the European Championships.  There are plenty of training clips in parts 2 and 3.  Catalina Ponor looks to have almost all of her top skills back and is in killer shape.  Ana Porgras is the girl in leg warmers.

This and That

Russian Ladies Training Clips

Takahiko Kozuka won qualifying at Worlds with the fourth highest score of the season despite an underrotated Quad Toe.  (Really, when is it ever clean?)   Alexander Majorov was second and Michal Brezina was third despite a sloppy skate.

Worlds Training Clips  (Takahashi, Kozuka, Ando, Kim, Oda)

Yu-Na's short program run-through was basically her return to competition given all of the eyes on her.  Mission accomplished.

Ladies Qualifying Schedule

Ice Dance Qualifying Schedule

Skate Canada noted that Patrick Chan landed a Quad+Triple in his short run-through.  Does that mean he missed his triple axel?

Flatt is looking ahead and still not over congratulating herself for her AP Classes.

Voir with the press after a successful first practice.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Unveiling of Yu-Na Kim's Giselle


This and That

Kohei Uchimura at Japanese Nationals

Patrick Chan's big leap.

Ross Miner had a clean short run-through today.  Patrick labeled his practice an 8/10.

Team Morozov Update

Yu-Na Hits The Ice!!!

I can't breathe.  Universal Sports is uploading a full video (it is taking forever.)  Seeing her jump again is like watching Nastia in person for the first time.  I'm beginning to feel the back sweat of nervous excitement!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

This and That

Yu-Na has landed in Moscow!

Feature on Volosozhar and Trankov (Translation Welcome)

Marlie hope to end the gold medal drought.

Mao Asada prepares to defend title in Moscow.

Feature on the Helgesson sisters.

Tara Lipinski on being extra-ready or exhausted?

Voir and Patrick Chan are ready to compete for World Titles.

Friday, April 22, 2011

This and That

Kirstie Alleys and Maks flirted with Robin Roberts on GMA earlier today.

An interesting (and perhaps correct) take from a sports columnist on Why Jay Clark Must Go.

Oksana 'Pasha' Grishuk interview on Style On Ice. (She will always be Pasha.)

Plushenko spoke to the press about Worlds and got all riled up about his 'comeback.'

Rachael Flatt says she is focused on her artistry, but seems to indicate she is tired after the delay.  Note: the over-hyping of her short program is pathetic and sickening.  Oh Rachael, you don't look like complete shit this time...congrats!

Beth Tweddle comments on thinking on the spot at Europeans.

Elena Gedevanishvilli is now training with Nikolai Morozov.  Does Miki have reason to worry?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Favorite Things Friday! (Compulsory Edition)

This post is about love for compulsories!

This and That

Lexie Preissman on her first international competition.

Vanessa Atler is blogging again and it is time once again for us all to become utterly addicted to her.  Forget about the coaching entries, it is ALL about the Q+A.

There were rumors last spring that Scott Hamilton was planning Pro Skating Events.  Well, it turns out that the ISU has accepted his proposal for three Pro-Am events as long as he meets their requirements.

Skaters will now have an opportunity to compete in three Grand Prix events (with one being non-scoring in terms of qualifying for the GP) as a way to earn money and boost TV ratings given all of the withdrawals this season.

Quotes from Alissa Czisny's Pre-Worlds Press Conference.

Ryan Bradley says he is stronger than ever.

Kevin Reynolds will not be attempted two quads at Worlds due to injury.  This could help Team USA, as Reynolds (like Ryan Bradley) definitely needs as many quads as possible to earn a respectable placement.  His skating skills and Triple Axel just aren't cutting it.

Joannie Rochette will not compete next year, but still hopes to go for 2014.  After seeing her in Stars On Ice, she has certainly kept up with her technique and conditioning.

Full list of JO Nationals Qualifiers.  Interesting group.  Wisconsin's region must be weak if Mini Memmel made it again.  Geddert's qualified 14 gymnasts, including Kami Moore, who made it despite not even doing round offs in her routines earlier this year.

Yuzuru Hanyu Feature

Pia Toscano will sing on DWTS as part of her relationship-for-publicity.  Mark Ballas will dance while she sings.  They're oddly public for a few dates...  (Teri Hatcher+ Ryan Seacrest...anyone?)

Chris Cameron's Post-College Plans

His take on Worlds

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

This and That

Nicole Bobek at Skate for Love

Marlie gave a press conference where they told us OTAPAWJ and 'We feel more prepared with the extra time.'  They also lied and said they aren't thinking about winning, even though they've mentioned wanting to win Worlds all season long.

Alicia Sacramone debuted her new floor routine at camp.  Sadly, there is no thigh rubbing.

A Season of Randomness

Next week, the culmination of one of the most random seasons in figure skating history will finally occur.  If Japan had its way, they'd still be hosting the event.  Japan still wants to host the World Gymnastics Championships and wanted to host the event amidst aftershocks and nuclear meltdowns, yet Ottavio succumbed to Mother Russia's (always questionable) complete funding of the event.  For years, we've all known of bizarre ties to Russian skating that somehow make sense when you think of all of the mysterious yet wonderful Russian female ice dancers.

This and That

Danell Leyva prepares for the 2011 season.

Mattie Larson dislocated her knee cap at the National Team Training Camp yesterday.  A trainer popped the knee cap back into place and she was taken for tests.  No tears or breaks were shown.  Mattie is expected to only be out for 2-3 weeks.  This is not Mattie's first injury at camp, and certainly not even the first knee issue she has ever had.

Bridget Sloan is not at camp.  Her recent surgery may keep her out of Nationals and Worlds.  She is thinking about petitioning to the selection camps if all goes well when she returns to training soon.

As expected, the delay has helped Voir prepare for Worlds.

Tokyo is wanting to hang on to the 2011 World Gymnastics Championships.  The Japanese Olympic Committee is asking the FIG to keep the event there as an inspiration to the people---because holding an event will mean so much when so many in the country lost their homes and livelihoods.  They may not even have electricity to watch the event or lights to read newspapers about it.  As always, OTAPAWJ, but wait a year.

Verona van de Leur plead guilty to extortion.  Last year, Verona photographed two people in a park she thought were having an affair and demanded 3,000 euros.  She has already spent 72 hours in jail following her arrest.  The prosecutor is seeking an additional 90 days in jail and 80 hours of community service.  Sentencing is May 3.  Next, Khorkina would like to try her for ever daring to claim she was robbed of the 2002 European All-Around Title.  Bitch, please.

Czisny is excited about Worlds.  She said the delay has helped her mentally start a new season.  Hey, whatever can help her mentally is something everyone should support.  As Suzanne Bonaly put it, "she will either be brilliant at Worlds and medal, or have an epic skating through jumps.  Rachael will stay upright and just incur at least two double-downgrades.  Eyes on that double axel."  Like most American skaters from big cities, Czisny learned Russian from all of the yelling going on with the ice dancers and later studied it in college.

A very Pro-Korea article on Yu-Na Kim's return to competitive skating.  She leaves for Worlds on Friday and eyes a second world title.  They point out that while many skaters' conditioning may be dropping, Yu-Na has benefitted from the delay and doesn't have the wear and tear of the other top skaters.  We can only pray that the extra month has helped Mao consistently rotate her Triple Flip and that Miki is ready for a good nap next week.

Video feature on skaters' preparation for Worlds (featuring clips of Ryan Bradley, Rachael Flatt and a glimpse of Caitlin Yankowskas.)

How Shannon Miller is using exercise as a springboard to recovery.

Photos from the Crimson Tide's National Championship portrait session.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Love For Anna Pavlova

Ms. Anna Pavlova is rounding into form.  Mother Russia may need to call upon her for beam at Worlds this year for both stability and leadership.  Heaven only knows that Nabieva is not stable enough to be the emotional epicenter of the team.

NCAA Super Six Webcast

For those of us who missed the video of the Super Six and can't wait until May!

This and That

No matter what she does, I can't help loving and supporting Nicole Bobek.  It is almost like a familial love where we have to forgive her.  Our girl is far from perfect, but she can perform.  We've sat through years of IJS programs designed to be back with supposed 'good skating,' yet Nicole prepares for an ice show and films herself in an empty rink and just blows everyone away.  Dick Button once said that 'she knows what the audience wants and gives it to us.'  Is Nicole doing the most complex edges?  No.  She is putting on a performance and it is fabulous.  Unfortunately, Nicole's charisma cannot be taught.

Great article on Nicole preparing with some help from Todd, Callaghan and JoJo Starbuck.

Kwan's political career continues.

Jessica Dube takes another shot at Bryce by having a new partner already (boyfriend?) with Sebastien Wolfe.

Whatever happened to Mira Leung?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

NCAA EFs - Semi-Awake Live Blog!

Live video
Live scoring

Kittens, it's... *stretch* ... event finals! *yawn* If you think that I'm tired, just imagine the gymnasts that competed yesterday in Supah Six on the floor now getting ready to throw one vault they throw 10x a day and one vault they kind of worked on a couple of Saturdays ago in case they made vault EFs.

This and That

Amelia Racea and Daniel Purvis won the Glasgow World Cup.  The men's field was pretty strong.  Jonathan Horton had a poor meet and finished seventh after falls on floor exercise and high bar, struggles on parallel bars and his usual shitty pommel horse routine.  Daniel Keatings finished fourth as a Wild Card entry.  Philipp Boy was second while coming down from his big win at the European Championships.  Jessica Lopez was second for the ladies and Raluca Haidu was third.

Aliya Mustafina is eager to return to Mother Russia after a successful surgery.  She had the same surgeon as Chusovitina.

David Boudia won bronze on the 10-meter platform at the FINA Diving World Series in Great Britain.  Troy Dumais won bronze in the 3-meter and 3-meter synchro events.

Stanford's men's gymnastics team won NCAAs.  Unlike the women, they are capable of being competitive, fit and not being accepting of mediocrity.

Note that Ksenia Makarova would now like to be called Princess.  Don't you need to land jumps to be a huge diva?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

NCAA Super Six Videos

Kim Jacob

More will be posted (after the jump) as they become available.

NCAA Team Finals - Supah Six Live Blog!

Live Video
Live Scoring

Catty Comments back for the ultimate - it's Supah Six kittens! Good times! Are Jay Clark & Rhonda Fahen sitting together in the stands? Maybe not...

This and That

Yu-Na Kim introduces South Korea's Olympic Bid

Ksenia Makarova News Report (w/ training footage)  They look to be fixing her funky jump technique.

As thought, Moscow's picking up the entire costs for Worlds comes with a trade off-they are seeking to strong arm the ISU into reinstating Plushenko's amateur status.  The drama continues.

Feature on Pushkash and Guerreiro.

Patrick Chan tries to stay razor sharp.

Kristi Yamaguchi helps level the playing field.

Friday, April 15, 2011

NCAA Prelims Videos

The All-Around Champion

It was one dramatic day.

Event Finals Qualifiers: Session 2

The Event Finals Qualifiers and First Team All-Americans.

1. Marissa Gutierrez- 9.950 (Alabama)
1. Erin Davis- 9.950 (Nebraska)
3. Ashley Sledge- 9.900 (Alabama)
3. Geralen Stack-Eaton- 9.900 (Alabama)
3. Kayla Hoffman- 9.900 (Alabama)
3. Alaina Johnson- 9.900 (Florida)
3. Marissa King- 9.900 (Florida)
3. Janelle Giblin- 9.900 (Nebraska)
3. Jamie Schleppenbach- 9.900 (Nebraska)
3. Stephanie McAllister- 9.900 (Utah)

Uneven Bars
1. Sarah DeMeo- 9.900 (Alabama)
1. Geralen Stack-Eaton- 9.900 (Alabama)
1. Alaina Johnson- 9.900 (Florida)
1. Emily Wong- 9.900 (Nebraska)
1. Maria Scaffidi- 9.900 (Nebraska)
1. Jen Kesler- 9.900 (Oregon State)
1. Makayla Stambaugh- 9.900 (Oregon State)
1. Olivia Vivian- 9.900 (Oregon State)

Balance Beam
1. Kayla Hoffman- 9.900 (Alabama)
2. Kim Jacob- 9.875 (Alabama)
2. Leslie Mak- 9.875 (Oregon State)
4. Mary Beth Lofgren- 9.825 (Utah)

Floor Exercise
1. Geralen Stack-Eaton- 9.925 (Alabama)
1. Marissa King- 9.925 (Florida)
3. Maranda Smith- 9.900 (Florida)
3. Alaina Johnson- 9.900 (Florida)
3. Erin Davis- 9.900 (Nebraska)
3. Lora Evenstad- 9.900 (Nebraska)
3. Makayla Stambaugh- 9.900 (Oregon State)

NCAA Prelims - Evening Session Live Blog

Live Video
Live Scoring

Kittens, let's get ready to rumble, if "rumble" involves crystals, abused ponytails, and beam wobbles!

Event Finals Qualifiers: Session 1

The Qualifiers (and First Team All-Americans) From Session 1 are:

1. Brittani McCullough- 9.950 (UCLA)
2. Kylee Botterman- 9.925 (UMich)
3. Amy Borsellino- 9.900 (Arkansas)
3. Lindsey Cheek- 9.900 (UGA)
3. Katie Zurales- 9.900 (UMich)
3. Madison Mooring- 9.900 (Oklahoma)

Uneven Bars
1. Trish Wilson- 9.925 (UMich)
1. Monique DeLaTorre- 9.925 (UCLA)
3. Kat Ding- 9.900 (UGA)
3. Brittnee Martinez- 9.900 (UMich)
3. Kayla Nowak- 9.900 (Oklahoma)
3. Megan Ferguson- 9.900 (Oklahoma)
3. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs- 9.900 (UCLA)

Balance Beam
1. Megan Ferguson - 9.925 (Oklahoma)
2. Natasha Kelley- 9.900 (Oklahoma)
3. Sam Peszek- 9.875 (UCLA)
4. Melissa Fernandez- 9.850 (Illinois)
4. Kylee Botterman- 9.850 (UMich)
4. Aisha Gerber- 9.850 (UCLA)

Floor Exercise
1. Jaime Pisani- 9.950 (Arkansas)
2. Kylee Botterman- 9.925 (UMich)
2. Brittani McCullough- 9.925 (UCLA)
4. Katherine Grable- 9.900 (Arkansas)
4. Cassidy McComb- 9.900 (UGA)

NCAA Prelims - Afternoon Session Live Blog

Live Video

Live Scoring

This report will be brought to you by Catty Comments and Aunt Joyce.  They teams are currently marching in.  Unfortunately, the stadium is not event 1/10 full.  The preliminary sessions are never packed, especially the afternoon session.  Having it in Cleveland may not have been the best thing for getting a crowd.

In this session are Val Kondos, KJ Kindler, Jay Clark, Bev Plocki, Rene and Mark Cook and the backup singers known as their teams.

Favorite Things Friday!

Since this weekend is gym-heavy, this week is non-gymn focused!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

This and That

A random advertisement for All That Skate Spring 2011

An article about the crossroads Bryce Davison is at.

Daniel Keatings is set to compete in Glasgow this Sunday.

Steve Legendre won the Nissen-Emery award.

More From NCAAs: Alabama and UCLA

Alabama is looking ready to challenge for the title in their training videos.  Note that this is not the thinnest team you've ever seen, but they are seemingly fit.  Their big strong legs certainly know how to stick.  In my previous post, I mentioned how the first three girls in their beam lineup (Marissa, Milliner and Kayla Hoffman) all have the potential to splat.  Both Diandra Milliner and Kayla Hoffman came off the beam during their first touch on the apparatus.  Kayla looks like a potential AA winner if she stays off for all four events.

UCLA is looking strong.  They do not look to be as confident and sure-to-win as last year, but they look like a definite contender.  It could go their way if they hit.

Getting Started at NCAAs

The NCAA Training Day is underway and it looks like the battle for the title will be between four teams: Alabama, Florida, UCLA and Oklahoma.  Of the teams, Florida likely has the most scoring potential, but they have been struggling lately, potentially peaked too soon and continue to have some sloppy routines at the beginning of each lineup (Nicole Ellis' Jaegar on bars has never improved.)

UCLA is peaking at the right time and will need to lean on the name of Sam Peszek to get scores, as she is likely a 9.8 without a name, a 9.9 as a known Olympian.

Alabama is the most consistent team present, but they continue to have a beam lineup that is half-stars, half-nail biters.  Kayla Hoffman can be a 9.9 or she'll give several tenths away and/or fall.  She is not one to have a routine with small wobbles.  It is all or nothing.

Oklahoma is a team that has been coached to consistency.  There are no true 'stars' on the team, but KJ has coached the shit out of them and improved their weaknesses.  Unlike some top schools where girls don't seem to improve, there looks to be an extreme attention to detail in Oklahoma.  Their choreography is love it or hate it, but they are impossible to ignore.

Gymnastike is on hand providing training videos (after the jump!)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This and That

Daisuke Murakami at the Triglav Trophy

First look at Karina Smirnoff in Playboy.

Shawn Johnson training in March. (Somehow I missed this.)

Stephen Carriere is going to Boston College and has given up skating pairs, which is good, because he is tiny and lacks speed and power.  He will continue to skate singles.

Heat On A Rainy Day

Maya makes me want to smoke a pack of cigarettes.

This and That

The 2011 World Figure Skating Championships will be streamed live online, but delayed on TV due to the event being rescheduled.  The USFSA press release breaks down the special event subscription fee on both Ice Network on Universal Sports.  I for one know that I will be going with Universal Sports (and $5 more) to hear Tara Lipinski and Judy Blumberg's commentary.

Across the pond, the British Eurosport TV Schedule.

Jeremy Abbott reflected on this year and discussed next season with Lynn Rutherford at Proud Nation.

Pechalat and Bourzat are ready to fight for a spot on the podium at Worlds.  They are certainly favored to win at least bronze.

Blahtah hopes for no more lineup changes.  It is amazing how the Utah press keeps the team in the news by writing about a hang nail that took place 10 days ago.  That is Greg's relationship with the media filling that stadium every week.

There will be live results and video of this weekend's NCAA Championships on  Note that the event is now Fri-Sat-Sun after being Thurs-Fri-Sat for years.

Serena Williams got back on the court yesterday after almost a year of injuries and health concerns.  Her return to competition is unclear, but certainly is widely anticipated.

Mark Ballas and Pia Toscano have been dating in front of the paparazzi lately.  One only needs to wonder just how much this was born in publicity, as Mark was pretending to be a singer again and put out an album yesterday and Pia needs to keep her 15 minutes of fame alive.  TMZ (sadly a huge authority), said that Pia is signing/has signed by now with Interscope Records.  She was never one of the top vote-getters on Idol despite her obvious talent.

Sugar Ray Leonard and Anna Trebunskaya got the boot on DWTS last night.  It probably should've been Kendra, but her bad attitude does make things interesting.  Sugar Ray was dull and his marks were  inflated.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Wonderful World of Ice Dance: In The Mood to Rumba

(A great fluff explaining the Rumba compulsory dance.)

In honor of the ISU's decision to officially name the Rumba next year's short dance (and Gaysian Attorney's great post), let's get a bit ''Rumba'' happy.  It does boggle the mind that the ISU calls this rhythm a Rumba, but that is another can of worms that we'll surely encounter along the way.

Monday, April 11, 2011

NCAA Preview: The Gym Dogs

Of the twelve teams qualified to the NCAA Championships, the Gym Dogs remain the most intriguing.  Two years ago, they won their fifth title in a row.  A year ago, a rift between Jay Clark and the seniors resulted in adverse team chemistry and the out-of-shape team never developed the consistency or collective heart to challenge for a title (though they had the talent.)

This year, the Gym Dogs are no longer loaded with talent.  Jay Clark's first year as head coach brought in two of the most sought after recruits in the nation (Tanella and Worley) despite the changing of the guard.  His presence did not impact recruiting immediately.  Neither recruit has panned out as a true star as of yet.  This year's freshman class brought in solid level 10s, yet the replacement of top All-American talent has been non existent.

Jay Clark continually mentions that UGA knows they can be contenders if they hit.  That is half true and likely for PR.  Deep down, Jay is experienced enough to know where his team's weaknesses lie.  It is not necessarily his fault that Worley and Tanella aren't performing, but he did bring in another wasted body to get Tanella.  Since Tanella is not at the level of Tiffany Tolnay, it winds up being almost two wasted scholarships and a loss of up to seven or eight 9.9 scores.

Looking ahead to the NCAA prelims, I've taken a look at the team's last four meets to analyze the direction of the team and their potential chances for NCAAs.  It is tremendously helpful that the team will begin competing on Uneven Bars.  This is one of the team's two strong events and has potential to be the strongest.  If they can hit bars, hit beam and hang on through two events, they may be able to make the Super Six on a wink and prayer.  Making the Super Six would be amazing for this team that is scrapping at the bottom of the barrel.  The 2011 Gym Dogs don't have quite the power of the inconsistent 2005 team, which makes a surprise win next to impossible.

Joining the Gym Dogs in the afternoon session are UCLA, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Michigan and Illinois. The biggest advantage UGA has it that Michigan has to start on beam, which is often a deathly draw at an NCAA Championships.  Given the pressure of the session and Bev's bitchiness, it is quite possible that beam could be an utter meltdown of Utah Super Six proportions (pick a year, really.)  Arkansas is the other threat to keep them out of the Super Six.  Last year, the team melted down on beam.  Georgia will need to be on its A-Game, as the Razor Backs are a power team and begin on vault.  That could be deadly for Jay.

Short and Sweet by Gaysian Attorney

Not many were as sad as I to see the Compulsory Dance go. Lord knows I almost had a tear in my eye when Virtue and Moir skated the very last Compulsory Dance in Olympic history in Vancouver last year.

However, life goes on. Some of my fellow purists have refused to buy into the new Short Dance that has combined the Compulsory Dance with the Original Dance. But I thought the idea was fascinating and have enjoyed watching the teams deal with this new format this season. In essence, the Short Dance requires the skaters to combine a pattern dance (a Compulsory Dance pattern of yore) and a creative portion into one program. Think Dancing With the Stars and appeasing Head Judge Len. You've got to incorporate some of the old school moves while at the same time creating an innovative and entertaining number.

The required compulsory pattern in this season's Short Dance is none other than the dreaded Golden Waltz. It is universally considered the most difficult Compulsory Dance to be adopted by the ISU and was based on an Original Set Pattern created by 1992 Olympic Champions Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponamarenko (and their coach at the time Natalia Dubova) for the 1986-1987 season when the required rhythm for the OSP was the Viennese Waltz. It even caused trouble for the indomitable Pasha Grishuk on her way to her second Olympic gold in Nagano in 1998. And though it has been skated so often in the last few seasons, it made sense for the ISU to choose it as the first Compulsory Dance to be required as a pattern element in the new Short Dance, as the Golden Waltz contains "modern" movements not seen in other Compulsory Dances, e.g., spread eagles, shoot-the-duck, etc. The ISU chose to permit skaters to use a tango, foxtrot, or quickstep rhythm for the creative portion of the Short Dance in addition to the required waltz rhythm for the pattern dance portion of the Short Dance.

This and That

Vault Finals at the European Championships

Henri Duchesnay, father of Isabelle and Paul, passed away.

US author discusses her new book on Yu-Na Kim.

Update on Aliya Mustafina.  They hope she will be back for next year's European Championships.

Midori Ito entered the ISU's Adult Competition in Obertsdorf.

Nikolai Kuksenkov considered competing for Mother Russia and had an offer to switch, but he would've had to give up any hope of competing in London at the 2012 Olympics.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This and That

Uneven Bar Finals at the European Championships (BBC Commentary)

Melissa Bulanhagui at One Step Closer

Dominique Moceanu appeared on Ford Sports Sunday to promote the NCAA Gymnastics Championships.

Blahtah article on Corrie Lothrop and Stephanie McAllister.  Note that Lothrop has to sleep with her foot in a flexed position in order to keep her bone chips from moving and causing immobilization.

The WOGA Twitter account confirmed that Ivana Hong will be attending Stanford University next year.

Mary Lou vs. Mostepanova

It goes without saying that Mary Lou Retton only won her gold medal due to a boycott and was even lucky to win under those circumstances.  I'm not saying Bela is Italian, but I'm saying he knew how to wheel and deal like Carlo Fassi.  That being said, it is important for the newer fans of gymnastics (and skating fans) to realize just how diabolically cringeworthy it is to hear Al Trautwig mention Mary Lou Retton as an Olympic Champion who everyone wants to be like.  Americans suspended reality when watching the country dominate the 1984 Olympic Games (the tri-meet with Canada and China.)  It was almost as if we all went along and watched the Muppets together.  Miss Piggy is real and Mary Lou is the best gymnast on the planet...

Olga Mostepanova won the Olomouc Alternate Games in 1984 with a 'Perfect 40.'  Both Olomouc and the '84 Olympics were scored with the legitimacy of an NCAA dual meet in Stegman Colosseum or Pauley Pavilion today.  While Mostepanova's score may be dubious (along with her birth certificate, '68 or '69, she even says '70), it is important to remember that Mary Lou is the luckiest gymnast ever.  Ms. Mary Lou has made millions upon millions smiling when deep down she knows she'd have been lucky to have finished in the top five in a fully-attended Olympics.  Had the Olympics been fully attended, Olga Mostepanova pixie perfection may very well have captured the world's imagination in the fashion of Korbut and Comaneci.

When Mary Lou smiles her way to more money on television, it is important to reflect once in a while on just how well she compared to the best in the world.  Forget Szabo's tears, they were both incredibly lucky.

This and That

There was a charity show in Kobe, Japan featuring Daisuke Takahashi, Yuzuru Hanyu and Shizuka Arakawa.  There are several news clips.  Takahashi and Hanyu both did their competitive SPs.  It is good for Daisuke to get another program in public after such a delay due to the Worlds situation.

Gym Dog Show

Akiko Suzuki won the Triglav Trophy with a 90+ in the free skate.

Michael Phelps won three events at the Michigan Grand Prix and even beat Ryan Lochte after losing the 200m butterfly.  Michael referred to this as a wakeup call.  It continues to be a work-in-progress as he attempts to get back up to form.

The Final Bow of the 2010-2011 Stars on Ice American Tour

European Championships: Event Finals (Day 2)

Official Results
Men's Vault
Women's Balance Beam
Men's Parallel Bars
Women's Floor Exercise
Men's High Bar

Videos after the jump (more being added when available.)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

This and That

Lifeskate interviewed Adam Rippon about his split with Brian Orser.

McKenzie Wofford verbally committed to the University of Oklahoma.  Boomer Sooner!

The order of events for the 2011 Grand Prix is: Skate America, Skate Canada, Cup of China, NHK, Trophee Eric Bompard, Cup of Russia and the Grand Prix Final.

Akiko Suzuki won the SP at the Triglav Trophy with a 57.15.

Joshua Farris has left Tom Z's grasp of negativity and will now be coached by Christy Krall and Damon Allen.  This will likely save his career.  If only Agnes would follow suit before the judges start telling her that she is slow as shit and it is far too late to improve.

The field is set for the Glasgow World Cup, which is of the AA World Cups.  The men's field includes Jonathan Horton, Daniel Purvis, Alexander Shatilov, Lu Bo, Sam Hunter, Mykola Kuksenkov, Cyril Tommasona and Philipp Boy.  The women's field includes Lauren Mitchell, Ariella Kaeslin, Jiang Yuyuan, Raluca 'Pitic' Haidu, Hannah Whelan, Huang Qiushuang, Jessica Lopez and Elizabeth Seitz.

All-Access with David Boudia

Romanian Update

The amazing Ioana has done some translating for us again!

Ana Porgras Update:

Due to a calf injury (other articles mention it's her left calf), only competed on 2 events UB and BB , falling on the latter.  (And, it apparently flared up once they got to Berlin.)

Interview With Adrian Stoica:

"It was an atypical competition, in which the girls that competed in the morning -Porgras and Racea- had off days. like some athletes might never see in their entire career. The girls perpared [themselves] well, the official training went well, but the competition wasn't the same. They were deflated; the coaches were also shocked by this showing. The evening sessions was different, with better routines. It was a competition of circumstances that led to this end result through which we lost a chance for some medals. we need to keep a clear head and a good head on our shoulders [this doesn't sound as repetitive in Romanian since you have a 'clear mind']. On the other hand, we don't need to boost our expectations to more than could be done."

more from Stoica on the VT finals --it looks like someone told Belu to shut his trap until competition's done this year --not exactly a bad idea, just about 10 years overdue. Sabou called in and asked for her career and self-esteem back because he never managed to keep quiet when it came to her, btw.
"For now it's fine; we can't talk about happiness because we're here to work. I need to emphasize that Sandra's gold medal is very important because it 
is the first time Romania approaches a VT final as a sure thing. We have not medalled in this even for 7 years and one must appreciate the coaches' focus on this event compared to the prior coaching team."

European Championships: Event Finals (Day 1)

Official Results
Men's Floor Exercise
Women's Vault
Men's Pommel Horse
Women's Uneven Bars
Men's Still Rings

Videos are being uploaded as they become available (after the jump.)

Mustafina Update

The Russian Gymnastics Federation now confirms that Aliya Mustafina tore her left ACL and strained her MCL.  She will miss the World Championships.  This is a huge blow to Mustafina, the Russian Team and the sport.

Mustafina will undergo surgery in Munich.

Blythe Lawrence wrote a good piece on Aliya and her injury.  It was written when they were still claiming it was a torn meniscus.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Learning The Code

I have received numerous requests concerning posts about learning the code of points.  Personally, I consider myself to have working knowledge of the code of points.  I am not an expert and I hate change, so I often wait a bit before delving in to learn the changes from one code to the next.  At this point in the quad, it seems like a good time to break down where the trends are going and how the top girls receive their D-scores (difficulty scores.)

Beam is one of the easier events to learn, so I have posted a number of beam routines of top competitors.  (Bitches to know.)  The videos do a great job of breaking down the skill values, the connection values and the requirements: how they achieve the D-score.

Fun fact: the Russian Translation for balance beam is 'log.'

The values for skills are: A (.1), B (.2), C (.3), D (.4), E (.5), F (.6), G (.7)

The judges add up the five most difficult acrobatic elements and the three most difficult dance/leap elements included in each routine.

Composition Requirements:
Dance Combination (Most do an A+A leap combo)  (.5)
Full Turn  (.5)
Saltos in Different Directions (.5)
Acro Series (.5)
D Dismount (.5)

Video breakdowns after the jump.

Review: Dancing With The Stars Cardio Dance DVD

Margaret Thatcher sent me the Dancing With The Stars: Cardio Dance DVD for a belated birthday present after learning how much I enjoyed Julianne Hough's cardio ballroom workout.  Julianne's DVD, which she says is for anyone, is for someone in at least decent shape with a moderate dance background.  Julianne is good about breaking the moves down and building up combinations and dances that follow a clear order.

The DWTS Cardio Dance DVD is far more random.  It is obvious that Julianne's workout DVDs are rehearsed and filmed in more than one take.  That isn't as clear with the DWTS workout.  One of the strength's of this workout is that it is far more unisex.  Men and women are featured as dancers behind the pros, which helps add a degree of self respect on days that you are feeling too gay to function.

Opening up with a basic warmup, the DVD progresses from low-intensity to medium-intensity to high-intensity.  It is a welcome progression.  Maks starts out with the Paso Doble.  I'm used to doing the Paso at the end of Julianne's workout when my arms are burning, so this Paso Doble feels far too easy to be real.  What I like about this section is that Maks is a clear instructor and he demonstrates a lot of classic Paso Doble moves.  It also serves as a good warmup for the dances to come.  Maks makes me feel like a big strong man and reminds us all to reset our posture after each turn.

The Cha-Cha is instructed by Ashly.  To be blunt: I can't stand her.  She is perky in a way that isn't as cute as Julianne and she doesn't even have a body that I admire.  Ashly's biggest weakness is that she goes from move to move without really explaining what is coming next.  The overall steps are fairly enjoyable, but I was quite pleased when this segment was done and she was off of my TV screen.

Kym Johnson's Samba workout takes us to wannabe Brazil.  The Australian is a fun instructor with one fierce body.  This section was my favorite of the DVD.  It is medium-impact and her demeanor is so enjoyable and engaging.  This is the section of the DVD I most look forward to doing again.

Kym, Maks and Ashly trade off during the Jive.  It is a bit annoying when all three of them start telling one another how much they are feeling it and how much their legs are burning.  Maks seems to be sarcastic in particular.  The Jive is the highest-intensity section of the DVD.  It is far less structured and less rigorous that Julianne Hough's Jive, but I did sweat and felt a workout.

The freestyle challenge of the DVD is a waste.  Kym, Maks and Ashly improv for a few minutes and it is clear that absolutely no time or effort went into this section.  The instructors don't tell you what's coming next and I would not even waste my time on this again unless I just want to keep my heart rate up for another 10 mins.  I certainly didn't get anything out of this section.

Overall, I missed the clear routines and challenging nature that Julianne's workout gives me.  The workout is not nearly as tough, but I would recommend it for anyone who wants to dance and wants to start getting in shape.  I will definitely still do this DVD on a Monday or on a weekend when I either want to gradually up my cardio for the week or to sneak in another workout on a Friday afternoon.  It isn't going to leave you with the same ass-kicking feel of Julianne Hough's Just Dance.  The DVD is a nice change of pace, as I like to feel like I'm learning the different ballroom styles in a comprehensive manner.  It is a nice change of pace, but it is not going to replace any of my mainstays in my cardio routine.

This and That

IG is reporting that Aliya Mustafina tore her meniscus and will require surgery.

UPDATE: IG Online is now retracting its statement that Mustafina tore her meniscus and is saying that a complete diagnosis will be available Saturday.

Emmanuel Savary's Michael Jackson Short Program at the Gardena Spring Trophy

Adam Rippon discusses his coaching change and training the Quad Lutz.

Phil Hersh provides the most details on the split between Brian Orser and Adam Rippon.

Belgosto will be appearing in the first half of Canadian Stars on Ice and will be replaced by Voir during the second half of the tour.

Feature on Nam Nguyen

Video feature on Gregory and Petukhov's Eduskate.

The Manley Woman Skatecast's Interview with David Jenkins

Irina Slutskaya says that the Russian Pairs will challenge for medals at this month's World Championships (w/video.)

European Championships: The Men

Videos after the jump!

European Championships: Ladies

It was one unforgettable day.


Videos after the jump!

Disaster At The European Championships

Aliya Mustafina went down at the European Championships with a knee injury that we can only suspect will keep her out for much of the next year.  For Aliya and the sport, this is terrible.  Knee injuries are bad news.  A torn achilles is devastating, but we've seen improvements in surgical technique that now has athletes back up to speed within a year.  A knee injury can leave some with big bulky braces and they may never bound the same way again.

One factor that cannot be ignored is that gymnastics is quickly approaching the physical limit. Back in the 80s and early 90s, difficult skills were performed but they were highlights of the routine.  Now every skill and combination needs to possess great risk.  This has led to sloppy, mistake-filled routines and it has also resulted in a tremendous increase in severe injuries.  Gymnastics is no longer a sport where one can escape uninjured.  A gymnast's success often depends on when they are injured as opposed to 'if' they suffer a serious injury.  Luckily, some like Nastia Liukin manage to time their injuries such that they are able to still reach their ultimate peak.  Many others aren't as lucky.

Love her, hate her or simply be fascinated by her, Aliya Mustafina is one of the leading personalities in the sport.  It is terrible for the current star of the sport to succumb to injury.  Aliya is currently at the top of her career and was peaking to achieve even greater heights later this year at the World Championships.  This year was supposed to be about Mustafina and Komova battling for titles, yet both are now out with injuries.  Komova may well be back on top later this year, but Mustafina will now be on the sidelines.  Imagine how boring the sport would've been if many of the great stars and rivalries were never able to occur.  One rarely saw Comaneci, Boginskaya or Silivas miss a major meet due to injury.  Unfortunately, one has to wonder if this injury will play out in a similar scenario to Dobre's knee injury that left her a shadow of her former self.

When the FIG continues to ask older bodies to perform more and more difficulty that is better suited for younger gymnasts, injuries like this are inevitable.  Note that Mustafina didn't even perform full difficulty in qualifying because it is simply too taxing to do so.  This is a problem for Russia and even puts her in question for the Olympics (whether or not she will be at full strength.)  It is a sad day for Mustafina and the sport as a whole.  Without the sport's top star, every title begins to feel like it needs an asterisk.