Thursday, May 31, 2012

TV Alert!!!

Reminding you of the fabulousness that begins tonight!

Remembering the Skating Boom: Jill Trenary

If ever there was a quasi member of the skating boom, it was Jill Trenary.  Coming onto the scene in the late '80s, Jill peaked in 1990 and disappeared from the scene by the time Nancy got whacked.  Facing the music on tour with Christopher Dean, Jill traveled the world and avoided the stress of competition at every cost.  She was sometimes referred to as Oksana Baiul's favorite skater, but we largely forgot about her aside from the 1996-1997 season when she showed up at Ice Wars, the highly prestigious Rock N Roll Figure Skating Championships and a one-year touring stint with Stars on Ice.  It was delightful to see Jill that year.

She was older, relaxed and performing an adorable number to These Boots Are Made For Walkin.  Frankly, Barbie was back.  Then a medical condition forced her to disappear into obscurity until she and Christopher Dean divorced.  Given this level of obscurity, many younger fans fail to be aware of the magic and brilliance of Jill...or at least the reasons for ironic love.

Got Milk?

Got Milk?

Got toe point? don't.  And I think I just became lactose intolerant.

Get Gabby Douglas to London: A Good Life Decision?

Gabby Douglas' mother has started a fundraising campaign to get the family to London for the Olympic Games.  While her daughter is an excellent bar worker, she has an up and down competitive record on the other events.  Gabby already raised eyebrows when she went pro after the World Championships.  Her announcement was delayed until after the American Cup, but it was certainly risky.  Gabby is expressive and being one of the few female African-American Olympians in a high-profile summer sport, there is certainly room for her to stand out from the crowd.  Her gymnastics is dynamic and her releases high-flying.

Yet, it is never wise to openly fund raise prior to making a team.  It is bad form and looks a bit tacky, especially when there are articles from your old gym wanting money for previous free lessons because they actually thought they could get you to the top in Martha's world.  Gymnastics coaches aren't always the most savvy.  Gabby's chances are better than oft-injured Shayla Worley's were, but those were thought to be in bad taste.  Luckily Gabby's mother didn't call her a shoo-in, though it is certainly implicit in the campaign.  Call me superstitious, but I'd never count my chickens before they hatch in Martha's world, especially when my daughter had an Amanar to nail and a huge piked tkatchev that goes straight up and down reminiscent of a release performed by Jennifer Sey at the 1985 World Championships.

All that said, parents of Olympians need to have a less stressful way of getting to the Olympics, lodging, airfare, etc.  It is a once in a lifetime experience.  P+G is sponsoring pampering for the mothers and family members.  Why not sponsor hotel rooms or plane tickets?  It is now reported that unused donations will go to Military Kids.  Perhaps Gabby won't be a pretend Olympian like Shayla if it all goes downhill.

This and That

Color me surprised.  I never thought I'd live to see the day where Midori Ito won a competition for artistry, not jumping.  I am devastated that she hasn't brought back 'The Rose of Pain,' for the ISU Adult Competition in Obertsdorf.

Then again, Miki Ando is now competing for art's skate.  I have heard and seen it all.  Maybe Miki finally got those hearing aids and is able to hear the music she is skating to for once.  Maybe.  Then again, she dated Morozov despite all evidence that it was a bad idea.  Me thinks Miki Ando is not the brightest bulb.

Getting to Know Sarah Finnegan

Interview with Lucinda Ruh

Volosozhar and Trankov tweeted a photo from NYC.  I need to leave work and get a slice of Maxim for lunch.

Sarah Hughes the writer just won't go away.  I am convinced that long after we die, the Hughes family will still be winning medals that make us roll over in our graves.  God must owe them.  (Skating really isn't the biggest Title IX sport, but it is Sarah Hughes' personal campaign.)

Olivia Vivian and Laura Ann Chong make elite comebacks.  Vivian is definitely someone Liddick should consider for London.

Ms. 49th place Danna Durante is guaranteed to make $175,000 a year for six years with all sorts of incentives.  She is going to be a millionaire before she has done squat.  While it is a tremendous vote of confidence from the athletic department, eager to make this move seem extremely positive for all involved with the university and the program, it is a continued slap in the face for Jay Clark.  They were never this excited about him taking over the program.  Danna now has even more pressure on her shoulders.  Hopefully, she will deliver and bring some sass, zing and success back to Athens.  We've been dozing off in between Shayla's mistakes.

Can Belu bring Romania back to the top?  Nadia is all for Belu.  She really is the tool of the Romanian people. Nancy Armour is superb, but her article is a bit misleading.  Belu did not really take over until 1989.  He was only an assistant with the program for many years.

Dominique Dawes: All Grown Up

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Foray Into Adult Skating: Progress (Landing the Lutz)

As you saw in my last video from 5-8-12, I was struggling immensely with the timing of my lutz takeoff.  Since then, I've been landing it but two footing it every time like Oksana Baiul.  I've recently started learning the sit spin.  I've been working on shoot the ducks.  It isn't quite showing yet, but I am starting to gain more strength in my quads and should eventually develop a sit spin position, that while is done by an adult skater, doesn't make me cringe from the inside out.  I've started learning camel spins, but it is going to take quite a while.  Stay tuned.

I must say, landing my lutz on one foot feels like one of my real life accomplishments.  It is up there with graduating from college.  That baby is on an outside edge, rotated and landed on one foot.  I also did a few flip+loop combinations today.  Life on the ice is good for the moment.  If I get through my three turns in the field without any mistakes, it is always going to be a great day.

Love For Dance Moms Miami

I'm not perfect!

This was sent from one of my favorite Boomer Sooners because it KILLS her.  I love that our favorite sweet blonde girls are watching this show with KJ!

Because you know you can't turn it off!

Which dances are your favorite and which are the hottest Latin messes?!

What is better: Abby or Miami?

J'adore G+G

Simply the effing best.

This and That

Workout Wednesday with SCEGA featuring future Bruin Sophina DeJesus.

DeadSpin: U.S. Gymnastics Turns Its Back On Chellsie Memmel.  While I believe Chellsie should be competing at Nationals, this is proof that one skips camp at their own peril.  Ask Tasha about being the alternate in 2004.  I live for being quoted by the author of Heresy on the High Beam: Confessions of an Unbalanced Jewess.

Miki Ando is going to ruin our year with her tone deaf skating skating and consistent jumps.  Sadly, we can't keep a reliable mule down.  Ask Aly Raisman.

Michelle Kwan, Dara Torres, Venus Williams, Mary Lou Retton and Fu Mingxia have been named thusfar in ESPNW's Top 40 Females Athletes of the Last 40 Years.  Does Mary Lou's two-year senior career really belong?  Who should be in the top 20?  Should Michelle Kwan have been higher on the list?

Interview with Larissa Miller

MLT has Lexie work on her Yurchenko block to get that Amanar back.

An adorable photo of Daddy Todd Eldredge to make you go awwww.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

This and That

View more videos at:

Nastia Liukin Poised for Comeback.  We see her looking promising on bars, but she is still teasing us.  Given her history of being a tad rusty at Nationals, it is going to be quite the white-knuckling event.

Valeri Liukin on the performances of Rebecca Bross and Nastia at Classics.  The career of Rebecca Bross has been ending in slow motion for two years now.  Rebecca looks like she will be relieved when it ends in a few weeks.

Michelle Kwan will carry the Olympic torch in Oxford, England sometime between July 9 and July 11.  Rach on.  (slap me.)

Interview with Chloe Sims

Dare Maxwell training update.  She looks ready to make a run as a bars and beam specialist next year.

This and That

The Chellsie Memmel situation has only fueled Dominique Moceanu to tell all when she promotes her book release in two weeks.  I personally cannot wait.  I have dreams involving Moceanu spilling all to Behar and Elizabeth on the View.  Sherri will be too excited that there is a black girl on the Olympic Team to function.  Moceanu posted her grievance argument from 2006.  Unfortunately, they didn't post the nastiness of the opposing side.

Dominique Moceanu was interviewed on Northeast Public Radio this morning.

Jenny Kirk's latest blog entry: An Unrealized Dream.

Mao Asada is getting two new programs for the upcoming skating season.  She is getting a short from Lori Nichol (yawn) and a long from Tatiana Tarasova.  Let the face slapping begin!

Interview with Daria Joura.

Interview with Olivia Vivian

An editorial about Yu-Na Kim's beer ad.  You would think the girl posed for Playboy!  This is sending Korea over the edge and I am loving every second of it.

Interview with Canadian athletes about the 1980 Olympic boycott.

Matthew Mitcham is officially returning to the Olympic Games.  Yum.

Monday, May 28, 2012

US Classic Podium Training and Warm Up Vids

Because we can't help but keep speculating until the end of the Olympics...  Hypotheticals are our crack.

Gabby rocks bars and Maroney does a much better Amanar than in the meet.  Gabby's piked tkatchev needs to get a bit more distance.  She gets so much height, but it looks like a Jennifer Sey situation is waiting to happen.  Anna Li shows a little gorgeousness on bars at the end of the clip.

Nastia shows she can still do a killer switch ring.

Maroney rocks a Mustafina on vault while Anna Li works the second half of her bar routine.

Favorite Things: Hooked on America

Amy Chow's tribute to the South.  You know she puts Aunt Jemima on her Eggos.

There is nothing that warms my heart more than a hideous skating or gymnastics exhibition performed to We're Coming to America.  One must remember that people in the skating world are off, and people in gymnastics---skating's trashy cousin, are worse.  In the skating world, mothers pimp their daughters to any foreign skating federation in order to get them out of regionals.  If there is a Russian ice dancer who shows up at the rink one day, mothers will line their daughters up with bottles of vodka in hopes that said Russian will leave his wife, bang their daughter and get her out of 27th place at North Atlantics.  These skaters then pretend to be patriotic and wholesome, while their Jewish parents seek out Israeli citizenship with every missed Triple Lutz.

Gymnastics is a sad case where women and guido pedophile-looking men sporting mullets spend their days wearing track suits.  Their answer to anything is to add more vinyl and glitz to their leotards.

In both sports, the athletes take themselves very seriously and believe that their performances are lifting the spirits of the troops, who likely would rather be doing anything than watching figure skating or gymnastics.  (Let's be honest, not everyone is in the Navy.)

Sasha Cohen thought that showing off her beautiful breast buds and skating to a French Canadian was wonderfully patriotic.  This program does have the distinction of being a bonafide gay pride parade.  It contributed a great deal to the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

This and That

Wieber Fever

Martha Karolyi eeeeen her owwwnnn vords about du salecshon.

Alena Leonova aims for the Grand Prix Final.

Peng Peng Lee's knee is a fully dislocated knee cap.  She needs to compete at Olympic Trials in three weeks to make the team.  It may be over for Peng Peng.

Maddi Desch's beam at Classics.

Nastia on her beam performance.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

This and That

The 2012 US Classic Meet Broadcast

Martha Karolyi on the US Classic.  She claims to have cried over the decision to deny Chellsie Memmel's petition. I could understand the denial of the petition of numerical requirements were published in a cut and dry way.  It is too convenient for Martha to claim this now.  Chellsie's beam routine was disastrous, but one has to wonder if Martha and Kathy Kelly are making an example out of Chellsie for her continued refusal to abide by their camp system.  Last year, she upset the apple cart by appearing out of nowhere and finishing second at the US Classic, having a strong Nationals until the last moment and injuring herself again.  It is unclear if USAG is upset that she didn't compete at Pan Ams.  There were rumors one member of the selection committee said she ''took last summer off.''  The girl had shoulder surgery.

It is understandable that USAG doesn't want to get in a situation where Chellsie does well enough at Trials that they almost have to put her on the team and then she gets injured again; however, it was not going to happen this year.  Allowing top gymnasts to finish their careers at Nationals is not harmful to anyone.  I understand setting a benchmark, but the first rule with USAG is always that there are no rules.  The rules apply sometimes.  Martha now is against petitioning when she previously petitioned Betty Okino through the entire selection process and onto an Olympic Team when she spotted at the final selection camp.  Maroney was allowed to rest and protect her back until the team arrived at Worlds last year.  Chellsie Memmel lost her automatic bye to Nationals when she was injured and gave another athlete the opportunity to compete.  Alicia Sacramone has one because Martha and Kathy failed to remove her from the team after she was injured.  Logic?

Note that Terin Humphrey, the athlete rep on the selection committee (a position that votes whichever way Martha and Kathy tell them to), is only an Olympian because Martha chose to make an example out of Tasha Schwikert for not abiding by the camp system and wasting away two years where she only was ready to compete at the last possible moment.  The team wound up needing a strong floor routine that Tasha could've given them.

Also, note that Martha is now excusing beam mistakes by Gabby Douglas that she would've pounced on a year ago.  She needs Gabby on the team for bars and knows it isn't prudent to rattle her confidence now and create a crisis of confidence.

John Nicks was named Coach of the Year by the Professional Skaters Association.  When speaking of Ashley Wagner, Nicks mustered his usual wit, "Ashley is a scatterbrain who listens to only half of what I say."

Kohei Uchimura is fed up with team silver.

Daria Joura won the vault title at Australian Nationals.  Olivia Vivian nabbed the bars title.  Lauren Mitchell was the top gymnast on beam and floor.  EF Results

Kristina Vaculik earned titles on bars and beam at Canadian Nationals.  Ellie Black won vault.  Victoria Moors edged out Vaculik on floor for the win.  EF Results

Aly Raisman's latest rambling, monotone interview.  When all ease fails, keep talking.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Chellsie Memmel's Petition Denied

Nancy Armour just tweeted that Chellsie Memmel's petition has been denied.  Is this fair?  She didn't appear to be anywhere near contention today and was beyond a long shot, but should she have been given a petition based on past experience?  USAG gave Shawn a pass to Nationals after her mistakes last year.  Chellsie is a fan favorite and has given a lot to USAG.  It certainly wouldn't have hurt to give her a petition.  I can see where she didn't earn it and has been unable to go to camps, but it does feel a tad harsh given her track record.  Shawn Johnson should be nervous about expecting a position at Trials if she is too busy traveling and promoting her book to pretend to be a gymnast the week of Nationals.  It is unlikely the judging panel will do her any favors.

Sound off.

US Classic Videos

The Queen Returns


US Classic: The Live Blog

Live Webcast (Since no one gets Universal Sports anymore.)

Junior US Classic

Friday, May 25, 2012

This and That

An interview with the Queen.  The HBIC shall reign.  She is expected to compete her full beam routine tomorrow.

Shannon Miller, Kim Zmeskal, Amanda Borden and MLT caught up at the US Classic.

Gabby Douglas is ready to shine. (or have an epic meltdown--it'll be one or the other.)

Interview With Garrett Kling

There is something about true talent that has a way of shining through regardless of any outcome.  Though Garrett Kling finished fifth in last year’s Young Artists Showcase, his budding talent was evident to all in the skating world who took note of the competition.  For the last year, Kling has immersed himself in choreography as he completed his college education.  Whether he is skating, writing, choreographing, or otherwise working like a fiend, Kling’s skill, talent and drive and evident.  The fact that his skating bears a slight resemblance to the lightness and charm of Kurt Browning is more reason to admire (and envy to the point of hating) the young impresario. 

With a year of experience under his belt, Kling entered the Young Artists Showcase for a second time and has finished near the top of the leader board each week.  Kling’s charming personality, wit and modern ideas make him one to watch in the realm of choreographers.  After winning the second challenge, Garrett Kling spoke to me about choreography, skating, inspiration and how he kissed the Kween of figure skating and never washed those lips again. 

More From Classics

A picture's worth a thousand words.

Looks like all is forgiven for missing camp.

Podium Training Videos (Nastia and others)

 Nastia on bars.  One coach in the arena reported to us that Nastia hit beam after her early warmup struggles on her switch half.

Chellsie Memmel

That and That

Katelyn Ohashi on bars in podium training at the US Classic.

Nia Dennis on bars in podium training.

Kristina Vaculik won Canadian Nationals and looks primed to be an Olympian, which is four years overdue.  The judges are making a clear push for Dominique Pegg.  Mikaela Gerber, who is not favored by TPTB, made critical errors on and looks to be out of contention at this moment.  There have been whispers that Ellie Black is not politically favored, but her 15.100 on vault in finals makes her impossible to ignore.  Getting rid of Black would be foolish at this point.  Victoria Moors finished second in the AA and looks to be a lock.  Despite being valuable for bars, Brittany Rogers has not scored well on the event.

Jessica Savona has made a somewhat surprising surge coming back from injury.

Nathan Gafuik's 7.1 high bar routine.

The IOC and USOC have come to a financial agreement, which opens the door for a possible Olympic bid.

Daniel Purvis led Team Great Britain to first place in qualifying at the European Championships.

Secret US Classic Podium Training

A revealing and honest article about the comeback of Nastia Liukin by Nancy Armour.

Currently Missing: Bridget Sloan

Who are you most excited to see?

Favorite Things Friday

This was posted on my wall last night with the message, "Merry Christmas, lady!"  So true.

The jumps don't matter with Baiul.  She's more than a bit much and I live for every second of it.

Which program did you copy the most in your living room?  Which program veers the closest to bonafide mental illness?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This and That

Nastia Liukin is feature in US Weekly's Hot Bodies of 2012

Anna Li will compete in the All-Around this weekend.  Most gymnasts only compete a few events at Classics.  In an Olympic year, it is important to start on a high and build one's confidence and reputation.  Gabby Douglas was only competing bars this weekend, but now she is set to compete all four events  It is a great opportunity for Gabby to hit a bar routine (after falling at camp) and move onto Nationals with a good outing under her belt on her most important event. It is risky if she makes mistakes and loses confidence before Nationals and Trials.  Better to get the kinks out now, but one doesn't want NBC replaying clips of all of her misses either.

 Wieber and Sloan are expected to compete two events each.  Anna Li has been focused on making herself more relevant.  Typically, only people like Aly Raisman do AA at Classics in order to have a nominal win.  Then, Mihai will bitch that no one else is doing all events.  Last year, Chellsie Memmel made a statement and captured the attention of the meet despite finishing second.

Bridget Sloan says she's ready to go.

Japan is planning a new Pro-Am for the fall focused on artistry.

Patrick Chan says he is prepared for Sochi and will have all of his falls out of his system.

Workout Wednesday with future Boomer Sooner Haley Scaman and the fierce vaulters of IGI.

Canadian Nationals Live Video Streaming

A bit ghetto, but good!

Results (Prelims Posted)

Link (Starts at 8:30 ET)

This and That

Kristina Vaculik won the prelim competition at Canadian Nationals.  The finals are taking place this evening.  Sabrina Gil did not compete.  It has been reported that she is battling a fear of back tumbling, but has been learning new skills such as a handspring double front on floor. Talia Chiarelli did not compete due to injury, but she is expected to be invited to compete at Olympic Trials.

In one of the most beautiful cases of irony, Michael Seibert is working with Adam Rippon and has found that Adam's skating isn't butch enough.  Pot meet kettle?  Adam will be skating a Mad Men program to The Incredibles soundtrack.  They are promising a new hairdo for Adam Rippon who is toying around with Quads the way I'm toying with camel spins to my face.  I for one would not be surprised to see Adam sporting a cute bob.  Adam would make a fab-u-lous Betty Draper.

Shawn Johnson was at the DWTS finale on Monday (and Tues?)  That is what I'd be doing weeks before Olympic Trials.  Might she be angling for a spot on the All Star Edition since she isn't too interested in doing the Post Olympic Tour?  The money might even be better for her should she be successful again in the ballroom.

Catching Up With Nastia Liukin (Ms. NL has been all sorts of quiet lately.  She is either keeping to herself and being focused before this weekend or is going through it.  We shall see.)

Aussie Nationals Results

Camp, Canadians and Aussies after the jump!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Doug McAvinn Out!

The latest from Athens is that Danna Durante is replacing Doug McAvinn.  This is one of the most foolish decisions Danna could've made.  In addition to arguably being the best vault technician in the country, Doug is a stable presence for the program at a time of great turmoil.  It used to be that if girls didn't get along with Suzanne or Jay particularly well, they always connected with Doug.

For a great majority of Doug's tenure at UGA, the team has been ranked #1 on vault.  Doug is incredibly more experienced and successful than 49th-place Danna or Phil Ogletree.  He is known for breaking the vault down throughout the course of the season: the run, the block, the direction and the landing.  He is also known for coaching a variety of vaults, as opposed to six Yurchenko Fulls.  Doug coached before the Yurchenko Full was worth a 10.0, so he coached lineups with Tsuk Fulls, Pike Baranis, Pike Fronts, Hristakeavas and Omeilianchiks.  He is a master on vault.  When the incoming freshmen don't develop on vault as they could, remember the day that Danna Durante decided to make UGA on par with Auburn and Kentucky.

There is never a dull moment in the SEC!

ETA:  Doug has been put on early retirement and is being given a position within the athletic department.

Baby Grishina Through The Years

Anatasha Grishina performing a compulsory floor routine at the 2007 Moscow Championships.

With the Olympic Teams about to be finalized in the coming weeks, it is time to take a look at the development of one of the most expressive gymnasts in the world.  She may not be the most consistent, but the pretty ones rarely ever are.

This and That

Future Gator Grace McLaughlin on bars at camp.

Future Gator and Former World Champion Bridget Sloan on bars and beam at camp.  It will be interesting to see what Bridget does at the Classic, as it has been three years since she has done all four events outside of the Ranch.

Joshua Farris tweeted (and then know how the USFSA can be) that he wanted a senior GP assignment but did not get one so he will do the JGP once again.  Many in the skating community are outraged that the USFSA continues to promote Miner and Dornbush.  Personally, I think Farris is ready for the senior Grand Prix.  Brown and Farris are the two skaters of the future who need to be groomed.  Farris' performance at Junior Worlds indicated he is ready.  It could be good for both to test out triple axels and quads before the pressure of the SGP. Showing up without a Quad or Triple Axel at the Grand Prix is asking to be buried in the middle of the pack as a new comer, despite whatever components scores the skater SHOULD receive.  Farris and Brown are all-around skaters who will ultimately achieve more than Miner and Dornbush.  It is possible that  Dornbush will gain his consistency back and gain a quad, but he is lacking in terms of artistry.

The rumor mill is buzzing that Phil Ogletree will be Danna Durante's assistant coach at Georgia.  Phil is a good coach, but there have always been comments about him being more of a ,'club coach,' and not the best recruiter.

Peng Peng Lee injured her knee on a double twisting yurchenko.  Peng Peng is rumored to have dislocated her patella, which is a similar injury to what Rebecca Bross suffered.  It is not good news for her Olympic chances or for UCLA.  My heart goes out to Peng Peng Lee, as she has worked extremely hard to return to form after a multi-year back injury.  PPL has been Canada's top gymnast for the last year,  I predict that Danusia Francis will be Val's top freshman, even though she currently only has a 9.9 SV under NCAA scoring due to dismount with a giant+giant+double pike.  (She needs a full pirouette before the dismount, which she could still use to beef up her composition in elite...or a better dismount)

Chloe Lukasiak's 'I Want to be a Rockette'

The Girls of Team USA

Holy moly.

This sounds like her first interview.

Too bad she didn't focus on bars.  I'd love to know where she intends to go to college.  Hearing she doesn't want to leave the coast.  Gator Chomp?

Girl has had a TOUGH year.

Diva Maroney's new vault is 'nothing crazy.'

Monday, May 21, 2012

This and That

Kyla Ross' beam verification at camp.

Catching up with Aly Raisman

Kim Zmeskal looked radiant at the IG Hall of fame induction.  Bela and Martha accompanied her to the event.  They are photographed with Nadia and Natalia Shaposhnikova.

Celebrating Amanda Evora  (It's like she died, but only her career did during her long program at Nationals.)

Anatasia Grishina aims to please at the London Olympics.

Tidbit:  Someone who attended Europeans reported back to us that Peggy Liddick was there taking notes on the competition.  The Aussies could certainly use some help this summer.  Lauren Mitchell can't compete four times.  It is curious what she learned attending as opposed to merely watching online.  It is an expensive and timely trip with the Trials process fast approaching.

Andreea Raducan is releasing a memoir that promises to be more insightful than Shawn Johnson's upcoming release.  Ioana needs to call and read it to me, as I really don't have time to learn Romanian AND Russian right now.

Shawn's memoir is released during Nationals.  This preview video will help us all lose today's lunch:

I am living for the USFSA referring to Johnny as Johnny Weir-Voronov.  Has he reached JWV status?

Brandie Jay verified a new bars sequence at camp:

Czisny Reveals Hip Injury

Alissa Czisny revealed that she has a hip injury that she first felt at Yu-Na Kim's show.  Due to this injury, Czisny asked for the latest possible Grand Prix assignments and only received one.  It remains unknown whether the USFSA just wanted to give her one after her disastrous season.  There was a tremendous about of buzz about Czisny, her results, future and coaching situation at Governing Council.  If there was ever a skater who needed a few months off the ice, it is Alissa Czisny.  Perhaps this will help her get her head together enough to finish second at Nationals and continue our abusive relationship with her ever-shifting confidence.

Phil Hersh has the Czisny details.

More on the Czisny injury.  It is curious that she didn't feel it until after Worlds.  She certainly knows not to say anything Flatt did and risk a fine.

Czisny is hoping another assignment opens up if she is ready.  Would YOU give her two assignments?

The Grand Prix Assignments

Today's events shall be referred to as Fifty Shades of Awesome.  Not only did the USFSA have to grovel and kiss Johnny Weir's ass to come back over the last year, Mr. Lysacek continually pissed them off to the point that he had to switch agents to sufficiently kiss their asses again.  The USFSA is now acting as though they are a beautiful, accepting organization on par with the HRC and even refer to Johnny Weir as Johnny Weir-Voronov.  In my mind, the USFSA will soon be telling gay men to get back with their husbands because it makes them look more stable...the same way they strongly encouraged Tonya Harding to do so.  If skating was actually popular, we would see lovely fluff pieces with Johnny and Viktor and their dogs and all of that ostentatious furniture.  It would just like the Meno and Sand fluff pieces.  Johnny could so rock a Going to the Chapel vibe like Jenni Meno.

Today is most awesome because Johnny has two assignments, while Evan Lysacek has none.    It is quite possible that he could be given the third spot to Skate America, but they would usually announce him in this case.  I doubt that we will be done with Evan.  Like termites, taxes, Cher and Catholic guilt, he will always be with us.  Perhaps we will see him return on the all star edition of Dancing With The Stars?

Evgeny Plushenko doesn't have any assignments, but it is very likely he will be the TBD for Russia and the Rostelecom Cup (aka Cup of Russia.)  He likely doesn't want to have to deal with a second event or qualifying to the final, as he is trying to preserve his body for two more years.

The US Assignments

Full listings after the jump.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Marissa King's Elite Comeback

Gator Chomp!  Marissa King expects to throw full difficulty at her next meet in three weeks, but she already looks to be a strong bet for the Olympic Team.  She is exactly what the British Team needs.  Four years later, she is cleaner, stronger and more consistent.  Marissa will need to do her 2 1/2+Front Layout on floor and 2 1/2 beam dismount to land a spot, but she is on track for someone who has trained her elite skills for two weeks.  Marissa certainly has a chance at being the alternate, if not on the team.

With every vault, Danusia Francis looks more and more like someone who will make the UCLA lineup rather than the British Olympic Team.  Considering that Danusia only did one event for the Brits at the European Championship when Downie, Cairns and Tweddle were missing, things are not looking promising for the girl with the crazy hair.  That said, she performed at this meet and Downie looked rough as hell.  The next meet is becoming extremely critical with stocks rising and falling. Ruby Harrold certainly appears overvalued at this point.

The rest of the Brits at the British Team Championships...

This and That (YAS Review)

Daisuke Takahashi exhibition.

Danna Durante is confirmed as UGA's head coach.  They wanted to start over, but did not imagine the difficulty in hiring a new coach.  Those who wanted the position were turned down, while many coaches they wanted were not interested.  One SEC coach was turned down due to personal life issues.  They now have a coach who has only been a head coach for one year, where she was 0-8 in her conference.  Granted, she is being handed a team with much better gymnasts.  Durante is rumored to be excited but nervous, which anyone would in her position.  One doesn't usually make an entry-level candidate a CEO overnight.  Durante has a lot to prove and I hope she has a good pharmacist or liquor store to help her cope when the going gets tough.  I would be sweating bullets in her position.  This is a case where an AD overestimate the desirability of their own program and should've had a better plan for succession in place.

A new article questioning whether skating judging is more corrupt than ever.  It is difficult to prove when all of the judges go ape shit for P Chiddy.  I applaud the Boston Globe for spending time and money on a sport that only dozens of people still watch.

Power Player of the Week: Michelle Kwan

For those who are unaware, Shawn Johnson recently said that she was just too thin in Beijing  I applaud Shawn for taking such a bold step and being so authentic with the media.  She has a very busy training schedule, but she has always made time to promote healthy body image and nutrition with her endorsements of McDonald's, Nestle, Coca Cola, ice cream and Ortega taco shells.  Shawn was too thin in Beijing and gained weight afterwards.  She was hurt by the comments about her weight gain and didn't think society was right, so she decided to lose all the weight she gained and show society.  I personally think Shawn was just far too thin to contend with that Nastia Liukin at the Olympics.

I really appreciate that Audrey Weisiger is promoting choreography with YAS, but this week's ball challenge is about up there with Michael Weiss' Backsteet Boys exhibition for its innuendo and uncomfortable level of hot mess. I really respect all of the entrants for taking a big risk and have amateur work judged by the public every week, but it is clear that they need direction that is more constructive and pointed than anything J Lo is giving on American Idol.  Let's discuss YAS as a family...

Bebe Liang's ''ball challenge'' for YAS.  I respect Bebe for doing this, but my inner Emily Tuttle is giving Bebe the 'bitch please' eye.  Jock Jams.  Dodgeball.  Choreography Competition.  I just cannot.  I get that skaters are so sheltered that some admire crap performed by Scott Hamilton, but this is not going to go over well with any of the judges who studied modern dance.  Since I have yet to kiss the asses of YAS, I will imagine as though I have and begin judging the submissions.  The creativity is a 1.5 out of 5.  To be fair, it looks like the four guys only ran through the program two or three times.  The choreography is worthy of a middle school talent show.  On a positive note, it looks like at least two of the guys may have an Asian fetish.  Bebe is looking happy and fit.  She could be the next Mrs. Zuckerberg.  I imagine the judges will find it hard to mark Bebe harshly, the same way online fans never attacked her skating much because they felt it they squinted hard enough, she could totally pass for Karen Kwan.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Baby Adam Rippon

This is a video of Adam, posted on Twitter earlier, of his Don Quixote program at the 2004-2005 Sectional Championships.  Adam was coached by Yelena Sergeeva at the time and you can really see the tremendous basic skating skills and technique she instilled in him.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Interview with KJ Kindler

When the heading coaching position at the University of Georgia became available, KJ Kindler’s named buzzed around the gymnastics world as the ideal choice to fill the role.  While Kindler turned the position down, the episode has certainly served to put the University of Oklahoma and its women’s gymnastics coach in the NCAA spotlight.

Since taking over the program in 2006, KJ Kindler has led the Sooners to two Super Six appearances and the position of perennially vying for the National Title.  I recently spoke with KJ Kindler about her program, the Sooners’ up and down 2012 season and the future of the program and its coach who loves to dance.

Favorite Things Friday

Last night, I interviewed a choreographer who asked me if I had ever seen this program.  The look I flashed was beyond a 'bitch, please!' moment.  This program is my life.

Awesome Dawesome.

Eighties tacky wonderfulness.

This and That

Rebecca Bross on bars at camp.  Sadly, Bross looks on track to be the heartbroken kid of 2012.

Danna Durante is rumored to be the new head coach at UGA after many A-List coaches turned it down due to the toxic nature of a program eager to win with a former head coach still overshadowing it.  The situation is Athens is a mess, as they did not anticipate the lack of interest in the head coaching position.  Danna is young, having previously been an assistant at Nebraska and briefly serving as the head coach at Cal.  This is quite the step up and there will be tons of pressure with a lot to prove.  It is ultimately good for the program to start fresh.  The Gym Dogs need a big makeover after struggling to find an identity for three years.  The program also needs a more media-friendly coach to energize the fan base.  Cal's future remains uncertain.  As for Jay and Julie, they are rumored to be coaching at Kim Arnold Arenas' gym, which they have an ownership interest in.  Kim Arnold Arenas daughter, Elena Arenas, is quite promising in terms of a future high level JO/NCAA athlete.

Interview with Ilia Averbukh.

Louis Smith article

Michelle Kwan will be interviewed on Fox News Sunday this Sunday morning.

Interview with Kurt Browning before the Victoria SOI show:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

This and That (RIP Donna Summer)

Like many of you, I'm deeply saddened by the death of Donna Summer from cancer at age 63.  My parents exposed me to their music at a young age by never allowing anyone to change the radio or allowing us to learn how to use the CD Player.

Many of us also remember Donna as Aunt Una on Family Matters.  (Link is her memorable first appearance.)

Jordyn Wieber on floor at camp, with her double layout as a second pass.  As much as she is not my ideal gymnast or Olympic AA Champion by any stretch of the imagination, Jordyn is looking fit and prepared for this summer and is continually upgrading, which is very necessary in the Olympic year.

Kurt Browning is branching out.  (with a video interview)

Nastia Liukin's AT&T Twitter Chat.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

This and That

Friend of the blog, Miki Yamashita, was featured on The Tonight Show last night and admitted her undying love of figure skating.

The oft injured Fabian Hambuchen will skip Europeans to have a longer preparation for the Olympic Games.

Jamie Silverstein opened up Grinning Yogi for all the happy granola lovers of Seattle.  It seems like a ton of quirky fun and I'm dying for my friend to check it out.

Blahtah summer fun with Georgia Dabritz and Corrie Lothrop.  It is a shame Greg never lets them be this cool in competition.

Chow Adds More Shawn Johnson Comeback Doubt

First she wouldn't get in a leotard, now this quote from her coach:

"Former Olympic medalist Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines will not compete at the May 25-26 U.S. Classic in Chicago. That event is the final qualifier for the national championships in St. Louis, but Johnson has already qualified for those, said her coach Liang Chow.

  • Chow said Johnson is still recuperating from a knee injury, and said he wasn’t sure if she’d be able to compete in St. Louis. If she misses that event, she wouldn’t be eligible for the Olympic Trials in San Jose at the end of June, meaning her longshot attempt to make a second U.S. Olympic squad would be over."

    Gabby Douglas will only do bars at Classics.

    Get ready for this fluff piece:

Don't Forget Me

Still dying!  Which are your top songs of the season?

This and That: Bonus

Megan Hilty on Ivy's future in Season 2 of Smash.  We have to wait until early 2013 to find out!!!

Ice Network has an article with Amanda Evora, Taylor Toth and Marissa Castelli about mastering throws.  Shouldn't they go to China to actually learn that information before they pass it on?  I don't know if I'd want to learn to tie my skates from an American pair.

Ivana Hong trains her Onodi again.

Julianne Hough on DWTS for Rock of Ages.  Love it or Hate it?  I love her on DWTS, but I'm wondering if she gets all of her film roles due to being Seacrest's beard.  Just a hunch.

Choreography Info:

Adam Rippon is working with Michael Seibert.
Kozuka is working with Yuka Sato again.

Akiko Suzuki, Haruka Imai and Kanako Murakami are currently all training together at DSC.

Rock of Ages: Any Way You Want It (Film Clip)

At The Gym: Anna Li (NBC Olympics Training Gallery)

Jonathan Horton, the Bryan Brothers and Ryan Lochte in VOGUE after the jump!

This and That

Catching up with Jordyn Wieber

Sexy Derek Hough and Maria Menounos were voted off DWTS after earning a perfect 30 this week.

The Draw for the Secret US Classic.  Of course, not everyone will compete all events.  It is interesting that Maroney is starting on vault, Li starts on bars and Liukin and Bross start on beam.  It is presumed that Liukin will compete beam and train bars at Classics before doing both events at Nationals and Trials.  Sloan starts on floor.

Marvin Tran's citizenship has hit a snag.  Does anyone really think  the JSF won't get it settled with a potential team gold at stake in Sochi?  They are insane about winning.  I'm not remotely concerned about this remaining unresolved.  This is the token media campaign to get something done.

Akiko Suzuki is aiming for more.  Some people don't know that when they get their Paul Wylie miracle medal, it is time to turn professional.

Interview with Weaver and Poje

An article with Hugo Chouinard on creating skating music.

Alexei Mishin: Between the Stars

Natasha told me about this documentary, Alexei Mishin: Between the Stars, which she absolutely loved.  I watched it last night knowing a bit of what is covers and my ten Pimsleur Russian lessons.  It is definitely worth seeing, even if only for the skimming value.

Fun Tidbits:

Mishin spends a great deal of time going into Yagudin's decision to leave him.  Mishin recounts the night when he called Alexei to his office (who was a bit drunk), who said that he loved him but felt he loved Mishin for.  He also claimed not to know who he would be training with when he left.  Mishin felt that Yagudin could only focus on jumps and wasn't as light on his feet or as capable of choreography as Plushenko.  This is quite a contrary view from Western fans who grew to adore Yagudin's programs under Tarasova and Morozov.

This documentary is very much from Mishin's point of view, but Tarasova, Moskvina, Plushenko, Yagudin and Urmanov are all interviewed.  Plushenko and Urmanov claim to be very similar in terms of character.  Both always needed to push ahead and be first on the ice.  Plushenko admits to being very glad when Yagudin left because he received all of Mishin's attention.

Mishin blames himself for the loss in Salt Lake City due to a miscalculation and arriving at the Olympics too early.

Mishin calls Plushenko 'a Picasso on ice.'  It is somewhat fitting, as Plushenko is certainly not knowing for exhibiting beautiful clean lines or coherent images or stories on the ice.  Margaret Thatcher claims Zhenya's nose is certainly the work of Picasso.

As usual, the Russian documentaries are wildly entertaining with all sorts of talk about temperament and character.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Take That, Izbasa! (This and That)

Oh McKayla, always a one-upping diva!

Rebecca Bross confirms she is specializing on bars and beam.

Dominique Dawes reflects on her Olympic experiences.  I love that Shannon Milller and Dominique Dawes still compete, this team they try to be more articulate and well-spoken.  I live for Dominique letting us know that Barcelona is in Spain and that Trials will be in San Jose.  Frankly, I was waiting for her to say "San Jose, California."  I'm fascinated by Diva Dawes, her inspirational CDs and her desire to push Mrs. Obama out of the way.

"Being in Atlanta, Georgia."  Dawes learned how to say: Kelli Hill, my coach, in her Journalism classes and didn't realize that it sounds awkward in  everyday speech.

Note to interviewer: Was Dawes' vault the next rotating finishing strong?

Evan and Nastia are leaning on one another in their comebacks.  It would be smart if Nastia switched representation to Shep Goldberg, who could make her a fake ambassador to all of Soviet Russia and set her up for life.

DWTS confirms an all star edition this fall.  How will Mark and Derek dance with multiple partners each?  Will Kristi Yamaguchi, the all-time high scorer return, or will we see Sabrina and Mark dancing together yet again?  Hell, will we be forced to watch Shawn Johnson and Nicole Scherzinger?

Michelle Obama supports Team USA at the media summit.

Interview with Ellie Black.

Aly Raisman's training videos are proof of the adage, "Practice doesn't make perfect, it makes permanent."

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Media Summit Part Two (Interviews and More!)

These all need captions!

The Media Summit

Shawn Johnson was actually at the media summit, but she wasn't photographed due to her refusal to wear a leotard like the other gymnasts.  It is curious, as she did look to be in decent shape in recent media appearances.  It certainly adds fuel to the speculation that she will not be competing with the intent to make the Olympic Team this summer.  Having a book come out the week of Nationals is quite the distraction to begin with.  Shawn did talk about her weight gain and loss at the media summit.

After all those years at WOGA, Rebecca Bross still can't hit a gorgeous pose.  The WOGA girls lucked out with the summit being held in Dallas, as they switched Sunday and Monday training and were able to train out yesterday before heading to the summit mid afternoon.

A few members of the world team are fighting the puberty fairy like many sixteen-year-olds before them.  It may be a race against time with the depth and level of difficulty required to make the team.  Amanars aren't easy with budding breasts.  A few girls look like they are fighting the inevitability of strong NCAA futures.  Now is not the time for Jewish breasts to develop.  Just ask someone like Kristie Phillips about the treachery of holding out for the last eight months.  The excitement is building with mere weeks until Classics and Nationals.

Gabby Douglas is smiling as only the fittest member of Team USA can.

Although she was not present, JSOnline shows us photos of Memmel's beautiful form.