Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Skating Lesson: Interview with Debi Thomas

Our interview with Debi Thomas about sports psychology, the 1988 Olympic Games and life after skating.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Live Blog: The Ladies Short

The pairs were merely a warm up. Let the competition begin. The opening ceremonies start at 8:00, so I will be live blogging starting at 8:30. Until then, I will be conditioning like a good figure skater. I do not understand the opening ceremonies, as I can see little girls fall on the ice for $13 an hour any day of the week.

Now the mayor is speaking...

I'm bored of the short program just listening to the elements being described. Imagine if they had to describe the figures!

The Pairs Showdown

Which team will win Worlds? Can Aliona land the triple salchow? Do they need it? Since when do these Ukrainian girls make mistakes?!

This and That

Practice videos. Note Wagner still missed the double axel she fell on at the Grand Prix Final, is not upgrading to Nationals and fell on her footwork sequence.

Mirai Nagasu

Leah Keiser withdrew from Nationals due to injury.

Evgeny Plushenko bombed the short at Europeans and withdrew from the long due to injury. While it would be easy to choke this up due to #bootproblems excuses, his body has clearly been through a lot and few can remember the last time he bombed a short in competition.

Elizabeth Price is out of the American Cup due to a hip injury. Larisa Iordache will also not be competing. Currently on the roster: Kyla Ross, Victoria Moors, Koko Tsurumi, Asuka Teramoto, Vanessa Ferrari and Elisabeth Seitz.

Sadly, it looks like it will be another American Cup where the Americans are the only athletes fully prepared for a meet this early in the season and the others are simply competing for a little prize money. The Europeans will be gearing up for the European Championships, so there is hope we may see some decent exercises. We can only hope that a Mustafina future does not await them after the meet. Nothing good ever comes for international gymnastics who attend this meet. Produnova did the entire qualifying series in 2000 and was left with a broken foot by the Olympics.

A replacement for Iordache will be named soon. The replacement for Price will be named at the February camp. It is a major disappointment for fans, as Price stood a very good chance at upsetting Kyla Ross. It looks like she may have a predictable victory now. We can only hope that Lexie Priessman will be named and that Amelia Hundley will be this year's 'exhibitionist' (in the words of the UF commentators), so that MLT is all over our TV screens once again. Many of us long for the days when they gave her a microphone during the meets. Gymnastike could then return to CGA for their unintentionally hilarious and captivating documentary (accidentally brilliant), which if you haven't seen, is better than watching Liz and Dick.

The Teen Choice Tour was canceled. While it is sad that the gymnasts won't be given even more commercial opportunities to celebrate their Olympic win, it could be good for the sport that Wieber, Douglas and Raisman now have more of an incentive to get back in the gym. Somewhere, McKayla Maroney is still attempting to launch the first instagram-posing career.

Lena Degteva gave Gymcastic a great interview this week about life at Round Lake. Note that UCLA is subtly winning the PR war this year, even if their gymnastics cannot get it done on the mats. While Suzanne Yoculan was transparently manipulative, Miss Val may be even a greater master of manipulation, as she continues to get others to do her bidding. In addition to getting some of the more 'bullshit' NCAA combos she championed under the guise of 'varity' (gainer pikes, really?), that help teams or 'parity', it needs to be noted that she or someone in her program is infiltrating Gymcastic to be her personal PR source. (Last week, Sam Peszek even hosted the show.)

This week, one of the commentators who adores UCLA, noted that Shayla Worley (Public enemy #1) spends far too much time down on the floor, yet refrained from noticing that this is Val's M.O. in almost every floor routine where she has girls stretch their arms and limbs out and then turn over on the floor...unless she thinks that have a fitness issue like some girls over the years and has them run to left and right with their hands on their hips during her sexy rock n' roll routines. (Shout out Val, brilliant!) Last week, we heard the same commentator state that choreography is 'classier out west.'

More Nationals practice videos after the jump!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Live Blog: Stanford @ Georgia

Today's MLK Jr. Day meet features Stanford taking on the Gym Dogs in Athens, GA. The Gym Dogs are coming off of a win on Friday despite some hiccups during the second half of the meet. Coach Danna Durante continues to find her footing in Athens and attempt to bring the team back into contention. The Stanford Cardinal are a team that typically does not defeat the Gym Dogs in dual meets, as they always face off near the beginning of the season and the Cardinal does not typically put out a full lineup until March.

The Skating Lesson: Interview With Dan Hollander (Episode 4)

Due to the excitement of Nationals, we are posting this week's episode a few days early. We hope you enjoy this week's interview with Dan Hollander about coaching issues, sports psychology and positive coaching techniques.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Favorite Things: Sigh...

Great Song + Amazing Skater + Lovely Choreography = Total Win

Forgotten quality.

The Skating Lesson: Interview with Dan Hollander Teaser

A preview of this week's interview with Dan Hollander about coaching, sports psychology and the unique coach-pupil relationship.

Listen to the podcast:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Dress

Stunning.  Her best look yet!

Katelyn Osmond's short program at Canadian Nationals

UCLA vs. Utah

In an announcement that shocked no one, Evan Lysacek withdrew from next week's US Figure Skating

Michelle Kwan got married today. I know we are all waiting for photos of that Vera Wang gown.

Denney and Coughlin are petitioning to Worlds. Ice Network posted an article about it, which means there is a good chance the USFS may send them. At this point ones need to wonder if they are coming back too quickly and risking injury and risking being a solid pair at the Olympics.

Pechalat and Bourzat withdrew from Europeans due to a partially torn muscle in Fabian's groin. They are hoping to compete at Worlds.

Mirai Nagasu is happy to be under the radar. Could she be the spoiler this year?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Live Blog: NCAA Gymnastics Night

There are a lot of big meets going on the the SEC and around the country tonight, so let's try to have a manic moment and get to all of them.

The Florida Gators are widely regarded as being the favorites for the NCAA title, yet they really struggled last week against LSU, having to count a fall off of beam. A few of their routines were perhaps flat and a few others underscored. They need to pay attention to landings and handstands, because the newer (somewhat controversial) rules in NCAA gymnastics are allowing judges to reward easier gymnastics with higher scores. A few years ago, ending with a gainer pike off of beam was a composition deduction. Even when it wasn't, judges wouldn't score girls above a 9.900 because they'd always 'find something,' in order to adequately rank routines with easier dismounts. The trends of aerial+back handspring series, series dismounts, gainer pikes and two rudis on floor are bringing back the days when the level of difficulty was regarded as a joke by gymnastics fans, but it is certainly helping out teams lacking star power and depth this season. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Listen to the Rudy Interview

I got a new server for our podcast and uploaded our interviews.  Please know we are working hard to get this on itunes and should have the kinks worked out. We are also trying to get a youtube version of this as well. Apologies to those who were unable to listen to the podcast due to compatibility issues.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Skating Lesson: An Interview with Rudy Galindo (Episode 3)

Episode 3: An Interview with Rudy Galindo.

Apologies in advance, but there is no video this week. We had some 'boot problems,' and were unable to have the video. We hope you will still enjoy our interview with the 1996 United States Men's Champion, 1989 and 1990 United States Pairs Champion and perennial fan favorite on Champions on Ice about overcoming struggles, repairing relationships and self acceptance.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Heartbreak For Alissa Czisny

Alissa Czisny injured herself at a small competition this weekend, with the injury thought to be a dislocated hip. Above is a video of her long program, cut directly prior to the event. Alissa had to be helped off the ice and was ultimate wheeled out of the event. She has undergone surgery and it is on the road to recovery, yet it is thought she may be battling a genetic predisposition to hip issues. After a disastrous end to last season, Alissa looked to be skating well enough to challenge for a top spot at Nationals. One can only speculate whether we will ever see her skate competitively again. Surely, the skating world is rooting for her.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Skating Lesson Podcast: Interview With Tim Goebel

Listen to our interview with the 2001 United States National Champion, 2002 Olympic bronze medalist and two-time World Championship silver medalist, who shares his views on the upcoming United States National Championships and the lessons he's learned from the ups and downs of competing at the top of the sport and experiencing the physical toll of being the Quad King.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Yu-Na's Clean Long

Yu-Na Kim skates a clean long for the second time (third if you count 2007 Cup of Russia) in her career as an elite figure skater. She easily wins the Korean National title.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Preview of The Skating Lesson Episode 2: An Interview With Tim Goebel

Coming Wednesday to The Skating Lesson.

NCAA Live Blog: OU at UGA

The showdown is here. Last spring, the University of Georgia fired coach Jay Clark and attempted to hire Oklahoma's head coach, KJ Kindler. They ultimate hired Cal's coach, Danna Durante, who has a lot to prove in her first outing as head coach. As UCLA Val Kondos Field has said in the past, you often have to be twice as good as the other team in order to win on the road.

It looked like this would be Oklahoma's meet until they lost senior Kayla Nowak just before Christmas to a broken back. The Sooners have to step it up and be stars in an often unfriendly arena. The Gym Dogs do get a boost in terms of Brittany Rogers, who is just joining the team this semester. With three years of underachievement that resulted in their coach losing his job, the Gym Dogs have a lot to prove. On paper, this should be one heck of a match up.

Why Yu-Na Kim Should Compete at Four Continents...

It is difficult to shake off the rust after time away. Her ability to do a Triple Flip+Triple Toe after falling and popping earlier in the program is impressive and commendable, but it looks like she has a bit of a way to go to truly be back in her rhythm in terms of competition. One has to be all in at this level and it may take competing like she has never won anything before (Grand Prix, Four Continents) for Yu-Na Kim to truly make it back to the top.

YNK scored a 64.97 for her effort in the short program.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Skating Lesson Podcast: Interview With Tai Babilonia

Jennifer Kirk and I have embarked on a labor of love together in the form of The Skating Lesson Podcast, where we interview influential people in figure skating to share the lessons they've learned along the way. Our first episode features an interview with Tai Babilonia, the 1979 World Pairs Champion with her partner Randy Gardner. Tai discusses her illustrious career, the lead up to the 1980 Olympics, personal struggles, and current issues in United States Figure Skating and its current pairs. We believe Tai's lessons have the opportunity to help so many people, skaters and non-skaters alike. Please note that this podcast is split up into several youtube clips in order to meet youtube requirements.