Canadian National Team News
When Vaughn Chipeur wasn't assigned to any Grand Prix events, many people guessed that he had decided to retire after having his "moment" (or lack thereof-- finishing 23rd) at the 2010 Olympics. He's been removed from the 2010/2011 National Team and seems that he's content doing shows around Canada from now on. He also qualified for the 2009 World Championships and finished an impressive 12th. One skater that isn't retiring after years of being a fixture near the top of the national standings is Shawn Sawyer. Known for his flexibility and show-stopping performances in exhibition skating, Shawn has been, to this point, unable to land a clean triple Axel in competition. In a recent odd article posted by his webmaster, Shawn talks about some of the changes he's made throughout the off-season, including the decision to work with other coaches besides his long-time team of Annie Barabe and Sophie Richaud. He also has a new free skate to the music of Alice in Wonderland. Shawn choreographed the program himself and he will portray the Mad Hatter. Sawyer had moments of greatness the last few seasons, finishing 2nd behind Olympic Champion Evan Lysacek at last years' Skate America. He was also the winner of the free skate at the 2008 Skate Canada, although he finished just 5th overall.
Also missing from the 2010/2011 National Team are pairs skaters Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay, the 2008 National Champions and 2010 Olympic Team members. Langlois has retired from the sport while Hay plans to continue if he can find a new partner. Meagan Duhamel and Craig Buntin, two-time World team members, have also been removed. Duhamel is now skating with Eric Radford while Buntin has yet to release an official statement about his retirement.
Ice dancers Allie Hann-McCurdy and Michael Coreno have also retired, finishing their careers on a high note with the silver medal at the 2010 Four Continents Championships.
Joannie Rochette remains on the National Team, but her withdrawal from the Grand Prix series and endless list of commitments this summer seems to suggest she will also retire from amateur skating. Amelie Lacoste, former National bronze medalist, has been working with 2008 World Champion Jeffrey Buttle on choreography for next season. Buttle has been touring this off-season, impressing audiences with his Glenn Gould and "Sympathy for the Devil" routines.
Karma and Country Switching in France
It seems the partnership of Vanessa James and Maximin Coia really is already finished. I guess "what goes around, comes around" does actually happen sometimes. Maybe Vanessa will look for yet another country to represent? Then again, she definitely has the backing of Federation President Didier Gailhaguet.
Here's a thought about Yannick Ponsero. Yes, he was left off the 2010/2011 Grand Prix roster, and yes, we all know the story of him skipping the test skate set up to determine which one of he, Brian Joubert, and Alban Preabuert would go to the World Championships. I have reported that he might just be taking this season off to focus on school, but something about that struck me today. May he be taking the Samuel Contesti route and sitting out for a while so that he is able to represent a different country sooner than later? From the sounds of it, the French Federation isn't really happy with the way Ponsero "conducts himself" during competitions (whatever that means) and I'm sure he doesn't feel any real backing from them with Joubert still competing and Florent Amodio coming up the ranks. Might Italy be "receiving" another top level mens skater compliments of France, or is my while idea ridiculous? We shall see.
Italy's Princess Back in Oberstdorf?
Word from one of my European skating friends is that Carolina Kostner is back training with long-time coach Michael Huth. Always the model of consistency under his tutelage (sarcasm), it sounds like Kostner had a nightmare of sorts trying to train under American Frank Carroll for part of last season. It's been noted by commentators in the past that Carolina doesn't always run through her entire programs in practice, and I wonder if that didn't sit well with the former coach of Michelle Kwan and current coach of Mirai Nagasu and Evan Lysacek, among others. Drama.
More Drama, Compliments of Israel
It has become nothing short of a war of the words between Israeli ice dancers Sasha and Roman Zaretsky (well more specifically, their father), and Federation President Boris Chait. If you don't remember that name, watch the following clip-- the accusation had everything to do with Chait. The report starts around the 2:10 mark.
Anyways, here are the original comments made by Igor Zaretsky and his children (in Hebrew-- Google Chrome browser automatically translates), and then the follow-up letter posted by the Israeli Federation. Obviously two very different stories. I spoke to someone who is very close to the situation and has no obligations to either side. The source suggests that the truth is within the comments made by the Federation, and that the Zaretskys were not always 100% committed to the training regulations asked of them, even though they were receiving a fair amount of financial support. The team finished 6th at the 2010 World Championships. Their retirement opens up spots at the Grand Prix NHK Trophy and Skate America competitions.
The Short Dance
The ISU has posted a video of American dancers Jane Summersett and Todd Gilles performing the new short dance, which now takes place as the first segment of the ice dance competition instead of the compulsory and original dances. Both have been removed from senior and junior-level events.
Two Skaters Nominated for ESPY Awards
Olympian Joannie Rochette has been nominated for "Best Moment" of the year for her memorable skating to a bronze medal in Vancouver just days after the death of her mother. Nominated for "Best Male US Olympic Athlete" is Olympic Champion Evan Lysacek. No registration is required to vote on the ESPY Award website. The award show will take place July 14th at 9PM, naturally-- on ESPN.
Happy Birthday, Johnny Weir!
Johnny turns 26 today. I'm sure he will have a fabulous day :-)