Tuesday, December 7

Which Program Worked Better? - Part One

(Apologies to those who might have seen this post TWICE in the last hour and then saw it disappear-- it deleted all of my polls as soon as I published it!)

This is part one of a series that focuses on top-level skaters throughout the last few Olympiads who have changed at least one of their competitive programs during the course of a season. I have about fifty total instances I am going to highlight, and the order in which they are featured is completely random.

The first part features the following skaters: Alexei Yagudin, Michelle Kwan, Shizuka Arakawa, Miki Ando, and Evan Lysacek. For each case, I have embedded YouTube videos of both performances, as well as a poll asking which program you personally preferred. Voting ends on December 31st, and each day I will add new programs for you to decide between.

Have fun, and as always: feel free to discuss!

Alexei Yagudin 1999/2000 Long Program
Broken Arrow ==> Tosca

After Yagudin lost the European Championship to countryman Evgeny Plushenko, he decided that the Broken Arrow soundtrack was "too difficult for the public" and showed up to the World Championships two months later skating the traditional Tosca. He won his third straight title.

Michelle Kwan 2000/2001 Short Program
Rush ==> East of Eden


Christopher Dean choreographed the Eric Clapton soundtrack, but Kwan wasn't happy with it and returned to a familiar piece of music, East of Eden. She had used it as part of her long program (1994) and two different times as an exhibition (1996 and 1999), but this was the first time she used it as a short program. She received seven 6.0's at the US Nationals.

Michelle Kwan 2000/2001 Long Program
Miraculous Mandarin ==> Song of the Black Swan


This wasn't a ditching of a program, but rather a second free skate created to compete under the rules of the Grand Prix Final at the time. The Miraculous Mandarin was choreographed by Peter Oppegard, current coach of Yu-Na Kim and now-husband of Michelle's sister, Karen. After the event, she decided to keep Song of the Black Swan and won her fourth World Championship, delivering a flawless performance.

Miki Ando 2008/2009 Long Program
Giselle ==> Symphony No. 3


Ando and teammate Yukari Nakano both chose Giselle for their free skates in 2009, but Miki decided to drop her program for the Saint-Saens Symphony. She would go on to win the bronze medal at the World Championships, while Nakano dropped from first to fifth overall at the Japanese Nationals and failed to qualify for the event.

Shizuka Arakawa 2005/2006 Short Program
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini ==> Fantasie Impromptu


Arakawa dropped Rhapsody before the Olympic Games and converted her Fantasie Impromptu free skate into her new short program. She was 0.71 points behind leader Sasha Cohen after the first night of competition in Torino. 

Shizuka Arakawa 2005/2006 Long Program
Fantasie Impromptu ==> Violin Fantasy on Puccini's Turandot


Another change of programs in the Olympic season for Shizuka, as she would return to Vanessa-Mae's rendition of Turandot for the third time in her career. She first skated to it in 2002, and then again in 2004-- the season she was the surprise World Champion. The program once again brought her luck in 2006, as she became the Olympic Champion.

Evan Lysacek 2005/2006 Long Program
Grease ==> Carmen


Lysacek started the season skating to a medley from the Grease soundtrack, but decided that "the music didn't put [him] in the right frame of mind to compete." He made the switch to the ever-popular Carmen, and placed fourth at the Olympic Games in his first trip to the event. He repeated as bronze medalist at the World Championships a month later, coming back from an eighth-place short program finish that left him outside the final free skate group.


morozombie said...

Heh, Evan's Grease LP. It's so bad, it's almost good.


ingriddiamond said...

Oh my God!!! Grease was terrible!!!!!! Evan Lysacek had in Carmen better work than Grease!!!

Tony said...

The cheesy orchestration about half-way through Grease didn't make matters any better.

This was one of the programs I basically forgot about before starting research on this blog post.. I don't think there's any need to ask why!

Anonymous said...

New one to add: Miki Ando has changed her SP to Gabriel's Flute (Nella Fantasia), a complete opposite of what her old SP was.

Anonymous said...

For this year? Thank goodness, the one she just had was pretty terrible.

Tony said...

I believe she's actually using Falls and Gabriel's Oboe from The Mission soundtrack for her new short program. Nella Fantasia is indeed a vocalized version of the Morricone score.

I think I'll like this program much better as long as she makes a decent effort at listening to the music. I was SO bored by her short program and whatever concept it was supposed to have.

muzicgirl01 said...

oh my that grease program did little to make me like Evan. not that he's a bad skater but yeah, anyway, the Olympic skate was miles better for sure