Saturday, July 17

Is there any way of knowing whether all these questions about the Russian junior gals are from the same person?;-)

No, anonymous questions stay anonymous. I probably won't answer any more of them because I am getting boring and repeating myself now :-)

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what exactly is a "besti squat"? lol

It's a spread eagle that's done with bent legs rather than stretching the legs out. It's named after ice dancer Natalia Bestemianova who did them in programs with partner Andrei Bukin. I mentioned Olga Markova doing them in my last reply, and you can see several examples in this performance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pD8URnScIO4

Play

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Do you think Zawadski's going to need a new coach if she wants to improve her speed?

Probably. Just imagine the size of her jumps if she had some speed going into them. She already has a great Lutz!

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If you could ban only one piece of overused music from skating, what would it be?

I don't really get bothered by the "classics". I think some of them are definitely made as a safe choice by the skater and their team, but I've never gone absolutely crazy over a Malaguena, Carmen, Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, or Nessun Dorma program :-)

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Friday, July 16

What music will Davis and White skate to this year?

I don't know. I'm not big on revealing program music until the skater/team is either okay with it or they have announced it themselves. At either rate, I have no idea what they are skating to at this time.

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You really expect to be surprised by Mishin's ladies skaters? Peggy Fleming of formspring.... have you ever seen a non-tacky Mishin skater?

You never know which choreographers might work with Mishin. They could surprise us. And yes, I'll call myself Peggy now.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXA-WwLFQ-k I don't think Darya Medvedeva is going to have any problems with her artistry or presentation. She's 12. Liza T. is good artistically too, just had bad LP music last season that was too heavy for her.

Like I said, I'm not going to judge them until I actually see what they have to present this upcoming season. Angela Nikodinov might not be Russia, but did we really expect the transformation from The Mummy to Sleeping Beauty? I think not :-)

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Tony, what about SP= technical elements and jumps, and LP= free w/o set rules except for # of jumps? I saw a YT video where Shizuka and Stephane, mainly Stephane, were talking about this. Is the ISU so set on current rules that they won't consider this?

I don't like it. I actually really like this system but I feel like the number of requirements previously restricted the amount of creativity that was able to be put into the program. This is why I mentioned on one of my recent Formspring questions that I think the removal of one of the elements in the short program will help deal with that issue.

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Why do people hate on jazz programs so much?

Where are people hating, or which programs in particular?

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Dayum, that David Wilson guy is doing choreo 4 everyone. Are skaters scared of trying new choreographers that they just do the safe bet & hire Wilson? What was he a former dancer or something? M/b that's why programs are starting to resemble each other

He is a former singles? skater I think that had to retire at an early age because of a growth disease. He worked with Sebastien Britten and Josee Chouinard back in the day and then I believe he was quiet for a few years until he started choreographing for Buttle, Phaneuf, and Rochette.

I think he's done some great work, but I'd have to say my absolute favorite was Dubreiul/Lauzon's free dance to Somewhere in Time that they used in the 2006 season.

The tough thing with IJS is that most programs are going to resemble each other in ways because of the lack of time allotted for skaters to really include any personality. Hopefully the removal of one element from the short programs will solve some of these problems, because I think that's where we see similarities (or flat out boring programs) the most.

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MY fear is Mishin's girls will be female Plushenkos. Dominant based on jumps but not great presentation. A girl with a 3/3, all the triples and a 3 axel, and decent skating skills hard to beat. Plushenko had artistic potential to when young.

You never know. Like I said, they are all still young. Do most 15-year olds (let alone 12, 13, 14) aside from skaters like Kwan and Baiul have amazing presentation? They might surprise us :-)

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do you think all singles skaters must do ina bauers spread eagles besti squats and twizzles a lot to be really good??

Not at all. I mean, I love seeing a great Ina Bauer but sometimes it seems like it is just thrown in to the program as something to cover getting from one end of the rink to the other with no real linking to the choreography or steps preceding or following it. Spread eagles are usually nice transitions into spins but we don't see them very often, either. I think I see them most often as part of the "steps" into double Axels or triple Salchows, etc. As far as Besti squats-- I think Olga Markova did more of them than the number I've seen combined since she retired. And twizzles seem to have stuck with the ice dancers, although some singles skaters could include them (or something similar) in their footwork sequences.

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Thursday, July 15

what makes you think Kim Yu-Na will not compete next year??? you don't know what you are talking about and you shouldn't just guess things.

One thing I have tried to stick with when "reporting" news is that I'm not going to attribute my name to it unless I have pretty strong confidence that the news is true (really, who wants to report untrue news and expect people to take them seriously?) A recent example of that was Stephane Lambiel working with Daisuke Takahashi on a new short program.

I always look at where my visitors are being linked from and I know that my thread about Kim possibly not competing next year had some people on one of her forums writing that I shouldn't make assumptions and all that good stuff. I am guessing that is where you are coming from.

I heard from a trusted source that she does not have programs yet. No, I don't think you can base her not competing solely off of that, but the chatter around her rink seems to also suggest she won't skate competitively next year. On top of that, David Wilson just mentioned in an interview that he is done choreographing for the year (as Jeremy Abbott's free skate was his final endeavor). No one seems to have noticed that. So this either suggests Kim is going to have programs choreographed by someone other than Wilson, or-- back to my original suggestion.

If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. It isn't the end of the world. However, the last thing I am doing is coming up with fake stories so that more people will come to my website. Maybe I need to create a disclaimer page :-)

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From old interviews, Mishin use to say he preferred working with boys, and I believe girls worked with his wife. Eliza and co are new development. His packaging sucks, but some of these kids have artistic capabilities including Eliza. And well the jumps.

I won't judge any of them until I see them in competition next season :)

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Any news on Mao's new coach?

Nope, sorry!

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Canadians Buntin and Chipeur Retire

We all knew Craig Buntin was retiring, but now he has finally made an official statement. Former pairs partner Meagan Duhamel is now skating with Eric Radford, which is confirmed in the release. Also retiring this week is National silver medalist Vaughn Chipeur-- which I think we all saw coming, as well. Chipeur reached his goal of competing at the 2010 Olympics but a poor short program barely qualified him to the free skate, and he ended up 23rd overall. His retirement seemed a sure thing upon not receiving any Grand Prix assignments last month, even though skaters ranked below him nationally were assigned at least one event.

Read the official press releases from Buntin and Chipeur.

Reports are Mishin has other young girls with that jump in practice. Mishin knows how to teach jumps (and I think fairly safely too). But I wonder about girls who will want to compete with his coming group. Who don't have coaches as knowledgable.

The only thing I can think of is that Mishin doesn't really have any ladies skaters of the past (or at least the past 20 years or so) that have had spectacular results. He worked with Butyrskaya when she was first coming on the scene but I'm pretty sure he was her coach during her 1993 World meltdown that made Russia miss entering the 1994 Olympics, and also Rachkova who came and went basically after 1992. He also worked with Sokolova for a few years and she had that gloomy Masquerade Waltz free skate under his direction. She went back to Kudriatsev and still wasn't very consistent, but at least had a World silver medal to show for her efforts.

I guess what I am getting to is that there might be other skaters outside of Mishin's group that have much more to offer as far as the component scores (in particular choreography). and I don't think he has shown yet that any of his ladies are particularly consistent. We shall see. I still really respect what he is able to do. You know he's not out there showing the skaters how to do triple Axels and quad toes himself, but they are still able to do them!

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You have a link to the Ontd_skating on your site. What is your opinion about that community?

They seem like a nice group of people and they have linked to some of my articles before. They definitely get more replies to their topics than I ever have :-)

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Do you know who choreographed Takahiko Kozuka's program(s) for coming season?

I believe I heard that he was in Toronto a while back but I couldn't confirm anything so I never wrote about it. So maybe David Wilson? I'll ask around to see if I can find anything else out.

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What kind of style do you like the best from Yuna?

I don't know that there's a style I really prefer most from her. I love her Tango de Roxanne which showed off a lot of fire and crisp choreography, but then I also loved her Lark Ascending free skate, which was obviously completely different. How about you?

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Hope this isn't a redundant question, but did the "uplifting" requirement for the FD actually pass or have we been spared?

Sounds like it didn't. The only thing I see in the changes is that the music must have at least one change of tempo and/or expression, and it must be obvious. So no more Albinoni's "Adagio" vocalized for 4 straight minutes (not that we've ever seen that before .....)

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With the announcement of Comm. 1619, does it mean that all applicable tech rule changes have now been presented, or are there any chances of further revisions? I'm disappointed that the [ x1.1 factor] proposal for combination jumps didn't get through...

In speaking with some of the judges, I believe that there are changes that can still be made in the next few months. I'll come back to this question and reply on my blog once I have a little more time to ask around.

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There are so many talented Russian girls, one or two will break through. I like Mishin's Elizaveta though because her jumping technique and foundation is so strong. There are clips of a 3axel in practice. Worried about his packaging though.

I saw her triple Axel and it looks gorgeous, and she also does that choreography right out of the jump on her landing edges-- talk about control! I think that her packaging looks similar to most of the other Russian singles skaters, honestly (lots of arm movements and not much going on with the lower body or skates). But that is, of course, just the impression I got from the 30 second clip of her jumping. She has some time to work on the components as she can't even skate senior internationally until the 2012/2013 season.

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Not surprised that Jeremy is struggling with a Latin program. It seems to me that in order to pull something like that off. There needs to be a strong/take charge attitude. Not things Jeremy is best at. It does fit Joubert better :lol:

Jeremy just needs confidence. But you know, things work in strange ways sometimes and maybe him needing to really think about the choreography of the program will put less stress on the jumps. It might actually work out just fine as long as he can pull the feeling of the program off :-)

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Yet Even More From the ESPYs

First of all, thanks to a reader who sent me a link to the Evan Lysacek commercial I talked about yesterday.  I found a version of it onYouTube:



Also, there is video up of the Erin Andrews interview with Evan, but embedding by ESPN is disabled. You can watch it by going here. The part where he gets embarrassing and calls Andrews' dress an ESPY and says he loves her face was clipped out... probably because it was so awkward?


Rochette has a photo on her Twitter from last night but no AP photos, while Lysacek and his agent have posted a few from the red carpet (1, 2, 3) as well. Sasha Cohen was also at a pre-ESPY party and the website Hot Girls in Hollywood has posted some pictures of her.

Wednesday, July 14

ESPY Awards Pre-Show & Show

Watching the pre-show for a bit, and we have the first interview on the red carpet with Evan Lysacek. Small talk about who he is excited to see, and then he tells interviewer (and competitor on Dancing With the Stars) Erin Andrews that her dress is an ESPY and that he loves her face. Just slightly awkward, yes?

As for the actual show-- the award for Best Moment was won by Landon Donovan and the US mens soccer team during the World Cup.

Shaun White won the ESPY for best US Male Olympic Athlete.

So neither skater won awards, oh well. Aside from Seth Meyers' jokes, this show has been pretty uneventful and every time the cameras pan to the audience, everyone looks terribly bored.

Just a Reminder..

The ESPY Awards are tonight at 9PM EST. Evan Lysacek is nominated for Best Male Olympic Athlete, while Joannie Rochette is nominated for Best Moment of the Year. The red carpet fluff begins at 7!

By the way-- a random tidbit but I swear that I saw a commercial with Lysacek and host Seth Meyers the other night during the All-Star Game Home Run Derby, but I can't remember anything about it because I wasn't paying attention. I looked on YouTube and the ESPN site for the clip and had no luck. I'll post it if I come across it.

Tuesday, July 13

What do you think of all of the up and coming Russian Ladies Skaters?

I think they will be a tremendous power in the next few years, if their bodies don't start to deteriorate too early. I really liked Agafonova at Junior Worlds (at least much more than Ovcharova-- even though many seem to consider the latter to be next big thing..), but I think she will end up lost in the shuffle by some of the even younger ladies and Shelepen. At any rate, Russia definitely looks to be on track after a whole Olympic cycle with no serious threats near the top.

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What's your opinion on Abbott's new music/choreographers choices? I think they might hurt his PCS. otoh, with Lysacek and Weir gone, Rippon is Jeremy's biggest rival, and Adam's programs will be even more bo... well.. conservative. But, internationally?

I heard when I got the "Toronto News" that Jeremy looked really uncomfortable with his short program, and I believe he's also said that he hasn't really adjusted into it yet. Not to say that he won't, but I really hope that his tango doesn't become yet another generic program that we see so often. On the other hand, I cannot wait to see his free skate. I love Life is Beautiful and I really like the music from it. I think there is tremendous potential there, and I like that he is going to portray such an interesting character.

More than anything with Jeremy, I really hope he has the look of confidence in his eyes all next season-- there's no reason to not believe in himself! I've commented before that he always looks so stressed and tired. No more of that, please!

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Skate for the Heart and Other 2010/2011 Shows

The webmaster at kurtfiles.com has updated her website with rosters for some of the 2010/2011 Disson Skating Shows. Among them is the Skate for the Heart event, held in Youngstown, Ohio. The current roster includes Jeremy Abbott, Ryan Bradley, Johnny Weir, Joannie Rochette, Sasha Cohen, Rachael Flatt, Belbin/Agosto, Davis/White, and Denney/Barrett--- hello great cast! While I (thought that I?) don't really care for exhibition skating, Youngstown is a relatively short drive away. October 10, here I come. :-)

Grand Prix Watch: Minor Updates

Pairs

Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker of the USA have been crossed out of their events (Skate Canada and Skate America) and have yet to be replaced. The Skate America spot will go to another American pair.

All six events include a TBA host-nation pick.

Ice Dance

Rubleva/Shefer of Russia have replaced the now-retired Zaretiskis at NHK Trophy, the first event of the series. They also compete at the Trophee Eric Bompard in France. The Zaretskis were also assigned to Skate America but have yet to be replaced there.

Sounds like both top Ukrainian dance teams (Zadorozhniuk/Verbillo and Beknazarova/Zuev) have split. It also sounds like Beknazarova and Verbillo had thoughts of competing together but in the end they have all just decided to retire. This leaves open spots at NHK Trophy and Rostelecom Cup.

Aside from Skate Canada, all of the other events include a TBA host-nation pick.

Men

No changes through the mens rosters. To my knowledge, none of the men plan on retiring before the start of the season :-)

We do know now that one of the two open spots at Rostelecom Cup will not go to Evgeny Plushenko.

Ladies

Same with the men-- no changes. Plenty of TBA host-nation picks, though: one at NHK Trophy, two at Skate Canada, two at Cup of China, one at Skate America, one at Cup of Russia, and two at Trophee Eric Bompard.

Monday, July 12

I apologize if you've been asked this before, but have you skated competitively before? I think it's cool you know so much about skating!

Not competitively, just for fun. I had a coach and all for about a year but I was too old to make anything serious of it. :-)

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I prefer Kim. But I felt it was unfair that Kim could take full advantage of her 3utz/3toe in the short, but Mao couldn't take advantage of her 3axel. 3axel/2toe HUGE risk if downgraded, not the same for 3lutz/3toe. This evens the playing field more.

Well it shouldn't necessarily have to "even the playing field". But in the sense that it now allows Mao to attempt a 3Axel as well as a 3/3 combination, then yes-- I like the possibility of that kind of excitement and tension in the short program.

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Who are you and how do you know such a information?

Who am I? I'm pretty sure I use my real name and photo at the top of the page on my blog :-)

Anyways, I have some good connections within the skating world, and I don't usually share information unless I'm almost 100% confident that it is accurate.

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