Saturday, May 7

Denise Biellmann Appreciation

I have a feeling that the following video is one of those performances that you either love or really hate. I'm a total lover this time around, and I'd be thrilled if I ever get into the kind of shape that Denise is in-- even to this day. Watch the speed and power she maintains throughout the skate, and she was 31 at the time! And to think that I could have seen this competition live (1994 North American Open) in my hometown as a seven-year-old.

Denise ended up winning, but you can see the judges weren't quite sure what to do with it, and I believe this is the only time she ever skated this "Frantic" program.

Wednesday, May 4

Yankowskas/Coughlin Done

I NEVER saw this one coming. I thought they showed the most potential of any US pair in a long, long time and they had a really successful season, finishing the year with a 6th place finish at Worlds. Former National Champions Denney/Barrett also went their separate ways earlier this year.

It sounds like Caitlyn is still interested in competing with a new partner, while John "wants to stay involved in the sport, which I'd interpret as becoming a full-time coach.

Tiffany and Johnnie Stiegler

We are now into the summer months, meaning it's perfect time for me to continue catching up on a whole lot of skating I missed throughout the years. Expect many more of these brief history/video posts!

Among the 'treasures' I have found so far are the performances of brother-sister pair team Tiffany and Johnnie Stiegler from the 1995 US Olympic Festival (a now defunct competition that featured some of the top up-and-coming youngsters from the States). She just age 11 and he only 13 at the time, their choreography and her sense of style, in particular, was truly remarkable. How many of us have longed for a US pairs girl that really has 'it'? I'd say she certainly had it.

Unfortunately, the team never really achieved great success once they reached the senior level, although they were twice pewter medalists (4th place) at Nationals. This particular competition was broadcast before the days that I recorded any skating, and I believe some of the only performances I do remember of theirs are the Grand Prix series in late 1999. Lifetime covered the circuit back then and turned everything very soap opera-y, and the particular short program I remember to 'Nightmare' paled in comparison to these two programs.