Saturday, January 6, 2018

Team USA picks its ladies

The results are in, and here's what I think:

Bradie Tennell: I'm all for new blood on Team USA. Bring it, gurl. I remember watching her skate at nationals a few years ago and thinking that she had that same powerful technical consistency that the Russian skaters had. She is technically flawless, which is impressive, but she's not really inspiring artistically. I do love her choice of programs though. Her short program music is Korean, a nod to the Olympic host country; and her long program is from Cinderella, a nod to the Olympic dream being a wish her heart makes. I'm eager to see how she stacks up in Pyongchang and at Worlds.

Mirai Nagasu: I am so happy for her. To make the Olympic team like this four years after she was passed over, and 8 years after she was last considered competitive, she has been through the wringer and deserves all the things. The redemption is so so sweet. I am pleased to see that she threw in the triple axel at Nationals. I think it was a technical risk she needed to take to show the judges and the Olympic selection committee that she has balls of steel. Because she always gets dinged on underrotations, and she is susceptible to pressure, I don't think she has much chance of medaling at the Olympics or Worlds, but dammit does she ever deserve to be at both of those competitions.

Karen Chen: I'm fine with her inclusion on the Olympic and World team, though I don't have much confidence in her ability to keep it together through two programs at either of those events. She hasn't performed well internationally, and I don't think she stands much of a chance of doing any better this year. Yet, I do think she can bank more points than Ashley Wagner at this point. What I love about her though, is that when she's on, she's on. And choreographing your own programs (and doing it well) is the mark of a true bad-ass.

Ashley Wagner: I think leaving her out was the right call, but I am sad about it. The judges, both domestically and internationally, don't seem to love her skating right now. I think they have been a little too harsh on her lately, and I don't fault her for getting "furious" about it all. I scoffed at her intentions after Sochi to return for another Olympics. I didn't think she was good enough. But I changed my mind, especially after her 2016 season when she earned the silver at Worlds. So I'm sad to see that all go by the wayside. But she has had an impressive career and in my mind has nothing to prove.

Starr Andrews: I have long been a fan of this skater as she has risen through the ranks. At this point, while she has the technical points and had two undeniably great skates at Nationals, she still skates like a junior skater. She has some developing to do, but I'm excited that she has been given a chance to grow her style on an international stage with a bid to Four Continents and the World Junior Championships. Go Starr!

One final thought: I think we build up the Olympics to be something bigger and more worthy than it really is. True figure skating glory doesn't come from a competition that is held once every four years.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Relive the Glory with Olympic Re-runs

The Olympic Channel is broadcasting every Olympic figure skating event from Salt Lake to Sochi starting today, and running through January 3.

They're calling it the Olympic Skating Spectacular, and it's more than 30. Hours. Of. Skating.

Here's a little primer, though I raise my eyebrow at NBC's classification of it as "classic" coverage. You'd have to go back to the real glory days (pre-1998 imho). 2002-present precludes the majority of the sport's greatest Olympians.

Let the Countdown Begin

Pyongcheng 2018 is on in just a matter of weeks. Olympic fever got me like... I'm reviving the blog!

See an official Olympic countdown here.

Parlez-vous Olympics???

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Happy Birthday Kurt Browning!

One of my favorite skaters turned the big 5-0 last week. The four-time World Champ is known as much for his technical prowess on the ice—he was the first to land a quad in competition, way back in 1988—as his impeccable style. One of the most talented "performers" ever to take the ice. Got to see him live once, that was a thrill.

A photo posted by Jessica Marshall (@jess_on_ice) on

To honor his birthday, I'll treat you all to his famous 'Singin' in the Rain' routine:

Happy belated birthday!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

RIP Anton Yelchin

I was saddened to hear of the untimely, freakish death of this young actor, known for his roles in the rebooted 'Star Trek' franchise, 'Alpha Dog' and 'Charlie Bartlett.'

I'm also sending my deepest condolences across the figure skating world to his parents, who were professional skaters in Russia prior to coming to the States to set up shop as a coach and choreographer.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hanyu & Ten Had a Little Dustup, and I Think It's Ridiculous

I'm sorry, but why is this news? Probably because figure skating is suffering from a huge PR problem right now and folks think crafting salacious stories like these will boost ratings.

Forgive me but I'm going to roll my eyes.

The story goes, Yuzuru Hanyu was doing a run-through of his short program on an official practice, and Dennis Ten was doing a spin right where Hanyu's triple axel was planned. He was forced to divert during his program and ended up falling on the jump and pitching a fit. Dennis Ten allegedly just DGAF, and has been accused of ignoring his fellow skaters when they have the right-of-way. The article painted it as this huge battle between the skaters.

Puh-leeeeeeze. Yes, the skater who is doing his/her program has the right-of-way according to ice etiquette. But if that right of way is violated, don't be a prima donna. Seriously, it makes you look like an a--hole. You have a right to assertively say "excuse me," and a right to be internally frustrated, but seriously, get over it. And if you're on the other end of the equation, you don't own the ice. Watch out for other skaters, please, especially during the official practice at Worlds.

Either way, it's not a big deal. It's reality for skaters. It happens every day, on every ice session, in some way or another. I've written about ice etiquette before, and I'm sure I'll write about it again.

I overheard a coach talking to a student on the ice the other day who was frustrated that fellow skaters kept getting in her way during Moves in the Field patterns. The coach advised the student to start acting "politely arrogant," as a means of asserting her right to be on the ice and complete the patterns. I don't like the use of the word arrogant, I think it has too many negative connotations. But the coach's implication was spot-on. You paid your money to be out there on that ice, and you have to assert your right to be there regardless of level or age. That's just the way of things when competitive athletes share a training facility. But at the same time, don't take it as the right to be a dick.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Margot Robbie Cast in 'I, Tonya'

The headline says it all. The 'Suicide Squad' and 'The Wolf of Wall Street' hottie is signed on to play figure skating's perennial bad girl in an upcoming biopic.

Don't get too excited though, the project doesn't have a director yet.

Read more over at Digital Trends.