Thursday, April 3, 2008

NCAA Regional Fields Announced

NCAA Regionals will be held at the following locations on Saturday, April 12th.

West at Oregon State
1. Michigan
2. Oregon State
3. Michigan State
4. Washington
5. San Jose State
6. Sacramento State

North Central Region at Minnesota
1. Utah
2. Arkansas
3. Arizona
4. Iowa
5. Southern Utah
6. Minnesota

South Central Region at Oklahoma
1. Alabama
2. Oklahoma
3. Boise State
4. Arizona State
5. Illinois
6. Southeast Missouri State

Central Region at LSU
1. Stanford
2. LSU
3. Missouri
4. Kentucky
5. Kent State
6. Ohio State

Northeast Region at PSU
1. Georgia
2. Auburn
3. Denver
4. Penn State
5. Brigham Young
6. Iowa State

Southeast Region at Florida
1. Florida
3. Nebraska
4. North Carolina State
5. West Virginia
6. North Carolina

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Domination Continues

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ladies FS Videos (And a Few Original Dances)

Yu-Na Kim

Mao Asada

Carolina Kostner

Ashley Wagner

Joannie Rochette

Kimmie Meissner

Bebe Liang

Delobel and Schoenfelder

Virtue and Moir

Belbin and Agosto

Gender Limits Kenyon Smith

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2008 World Figure Skate Championships TV Schedule

World Figure Skating Championships
Thursday, March 20th 7:30pm-11:00pm (EST) ESPN
(Pairs Short+Long, Ice Dance Original Dance)

Friday, March 21st 7:30pm-11:00pm (EST) ESPN
(Ladies Short, Ice Dance Free Dance)

Saturday, March 22nd 3:00pm-6:00pm (EST) ABC
(Ladies Long, Mens Short)

Saturday, March 22nd 6:30pm-8:00pm (EST) ESPN2
(Ladies Short, Ice Dance Free Dance)
This broadcast may be delayed if the preceding basketball game runs overtime.

Sunday, March 23rd 4:30pm-7:00pm (EST) ESPN
(Mens Long)
This broadcast may be delayed if the preceding basketball game runs overtime.

Figure Skating Articles

Quote of the Day: “There are some things I keep sacred,” Weir said. “My middle name. Who I sleep with. And what kind of hand moisturizer I use.”

Figure Skating Rivalry Pits Athleticism Against Artistry

Meissner's confidence jumps

New team competition eyed for next year

Ladies SP Videos

Mao Asada

Kimmie Meissner

Yu-Na Kim

Joannie Rochette

Carolina Kostner

Bebe Liang

Ashley Wagner

Yukari Nakano

Elene Gendevanishvilli

2008 World Figure Skating Championships Results

Monday, March 17, 2008

Gym Dog Videos

UGA vs. NC State

Abby Stack Interviews Grace Taylor

Suzanne's Fashion Emergency

Katie Heenan and Abby Stack dance Before UGA vs. UCLA

Ladies Practice Videos

Fuji TV Video of the first official practice session. (Featuring Mao, Yu-Na, and Miki)

Yu-Na Kim practicing her free skate.

Link to Mao Asada's SP practice:

2008 Worlds Practive Videos

Daisuke Takahashi practicing his free skate.

Daisuke Takahashi practicing spins.

Johnny Weir practicing his short program.

Johnny Weir practicing his free skate.

Patrick Chan practicing his short program.

This and That

1. Miki Ando has decided against trying a Quad Salchow at the World Championships. Morozov had said all season that she would do it, but the reigning champion thinks it is more important to focus on her triple-triple combinations. Ando admitted having consistency issues with them last week, but says she is now back up to speed. Morozov and Ando have also decided to switch back to her "Scherezade" short program because she expresses it better than "Samson and Delilah." Teammate Yukari Nakano has been seen practicing a Triple Loop-Triple Loop combination and says she will include the combination in her free skate.

2. John McEnroe has decided against being the head coach of the US Olympic Tennis Team. Rodney Harmon will serve as head coach, pending USOC approval.

3. Olympic equestrian Darren Chiacchia is unconscious and in critical condition with a severe head injury after falling from his horse during a weekend competition. Doctors have ruled out a spinal injury for the 42-year-old who suffered rib fractures and injuries to both lungs. Chiacchia is now breathing on his own after being taken off of a ventilator.

4. The LA Times ran a feature on BeBe Liang, who says she is skating the best she has in three years.
Bebe Liang hopes to pull it together

5. The new NCAA rankings have been released:

1. Georgia 197.305
2. Florida 197.090
3. Utah 197.065
4. Michigan 196.825
5. LSU 196.695
6. Alabama 196.605
7. Oregon State 196.530
8. UCLA 196.465
9. Oklahoma 196.440
10. Stanford 196.360
11. Arkansas 196.100
12. Auburn 195.905

Patrick Chan Phone Interview with CBC

Slightly awkward...

Kristi Yamaguchi Art of the Athlete

This is a 2005 documentary from Fit TV. It is probably the best documentary that I've seen on a skater in a while.

The links are on google video because the files are too long for youtube.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Figure Skating Articles

Ballroom Skater

Golden on the ice, a novice off

Celebrity Coaches at Worlds

Sasha Cohen troubled by ultra youth movement in women's figure skating

Japan skaters hope for double gold at figure skating worlds

Video of the Moment

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Friendship Class Results


SENIOR All Around
1. Dasha Joura (Australia)-58.30
2. Lauren Mitchell (Australia)-58.05
3. Laurie-Eve Pepin-Gagne (Canada)- 52.85
4. Cytnhia Lemieux (Canada)- 52.30
5. Anna Katashynk (Ukraine)- 52.30
6. Loes Linders (Netherlands)-50.50


1. Joura- 13.75
2. Kalashynk- 13.65
3. Mitchell- 13.50

Uneven Bars
1. Joura- 15.15
2. Kristina Vaculik (Canada)- 15.05
3. Mitchell- 13.50

Balance Beam

1. Mitchell-15.60
2. Joura- 14.85
3. Vaculik- 14.80

Floor Exercise

1. Mitchell- 15.25
2. Joura- 14.55
3. Kalashynk- 13.60

JUNIOR All Around:
1. Madeline Hanley (USA/Parkettes)- 55.15
2. Sabrina Vega (USA/Dynamic)- 54.20
3. Alona Kaydalova (Ukraine)- 52.30
4. Morgan Steigerwalt (US A/Parkettes)- 50.70
5. Meike Fernbach (Germany)- 50.25
6. Bianca Darcose-Giambatisto (Canada/ Gym- Rich)- 49.75


1. Steigerwalt- 13.50
2. Vega- 13.45
3. Hanley-13.30

Uneven Bars

1. Hanley- 13.50
2. Vega- 13.35
3. Darcose-Giambatisto- 12.70

Balance Beam

1. Vega- 14.85
2. Hanley- 14.40
3. Kaydolova- 13.95

Floor Exercise

1. Hanley- 13.95
2. Steigerwalt- 13.50
3. Kaydalova- 13.40

Diving Update (Incl. Must Read Articles)

The 2008 FINA World Cup recently took place at the Water Cube in Beijing, also serving as the Olympic Test Event. As expected, China dominated, winning seven gold and four silver medals. China recorded the same medal tally at last year's World Championships. (The best finish China could possibly record would be eight gold and four silver)
What's the hiccup? Zhou Luxin, 19, finished second in men's platform at both the World Cup and the World Championships.
Russia's Gleb Galperin won the World Championships but sat out the World Cup due to injury. In his absence, Germany's Sascha Klein shocked many by upsetting Zhou for gold.
On the American front, the divers secured a maximum 12 Olympic spots by their performance, which included two bronze medal finishes. David Boudia won bronze in men's platform, while Ariel Rittenhouse and Kelci Bryant recorded the same result in the women's 3-meter synchro.
Former Olympic Champion Laura Wilkinson delivered the weakest performance by an American, finishing 12th out of 12 competitors in the women's platform finals. If history repeats itself, Wilkinson has nothing to worry about. Wilkinson finished 12th at the 2000 World Cup before winning Olympic Gold months later.
Texas' Harrison Jones may have finished 10th in men's platform, but he made history by being the first man to perform an inward 4 1/2 in international competition. Jones is also the first man to perform a diver with a degree of difficulty greater than 4.0. (The inward 4 1/2 has a DD of 4.1)
Guo Jinging garnered headlines in China after the competition, but it wasn't for being upset by teammate (and synchro partner) Wu Minxia in the women's 3-meter springboard competition. Guo was widely criticized for "snubbing" the press and demonstrating "divalike behavior." Guo also attracted attention for referring to her "fat Canadian competitor," but publicists are claiming that isn't necessarily an insult in Chinese culture.

Required Reading:
Guo's Divalike Behavior

Decide for yourself if "fat" was meant to be insulting.

Kristi Yamaguchi on Oprah with Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With The Stars begins tomorrow at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Video of the Moment

Figure Skating Articles

The Quad Turns 20. (Very good article by Beverly Smith)

North American Skaters Increasing Interest in Figure Skating

Golden Skate's 2008 World Championships Preview

How Far Can Patrick Chan Go?

NCAA Update

Courtney McCool scored her first-ever 10.000 on floor exercise last night. The above video is from earlier this season. McCool's first tumbling run is a 2 1/2 twist+front layout full and she closes with a front double full.

Georgia defeated UCLA 197.900-196.875

Grace Taylor almost reached perfection as well with her 9.975 on balance beam. Taylor was fourth on beam at NCAAs last season and a front-runner to win the title in April.

Katie Heenan tied her all-around career high (39.725).

UCLA appears to be improving steadily. There were glimpses of the old UCLA again. Tasha Schwikert, Anna Li, Kristina Comforte, Ashley Jenkins and Shavahn Church perform as well as any Bruins of years past. The loss of McCullough is costing the team a few tenths. Jordan Schwikert suffered a rare mistake on uneven bars (over on a handstand), but was solid on her other events.

Florida demonstrated a strong performance on Friday. The battle for the SEC Championship will be a tight battle between Georgia, Florida and Alabama. Intensity at the conference championships will serve these teams well as they prepare for NCAAs. Win or lose, these teams will be motivated by the outcome. UCLA and Stanford are also set for a showdown at the Pac 10 Championship.

Utah is at a disadvantage by not having a conference championship, but they have won without one in the past. The team did not appear quite as sharp on Friday. Ashley Postell has suffered several mistakes since becoming the odds-on favorite to win the NCAA All-Around title. Postell faces an uphill battle if she is to win in Stegmen Colosseum.

The post season begins on March 29th.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Possible Meet Delay

There are tornado warnings in and around Athens, GA. The UCLA team is currently in the basement of their hotel. No word on whether or not the start time of the meet will be affected.

Notes on UCLA lineup:

Shavahn Church will be in on uneven bars, Niki Tom and Kristina Comforte will compete on balance beam (Marci Bernholtz will sit out), and Ashley Jenkins and Melissa Chan will compete on Floor Exercise.

Under The Lights

Parts 1,2 and 3 and up on youtube. The user is in the process of uploading the others.

Video of the Moment

Georgia v. UCLA Tidbits

Abby Stack will be competing on the uneven bars and floor exercise tonight. Stack earned the spot in the lineup over Newby due to her ability to stick dismounts.

Megan Dowlen has been training on vault, but is limited by the number of repetitions she's able to do per day. She is expected to vault in the post season and is still progressing on schedule. Dowlen will compete on balance beam today because Childs wobbled on her front aerial in practice. Childs is typically motivated by missing an opportunity to compete against a top opponent and is expected to be solid in the post season.

Hilary Mauro has only been vaulting for two weeks, but has earned her second consecutive spot in the vault lineup after only minimal practice. Mauro will be vaulting a Yurchenko Full, but may upgrade to a 1 1/2 for the post season if she can clean up her form on the vault.

Cassidy McComb was unable to practice balance beam due to her eye infection. McComb looked strong on vault and floor during yesterday's intrasquad.

Marcia Newby stuck her Hristakeava during the intrasquad.

Tiffany Tolnay and Katie Heenan delivered strong performances during the intrasquad and have been consistently practicing well. Both are expected to compete in the all-around.

Grace Taylor has been on fire in practice. Taylor earned a 9.95 on the uneven bars, 9.925 on balance beam and a 9.9 on floor exercise during the intrasquad. Taylor and McCool led the team to a 49.500 on beam yesterday.

Tonight's meet had been expected to be held on a podium, but it will be held on the regular competition floor in order to accommodate season ticket holders who had previously purchased the ground-level seating for the meet.

Kristina Comforte has resumed training on the balance beam. Comforte is hoping to be back in the all-around for the post season. Mizuki Sato, Melissa Chan and Niki Tom will all compete this evening. Marci Bernholtz has been looking solid on beam since fixing a technical issue on her series. The Schwikert sisters have continued to improve and are both expected to deliver solid performances. Anna Li has resumed training on all events. Numerous tests have not found any damage to her foot.

Tonight's meet begins at 7:30 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on GXTRA. Highlights of UCLA's performances will be posted on by Monday or Tuesday.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Figure Skating TV Schedule

Kristi Yamaguchi on Dancing With The Stars
Monday, March 17th 8:00pm-9:30pm (EST) ABC
Tuesday, March 18th 9:00pm-10:30pm (EST) ABC

Repeat of Michelle Kwan Biography
Thursday, March 20th 7:00am-8:00am (EST) Biography Channel

World Figure Skating Championships
Thursday, March 20th 7:30pm-11:00pm (EST) ESPN
(Pairs Short+Long, Ice Dance Original Dance)

Friday, March 21st 7:30pm-11:00pm (EST) ESPN
(Ladies Short, Ice Dance Free Dance)

Saturday, March 22nd 3:00pm-6:00pm (EST) ABC
(Ladies Long, Mens Short)

Saturday, March 22nd 6:30pm-8:00pm (EST) ESPN2
(Ladies Short, Ice Dance Free Dance)
This broadcast may be delayed if the preceding basketball game runs overtime.

Sunday, March 23rd 4:30pm-7:00pm (EST) ESPN
(Mens Long)
This broadcast may be delayed if the preceding basketball game runs overtime.

Video of the Moment

Random Judging

How is the NCAA judging random when Linda Morton, the meet assigner for Michigan, assigned three pro-Michigan judges to last weekend's meet AND a Minnesota judge who is Bev Plocki's best friend (who only moved to Minnesota three years ago)? The scores were extremely questionable. Handstand misses went unaccounted for, as did composition deductions on floor. At NCAAs, a floor routine with a *less than refined* full in mount and a whip half+front full (with bent legs) will not be receiving a 9.90 or 9.95.

This is similar to judging at the University of Florida where Florida judges are continually assigned to boost the scores and reputation of the team. Florida has not scored nearly as high on the road as they have at home. This will make things interesting when Utah competes in Florida tonight.

In the end, it is a disservice to these teams to receive the scores they do at home. How is a team supposed to focus on cleaning up weaknesses and making effective lineup decisions if the scoring doesn't point them out? How many times have teams entered NCAAs with high rankings, only to receive rude awakenings during prelims?

It is a big shame that Trish Wilson has torn her ACL. Wilson displayed Michigan's cleanest execution and best handstands throughout the season. It is a shame that the rest of her team is not in the same peak condition physically or gymnastically.

This year's battle to reach the Super Six should be stiffer than ever. Details such as handstands, form, composition deductions and bent arms WILL be taken into account.
With parity continually increasing among the top 20 schools, execution is paramount for winning in the post season.

Video of the Moment

Trivia: The Americans celebrated Yim's birthday by dividing a slice of pie into seven pieces. (Not a joke)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

This and That

1. Michelle Kwan will spend her spring break in Argentina, where she will visit Sante Fe, Buenos Aires and Parana on her third public diplomacy envoy for the State Department. Kwan promotes a cross-cultural understanding of America by engaging in a dialogue with international youth about her life experiences.

2. Jeremy Abbott will leave for the World Figure Skating Championships on Saturday. Abbott is planning on attempting a Quad Toe in both the short and long programs because he believes the jump is necessary to become a champion.

3. Evan Lysacek suffered minor injuries when his skate blade broke on the landing of a Triple Axel. This is the third time in recent weeks that Lysacek's blade has broken. The skater has been advised not to jump for two weeks. He vows to solve his equipment problems and return even stronger next season.

4. The University of Georgia will hold this weekend's dual meet with UCLA on a podium. Both NCAA heavyweights will be testing new lineups after losing key team members to achilles tendon injuries. Combined, Georgia and UCLA have won 10 of the last 11 NCAA Championships. The meet may also feature a preview of the NCAA All Around battle as Tasha Schwikert, Anna Li, Tiffany Tolnay and Katie Heenan are expected to contend for the title in April. Gym Dog Cassidy McComb missed practice on Wednesday due to an eye infection, but the tenacious freshman is expected to compete Saturday.

6. Penn State senior Lindsay Borkan refuses to miss out on the end of her senior season. The Nittany Lion sprained every tendon in her left ankle on Tuesday and was using crutches on Wednesday morning, but vowed to compete on the balance beam on Saturday. Borkan has faced a never-ending battle with injuries for the last three seasons. Ironically, Borkan was rarely injured before tearing her achilles tendon during the second half of the 2005 season. Borkan was Penn State's All-Around star during the pre season and the first two-thirds of the 2005 season. If she does sit out this weekend, one should expect to see Borkan competing in Rec Hall next Friday (senior night). Before tearing her achilles, Borkan was known for throwing some of the most innovative routines in collegiate gymnastics. Borkan's skills included Lohman (a Barani transition from low to high) on Uneven Bars, a Barani, Round Off+Layout, and Straddle Jump+Tuck Jump 5/4 on Balance Beam, and a Whip+Double Layout on Floor Exercise.

7. Andy Roddick has announced that he will forgo competing at the 2008 Olympics in order to prepare for the US Open. Roddick is the 2003 U.S. Open champion and the 2006 U.S. Open runner-up.

Evan Lysacek Out of Worlds

Evan Lysacek has withdrawn from next week's World Figure Skating Championships. This is especially disappointing for Evan and the USFSA after his solid season. The United States stood an outside chance at landing two men on the podium for the first time since 1996.

The US men should still qualify three men for next year, as Carriere has delivered strong finishes at every international competition he's entered this season (3rd at Skate America, 4th at Cup of China, 4th at Four Continents).

Jeremy Abbott will replace Lysacek.

More details to come.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Video of the Moment

Bill May and Anna Kozlova's synchronized swimming duet to "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better." It is such a shame that FINA never allowed Bill to compete in major international competitions.

Interesting Interview With Sasha Cohen

Oksana Domnina and Maksim Shabalin Out of Worlds

Domnina and Shabalin announced that they will not be competing at the upcoming World Figure Skating Championships because Maksim re-injured his knee. He was ordered off the ice for six weeks after his knee operation in December, but returned after three weeks in order to prepare for the European Championships. A three-week rest after Europeans was not enough time for the knee to recover.

This presents an enormous opportunity for Belbin and Agosto, as they hope to become the first Americans to win the World Championships in the ice dancing event.

Why The Americans Need Bar Workers

He Kexin 2008 Doha World Cup Event Finals

Jiang Yuyuan 2008 Doha World Cup Event Finals

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I See Energizer Commercials In Her Future

Shawn Johnson keeps going and going and going. Hopefully we'll see her new floor routine at next month's Pacific Alliance Championships.

This and That

1. Competitors for the 2008 Japan Open have been announced. The event will be a team competition (Japan, North America and Europe) and more skaters may still be added. The event will be held on April 20 at 1 p.m. and the gala will be held at 6 p.m.

Skaters currently scheduled to appear are:
Takeshi Honda
Shizuka Arakawa
Daisuke Takahashi
Miki Ando
Mai Asada
Mao Asada
Todd Eldredge
Alexei Yagudin
Evan Lysacek
Sarah Meier
Mirai Nagasu

2. Tatiana Tarasova will be inducted to the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame during this month's World Championships. Robin Cousins, Ulrich Salchow and Gillis Grafström were previously elected to the Hall of Fame and will also be formally inducted.

3. Derrick Delmore announced his retirement from singles skating, but the former World Junior Champion is still open to competing as a pairs skater.

4. Roger Federer defeated Pete Sampras last night at Madison Square Garden. Sampras is the only player to win more majors than Federer. Winning an Olympic Gold Medal in Beijing is among one of Federer's major career goals, but he has also mentioned a desire to win in 2012 on the lawn at Wimbledon.

5. On a sad note, freshman Trish Wilson tore her knee at Friday's meet vs. The University of Georgia. The University of Michigan freshman vows to be back next season. UCLA's Brittani McCullough ruptured her achilles tendon and will also be back for the rest of the season.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Vote For The US Olympic Hall of Fame

Voting is currently underway for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame at

Notable nominees include:

Amy Van Dyken
Brian Boitano
David Robinson
Oscar De La Hoya

and for teams:
1992 Men's Basketball
1996 Women's Gymnastics
1996 Synchronized Swimming

It is a bit unfair to only induct one of the teams into the fall of fame, given the strength of competition in the category vs. the noticeably weaker competition in the individuals category. Hopefully they'll do the right thing and induct more than one team.

Complete Italy Results

Shawn Johnson has cemented her place as the favorite for Olympic All-Around Gold, but the rest of the Americans failed to deliver spectacular performances. Peszek's consistency and improvement on bars is notable, but she failed to repeat her spectacular beam performance.

Bridget Sloan didn't compete after injuring herself in warm-ups. There is no word about the severity of the injury, but it is a shame for her to lose out on a chance to gain international experience and impress Martha Karolyi.

With Worley's injury and mistake-ridden performances at the American Cup, Bieger being beaten on the Uneven Bars by Shawn Johnson and Memmel's mention of shoulder problems on her blog, this opens the door even further for Ashley Preiss.

The USA needs to fill a hole on the Uneven Bars in order to be able to compete with the Chinese women and their home court advantage.

On a positive note, things are looking good for 2009 and beyond. Jordan Wieber, Chelsea Davis, Sam Shapiro, Mattie Larson and Rebecca Bross are getting stronger and stronger. The USA shouldn't suffer the same drop off experienced after the 1996 Olympic win.

How Dreamy Is Kurt Browning?

Kurt has now found a home for orphaned puppies...

It is hard to believe that it was 20 years ago that he became the first man to land a quad (Sorry Evan, not you.)

He could still land it 10 years later.

You know a skater is talented when they don't need jumps to be spectacular.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Results From Italy-Poland-Spain-U.S.A. Quad Meet

Senior Team
1. USA 179.05
2. Italy 177.95
3. Spain 151.05
4. Poland 150.10

Senior All-Around
1. Shawn Johnson USA 61.700 (15.200 VT (DTY), 16.200 BB, 15.000 FX)
2. Vanessa Ferrari ITA 60.100 (Only vaulted an FTY, 15.450 UB, 15.800 BB)
3. Samantha Peszek USA 59.050 (Fell on BB)
4. Lia Parolari ITA 58.300
5. Carlotta Giovannini ITA 58.250
6. Chelsea Davis USA 57.700
7. Lenika De Simone ESP 57.150
8. Francesca Benolli ITA 56.450
9. Olivia Courtney USA 56.000
10. Monica Bergamelli ITA 55.500
11. Naomi Ruiz ESP 55.400
12. Sara Bradaschia ITA 54.400
13. Joanna Litewka 50.700
14. Gabriela Janik POL 50.350
15. Marta Pihan POL 49.650

Junior Team
1. USA 181.050
2. Italy 172.100
3. Romania 166.000
4. Spain 158.400

Junior All-Around
1. Jordyn Wieber USA 60.900
2. Rebecca Bross USA 60.500
3. Paola Galante ITA 58.300
4. Rebecca Clark USA 57.350
5t. Samantha Shapiro USA 57.000
5t. Elisabetta Preziosa ITA 57.000
7. Andrea La Spada ITA 56.650
8. Ana Porgras ROM 55.850
9. Morgan Smith USA 55.800
10. Serena Licchetta ITA 55.050
11. Amelia Racea ROM 54.950
12. Eleonora Rando ITA 54.550
13. Ana M. Izurieta ESP 54.150
14. Diana Chelaru ROM 53.500
15. Loredana Sabau ROM 53.250
16. Valentina Scarpin ITA 51.950
17. Vanessa Sanchez ESP 51.650
18. Anna Serra ESP 51.500
19. Cintia Rodriguez ESP 50.400
20. Claudia Vila ESP 47.750

Notes From USFSA Teleconferences With The USOC

Tanith Belbin

Missed Four Continents so that she could have time to recover from a knee injury (Torn LCL—Right Knee) she sustained before U.S. Nationals. With South Korea so far away, thought it would be best to stay home and prepare. Feel the most prepared they’ve ever felt going into a World Championships and feel they have an excellent shot at winning gold.

Had been training both the Austrian Waltz and the Argentine Tango before the Argentine Tango was drawn at Junior Worlds. Are aware that the compulsory dance hasn’t been their strength in the past, but they’ve spent considerable time training the compulsory dance and feel like it can be a strength at Worlds. They don’t want to be playing catch-up after the compulsory dance any more.

Really trained as hard as they could through the summer, they’re more focused, have better programs and are finally comfortable with the new system.

Thinks the Russians and French are very strong teams.

Haven’t changed any elements in the programs, but have changed the composition of the beginning of the Original Dance.

Thinks U.S. Ice Dancing has had this growth coming for a long time. Thinks the Olympics will put U.S. Ice Dancers on the map. Thinks they’ve needed their competitors to push them and have found it very motivating to have Nationals feel like a highly competitive event.

Plans to join the final 12 stops of Stars On Ice and may join up with Canadian Stars On Ice. May go abroad to Japan to do a few shows. They have also seen the benefits of training in the summer and are planning on being home more, while still attempting to earn a living. They’ll be back on the ice with Igor by the second week of April. They’re excited to be home more, take their skating to the next level, and perform in domestic shows on the weekends.

Thinks Samuelson and Bates have a talent for lifts, creative choreography and innovative movements.

Evan Lysacek

Thought it was important to go to Four Continents.

Working with three new trainers and a dietician. Had trained the same way for five years.

Feeling stronger, refreshed and thinks he’s skating better than he has in a long time.

Not ultra concerned with results this year. Thinks “the quad” is the brand in the sport right now since the sport doesn’t have a 6.0 right now.

Thinks the value of the quad should be analyzed and given more credit. Says he thinks they’re looking at the value of the quad and upgrading it or adding a bonus.

Was eating low carb before. Didn’t have enough time to have a full meal before. Is now eating ¾ vegetables and 1/4 meat at every meal. Drinking whole meal shakes and Excelerade.

Body fat percentage was below 4.0% before. Has always weighed around 170 lbs.

Joining the cast of Stars On Ice after worlds. Will be competing at the Japan Open on April 20th. Booked through the end of May. (SOI is obvious as Evan is represented by IMG)

Says that Daisuke Takahasi is the favorite politically.

Has taken out a Double Axel and added a Triple Flip as his last jump. One of his Triple-Triple combinations will now be a Triple-Double, but it should give him two extra points. Lori Nichol changed a part of his music in the beginning of the Free Skate.

Hasn’t thought about music for next season yet. Leaves music up to Lori Nichol and Frank Carroll.

Kimmie Meissner

Really trying to getting her confidence level back up and feeling consistent with her jumps and programs. Knows she can do better.

Knew she needed a change and Mr. Callaghan offered to help her. Spent a week or two by herself after Nationals and then moved down to Florida. (Kimmie and Mr. Callaghan are both represented by Yuki Saegusa of IMG, so it made sense that they got in touch so quickly.)

Helps her to relax and be positive, yet serious. Has worked on everything with Mr. Callaghan. They’ve worked on correcting the edge of her Triple Flip and having a higher 2nd triple in her Triple-Triple combinations in order to avoid under-rotating the jumps.

Mr. Callaghan doesn’t have to train Kimmie because she trains herself and is a very disciplined skater.

Lost confidence after winning the 2006 World Championships because she felt that she had to be perfect every time.

Mr. Callaghan thinks more advanced notice should be given to every rule change.

Johnny Weir

Eyes Daisuke Takahashi as the favorite. Also named Voronov, Verner, and Joubert as strong competitors.

Wants to do a clean short with maximum levels and high component scores. Only attempting a Quad Toe in the long program. Has been training the Triple Lutz+Double Toe+Double Loop combo in his long program. Wants to do quads in both programs next year.

Is considering using a classic dance or waltz where he can perform both the female and male roles. Would love to work with Mikhail Baryshnikov and see what he can bring to the ice.

Is honored that the men will be closing the 2008 World Championships.

Doesn’t want to be double billed like the heroines of Chicago.

Says spins are much more taxing than jumps. Says skaters are dizzy after spins and the ‘lick your blade’ spins make it difficult to breathe. Thinks one spin and one jump pass should be eliminated in order to give skaters more time to express themselves. Finds footwork and spirals to be exciting elements.

Will be touring with Champions On Ice in Japan in June, July and August. Will be a part of the Figure Skating in Harlem event on March 31st. Wasn’t invited to do Stars On Ice. Is currently talking to Ilia Averbukh and Evgeny Plushenko about performing in their shows in Russia and Eastern Europe.

Will be training in Moscow at Katok Olympiskii with Elena Tchaikovskaya's group until March 18th.

Saw Plushenko perform on Satellite TV. Didn’t think Plushenko looks up to his usual standard. He says Plushenko is quick at getting in shape, but may struggle with putting his nose to the grindstone and realizing that he won’t just be handed things.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Georgia Without Kupets

When the season started, Coach Yoculan was worried about Georgia's depth. It is amazing to see how far the team has come, because they can easily manage a 198.000 without Courtney Kupets. Suzanne, Jay, Julie, Doug and Karin know how to get these girls prepared, fired up and confident for the post season.

Georgia's Road To A 198.000 With Their New Lineup

Dowlen: 9.800
Sessler: 9.800
Newby: 9.850
McComb: 9.900
Heenan: 9.925
Tolnay: 9.925

Total: 49.400

This is very doable for the team on vault. Megan Dowlen has been looking good in practice and is expected to lead the team off on the event. Dowlen knows how to pull out clutch vaults under pressure (9.875 at 2006 Super 6 Finals and 9.900 at 2007 NCAAs.) Heenan, McComb and Tolnay are all capable of 9.950+ on the event and are likely All-Americans on the apparatus.

Uneven Bars
Childs: 9.850
Newby: 9.850
Tolnay: 9.875
McCool: 9.900
Taylor: 9.925
Heenan: 9.925

Total: 49.475

These scores are very possible for the team. Jay Clark hammers handstands and stuck dismounts all year, which has a way of paying off in the post season. Their routine composition and execution are flawless. Courtney McCool came back just in the nick of time and her score can really help to escalate the scores of Grace Taylor and Katie Heenan. Grace has been solid all year, but her scores have proven that she will likely reach 9.950+ if she rips the interior and sticks the dismount.

Balance Beam
Mauro: 9.800
Childs: 9.850
Tolnay: 9.875
Taylor: 9.925
Heenan: 9.925
McCool: 9.950

Total: 49.525

Moving Katie into the fifth spot will help her to have enough time to mentally prepare after the Uneven Bars. She's felt a bit rushed at times this season and the team needs a stuck routine from her. Mauro has proven to be a solid scorer and has been first up a number of times this season. With the lineup now set, the team has a number of meets to find its rhythm.

Floor Exercise
Taylor: 9.850
Stack: 9.875
Heenan: 9.900
McComb: 9.925
Tolnay: 9.950
McCool: 9.950
Total: 49.600

Floor is the event where losing Kupets will impact the team the least. Their performers have proven themselves numerous times throughout the year and one can only imagine what they'll be capable of delivering in front of their fans during the NCAA Super Six Finals.

With so many performers, losing Kupets enabled the coaches to solidify the lineup so they can start practicing during their twice-weekly inter squads.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Do Yourself A Favor

We have a new hot mess. Love it.

He is a star.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Losing The Best

It wasn't supposed to be like this. The University of Georgia was on track for the lofty 198.000 today when disaster struck; Courtney Kupets' achilles tendon gave way on the takeoff of her Double Arabian.
For the University of Georgia, it is a devastating loss. Kupets, the two-time reigning NCAA All-Around Champion, is the team's exclamation point. She has been thought to be a lock to break the NCAA record for individual titles (which remains a possibility upon her inevitable return next season) and has been the pizazz projecting her team to a fourth NCAA Team victory in a row.
With Shayla Worley visibly injured and lacking in confidence during today's American Cup, it appeared even more certain that Courtney Kupets would be providing her veteran leadership and heralded Uneven Bar abilities to the 2008 Olympic Team.
The gymnastics community is heartbroken today because Courtney Kupets has been adopted and beloved by fans all over the world for her positive attitude, unbelievable skills, genuine likability and incredible perseverance.
Countless other elite gymnasts have competed in NCAA Gymnastics and earned countless accolades, but it is Kupets who has been to one athlete to continually challenge herself and improve as a gymnast and a competitor over the past three years.
It would've been the perfect comeback to international competition. She is a World Champion, a two-time National Champion, an Olympic silver and bronze medalist, a seven-time NCAA Champion, and the scorer of 40 9.900+ scores during a single collegiate season (2006). She was 163 days away from leading the Americans to a big win over the Chinese on their home soil. It is the same title many blamed Kupets for costing the team in 2004 (though Patterson suffered three costly errors just two days before capturing All-Around gold).
All is not lost for Kupets or her team. While the loss of their star performer could likely cost the team a few tenths, it may be just the event needed to push the rest of the team to reach their maximum potential. Tiffany Tolnay and Katie Heenan have demonstrated remarkable consistency during the past few seasons and are waiting to bust out and dominate the field. With Katie Heenan's impressive 10.000 Vault today, Tolnay's season debut of her Yurchenko 1 1/2 after a battling a year-long mental block on the event, and McCool's 9.925-scoring return to the Uneven Bars, the Georgia Gym Dogs will remain a tough team to beat in April.
A year ago, it was Courtney Kupets who led the team chanting "How Bad Do You Want It" in the locker room in Salt Lake City after the team lost two key players. Now it's time for the team to return the favor and win it for Courtney.

The Performances of Courtney Kupets:

Her Olympic Experience

Where the Dream Began

The Day She Beat Khorkina

Coming Back For The Olympics




Under The Lights

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Genius of Sandra Bezic

Back when figure skating was under the 6.0 system, real artistry was able to be performed by the best skaters in the world. Today, most programs are choreographed by Lori Nichol, David Wilson, Tom Dickson and Nikolai Morozov. Unfortunately, skating is missing the choreographic genius of one of the world's finest choreographers.

In a world cluttered by GOE, downgrades, PCS and TES, skating might just be moving away from what made it popular in the first place: the emotional connection of movement to music. Programs used to be able to tell stories and transport viewers from their living rooms onto the ice.

Her work has shaped figure skating immeasurably and is greatly missed by those who continue to struggle with seeing the rationale behind decisions made by the ISU.

Remember when it was about skating?

The work:

Katarina Witt

Lu Chen

Kurt Browning

To Be Continued...

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Random Videos

Fluff about how Brian Wells came to skate with Shelby Lyons:

A look back at Russian pairs throughout history---from the 1992 Olympics.

Isabelle Duschenay was a piece of work!

The performance that won Meno and Sand their first world medal:

Midori Ito's encore from the 1992 Olympics Gala:

Kristi's first exhibition performance paid homage to Edith Piaf:

A 90's version of "Yankee Doodle Dandy"

Traci Wilson interviews Kristi backstage.

Nancy Kerrigan and Paul Wylie skated a special exhibition together at the gala:

A cute interview with Wylie and Kerrigan:

Tonya Harding's first attempt at skating her long program at the 1994 Olympics.

Her second attempt.

Nicole Bobek did her part to keep the USFSA on edge.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Men's Winter Cup

Paul Hamm began his comeback effort with a strong performance at the Winter Cup last night. Hamm displayed readiness to compete with the best in the world and may be able to challenge for the Olympic All-Around title if he continues to improve over the next few months. The American Cup will be his first international competition since the 2004 Olympic Games. This is a welcome development for the USAG men's program who desperately needs Hamm if they hope to challenge for a spot on the podium. With a few more months of training and the opportunity to fine tune his sets at Nationals and the Olympic Trials, Hamm could challenge for several individual medals in Beijing.

Paul Hamm's scores:

Floor Exercise: 16.000
(1st Place)
Pommel Horse: 14.350 (Tied for 6th Place)Paul made a few errors, but is capable of contending for a spot in the event finals.
Rings: 15.550 (3rd Place) This event is where Paul has made the most improvement. Rings have never been his best event, but his extra strength training is paying off. Hamm could add considerable tenths to the USA's team total.
Vault: 16.300 (2nd Place) This is another event where's Hamm's score could boost the team total.
Parallel Bars: 15.250 (2nd Place)
High Bar: 15.350 (2nd Place) This is another event where Paul will really make a difference.
AA: 92.800 (1st Place)

The biggest surprise of the meet was the strong performance of Raj Bhavsar. If Bhavsar can hit again in the finals, the selection committee will have to consider naming him to the Olympic Team. Bhavsar's scores could help the USA be much more competitive in Beijing.

FX: 13.500 (33rd-Tie)
PH: 14.550 (3rd Place)
Rings: 15.800 (2nd Place)
Vault: 16.250 (3rd Place)
Parallel Bars: 15.200 (3rd Place)
High Bar: 13.700 (28th Place)
AA: 89.000 (2nd Place)

Sasha Artemev was 3rd overall with an 88.900. His best performances came on pommel horse - 15.150 (Tied for 1st Place) and on parallel bars with a 15.150 (4th).

David Durante failed to finish in the top five on any apparatus, while Guillero Alvarez was only able to muster a fourth place finish on pommel horse with a 14.450.

Blaine Wilson's return to competition was successful. Wilson competed on four events and recorded a sixth place finish on rings (15.150) and a fourth place finish on vault (16.200). The five-time national champion also tied for seventh on high bar with a 14.600 and tied for fourteenth on floor (14.350) after stepping out of bounds.

Other notable performances:

Kevin Tan: (4 events only)
PH: 13.650 (Tied for 14th)
RG: 16.350 (1st)
PB: 14.950 (Tied for 7th)
HB: 15.000 (3rd)

Jonathon Horton: (4 events only)
PH: 11.450 (Tied for 60th)
RG: 15.400 (4th)
PB: 14.750 (9th)
HB: 14.850 (4th)

Complete results available:

Although the scores are likely inflated, the 2008 Winter Cup scores present interesting new lineup possibilities for the Olympic Games. With Morgan Hamm, Sean Golden and Justin Spring added to the mix, the Olympic Trials will be infinitely more competitive.

The USA Men's scores from the 2007 World Championships.

Team Finals:
G. Alvarez: 15.600 FX, 15.600 VT
A. Artemev: 14.775 PH, 15.600 VT, 15.500 PB, 13.750 HB
D. Durante: 14.225 PH, 13.575 HB
S. Golden: 15.575 FX, 15.375 RG, 16.100 VT
J. Horton: 15.625 FX, 15.150 RG, 15.400 PB, 14.875 HB
K. Tan: 14.525 PH, 15.825 RG, 15.200 PB

Scores By Gymnast:
Jonathon Horton
Team Prelims: 15.475 FX, 14.150 PH, 15.325 RG, 15.375 VT, 15.500 PB, 15.075 HB
Team Finals: 15.625 FX, 15.150 RG, 15.400 PB, 14.875 HB
All-Around: 15.625 FX, 13.975 PH, 15.250 RG, 16.075 VT, 15.450 PB, 14.825 HB

Alexander Artemev
Team Prelims: 14.750 FX, 15.375 PH, 15.950 VT, 15.400 PB, 14.825 HB
Team Finals: 14.775 PH, 15.600 VT, 15.500 PB, 14.875 HB
Event Finals: 15.175 PH (6th)

Kevin Tan
Team Prelims: 14.575 PH, 16.050 RG, 15.300 PB, 12.825 HB
Team Finals: 14.525 PH, 15.825 RG, 15.200 PB
Event Finals: 16.325 RG (4th)

Guillermo Alvarez
Team Prelims: 15.700 FX, 13.500 PH, 14.650 RG, 15.650 VT, 14.675 PB, 14.000 HB
Team Finals: 15.600 FX, 15.600 VT
Event Finals: 15.600 FX (4th)

Sean Golden
Team Prelims: 15.200 FX, 15.225 RG, 16.000 VT
Team Finals: 15.575 FX, 15.375 RG, 16.100 VT

Dave Durante
Team Prelims: 14.225 FX, 14.500 PH, 14.625 RG, 16.625 VT, 15.075 PB, 14.625 HB
Team Finals: 14.225 PH, 13.575 HB
All-Around: 13.700 FX, 14.750 PH, 14.875 RG, 15.725 VT, 15.300 PB, 14.475 HB

With Paul Hamm, Raj Bhavsar, Blaine Wilson, Justin Spring and Morgan Hamm back in the picture, it is likely that many members of the 2007 World Team will not be named to the Olympic Squad. Most at risk are Dave Durante and Sean Golden. Durante does not offer any usable scores for team finals and Golden's scores are easily replaceable by Morgan Hamm and/or Justin Spring.

The Germans finished in third place at worlds with a team total of 273.525, while the USA was fourth with a 272.275. Replacing Durante with Paul Hamm could make up most of the gap between the two teams.

This is how the Americans would've done with Paul Hamm competing in place of Dave Durante and Raj Bhavsar competing in place of Sean Golden.

Note: One tenth has been subtracted from each score earned at the Winter Cup in order to account for inflation. The World Championships scores are used for the gymnasts who competed at both the Winter Cup and the World Championships.

For this scenario, Horton has been pulled from rings and Artemev has been pulled from vault.

P. Hamm: 15.900 FX, 14.250 PH, 15.450 RG, 16.200 VT, 15.150 PB, 15.250 HB
J. Horton: 15.625 FX, 15.400 PB, 14.875 HB
S. Artemev: 14.775 PH, 15.500 PB, 14.875 HB
K. Tan: 15.825 RG
R. Bhavsar: 14.450 PH, 15.700 RG, 16.150 VT
G. Alvarez: 15.600 FX 15.600 VT
Team Totals: 47.125 FX, 43.475 PH, 46.975 RG, 47.950 VT, 46.050 PB, 45.000 HB
Difference: + 0.325 FX, -0.050 PH, +0.625 RG, +0.650 VT, -0.050 PB, +2.800 HB

Conclusion: The USA is in good shape to challenge for a medal. These scores would have the USA competitive with Japan, which is probably overly-optimistic. This could prove to be legitimate in sixth months if Morgan Hamm and/or Justin Spring are up to full speed. In that case, Kevin Tan's comparative advantage on rings may not be enough to name him to the team. Guillermo Alvarez's prowess on floor could also be jeopardized with both Hamm's competing. It is too bad that Paul and Morgan took time off; both had the goods to earn fistfuls of gold, silver and bronze at the last three world championships.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Great Rivalry

Kristi Yamaguchi could give Kimmie Meissner useful advice about handling criticism from the press. The press moved Yamaguchi to focus solely on singles, much the same way they have pushed Meissner to make a coaching change.

The press had a field day when Yamaguchi lost two competitions during the fall of 1991. Both Tonya Harding and Midori Ito beat Yamaguchi with performances that included strong Triple Axels. The two losses only causes Yamaguchi to work even harder, leading her to the top step on the Olympic podium.

Shortly after splitting with Rudy Galindo, Yamaguchi scored a big win over Ito at the 1990 Skate America International. (She even lands a Triple Salchow!)

Ito couldn't match Yamaguchi's balanced program.

The 1991 Nationals were supposed to catapult Kristi Yamaguchi into the 1991 Worlds as the reigning US Champion. Yamaguchi lost the event 7-2 after Harding (who skated to Batman) landed a Triple Axel.

Tonya's shining moment:

The Triple Axel wasn't enough for Tonya to win the 1991 Worlds.

After having two throat surgeries leading up to the World Championships, Midori Ito's season was best characterized by her short program in Munich.

Ito's loss of confidence was obvious during her long program.

Yamaguchi's loss at Nationals fueled a fantastic performance in Munich.

Yamaguchi tried her best, but was unable to get a Triple Axel in time.

Ito made changes after Munich and was peaking for the 1992 Olympics.

Yamaguchi's Triple Salchow continued to plague her as she entered the final stretch.

Ito scored a critical victory in Paris. The press assumed the Olympics would be a showdown between Ito and Harding. Whoever landed the Triple Axel was supposed to win the Olympics.

Yamaguchi fought back at the 1992 US Nationals and finally won a title the senior ladies event.

Midori Ito seemed unstoppable when she first arrived at the Olympics.

Yamaguchi was a picture of consistency during her Olympic practice sessions. Practicing in Megeve helped her avoid the heat of the press. When she returned, it was apparent that there would be a showdown between the "athlete" and the "artist" for Olympic Gold.

The draw for the short program.

Under immense pressure, Ito's final practices rattled her nerves. Bonaly's controversial practice furthered Ito's downward spiral.

Disaster Strikes.

Harding actually landed her Triple Axel during the warm-up.

Harding took a risk and wound up two spots behind Ito.

The pressure was affecting the entire field on the night of the long program.

Yamaguchi nearly locked up the gold medal with this long program victory. It would've taken superb efforts from Ito and Harding to overcome her lead entering the long program.

Ito fought for her long program and turned her luck around. The last 90 seconds of her program created a frenzy.

It was all too overwhelming for Laetitia Hubert. A strong short program found her in the unexpected position of challenging for a medal in front of her home crowd. She would forever be coined "the human zamboni" by skating fans.

Ito was relieved for the competition to finally be over.

Kristi backed up her gold medal by winning the world championships. She is the last female Olympic Champion to defend her title at the following world championships.

Her winning ways continued as a professional. Yamaguchi was undefeated in 1992.

Ito would eventually rain on Yamaguchi's professional party.

Kristi did not like losing her world professional crown. She returned determined to regain her thrown.

It appeared that Ito would ruin Yamaguchi's party again.

Yamaguchi unleashed her newfound fierce sex appeal.

With a bevy of prize money available in the many pro competitions, Yamaguchi was well prepared for 1994-1995 and her earnings continue to increase three years after winning her Olympic title.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Oksana Baiul fluff from the 1998 World Pros.

Mishkutionok and Dmitriev's command performance from the 1994 Olympics.

Nicole Bobek fluff from the 1995 World Championships.

The infamous "Dragon Lady" fluff.

Kristi Yamaguchi fluff from the 1996 US Pro Figure Skating Championships.