Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's Championship Time!

Alright the major senior "Championship" competition is getting started. I know, a better fan would have been following the Novice and Junior action, but you know, you've got to pace yourself Nationals week and make sure the house is clean so you can sit on the couch and watch the competition. Yeah, it's almost that time!

Live streaming of the U.S. Pairs' Short is underway on IceNetwork. I'm at work with 6 items left on my to-do list and I keep getting interrupted so I don't dare log in to IceNetwork. I'm going to follow the hashtag #nc2011 for a few updates here and there. Evora and Ladwig skate first!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mozart Cup 2011

I've developed a habit of discovering a live feed of a synchro event just as the event ends. I attempted to watch the senior freeskate of the inaugural Mozart Cup in Salzburg, Austria Sunday. I went through PayPal and then saw skaters take a bow and no more skating.... nothing is showing up on YouTube yet. Bummer because this competition boasted Nexxice, Marigold Ice Unity and the Haydenettes!

Here are the results of the senior competition. Marigold Ice Unity edged the Haydenettes for the top of the podium, reminiscent of the slim point divide between last year's teams at the 2010 world championships which was the last time these teams competed against each other. The Starlights also made their international season debut with a 5th place finish. Since I first witnessed the Starlights two years ago, they have been one of my favorite teams; I think they create unique programs within the IJS. (The Starlights were supposed to compete this weekend at Prague Cup, but that competition was canceled and competitors had to scramble for new assignments and travel arrangements.)

On the junior end, Nexxice of Canada skated away with a victory. The Lexettes rose up in the freeskate to take the bronze and the University of Miami junior varsity team finished 6th. World order was maintained however as a Finnish team took the silver and another was fifth.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Skating News January 2011

Ah, it's January with two more months of winter. Most of the US is a bit sick of winter after record snowfalls, but the snow and cold is all the better to cozy up to winter sports. No, not the football playoffs, way more exciting stuff like ice skating!

Synchro Stuff
Early in the month, the U.S. selected their teams for the Junior World Challenge Cup in Switzerland. There's not an official ISU junior synchro championship yet, so the entrants are not decided at Nationals. The World Junior Team Selection Competition was held in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin with the Skyliners of New York and Team Braemar of Minnesota earning the two spots to represent the U.S. Both teams have several seasons of experience in international competitions.

The international competitive season of synchronized skating kicked off in Germany at the Cup of Berlin. The mighty Finns continued to be mighty at the senior level, with the Rockettes winning the event. They  won by nearly 40 points. At the junior level, Finnish teams swept the podium. I'd hate to be behind the Finnish teams at airport security. That's a lot of medal to check.

California Gold and Chicago Jazz represented the U.S. at the senior and junior levels, respectively. Both teams had solid fourth place finishes. For full results check the Cup of Berlin link above.

National Championships
Several countries held their national championships in December. Canada and the U.S. hold their championships in singles, dance and pairs in January. The Canadian champs are wrapping up  this weekend.

Missing in action from Canadians are Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. They sat out the first half of the season due to a surgery to help with shin splints on Virtue. They decided they weren't quite ready to compete yet. No word yet on if they will be selected to compete at the world championships.

Cynthia Phaneuf won the ladies event, and the team of Moore-Towers and Moscovitch were crowned the new pairs champs. Patrick Chan is leading after the men's short and planning two quads for today's freeskate. Check out for results, interviews and live streaming and archives of some events.

Other News
Johnny Weir has a book out, Welcome to My World. It's made news as he actually talks about being gay in the book and in promotional interviews. I don't think his sexual preference is really news, but if you have googled figure skating in the past few weeks this has come up. If you're a Weir fan, he may be coming to a bookstore near you. Check his site for book signings and other happenings. I'm debating downloading his book to my Kindle or buying for my collection of skating books. While I think there will be some uber-dishing about the skating world, I think it will be more about Johnny covering all things Weir. It may just be a Kindle title. What do you think?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cup of Berlin

Good luck to California Gold and Chicago Jazz this weekend at Cup of Berlin. The competition site has a live tracker, which I think I remember was a basic update of the team skating and the score. I think Berlin is 6 hours ahead of the eastern time zone, so noon-ish you might see updates.

IceNetwork press release on Cup of Berlin

Cup of Berlin 2011 site

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stuff to remember so I don't look like an old lady skater

O.M.G! I think if I checked the weather in Antarctica, it would be warmer that Louisville, KY - especially with the lack of ozone, that's got to let way more warmth from the sun in. It's 9'F here and it's going to stay that way all day. The ice rink was warmer this morning.

At the cozy warm ice rink my coach told me she watched a junior moves test with the new moves Sunday. The poor kid failed and she said my loops were about the same this person's. Such inspiring words to kick off the lesson! My loops are the same as a preteen who didn't pass the test!

Anyway, here are notes to myself to jog my memory for the next practice. Perhaps they help others someday:

Outside forward rockers - great shoulders and edge quality going into turn. Must remember an outside rocker creates a new circle. When you complete a 3-turn, you are staying on the same circle, a rocker puts you into the pattern of a new circle. Remember rise up through the pinky toe on the outside edge during the turn. Then think of aiming heel towards the boards and shifting shoulders into facing outside of the new circle. Also - IMPORTANT - think of this new circle as going into a back outside pivot right after the turn so the free leg tucks behind the skating foot which opens the free hip. When I do this right, it really feels like my skating leg keeps pushing out, as opposed to focusing on my free leg getting behind me. The skating leg works best when the shoulders are correct. It's all connected, one false move makes that horrible, annoying flat out of the turn.

Inside forward rockers - this is just for the left side, keep your edge during the turn by bending the ankle and putting pressure on the big toe. After the turn with pressure still on the big toe think of pushing rib cage outside of the circle.

Straight line footwork - friggin' do this without the twizzles and work on twizzles separately. When you are 30-something, this helps immensely and makes it look like you can do amazing Daisuke Takahashi footwork. Now that the twizzle-free sequence is executed much faster and more powerfully, gradually add in a twizzle a section at a time. Unless you are either Meryl Davis or Charlie White, I recommend this to skaters of any age when first working on this move.

Outside loops - it's all about the rhythm between the shoulders and hips. Remember, when pulling arm back while transitioning from an inside to outside edge to begin the loop, keep your ribcage out. Otherwise, you lean way to far back which can pull your weight from the front of the blade where it should be to the back of blade which is wrong. Remember doing back loops in patch - you looked under your armpit at the tracing, not over the shoulder. You looked under the armpits because the weight needs to be on the front of the blade, by the ball of your foot. When you lean back too far and start to rock to the back of your blade while executing the loop, you look like a preteen who failed the junior moves by making giant loop patterns!