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Oct. 28 2009 — 10:23 pm | 82 views | 1 recommendations | 3 comments

Skaters try out new roles at Cup of China

With the Grand Prix traveling to Beijing this week, we’ll see a fresh batch of skaters make their season debut at the Cup of China. For most skaters, this week’s Grand Prix is about making their mark on the international scene. But for others, the Cup of China will serve as a testing ground to see how they’ll handle the pressure of their new roles, as either the conditioned pair, the matured skater, or the frontrunner.
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Oct. 26 2009 — 11:24 am | 3,692 views | 1 recommendations | 11 comments

How Johnny Weir can fix his season

U.S.

Johnny Weir

Johnny Weir’s had a rough week. It seemed like he came to last weekend’s Rostelecom Cup with something to prove. After a tough time at the ‘09 Nationals, where he missed the podium for the first time in five years, Weir spent the past few months pondering whether or not to stay in and compete for one more Olympic season.

After a lot of soul searching and a pep talk from his mom, Weir decided to give competitive figure skating one more try. I’m sure he came to Moscow last week with the hopes of regaining his place as a force on the Grand Prix, but unfortunately the script he wrote for the event didn‘t run as planned.

It must have been disheartening for Weir to open his Olympic season with two mistakes in his short program and multiple stumbles in his long. Although his new programs looked strong, and he skated with more speed than we’ve seen from him in the past, I’m sure Weir’s fourth-place finish left him feeling very deflated.

At this point, Johnny Weir has two choices. He can either let last weekend’s disappointment overtake him and kill his confidence, or Weir can leave those performances in the past and fight through the rest of his season. We all know what option he wants to choose, but it’s going to take some work.

Here’s what he should do. continue »



Oct. 23 2009 — 7:25 pm | 975 views | 0 recommendations | 9 comments

Is Mao Asada looking at a coaching change?

Japan's world figure skating champion Mao Asad...

Tatiana Tarasova & Mao Asada

Mao Asada’s troubles in Paris have followed her to Moscow.

After skating to a disappointing second place at last weekend’s Trophee Bompard, Asada came to Moscow looking for redemption. So far, she hasn’t found it.

Asada’s biggest hurdle to overcome today was the popped triple axel that marred her performance seven days ago. Unfortunately, today’s short program played out almost identically to last week’s. Asada, this time in a new dress, opened her program by once again popping out of her triple axel. While she was able to rebound and complete her remaining elements with polish and ease, Asada’s mistake on her axel proved costly. The 2008 world champion is currently sitting in 6th place.

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Oct. 21 2009 — 12:17 pm | 97 views | 0 recommendations | 4 comments

Momentum means everything in Moscow

Evgeni Plushenko

Evgeni Plushenko

The Grand Prix travels to Moscow this week for the second of six events, the Rostelecom Cup. This week, all eyes will be on the men, as 2006 Olympic gold medalist Evgeni Plushenko makes his comeback to competitive skating on home ice. Plushenko hasn’t competed internationally since the ‘06 Games, but he appears to be in surprisingly good shape and ready to step into the shark pit that is men’s figure skating. In addition to Plushenko’s return, there are a few stories to look out for in Moscow that could change the complexion in Vancouver.

MEN

Unfortunately, news broke last week that reigning world silver medalist Patrick Chan has suffered a tear in his left calf muscle and has withdrawn from this week‘s event. Chan was a frontrunner coming into Moscow and has the goods needed to stand on the podium in Vancouver. He says he still plans to compete in his second event, Skate Canada, and hopefully his injury won‘t affect the rest of his season. Chan is a wonderfully artistic skater and, before his withdrawal, was my pick to win this event.

With Chan out, there is no doubt that the other men in the field are breathing a sigh of relief. Although Plushenko was recently awarded the “highest score ever in figure skating,” the judging appeared incredibly inflated and most didn’t think his score reflected his performance. Still, it won’t be easy for Plushenko to regain his spot as the number one male skater in the world. After spending four years away from competition, the physical and mental demands that come with this pressure-packed season might prove too much for the former world and Olympic champion. That said, Plushenko has the hunger and raw talent needed to get the job done, and with Chan out, he’ll probably take the crown in Moscow.

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Oct. 19 2009 — 10:37 am | 120 views | 0 recommendations | 3 comments

The key to success at Trophee Bompard: Focus

Yu-Na Kim via AP

Yu-Na Kim via AP

The first ISU Grand Prix event of the season, Trophee Eric Bompard, took place over the weekend, and for an October competition, the level of skating was beyond expectations. Yu-Na Kim set a new world record for total points in the ladies’ event, blowing the field away and setting herself up as the one to beat heading into Vancouver. However, along with Kim’s excellence there were some indications of skaters failing to meet their potential in Paris due to a lack of focus.

In a surprising twist in the pairs’ event, one of the most blatant depictions of a lapse in focus happened to two-time world champions Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy. Perhaps feeling a tad too confident after their stellar short program, Savchenko & Szolkowy missed three elements in their long program and dropped from first to finish in third overall. Savchenko & Szolkowy are a fairly consistent team, so to see them miss numerous elements in one routine was alarming. My bet is that they’ll come back strong at their next event, Skate Canada, and their performance last Saturday isn’t an indication of future troubles.

Joining Savchenko & Szolkowy with a disappointing debut on the ‘09 Grand Prix series was reigning world bronze medalist, Brian Joubert. Joubert struggled throughout the competition and lacked the fire we’ve seen from him in previous seasons. Following his long program, Joubert said he blamed his issues at Trophee Bompard on a lack of training.

“I need to work, work, work,” he said. “I’m on the right track. But what was enough training five years ago when I was 20 is not enough today.”

Joubert hoped to land three quads in his long, but he was unsuccessful in his quest. Joubert’s troubles may be due to his lack of training, but I also think he needs to change his focus. Attempting three quads is impressive, but rather than spending so much time training his jumps, Joubert needs to work on his spins and choreography. Quads alone won’t win it for him.

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    I’m originally from Boston, living in LA, with a passion for the world of figure skating. During my career on the ice, I was a world junior champion, a five-time U.S. national medalist, and a three-time world team member. Since retiring from the sport, I have dedicated myself to attaining my college degree with a major in broadcast journalism. I’m looking forward to sharing my views on the ins and outs of the skating world, along with my opinions and thoughts on various issues coming from the ice. I welcome you to my blog!

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