Thursday, April 21, 2011

Style On Ice Exclusive Interview: Oksana Grishuk

In the prime of her illustrious ice dance career,  Oksana Grishuk with partner Evgeni Platov won 20 consecutive competitions.  The duo claimed two Olympic gold medals, 4 World titles and 3 European Championships before retiring in 1998.  After forging a solo career for a few years, Grishuk has dropped off the American radar almost completely.  Style On Ice had a chance to catch up with the skater recently and here's what she had to say.

SOI:  We haven’t seen you on the ice in the U.S. for awhile, what have you been doing?

OG:  I have been teaching private lessons, choreography, and master classes, primarily in Anaheim, California at KHS Ice Arena. I also spend so much time with my 8 year old daughter, Skyler Marie Grace. There is school work ( where she is doing amazing and getting all A's), tennis (she just recently won a first place trophy for her first tournament in her age group) , Russian language and art.  When my daughter and I have free time we love to ride horses or play golf. Sometimes we just to have a tea party with friends. I love being a mom and always thank God for letting me have such a precious girl in my life.

SOI:  How was the Russian Dancing On Ice experience for you?

OG:  I did the Russian Dancing on Ice project a few times.  I won first season in 2006 and got third in 2007.  It was an amazing experience which made me enjoy performing once again.  I also met and worked with so many wonderful and talented people there and learned so many new things for myself.  Being back in my country and seeing everything from a different angle was incredible, because it brought some emotional memories that made me appreciate where I came from even more.  I love Russia and always will, even though I have been living in USA and loving it too, for almost 17 years.

SOI:  Any regrets looking back on your amateur career?

OG: I might have some regrets from my amateur career but I prefer not to hold on to the past.  I always reinvent myself and be positive and optimistic.  I believe that the best things are happening in front of you.  I just know one thing when something goes wrong learn a good lesson from your mistakes or experiences and move forward even stronger and wiser than before.  Think positive and positive will be next to you all the way.

SOI:  What would you like to say to the longtime fans that still support you?

OG: I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart ALL of the people who were and still are being very kind and supportive. I love them all very much and wish them the most wonderful and beautiful things in life and God Bless them all.

SOI:  What would you tell the young skaters with elite aspirations?

OG: I would like to tell all the younger skaters to NEVER give up on their dreams.  Dream big.  Whatever it is always believe in yourself and you will be surprised that you can actually do much more than you think you can.  Be yourself and bring your own personality out because I believe every skater has their own style and unique thing that can be incredibly beautiful.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Vintage Video: Toller Cranston

Toller Shalitoe Montague Cranston, CM (born April 20, 1949) is a Canadian figure skater and painter. He is the 1971-1976 Canadian national champion, the 1974 World bronze medalist, and the 1976 Olympic bronze medalist. Although he never won a world level competition due to poor compulsory figures, he won the small medal for free skating at the 1972, 1974, and 1975 World Figure Skating Championships. Cranston is credited by many with bringing a new level of artistry to men's figure skating.

Cranston was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1949 and grew up in Kirkland Lake. When he was 11, his family moved to suburban Montreal.
Growing up, Cranston had an uneasy relationship with his family, especially his mother who was also a painter and who had a domineering and self-centered personality. He later compared his childhood to "being in jail". In school he had the habit of asking provocative questions that made his teachers think he was being disruptive. Although he enjoyed history, he disliked more structured subjects like mathematics.
After high school, Cranston attended the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Montreal. By his third year, he became restless with his studies. One of his teachers suggested that there was nothing more he could learn at the school, so Cranston set out at that point to establish himself as a professional artist.
In 1976, he teamed with personal manager Elva Oglanby to write his first book, Toller, a mixture of autobiography, sketches, poems, paintings, humour and tongue-in-cheek observations.It reached number 2 in the Canadian non-fiction charts.
Cranston co-wrote the autobiographical Zero Tollerance (1997) with Martha Lowder Kimball, and a second volume, When Hell Freezes Over: Should I Bring My Skates? (2000), also with Kimball. While he described a sexual tryst between himself and Ondrej Nepela in the second book as well as affairs with women, in his books he presents himself as having lived without forming strong romantic or emotional attachments.
As of 2010, he lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where his main artistic outlet is now his painting, which often incorporates themes related to skating.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Style On Ice GIVEAWAY!

Proud Nation hits the ice in Simsbury, CT  on Friday, April 8th at 7:30pm.  Style On Ice is giving away TWO TICKETS to the Wine & H'orderves Reception which begins at 5:30pm.

How can you win the free reception passes?  You can enter two different ways (or both ways, to increase your chance of winning).  Either follow Style On Ice on Twitter or Like our new Facebook page HERE

Winner will be notified on the evening of Wednesday, April 6th.

Good luck!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Vintage Video: Rodnina and Zaitsev

In pre-school years Irina Rodnina suffered from pneumonia eleven times, and in 1954 her parents brought her to her first skating rink, in the Pryamikov Children Park in Moscow. Since the sixth form of the secondary school, age 13, she trained at Children and Youth Sports School of CSKA on Leningradsky Prospekt.

Throughout her career she competed internationally for the Soviet Union. At the national level she represented the Armed Forces sports society.

Rodnina graduated from the Central Institute of Physical Culture. She won 10 World Championships and three consecutive Olympic gold medals in pairs competition between 1971 and 1980 with her partners Alexei Ulanov and Alexander Zaitsev. She also won 11 European pairs championships, making her the most successful pair skater in history.

Rodnina with Alexei Ulanov in 1970.She began her career with Alexei Ulanov. They won four consecutive World and European titles beginning in 1969. Their main rivals were Lyudmila Smirnova and Andrei Suraikin who regularly finished second behind them. Ulanov fell in love with Smirnova, and prior to the 1972 Olympics, the couple made the decision to skate together the following season. Rodnina and Ulanov went on to compete at the 1972 Olympics where they captured the gold. They then prepared for their last competition together, the 1972 World Championships. While practicing together a day before the start of the competition, the pair had an accident on a lift and Rodnina ended up in hospital with a concussion and an intracranial hematoma. Despite the accident, they skated in the short program cleanly and received some 6.0s. Rodnina became faint and dizzy in the long program but it was enough for their fourth World title. Ulanov continued his career with Smirnova, while Rodnina considered retirement.

In April 1972, her coach Stanislav Zhuk suggested she team up with the young Leningrad skater Alexander Zaitsev, who had good jumping technique and quickly learned the elements. At the 1973 World Championships, their music stopped during their performance. Known for intense concentration, they finished the routine in silence, earning a standing ovation and a gold medal upon completion, ahead of Ulanov and Smirnova, who they again defeated in 1974. They won six consecutive World titles together, as well as seven European gold medals, and became Olympic Champions in 1976. Rodnina and Zaitsev did not compete during the 1978-79 season and had a son together. They returned in 1980 to capture their second Olympic title together and Rodnina's third. They then retired from competitive skating.

Rodnina was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour (in 1972) and the Order of Lenin (in 1976). Since 2005 Rodnina is a member of the Public Chamber of Russia.

Rodnina coached numerous elite Soviet skaters and taught at the University of Moscow, and later coached in the United States and led the Czech team of Radka Kovaříková and René Novotný to a world title.

Alexander Gennadiyevich Zaitsev is a World and Olympic figure skating champion from the former Soviet Union. He is now a figure skating coach. His hometown is Saint Petersburg.

Zaitsev is best remembered for his successful partnership with Irina Rodnina. From 1973 to 1980 they won every event they entered, including the 1976 and 1980 Olympic games. They were coached by Stanislav Zhuk and trained in Moscow.

Rodnina and Zaitsev were married in April 1975. They took a break from competing in 1979 when their son, Sasha Jr., was born.

After retiring from competition, he became a coach and for a time was involved in the administration of the sport.

Quick Links

- The show goes on for Chan.
- Lysacek on... everything.
- Moscow prepares tickets for worlds.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Style On Ice GIVEAWAY!

Proud Nation hits the ice in Simsbury, CT  on Friday, April 8th at 7:30pm.  Style On Ice is giving away TWO TICKETS to the Wine & H'orderves Reception which begins at 5:30pm.

How can you win the free reception passes?  You can enter two different ways (or both ways, to increase your chance of winning).  Either follow Style On Ice on Twitter or Like our new Facebook page HERE

Winner will be notified on the evening of Wednesday, April 6th.

Good luck!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Kerrs Announce Retirement

Scotland's greatest ice dancers announce their retirement through injury after a glittering career that dazzled fans across the world.

They announced their retirement after a shoulder injury ruled Sinead out of next month's World Championships in Moscow.
The Livingston-born pair's dynamic routines and tartan costumes made them crowd favourites across the world,
And their seven British titles was matched only by England's Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, even if the Kerrs never reached the same level of fame.

Continue Reading...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Vintage Video: Jan Hoffmann

Jan Hoffmann's first coach was Annemarie Halbach in Dresden. He changed later to coach Jutta Müller in Karl-Marx-Stadt (today Chemnitz). He represented the former East Germany in competition.

In 1974, Hoffmann won the World Figure Skating Championships and European Figure Skating Championships for the first time. After that he had a surgery of his meniscus, which slowed down his career and caused him to miss the entire 1975 season. He won his second World Championship title in 1980 at the end of his skating career.

Hoffmann competed at four Olympic Games. At the 1968 Winter Olympics he was just 12 years old. At the 1972 Games he finished 6th, at the 1976 Winter Olympics he was 4th, and he won the silver medal in 1980. At these Olympics Robin Cousins (GBR) won gold and Charles Tickner (USA) won bronze. Jan Hoffmann also won the European Championship four times.

Hoffmann studied medicine after his figure skating career and is today an orthopaedic specialist. He is still active in figure skating as a judge and was also a member of the managing board of the Deutsche Eislauf-Union. He was a judge during the ladies event at the 1994 Winter Olympics and placed Oksana Baiul ahead of Nancy Kerrigan, one of five judges who did so. Hoffman also judged the ladies competition at the 1998 Winter Olympics and gave his first-place ordinal to Michelle Kwan.

Jan Hoffmann is married and has one daughter.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Style On Ice Exclusive Interview: Elvis Stojko

On April 16, 2011 in Moncton, N.B.  Elvis Stojko will be inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame.  The Three-time World Champion, Two-time Olympic Silver Medalist and Seven-Time Canadian Champion recently took a few minutes to discuss this honor (among other things) with Style On Ice.

ES: I’m pretty excited about it!  I didn’t expect it so it totally caught me off guard.  I was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame a few years back and that was exciting as well.  The Olympic Hall of Fame is great because it sort of caps off my career in regards to everything I’ve done.  Being recognized by the Olympic Association for Canada is amazing.  There are some pretty great athletes, coaches and builders that have been recognized.  It’s so amazing to be among them.  It has been almost 9 years since I’ve retired so being inducted now is nice.  It has made me kind of go back and really think about my career. It’s funny because I had already been rehashing some of the great memories and all of a sudden I get a call that the President of the Olympic Association wants to talk to me personally.  The timing is kind of ironic and pretty cool.

SOI: What are some of the memories that you were already thinking of?

ES: There are a lot of different moments that stand out, it was never just one big thing.  Not letting the system itself change who I was or change the direction that I wanted to go in was an important thing.  There are a lot of people that you can follow that believe they can (and that they really want) to help you.  I stuck to my guns all the way through.  I stayed on the path that I wanted to be on stylistically and I skated the way that I wanted to skate.

When it comes to particular achievements there’s quite a few that really stick in my mind.  One is when I made the world team for the first time in 1990.  In 1988 I was junior champion and then in 1989,  I didn’t even make it to Canadian Nationals.  I had grown, my body had changed and I was still really young.  I worked so hard that year (1990), come hell or high water I was going to make it to Nationals.  I jumped over that goal and kind of exceeded it, by making the world team.  That was a breakthrough year for me and I started pushing Kurt Browning right away.  It let people know that I was a contender. Kurt and I had some great battles in the early 90’s.

{Tom Hanson}

In 1994, I came out with my Bruce Lee program and skated a little bit different then everyone else thought skating should be.  A lot of people said that if I’d skated to something different I’d have won the Olympics (rather than come in second).  It was very close anyway, a 5/4 split and to me it’s about being yourself out there.  Just the way I competed and how I did it made me happy. Winning Nationals in 94, then a silver at Olympics and winning worlds after that- it was a huge, huge year.

Everyone says that I gave a really gutsy performance in 1998 at the Olympics, but for me it was such a rough time, with the injury to my groin.  I was trying to balance my injury, my brain and the media.  I needed to keep my focus so that I could just try to skate my best.  I didn’t know if I was going to compete another four years so I didn’t want to just give up.  I pushed myself through it and may have caused some damage, not just on a physical level, but on an emotional and spiritual level as well.  I fought through that injury but never quite got my form back after that, not like I wanted.  I was still competitive but not quite as crisp as I wanted to be.  I was disappointed in 98’ because my body failed me but that performance did inspire a lot of people.


 It was a character building experience for me that’s for sure.  There was a moment in the program where I was going into my second triple Axel and I was skating down the boards in front of the judges and my body wanted to stop.  I wanted to quit. Then I had this thought if I did stop, in two hours I’d be wondering why I didn’t just push myself through it and at least try.  I had to know if I could do it or not so I continued and truly muscle memory kicked in and got me through the rest of the program.  About 3 months later, as I was healing, I realized I had been so busy that I never gave myself time to reflect.  I had been in high gear with the injury, the media, figuring out if I even could compete at worlds-  I needed to just put it in park and shut it all off.  I realized I needed to decompress from that Olympic experience and so I shut the car off.  I had pushed  to a point where something broke within myself and it took a few years to fully put it back together again.

SOI: Now that you’ve stepped away from eligible skating and see it with fresh eyes, who do you enjoy watching?

ES:  Takahashi Daisuke, for me his edges are the best and I could watch him for hours.  He has an incredible, natural skating ability that isn’t forced or overworked.  Great jumps, great spins and he kind of goes to the beat of his own drum. He has a cool attitude.  He knows he’s good, but he’s respectful and not cocky about it.  He’s a breathe of fresh air in a sport that has some very flamboyant, ‘Look at me!’ types of skating on display.  I see guys skating now and I think, ‘ Don’t worry about what we’re thinking,  just let us take it in.’.  I like all three Japanese guys but he is my favorite. 

There comes a point where as a skater you have to make a choice.  That choice is to go with how I feel or to at take the package they’re giving me.  Do I take the music, take the costume, take the look because I know this is the packaged deal that will sell? 


The package may last for a few years and then you realize it’s a fad and fads go away.  Then there’s the ones with longevity that went their own way.  They didn’t follow the status quo and just threw away their inhibitions.  They are who they are, because they are unique and different.  They give themselves honestly to the sport, to the fans and that is what this sport is all about. Champions come and go.  Some train for one reason only. They train to win, they DO win and then they leave.  Then there’s people that didn’t win but they really stick in your mind and they make a difference.  Those are the people I appreciate.

SOI: Are you hitting the ice again soon?

ES: There’s a carnival show in the northern part of Quebec this weekend.  A small club invited me to skate so I’m doing two shows,  April 2nd-3rd in St Romuald.  I haven’t been to Quebec in awhile so I think it’ll be really nice to skate there.  There are possibly some shows coming to Western Canada at the end of the summer.  If the shows happen, I’ll be there.  I can’t say much more than that about those for now.  I may be teaching a seminar in June but that’s not completely solid yet either.  I’m doing things here and there but I’m trying to pace myself.  I do have something in the works that is very, very personal.  I’ll be able to share with people soon but I can’t let that out of the bag just yet.  I’ll have to keep everyone in mystery about that for a few more months.

Over the years I’ve had a lot of really great fans who have supported me and I want to thank them for being so strong.  They’ve defended my points and are really fantastic.  You can’t be liked by everyone and there will always be people that choose to go in the other direction.  I have to say, those that have supported me have just been amazing.


Keep updated on when Elvis will be performing:
Elvis on Facebook
Follow Elvis on Twitter

Quick Links

- Patrick Chan to help Don Jackson celebrate.
- Yuna Kim confirmed for worlds.
- Coaching change for Gilles.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Vintage Video: Linda Fratianne

Linda Fratianne's father was the former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Fratianne (died 2002). Her mother was Virginia Fratianne. Her parents were divorced.

Throughout her figure skating career, she was coached by Frank Carroll.

Fratianne was particularly known for her ability to complete difficult triple jumps with ease and beauty. She became the first female skater to land two different types of triple jumps (toe loop and salchow) in her free skating programs in 1976 at the U.S. National Championships. Her strong free skating technique complemented her elegant style, which made her the best overall American skater of the period.

At the World Figure Skating Championship in Tokyo, Japan in 1977, she won her first world title by upsetting the favorite going into the Championship: East Germany's Anett Pötzsch. This victory was attributed to the combination of solid jumping skills, strong basic skating skills, and exceptional artistry. In fact, Fratianne fell on her triple salchow jump in her free skating routine, but these positive qualities were significant enough to prompt the judges to place her above Pötzsch.

In 1979, Linda Fratianne was able to regain her world title, which she had lost to Pötzsch in 1978 in Ottawa, Canada.

Her chief rivals were Anett Pötzsch (East Germany), Emi Watanabe (Japan), and Dagmar Lurz (West Germany). Like Watanabe, her compulsory figures were significantly weaker than her free skating; consequently, she frequently placed well below Pötzsch and Lurz in the compulsories, forcing her to attempt to overcome her deficiencies through strong short and free programs. In fact, Fratianne never placed lower than Pötzsch or Lurz between 1977 and 1980 in short or free programs at any of the competitions, yet she was only able to win the major competitions twice. This is largely because the rules then placed much weight on compulsory figures.

In addition to her skating skills, Fratianne was also known for her costumes throughout her career. Many believe that Fratianne has been responsible for setting the current fashion trend for female skaters, dripping with beads, sequins, and chiffon.

After the 1980 season, Linda Fratianne turned professional and enjoyed a long career performing as the lead skater of Disney on Ice (for 10 years) and other touring ice shows. In 1993 Linda Fratianne was inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

From 1988 to 2001 she was married to ski racer Nick Maricich. They have a daughter, Ali (b. 1991).

Linda Fratianne currently lives and coaches in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Quick Links

-  Reynolds named to world team.
-  Moscow to splurge on worlds.
-  Dungjen headed to worlds with his students.