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.


{Getty}

 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? 

{Rossano}

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:

http://www.elvisstojko.net/
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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vintage Video: Diane Towler and Bernard Ford



Bernard Ford, MBE, (born in Birmingham, England) is a British former ice dancer. With partner Diane Towler, he is a four-time World, European, and British Champion. He is also a World Professional Ice Dance Champion. He later became a coach and choreographer.

Ford and Towler dominated the international ice dance scene by capturing European and World Figure Skating Championship titles from 1966 to 1969. The couple also participated in the 1968 Grenoble Olympics ice dance demonstration, winning the gold medal. Ice Dance officially became a part of the Winter Olympic Games in 1976.

The team was coached by Gladys Hogg in London, England at Queens Ice Dance Club.

The achievements of Towler and Ford earned them the appointment of Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II, as well as a spot in the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1993.

Ford immigrated to Ontario, Canada in 1971 and coached numerous ice dance teams to national titles and international acclaim, most notably 1986 World Championship ice dance bronze medalists Tracy Wilson and Rob McCall. His coaching success with Wilson and McCall earned him the Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award and the Longines-Wittnauer Coaching Excellence Award.

In 1986 Ford co-founded the York Region Skating Academy in Richmond Hill, Ontario. It was here in 1989 that Ford, with assistance from coach Kelly Johnson and ice dance team Laurie Palmer and Steven Belanger, invented the Cha-Cha Congelado: an International Skating Union compulsory dance. In 1999 the Town of Richmond Hill recognized Ford with an induction into the Richmond Hill Sports Hall of Fame.

In 1994 Ford took a coaching position in Seattle WA, USA were he produced national champions and international competitors alongside coaching ice dance teams from Australia and Japan to World competition. Ford returned to Canada in 2003 and continues to coach ice dance teams to the national and international level. He is currently coaching at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton, AB.

In January 2007 Skate Canada recognized Ford’s contribution to the discipline of ice dance with an induction to the Skate Canada Hall of Fame.

Ford currently resides in Edmonton, AB with his wife.

Diane Towler (married Green) (born 16 December 1946 in London, England) is a former British ice dancer and currently a figure skating coach.

She is a four-time World and European Champion in ice dancing with skating-partner Bernard Ford. Their coach was Gladys Hogg. They participated at the introduction of ice dancing at the Olympics in 1968. Ice Dancing has become part of the Winter-Olympics in 1976. Diane and Bernard are also members of the World Figure skating Hall of Fame Colorado Springs. They are mostly well known for their Zobra the Greek programme which helped to improve ice dance. Diane and Bernard also received MBEs for their service to Ice skating

After her amateur career, Diane Towler and Bernard Ford participated in ice shows. After her skating-partner moved to Canada, Towler became a figure skating coach. Among her students are Janet Sawbridge and Peter Dalby (Bronze at the Europeans 1972) and her twins Candice and Phillipa both British Junior ice dance Champions and world competitors. Her Nephew Mark Bosley Junior ice Dance Champion and 5th at junior worlds. Alan Abretti and Liz Coates became World and European competitors

Quick Links

-  Nancy Kerrigan expected to testify.
-  Ice-Semble Chicago prepares for theatrical performance.
-  Orilla's figure skating family celebrates 60 years.
-  The lasting power of Moira Kelly.
-  Easy road not the path for Flatt.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Style On Ice Exclusive Interview: Ben Agosto

{Tania Gressell}

It has been nearly a year since Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, the most decorated ice dance team in U.S. history, retired from eligible skating.  Style On Ice had the opportunity to speak with Ben Agosto while on a break from Stars On Ice rehersals. 

SOI:  How has it been for you this season?

BA:  There’s a definite learning curve to transitioning out of competitive skating.  Right after we decided that we were going to retire we were very busy doing shows.  We went to Korea, we went to Japan and we had a great time. Then everything really went into transition mode.  Tanith moved back to Ann Arbor, MI and I moved out to Seattle, so that has been a big change.  Instead of being together and skating together each day we kind of commute back and forth to get programs done.  There has been a lot of traveling and a lot of skating in different places for us. I t has been pretty exciting too because with the time we have away from each other, I think it makes skating together now that much more special.  I’m so happy that we decided to retire when we did.  It was really at the right moment for us in our careers.  I feel very content with the direction that our skating is going in and also the direction that my life is going in.  I’m starting school online, with an interest in sports medicine.  I obviously have a long way to go with the education aspect.  I do feel that I’m already a little bit ahead though because of all the therapy I’ve had over the years from various injuries.  I look at that as my learning experience towards a future career.  I’m also hoping to do a bit of voiceover work.  I’m just really excited to go and explore new avenues and to find new ways to be creative.

SOI:  Who influenced you as a young skater?

BA:  Very early on I was impressed by Liz Punsalan and Jerod Swallow.  When Tanith and I first starting skating together we skated at the same club where they trained.  Right off the bat they were a good, solid example of how you should work with your partner.


{Getty Images}

SOI:  What would you like audiences to take from your performances now?

BA:   I hope people can see just how much we enjoy performing. The thing I love the most about skating is performing and interacting with Tanith and the audience.  The stories that we try to tell make each time on the ice unique for us.  The more the audience gets drawn in, then the better we perform and that circle keeps growing.  Hopefully, live people can take more emotionally from our programs.  I also hope they appreciate basic things like the actual speed and flow of skating.

SOI:  How is the Stars On Ice tour this year?


{Michelle Harvath}

BA:  Well, it’s the 25th Anniversary Tour so it’s a very special year for the production crew and just everyone involved since its inception.  The cast now, grew up going to see Stars On Ice as kids and we are so excited to actually be in the show.  The whole show this year is really a big celebration of the past and present of Stars On Ice.  It’s a very upbeat show and it also really celebrates the fans.  They’ve been amazing for 25 years now, they just keep coming back and enjoying the show.  It’s because of them that we feel so very lucky and blessed.

Vintage Video: Ronnie Robertson



Ronald "Ronnie" Robertson (born September 25, 1937 in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania; died February 4, 2000 in Fountain Valley, California) was an American figure skater who was best known for his spinning ability. He won the silver medal at the 1956 Winter Olympics and twice won the silver at the World Figure Skating Championships. He retired from skating after the 1956 U.S. Championships, where he was nearly disqualified after he was accused by the German Figure Skating Federation for excessive expenses on a European tour. His father, Albert Robertson, a naval architect, accused Hayes Jenkins for trying to disqualify his son. After a huge fight with the U.S. Figure Skating Federation, Robertson was not disqualified after he lost to Jenkins and retired from competitive figure skating and signed a two-year contract with the Ice Capades for $100,000.

In the 1950s, he had a close personal and sexual relationship with Tab Hunter[3][4], who also helped fund his amateur career. Robertson was coached by Gustave Lussi.

Robertson's skating career was also well known on television. He appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1957, and his fast forward upright spin was described as being "faster than an electric fan." He also appeared on The Mickey Mouse Club that year

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Quick Links

- 2011-12 US Team Envelope criteria.
- 2011-12 US International Selection pool.
- A revealing new Czisny article.

Vintage Video: Pakhomova and Gorshkov



Pakhomova began figure skating at age seven, when her grandmother brought her to Children and Youth Sports School by the Young Pioneers Stadium. Since 1966 she and her partner, Alexandr Gorshkov competed for Dynamo. A personal relationship between Pakhomova and Gorshkov developed, which led to their marriage in 1970. They were world champions from 1970 to 1974 and again in 1976, when they won their sixth world championship. At the 1976 Winter Olympics, Pakhomova and Gorshkov won the first gold medal awarded for ice dancing.

Pakhomova died of Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1986 and was interred in the Donskoie Cemetery in Moscow. Pakhomova was posthumously inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1988, along with Gorshkov.

A minor planet 3231 Mila, discovered by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Zhuravlyova in 1972 is named after her.

Gorshkov trained at Dynamo. His skating partner was his wife, Lyudmila Pakhomova. They began skating competitively in 1967 and married in 1970. They were World champions from 1970 to 1974 and won their sixth world title in 1976. At the 1976 Winter Olympics, they won the first Olympic gold medal awarded for ice dancing. Their daughter, Yulia Aleksandrovna Pakhomova-Gorshkova, was born in 1977. His wife died of Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1986. He is president of a Regional Public Charitable Foundation for the Arts and Sports named in Pakhomova's honor.

Gorshkov later served as the chairman of the International Skating Union's ice dance technical committee. Gorshkov was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1988, along with Pakhomova, who was inducted posthumously as she died of cancer in 1986.

He is married to Irina Ivanovna Gorshkova and has a stepson from her previous marriage, Stanislav Belyaev.

Style On Ice Exclusive Interview: Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov


In the fall of 2007,  Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov suffered a fall in a warm up before the free dance at Skate Canada that brought their competitive career to a screeching halt.  They sat out the rest of the season recovering while financial constraints added to their problems.  When they failed to pop up in International competitions the next year, many of their fans were both confused and disappointed.  Gregory and Petukhov have used the last few years to carve their own artistic path.  They have created opportunities for themselves and other skaters in this sport that they both still so clearly love.  Style On Ice had an opportunity to catch up with the married duo this past week.

SOI:  Have you ever officially retired from amateur competition? 

G&P:  We like to keep our eligible status and keep our options open.

SOI:   You haven't competed since getting injured in a practice in the fall of 2007, do you miss it?

G&P:  Yes we do miss the thrill of competing, but we love skating and love performing in general.  We really are enjoying doing shows.

SOI:   You've focused your ice time now on exhibitions, what do you personally gain from these performances?

G&P:  We LOVE performing! We also love producing and creating shows and artistic programs.  We feel that every show, performance, & program choreographed allows us to grow personally as artists.  Plus, we do gain some business skills along the way.

SOI:  Is there a particular style of dance that is the most fun or that you think best suits you as a couple?

G&P:  Classical, orchestral, & modern.

{Harvath}

SOI:   Are you still coaching in CT and if so, how is that process for you?

G&P:  We don't do a lot of private coaching during the fall, winter, or spring since we travel a lot performing. We do have our program that is here in Hartford, Fever on Ice and we enjoy it very much.  In the summer we do coach and help young skaters and coaches, we also developed some workshops and travel to different clubs or rinks around the country to inspire skaters in this sport.

SOI:  You both have been very smart about marketing yourselves and finding a way to make opportunities for yourselves and other skaters as well. Tell me about some of these endeavors and what has meant the most to you.

G&P:  Last year we took students from Fever on Ice  to Rockefeller Center to participate in the USOC's event that was promoting the 2010 Olympic Games. It was so rewarding to get to make a difference in their lives and give them a memory that they will never forget!

SOI:   Anything exciting lined up in the near future?

G&P:  Yes we actually have our 2nd annual "Proud Nation" show coming up on Friday April 8th, 2011 7:30pm.  It will be a mosaic of entertainment with live music, cirque arts, skating, & dancing.


SOI:   What would you like to say to the skating fans who continue to support your skating?

G&P:  That they are the reason why we do it and love it!  We love them! We hope to continue entertaining them and seeing them at our shows!

 SOI:  What would you tell the young skaters just coming up with elite goals?
G&P:  Do your best and forget the rest.  Dream BIG!  And, never give up!


2011 Proud Nation Promo Video


Gregory and Petukhov Official Site
http://www.eduskating.com/

Friday, March 25, 2011

Russia To Expedite Visas For Figure Skating Worlds

Russia To Expedite Visas For Figure Skating Worlds
By The Associated Press
 

Russian authorities will expedite the visa process for the world figure skating championships that Moscow has taken over from earthquake-ravaged Japan, Russia's top Olympic official said Friday.

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, who heads the Russian Olympic Committee, told The Associated Press that officials will provide easier access to visas often difficult to obtain for the athletes, coaches, officials and fans going to next month's rescheduled event.

"For major sports events, we have had a special procedure for the visa process," Zhukov said in a telephone interview from Sochi, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics. "We're going to make it much easier, not just for the Olympics Games in Sochi, but also for the world championships."

He said the process will be similar to that used when Moscow hosted the 2008 Champions League football final between Manchester United and Chelsea.

"We had a very good experience for the final with 50,000 English fans in Moscow," Zhukov said.

The figure skating worlds initially were scheduled to be held this week in Tokyo, but Japanese officials said they could no longer serve as host following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis.

On Thursday, the International Skating Union said the championships would be switched to Moscow's Megasport arena from April 24 to May 1.

"We are very proud to have been selected the host," Zhukov said. "We are deeply saddened by the events that led to this decision."

The Russian and Japanese Olympic committees signed a cooperation agreement earlier this week.

"There is enormous support and solidarity between our two nations," Zhukov said. "We will help Japan to have the figure skating world championships next year."

France, which is scheduled to hold the 2012 championships in Nice, has offered to give the event to Japan as a sign of solidarity.

"We will support our Japanese friends," Zhukov said.

He cited the influence of Vladimir Putin in bringing the 2010 championships to Russia. The prime minister publicly threw his sport behind the bid, saying "this is not a very expensive event and we are capable of taking care of all the expenses."

"I think it was very important for the decision of ISU," Zhukov said. "Of course, it's important that the Russian government is supporting this event. This was a very important detail in this decision."

Zhukov said Russia will have no problem organizing the championships on short notice, noting that Moscow hosted the same event in 2005.

Officials announced Friday that Moscow will also host this year's modern pentathlon world championships after Cairo dropped out because of the recent political instability in Egypt.

The international federation, UIPM, said the championships will be held in the Russian capital from Sept. 1-7. The event had originally been scheduled for Cairo from Sept. 16-14.

"There is absolutely no problem for Russia to host all these sports events," Zhukov said. "We have very good experience." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Vintage Video: Eva Pawlik



Eva Pawlik was a highly rated Austrian female amateur skater in the 1940s.

Born in 1927, she was regarded as a child prodigy, able to jump a single axel and do a large number of spins at the age of four. In her teens she would get up at four am daily to run to theVienna ice rink (Wiener Eislaufverein), for practice before going to school. Austrian skaters were impeded in the 1930s and 40s by the fact that there were no indoor skating halls and they were restricted to practicing in winter.

Nazi Germany's absorption of Austria in 1938 and the 2nd World War destroyed sportsmen's lives and careers. Pawlik, for example, was due to compete (aged 12) in the singles, in the 1940 Winter Olympic Games, and in the pairs with Rudi Seeliger. However, they could only take part in domestic competitions, becoming German youth champions, both individually and as a couple. Drafted into the German Army, Rudi Seeliger was captured by the Soviets and had to work as a slave coal-miner until his return to Austria, in 1949.

In 1947, Pawlik was rated best European skater and no 2 in the world. This did not help, as Austrian skaters were barred from entering European and World competitions, (a throwback to the war). However, her 1948 program earned her 3 silver medals, at the European´s, at the Olympics and at the World´s. The European championships of that year allowed the entry of non-Europeans (for political reasons), which probably cost her dear. In 1949, despite suffering acute appendicitis, Pawlik beat her rival Alena Vrzanova, in Milan to become European Champion. In the World Championships held in Paris, Pawlik was lying a close second behind Vrzanova when one of the heels on her skates broke, (sabotage was suspected, but never proved). The judges would not allow her to continue with borrowed skates and Vrzanova went on to win. Pawlik did a lot of exhibition skating in the US. She was also asked to appear in a movie starring Gene Kelly. He wanted to combine his dancing with her skating. She declined, turning professional would have excluded her from the 1950 championships. The pressure increased, (her parents needed the financial support) and despite the exhortations of double Olympic Champion Karl Shäfer, she turned professional at the end of the year.

She joined the Vienna Ice Revue and performed a program that was considered by many journalists and figure skating experts to be technically and artistically superior to anything produced by Vrzanova. She also played a major part in the production of a movie featuring the Revue, "Spring on the Ice" ("Frühling auf dem Eis"), 1950. This inspired the later double Olympic champion, Ludmilla Belousova, to take up skating.

In 1961, Pawlik retired from skating and became the first female sportscaster of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF). In 1973 she began her third profession as a teacher of German and English at a Viennese secondary school, (pupils from 10 to 18). In 1954 she had earned her doctorate in German and English at the University of Vienna. In 1979 Pawlik became severely ill and died in 1983, four months after her husband, who had died from a sudden heart attack.

Quick Links

- Should worlds have been cancelled?
- Kim Yuna will compete in Moscow.
- Scheduling conflicts for Czisny's coach

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 World Championships Awarded to Moscow

ISU World Figure Skating Championships 201124 Mar 2011 11:48
In its statement of March 21, 2011 the ISU communicated the decision of the Japan Skating Federation (JSF) to decline holding the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2011, initially allotted to the JSF and scheduled to be held in Tokyo, Japan this week.

In the meantime, the ISU has received applications to hold the Event during the months of April or May of this year from its Member federations in Austria (Graz), Canada (Vancouver), Croatia (Zagreb), Finland (Turku), Russia (Moscow) and USA (Colorado Springs or Lake Placid).

The ISU thanks those Member federations for their spontaneous reaction during these truly dramatic and exceptional circumstances emanating from the crisis in Japan and highly appreciates their efforts for having prepared an application on such short notice. The ISU reiterates that in the light of the dramatic situation in Japan the staging of sporting events becomes relatively secondary and a solution satisfying all involved is extremely difficult. Nevertheless, it is in the best interest of the ISU and its Members to hold the Championships as soon as possible.

The ISU has reviewed all applications received and after careful evaluation the ISU Council decided to allot the Championships to the Figure Skating Federation of Russia, to be held in the Megasport Arena in Moscow/Russia, on April 24-May 1, 2011.

The organization of this major Event with little time to prepare will require a high level effort from the Figure Skating Federation of Russia which has assured the ISU of its full cooperation including in areas such as easy access to entry visas and security. The preparation for the updating of all relevant details (time schedule, Announcement, entry confirmations etc) have already begun and the ISU will revert as soon as possible with the necessary information.  

Under these extraordinary circumstances the ISU asks for the full cooperation and understanding of the skating community and all involved entities in making this a successful Event. The full cooperation of all participating ISU Member federations hopefully attending in full strength will be of utmost importance.

Finally, the ISU is convinced that the Japanese delegation coming to Moscow deserves and will receive special attention and respect. At a time like this, words cannot express feelings but the ISU wants to let the skating friends of the Japan Skating Federation and the people of Japan know that the thoughts and wishes of the Skating family continue to remain with them.


Ottavio Cinquanta                                         Fredi Schmid
President                                                     Director General

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quick Links

- Catch up with Marina Zoueva.
- France offers 2012 Worlds to Japan.
- A decision on new Worlds location is expected on Friday.

In The World's Loop

Phil Hersh's latest...

Vintage Video: Tenley Albright



Tenley Emma Albright, M.D. (born July 18, 1935 in Newton Centre, Massachusetts) is an American figure skater. She is the 1956 Olympic champion in Ladies' Singles, 1952 Olympic silver medalist, the 1953 & 1955 World Champion, the 1953 & 1955 North American champion, and the 1952-1956 U.S. national champion.
At the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, she became the first American female skater to win an Olympic gold medal.[1]
Albright retired from competitive skating after the 1956 season. She never skated professionally. A graduate of The Winsor School in Boston, she had entered Radcliffe College in 1953 as a pre-med student, and after her Olympic triumph she focused on completing her education.[1] Albright graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1961, and went on to become a surgeon.[1]
Her husband is former Ritz-Carlton hotel owner Gerald Blakely (1981-). She was married to Tudor Gardiner, a lawyer, 1962-1976.

Six Countries Submit Bids to ISU for Worlds

Six countries have put in bids to replace Japan as host of the world figure skating championships, which were postponed this week because of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear threat there. The International Skating Union said the bids were from the United States (Colorado Springs, or Lake Placid, N.Y.), Russia, Canada, Finland, Croatia and Austria.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

ISU Letter Recieved by Federations


ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We refer to our Statement released today advising that the 2011 ISU World Figure Skating Championships cannot be held in Japan.
Some Figure Skating Members have spontaneously informed us that they would be available to host this Championships if not held in Japan. Some other Members may now also be interested and available to host this Event.
Attached please find the Questionnaire for applications for ISU Championships that we ask the interested Members to submit to the ISU Secretariat by e-mail or fax latest by Tuesday evening (Swiss time), March 22, 2011.
Some details might not yet be available so we ask you to complete the questionnaire with all information available at this time. If necessary, it can then subsequently be completed as soon as possible.
However, when returning the questionnaire we kindly ask you to confirm in your cover note that you would be able to comply with the following key conditions:
1. Available dates during April/May starting, if possible, with the week of April 18, 2011 onwards
2. Availability of an ice rink/arena with a minimum spectators capacity of 8000 seats.  The arena must be available from the Thursday early morning through Sunday late evening of the following week.
3. Availability of a practice rink from Friday early morning through Friday late evening of the following week.
4. Availability of about 700 hotel rooms.
5. A TV production for the entire Event and availability of the signal free of charge to the ISU and its TV right holders.
Depending on the applications received, the ISU will be in touch with the Members concerned for all necessary follow-up questions and clarifications and the ISU Council is expected to take a decision a few days after March 22, 2011.
We thank you for your cooperation.
With kind regards
Fredi Schmid 
ISU Director General

Monday, March 21, 2011

No Worlds In Japan, ISU Now Seeks A New Venue

Here's the latest on the ISU's site.

ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2011 – ISU World Team Trophy 201121 Mar 2011 07:04
Since the outbreak of the crisis, the ISU was and remains in close contact with the Japan Skating Federation (JSF) who in turn did likewise with the competent Japanese authorities. After having explored all possible options to maintain the 2011 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Japan, the JSF has now informed the ISU that regretfully and reluctantly they must decline hosting the Championships in Japan. Also, the JSF agreed to the postponement of the ISU World Team Trophy initially scheduled to be held in April 2011 to be held instead in April 2012 in Japan at a place and exact dates to be agreed upon. The ISU agrees with this conclusion.
While the ISU gave priority to find a solution to keep the 2011 ISU World Figure Skating Championship in Japan, the ISU fully understands the JSF decision. As we all struggle to come to terms with the unimaginable tragedies following the monstrous earthquake of March 11, the ISU reiterates its expressions of grief and sympathy to all those affected by loss of life, injury and loss of homes. The ISU admires the resilience, strength of character and faith of the Japanese people in recovering from this tragedy.
In light of this catastrophe, the consequences on sports events and in particular the ISU World Figure Skating Championships and ISU World Team Trophy become relatively secondary. Nevertheless, it is the ISU’s duty to find the best possible solution for a possible rescheduling and relocation of the Events taking into account all points of view.
Based on spontaneous proposals from ISU Member federations received to host the Championships and possibly additional Members who might be interested and available, the ISU Council is evaluating the different options taking into account all relevant aspects and points of view. This primarily involves the tremendous logistical challenge to organize and conduct such major Event on short notice. Also, the Council cannot ignore legal and contractual constraints as well as timing conflicts with other skating or sporting events.
Considering the scope and complexity of the situation, quick evaluations and decisions were and remain extremely difficult to make and the ISU counts on the understanding of the Figure Skating community for taking a minimum but reasonable amount of time to reach conclusions in cooperation with the concerned ISU Members and entities. 
The ISU Council is conscious that a solution satisfying all points of view is probably difficult to be achieved and begs all involved for their understanding and cooperation in these truly exceptional circumstances. 
An update of the situation will be communicated in the coming days.

Vintage Video: Carol Heiss Jenkins



Heiss grew up in the Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens, New York, where she started skating at the age of 6.[1] She was coached by Pierre Brunet. Heiss first came to national prominence in 1951, when she was U.S. Novice Ladies' Champion at age 11. She won the U.S. Junior Ladies title in 1952, and then moved up to the senior level in 1953. From 1953 to 1956, she finished second to Tenley Albright at the national championships.

Heiss's 1956 performance qualified her for the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. She won the silver medal, while Albright took the gold. However, at the following World Figure Skating Championships at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, West Germany, Heiss defeated Albright for the title; it was the first of her five consecutive world titles. During that time, she attended and graduated from New York University.


Snow White Carol Heiss and Prince Charming Edson Stroll in Snow White and the Three Stooges, 1961After the 1956 Winter Olympics, Heiss had offers to turn professional and skate in ice shows. But her mother, Marie Heiss, was quite ill with cancer at the time, and before her death in October, 1956, she asked Carol to stay an amateur to win a gold medal for her. Between 1957 and 1960, Carol Heiss dominated women's figure skating like nobody since Sonja Henie. She was the World and U.S. Champion each year, and at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California, Heiss captured the gold medal, being ranked first by all nine judges. She also took the Olympic Oath for the 1960 games. By winning the 1960 World Championships held after the Olympics, Heiss became one of three women to have won five consecutive World Championships. She retired thereafter.

Following her retirement from figure skating in 1960, Heiss played the female lead in the 1961 film Snow White and the Three Stooges. She married Hayes Alan Jenkins, who had won the 1956 Winter Olympic gold medal in men's figure skating, and whose brother David Jenkins had won the men's figure skating gold medal in 1960. Although Heiss briefly skated in ice shows after the Squaw Valley Winter Olympics, she retired from the sport in 1962. However, in the late 1970s, she returned to coach several skaters in her hometown area, Akron, Ohio where she became a prominent figure skating coach and is now coaching in Lakewood, Ohio. Some of her students include Timothy Goebel, Tonia Kwiatkowski and Miki Ando.

Heiss was known as a very athletic skater for her time. In 1953, she became the first female skater to land a double axel jump. Another one of her trademarks was doing a series of alternating clockwise and counterclockwise single axels.[2] Heiss normally rotated her jumps clockwise and spins counterclockwise; it is much more common for skaters to do both in the same direction (usually counterclockwise).

Carol Heiss's younger sister and brother, Nancy Heiss and Bruce Heiss, were also elite figure skating competitors. During the 1950s, the three skating Heiss siblings were featured in publications such as Life magazine.

Skaters Work Together to Aide Japan

On Sunday April 3rd, 2011 at 3:30 in the afternoon, the Glacier Falls Figure Skating Club in partnership with the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California will host an afternoon of figure skating to benefit Japan's tsunami relief efforts.  Skaters from the United States and around the world are anxious to reach out and help the people of Japan.  On one magic afternoon, they will pour their hearts out on the ice in support of a nation in need.  "Skaters Care" will bring together some of the best International, National and Regional Level competitors in all disciplines of figure skating.  Come be a part of this special event! Tickets will range in price from $35.00 to $15.00.  Tickets for children under 12 will be discounted $5.00 in each level.  Proceeds from ticket sales and merchandise will go to the the American Red Cross Japan Tsunami Relief effort, though American Giving, the employee cause arm of American Airlines.

Visit  skaterscare to learn more.

S.Korean figure skater sues former agent

SEOUL — South Korea's Olympics figure skating champion Kim Yu-Na is suing her former agent for failing to pay the athlete part of her endorsement earnings, her lawyer said.
IB Sports, the agency Kim left in April last year, failed to pay her 894 million won (793,960 dollars) earned from advertisement deals for Hyundai Motor and other companies, Kim's lawyer said on Monday.
"We filed the suit last November and the first court hearing was held on March 16 in Seoul," the lawyer Lee Sang-Hun told AFP.
"The sponsors continued to pay IB Sports for deals signed before April 2010 even after Kim left the agency, yet the firm did not give her share at all," he said.
Kim later set up her own agency, AT Sports.
"We're willing to return whatever she's due but we also need to get our share," Yonhap news agency quoted an IB Sports official as saying.
Kim, 20, who won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, has been training in California with her new coach Peter Oppegard, with whom she teamed up in October after a split with her former coach, Canadian Brian Orser.
The figure skating champion dubbed "Queen Yu-Na" in her home country was listed by Forbes magazine last year as one of the world's highest-paid female athletes with annual earnings of 9.7 million dollars.
Kim was to compete at the World Figure Skating Championship in Tokyo scheduled for March 21 to 27 and flew to Seoul Sunday after the event was called off due to devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thought On Worlds

Perhaps one of the best posts regarding the World Championship situation comes this week from ice-dance.com

While it may be tempting to "save" Worlds for Japan and hold the event later in the year, this would throw a huge kink into the skating season. Athletes depend on the off-season, when they have time to regroup and prepare for a new season. Without that time off, skaters won’t be able to focus on the improvements they want to make for the next year. They won’t be able to devote time for the crafting of new programs if they have to keep their old programs in top form, and most importantly, their bodies will not have time to rest.

Continue Reading...

Vintage Video: Jackson Haines



Jackson Haines (1840–1875) was an American ballet dancer and figure skater who is regarded as the father of modern figure skating.[1]

Born in New York City, Haines claimed to be national champion in 1864. However, many such "championships" were held during those years, and none were sanctioned by a unifying figure skating organization. (The United States Figure Skating Association was not established until 1921.)

At this time, figure skating was performed in the "English style", which was rigid and formal. It was virtually nothing like what is performed today. Haines' style was a complete contrast to the English style; he used his ballet background to create graceful programs, and introduced accompanying music (a new concept at the time). He also screwed his figure skates directly onto his boots, which added stability and allowed him to do more athletic leaps and jumps. The typical practice of the time was to strap the blades onto the boot.

Haines' style was not well received in the United States. He therefore went to Europe to display and teach his style, which became known as the "International style". He lived in Vienna for a time, where his skating style became very popular.

Haines died of tuberculosis in Gamlakarleby (nowadays in Finnish: Kokkola, in Swedish: Karleby), Finland in 1875. His style did not become popular in the United States until many years after his death. The first American figure skating championships in the "International Style" were held on March 20, 1914, in New Haven, Connecticut.

Haines was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame and the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1976.

Haines was the inventor of the sit spin, one of the three basic spin types. (The other two are the upright spin, about as old as the art of ice skating itself; and the camel spin, invented during the twentieth century by Cecilia Colledge.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ISU Hopes to Decide By Friday or Monday

Read here...

Vintage Video: Sandra and Val Bezic



1981 World Pros

Sandra Marie Bezic (born April 6, 1956 in Toronto) is a Canadian pair skater, figure skating choreographer, and television commentator. With partner and brother Val Bezic, she won the Canadian Figure Skating Championships from 1970–1974 and placed ninth at the 1972 Winter Olympics. Skate Canada announced on July 14, 2010, that she will be inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in the professional category.

Bezic choreographed the competitive programs skated by many Olympic and World champions, including Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini (1984 Worlds), Brian Boitano (1988 Winter Olympics), Kristi Yamaguchi (1992 Winter Olympics), Kurt Browning (1993 Worlds), and Tara Lipinski (1998 Winter Olympics). She has also choreographed programs for Jill Trenary, Chen Lu, Joannie Rochette, Kim Yu-Na, Takahiko Kozuka, and other skaters.

Bezic served as a commentator for NBC during the 2002, 2006, and 2010 Olympic games, the World Figure Skating Championships during the early 1990s, and numerous other skating events broadcast by NBC and CBC over the years.

For several years she was the director, co-producer, and choreographer for Stars on Ice, for which she won an Emmy Award in 2003.[1] She has also choreographed for several television figure skating specials including Canvas of Ice, Carmen on Ice, and You Must Remember This.

Bezic is the author of The Passion to Skate (ISBN 1-57036-375-7), (ISBN 0-83626452-5). She also served as a judge on the CBC television program Battle of the Blades in both 2009 and 2010.

She is credited as Marlon Brando's Skating coach in The Freshman (1990) and appears with him in the skating rink scene.

Val Nickolas Bezic (born December 8, 1952 in Toronto, Ontario) is a Canadian pair skater. With partner and sister Sandra Bezic, he won the Canadian Figure Skating Championships from 1970 - 1974 and placed ninth at the 1972 Winter Olympics.

Faiella and Scali Retire


As you all might know, we've arrived to the end of this long adventure; it was an extraordinary journey, made of passion, sacrifices, good and bad moments, tears, smiles and lots of emotions; it was a journey we faced first of all as persons, and only secondarily as athletes - a travel that changed us, made us stronger and allowed us to cross our path with those of some extraordinary people that suffered and rejoiced for us and with us; people that loved us, supported us, brought us into their enthusiasm and passion, and taught us never to give up.

The main reason that had pushed us to face this one more season was the dream of crowning our competitive carreer with an European gold medal, and that unfortunately didn't happen - but we have no regrets because once mor ein our lives we went for it, we tried and we fought till the end.

In addition to thanking everyone, from our families to our teams (old and new), from the choreographers to the medical staff, from the Federation to the judges to all our fans, what I really wanted to tell you is that after the Short Dance at the last Europeans it was really, really difficult for us to go on. It was maybe the first time in all our carreer that we felt we did not have any more energy to finish the competition, and not even the famous phrase "skate for yourselves" could work anymore; well, it's exactly in that moment that you all were our real strenght, we skated just for you, to thank you for being on our side for all these years, in the good and in the bad times.

As an athlete, I have always thought that we could reach immortality only with a gold medal, but now I have understood that the real immortality comes in the memories and the love of all the people that touched our lives.

Thank you to everyone... and now, we'll be ready to face a new fabulous adventure!

Continue Reading...

Quick Links

Phil Hersh's take on cancelling worlds vs. moving it to October.

PJ Kwong's latest thoughts on the subject.

Join the discussion (very heated at times) over at FSU.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vintage Video- The Protopopov's



Olympic Pair Skating Champions:
Lyudmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov won two Olympic gold medals in pair skating.


Artists on Ice:
Lyudmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov were known for being creative and for being artistic on the ice. They brought ballet to pair skating.

Continue Reading...

Olympic champion figure skater Evan Lysacek wins Sullivan Award as top US amateur athlete

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Olympic champion Evan Lysacek won the 2010 Sullivan Award, becoming the fourth figure skater to be honored as the top amateur athlete in the United States.

Lysacek also won the USOC Sportsman of the Year award earlier this year after winning gold at the Vancouver games last year.
He is the first Olympian since gymnast Shawn Johnson in 2009 to win the Sullivan Award, presented by the Amateur Athletic Union, and the first skater since Olympian Sarah Hughes in 2002.

Continue Reading...

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Few Tweets and Links

Skaters begin to weigh in on the postponement of worlds via Twitter and Facebook:

rossminer Ross Miner
I REALLY hope they hold worlds.

PechalatBourzat Pechalat & Bourzat
ISU postpones World Skating Championship in Japan | Reuters http://t.co/65Ap5Dl via @reuters World Championships in Tokyo cancelled :(

Johnny Weir

I am heartbroken to postpone my trip to Japan this week. I pray every day for my fans and friends around the country to be strong and fight.

sorry for the athletes training hard everyday for words. I truly believe everything happens for a reason..so it will end up the way it's suppose to..

*******************************

A few links:

Dunjen and Sato deal with their skaters' uncertainty

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/blogs/pjkwong/2011/03/switching-skating-venues-not-a-likely-option.html



ISU Must Decide Quickly

Phil Hersh spoke with Cinquanta this morning...

Vintage Video: Donald Jackson



Donald George Jackson, CM (born April 2, 1940 in Oshawa, Ontario) is a retired Canadian figure skater. He captured four Canadian titles and a bronze medal at the 1960 Winter Olympics. At the 1962 World Figure Skating Championships, he landed the first triple lutz jump in international competition and won the competition.

Jackson was coached by Pierre Brunet in New York City, where he lived with the family of 1960 Olympic Champion Carol Heiss.

In 1997, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Jackson is currently the director of skating and is also a coach at the Minto Skating Club in Ottawa, Ontario

Worlds NOT Happening Next Week

Japan Earthquake/Tsunami
14 Mar 2011 06:53


ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2011 Tokyo



Lausanne, March 14, 2011



Taking into account the continued critical developments in Japan, the ISU’s primary concern for the safety of all participants, spectators and members of concerned entities as well as the travel advisories from many governments to avoid travel to Japan until the situation is settled, the ISU in consultation and agreement with the Japan Skating Federation (JSF) and in line with the advise of the Japanese authorities, has concluded that the staging of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2011 scheduled to be held on March 21-27, 2011 is not possible and the Championships will not be held during that time.



The postponement of the Event or alternatively the final cancellation is under evaluation.



The same applies to the ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating scheduled to be held in Yokohama on April 14-17, 2011.



It is understood that a postponement of the above-mentioned World Championships as well as the holding of the ISU World Team Trophy is subject to the confirmation by the competent Japanese authorities that the situation is back to normal conditions allowing the safe conduct of major ISU sports Events in the Tokyo area.



As soon as the situation in this respect has been finalized, the ISU will inform all parties concerned of the decision taken.




Ottavio Cinquanta Fredi Schmid

President Director General

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Style On Ice Exclusive Interview: Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat

{Florence Lécrivain Photographe}


SOI: How does it feel to be European Champions?

NP: It's definitely a great feeling to be rewarded after 2 times being 4th at Europeans.
It was an amazing moment in Berne to earn this first medal in a championships- the most beautiful one ! We celebrated with our families, friends, team mates, and federation. I feel relieved and from now on everything that will happen will be a bonus. We are back to work, so we stop thinking everyday about this medal, instead we think about winning some others ones.

SOI: What does a typical day of training look like for you?

NP: We train almost 6 hours during the summer camp, plus physical training and ballet, but just before competition we spend only 2 hours on the ice. Not as long but more intense.

SOI: Why do you think training with Sasha has helped you pick up momentum?

NP: We wanted to work with Sasha because we were looking for another way to practice, to imagine and work ice dancing. He helps us a lot with all the skating skills, like the basics for example. The Russian mentality made us grow up. We are more strong and more confident on the ice, so we are able to put more feelings and expression in our routines.

{Ingrid Alcazar}


SOI: How do you like Moscow now that you've been there a few years? Are you speaking Russian now?

NP: We are very bad students about the Russian language. We can just say a few sentences. To excuse us our coaches, team-mates and friends speak always English or French with us. We appreciate Moscow especially because we know very nice people, but it's so cold !

SOI: What do you miss about not living in France?

NP: Food and warmer weather.

SOI: What do you think makes your partnership work so well?

NP: We know each other very well and we are very complementary, but above that, we want the same goal. We see ice dancing with only one point of view, but different ideas to achieve our goal so, it's a rich partnership. We insist on building our programs with our personalities and our choices. Even if we open our ears to someone else’s idea we participate 100%.

{Vandystadt}


SOI: What traits or qualities do you both bring to the partnership that makes you stand out from other dancers?

NP: I am very organized and always want to work more and I anticipate a lot.
Fabian is very creative, he just has so many ideas. What we love the most in this sport is the "art" dimension, and I think the audience can see it.

SOI: What skaters have inspired you, both past and present?

NP: The Duchesnay, no hesitation! Generally every Russian skaters in 1990's. Today, we prefer to enjoy one quality in a couple and then another one in somebody else. We create our perfect couple !

SOI: How do you spend your off-ice time?

NP: I’m almost finished with my master’s degree (I only have to make a internship during 6 months), and Fabian passed every theory exam in physiotherapy (he can't do more in distance). We just use all our time to enjoy our skater life, and believe me it's take a lot of time.

SOI: What do you see yourselves doing in ten years time?

NP: Fabian doesn't know right now. He is living in the present moment.

I imagine myself keeping a foot in the ice dancing world, like being judge or specialist. I would like also, to be living in Europe and having kind of a normal life.


SOI: What would you tell young skaters that view you both as role models?

NP: Fabian- Ice dancing is one of the most difficult sports because it's a very complete sport, it's between sport and art. You can perform, but you can also express yourself and become what you want to be!

Nathalie- Don't let down anything- never, because with passion and work you can go wherever you want. Plus, in this sport even if you don't win, you can always bring some joy to the audience.

SOI: What would you like to say to the growing number of fans that have fallen in love with your skating?

NP: Thank you so much for appreciating our work ! We are glad to bring you emotion on the ice and surprises too. The firsts reason we skate is because we love it and we love to see some smiles on faces in the audience ! You are a part to our inspiration, you give us the strength to go further. Enjoy ice dancing !