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.