Comments on Euros 2013

Bobrova Soloviev 2013 Euros SD

I’m still sorting through some of the programs at Euros but here are some comments I have so far:

  • The Platinum King, Evgeni Plushenko might actually be at the end of his competition days. He fell in the SP and aggravated a chronic back problem, according to CBC and withdrew in the LP. I won’t quite miss any of his programs in particular but I can’t help but feel a sense of awe looking back at his career and the wonderment that came over me when I was a child, watching him and Alexei Yagudin duking it out.
  • In ice dance, the judges have struck the gavel. As I mentioned in the previous post, it’s a whole new ballgame and Mother Russia is putting her foot down. Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte have been set aside in favour of the Russians. C&L have been beating Ilinykh & Katsalapov at competitions – the Other Carmen program was in general, miles better than that Ghost monstrosity – but it seems as if the tides have turned.
  • Speaking of the Ghost program, it seems as if Morozov toned down the cheesiness a bit. It’s actually somewhat watchable now. Ilinykh & Katsalapov also won the free dance here.
  • Despite Igor Shpilband’s claims that the judges prefer Cappellini & Lanotte’s Carmen better than Tessa & Scott’s it seems as if they’ve made some changes to the beginning of the program. There’s a little more groping but overall the transitions and movements are a little cleaner. Still though, it feels like a haphazard stringing of the opera in terms of the music cuts and performance.
  • Carolina Kostner is holding onto her European title despite Mother Russia’s attempts for the top spot with her little divas. I admit that last Olympic cycle, I wanted Carolina to win. Seriously. I loved both Mao and Yuna but I was sick of the deranged fans who were attacking each other and making those stupid videos on how either of the cheated or whatnot. Carolina was a breath of fresh air. Canon in D and her 2004/5 LP remain in my favourite figure skating programs library.
  • Mother Russia has made herself known that she wants her pairs gold medal back. I kind of feel bad for Aliona & Robin.

Any thoughts on Euros?

~The Rinkside Cafe

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Predictions: European Championships 2013

Wahhhhhh!!! Euros start tomorrow. Or wait, it’s already tomorrow in Europe. AHHHH! Ok, here are some predictions.

plushenko blows a kiss

Plushenko beckons you to read on… More

The State of the Union – Pre-Euros, 4CC and Worlds

Ahhh! Euros are here already? Ok. Start!

In my head (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) the figure skating season (or more precisely, the ISU-sanctioned competitions) is divided into two. First you have all the Grand Prix events culminating in the Grand Prix Final and then we have the major international competitions: the European Championships, Four Continents and Worlds. (The Olympics are sort of an anomaly while the World Team Trophy is a cheesefest for the ISU to earn a little more money and by the looks of the last competition, a way to right a few erroneous results at Worlds, though the title isn’t as prestigious.) I divide the season like this because the two halves sort of run with slightly different rules or at least the placements get shaken up a bit.

The changes in placements don’t quite affect the top echelon of A-list skaters or the B-list and below but it does shake things up with the lower end of the A-list. This is partly because of the way the competitors are stacked up at each half. The Grand Prix events have few A-list skaters and so it’s pretty obvious most of the time who are podium contenders are. Some skaters don’t start out well early in the season and don’t make it into the final but are a force to be reckoned with in the second half. This is especially true if the skater is from a country with a strong figure skating union and has the union’s political support. In the second half, political support has a bit of a stronger effect on the placements. The ultimate cream of the crop  of the top GP contenders will likely get higher scores and/or placements while those who are slightly below may find themselves lacking even more points from their PCS. Sometimes, political support can change the placements between two contenders from the same country.

In any case, to make everything short, it’s a slightly different ball game when it comes to Euros, 4CC, Worlds and to some extent, the Olympics. This year, the World Championships take on another level of significance because the placements this season will determine the number of spots each country gets for the Olympics. So without further ado, here are a few comments on the state of figure skating just before Euros are about to start.

Carolina Kostner 2013 SP

Carolina beckons you in. More

Boggles the Mind: Figure Skating on Steroids Anime – Pretty Rhythm: Aurora Dream

As you can tell, my life continues to be busy but I assure you there is a “State of the Union” post coming up. I’ve started but I need a little time to finish it so stay tuned~!

In any case, I offer a brief post on something that youtube recommended for me. As you all know, I watch figure skating and over the winter, I went nostalgia tripping into my childhood and watched a few episodes of Sailor Moon. I think this random combination gave youtube the impression that I would like this anime called “Pretty Rhythm: Aurora Dream.”

First of all. WTF is up with this title? Seriously? I’ve got a feeling some Japanese animator or manga artist decided to put four pleasant sounding words together. Anyways, I click on the link, curious about what it’s about and sort of skim through the first episode. Here’s what I got from it.

– So there’s this world. Where they have competitions that combine figure skating, singing and dancing.

– There are weird talking animals.

– Apparently you can get clothes from psychadelically coloured crystals.

– You do jumps and use crystals to make rainbows, fruit and sparkles appear. (Where are the unicorns in this anime???)

– Figure skating jumps come naturally to some people. So much so that they do quintuplet jumps on their first try. Or something like that.

– These jumps also end up being horizontal somehow in the course of their trajectory but the landing is always the typical landing position.

– People avoid crashing into other people by doing a triple? quadruple? loop. On the floor.

– Clothes choose you. Because they are wise and intelligent enough to attract people who are naturally gifted at figure skating-fruit-rainbow-sparkling.

– When a total stranger says, “Hey you. Would you come with me? The dresses have chosen you,” you go with them.

– Sometimes, you need to listen to the voice of your costumes. Because they sing.

– I think I’ll need a lot of drugs (either tranquilizers or hallucinogens) to make me appreciate this show. And no, I do not encourage or condone the use of illicit substances.

If you’re curious or in need of a good laugh or something that will blow your mind the wrong way, here’s the first episode.

Um… enjoy?

~The Rinkside Cafe

Forgiveness: My Love-Hate Relationship with Sasha Cohen

2002 US CHAMPIONSHIPS -  FIGURE SKATING

For all of you who have been following my blog, you know that my posts are laden with a certain amount of cynicism in some skaters’ abilities as well as the judging system. Just now, I was wandering around youtube when it suggested to me Sasha Cohen’s Espana Cani short program from her 2010 failed comeback.

For those of you who don’t remember, here it is:

 

From the beginning to the end, I couldn’t help but pick this performance apart: the possible flutz at the beginning, the tentative landings that lacked control or were a hair away from being two-footed, actually two-footing jumps… After watching this, I remember her long program that year and how she crashed and burned a la Sasha Cohen style. I didn’t quite expect very much from Sasha that year seeing she couldn’t possibly compete with Yuna Kim and her triple-triples and flips and lutzes with correct edges. That and Sasha could barely skate a clean long program to save her life. (To be fair though, Yuna rarely ever skates a clean LP.)

In any case, as all of these negative aspects of her skating started piling up, she went into her perfect layback spin in the program. And I forgave her for all of her mistakes. There aren’t very many skaters who I can feel my high expectations dissolve in the middle of their program. (I think the Kween might be the only other skater to have this honour though Michelle Kwan is as near perfection as can be, really.) I’m not sure if it’s because a proper layback is so rare these days or that no one does laybacks and spirals like Sasha does. They just take your breath away.

So to end, I’ll post these two videos that remind me why I adore Sasha Cohen and her skating, despite her many flaws.

Enjoy!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Following my own advice…

Happy New Year, everyone!!!!!!!

In a previous post, I listed a whole bunch of fun things to do during the winter holidays in this post. Among that list was to make cookies shaped like figure skates. Among my presents this year… I got a figure skate cookie cutter! (I also got a maple leaf and sun cookie cutter too!) Wheeeeeee! They aren’t as nice as the ones in the picture I found for that post but I had fun making them! In any case, I thought I’d share…

photo(1)

And since I am a fan of Tessa and Scott who happen to be Canadian…

photo(2)

Did you do anything on the list? Have any pictures? Feel free to send them to me via a link in a comment below and I’ll put them in a new post!

~The Rinkside Cafe