Predictions: Skate Canada International 2014

duhamel radford

So, it seems as if I’m three quarters of the way through my bandwidth limit for this month so I will likely be more conservative this week with my internet consumption. Consequently, I probably won’t be watching the first group for most of the events. However, I can still provide predictions to the event so… onward! More

Skate America 2014 – Highlight and Commentary

Last weekend was Skate America, the first senior Grand Prix event and somehow an event that made me regret the spectacular Olympics that was Vancouver 2010.

Why do I mention Vancouver 2010 now, do you ask? Well, Vancouver was an exceptional Olympics, figure skating curses were broken and a whole lot of talent competed. Some triumphed while others were left hungry and hungry enough to stay for another 4 years. However, once that next cycle was over, all of those talented, hungry skaters left, leaving a huge void that clearly showed last weekend.

kavaguti smirnov sa 2014 lp

I’ll tell it to you straight: I was bored during 98% of Skate America. So be warned, I’m not going to have a lot of nice things to say here. More

My New Twitter

Hello all!

For those of you following my blog, I’m sure that some of you may have found me on Twitter as well under a different name. That account was meant to be my personal account and after 3 years of blogging and tweeting, I have finally set up a new Twitter account purely for this blog.

All my blog updates and live tweets will be coming from this new account, @RinksideCafe starting next week with Skate Canada. Please follow me on Twitter!

~Rinkside Cafe

Congratulations, Johnny and Tara!

Figure Skating - Winter Olympics Day 4

Quick, look fabulous figure skating fans, Johnny and Tara are in the house! According to this article, Tara and Johnny will now be the sports casters for figure skating starting this season, replacing Scott Hamilton and Sandra Bezic. They will also be the prime time sports casters for Pyeongchang 2018. Tracy Wilson, however, will continue her coverage of ice dance events.

I don’t usually watch NBC for my figure skating (I live up north where CBC reigns with its Canadian propaganda) but I welcome this change. I was never a fan of Scott Hamilton, skating-wise or with his commentary and a hint of fun and snark might liven the figure skating universe a little bit.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Predictions: 2014 Skate America

gracie gold sochi

The skating season is upon us already! Time for predictions! This season is definitely going to be a huge surprise as a bunch of veterans have left and the newbies have come to play in hopes of being the next big thing in figure skating. Establishing a role as the new figure skating world leaders seems to be the theme at this year’s Skate America and the predictions for the bottom of the podium will definitely be difficult. With that, let’s begin!


Tatsuki Machida and Dennis Ten look to be the stronger competitors at this competition so far. Machida has shown himself in the past season to be a serious contender for the top 5 in men’s skating and his consistency is helping him in that goal. Since last season, Machida has skated with a fire that allowed him to place 5th at the Olympics (and he was a serious contender for bronze) and 2nd at Worlds. If he skates well, he can take away the gold here. Ten, on the other hand has been known to be inconsistent, especially at the beginning of the season.

Home ice advantage goes to Jason Brown after a strong debut in the senior ranks with a LP that went viral last season. I am of the unpopular camp who didn’t find anything particularly remarkable about the Riverdance LP but he’s poised to be America’s next male skating sweetheart and we all know how popularity affects one’s skating career around here.


Gold: Tatsuki Machida
Jason BrownBronze: Dennis Ten


Gold is the name of the game here and with a perfect last name, media darling status and with a nation that is obsessed with finding America’s Next Top Ice Princess, Gracie Gold should be looking to secure herself as the top American lady. With home ice advantage and a relatively weak competition, she should be able to take gold, if maybe purely by PCS. One lady who could knock her off the top spot is Elena Radionova, a talented young Russian lady with star quality and acting ability like no other. Elena’s jumps looked a little shaky and low in the Russian test skates and I seriously hope that puberty has not affected her skating ability.

As for the bronze medal, I would keep my eye out for the two other American ladies, Samantha Cesario and Mirai Nagasu. I’ve never found anything remarkable about Cesario, though other bloggers would beg to differ, but she has produced some pretty decent mid-rank results in past GP events. With a weak field, she could boost her rankings up a few places. Nagasu, on the other hand, has worked pretty hard in the past few years to stubbornly show that she is not irrelevant and there have been times where she has proven us just that. The pick for bronze will be a tough one and I may result to either just pure gut feelings or a coin toss.


Gold: Gracie Gold
Elena Radionova
Bronze: Samantha Cesario


The pairs competition will be a battle between a relatively new couple and an old one. Veterans Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov who had faded into the background in pairs skating in general will likely have a showdown with Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang for the gold. The latter team have been together for only two seasons but in those 2 short years, they went from barely being able to touch each other to one of the most dazzling pairs teams on ice. If a year can allow them to improve leaps and bounds, I wonder what another year will do for this new team.

As for the bronze, Haven Denney & Brandon Frazier and Alexa Scimeca & Chris Knierim are teams I haven’t really heard of but their results in international competitions look rather similar. I might just leave the bronze prediction up to a coin toss here. Any thoughts to sway me towards one of two teams or another team altogether?


Gold: Cheng Peng & Hao Zhang
Yuko Kavaguti & Alexander Smirnov
Bronze: Alexa Scimeca & Chris Knierim

Ice Dance

Madison Chock & Evan Bates will be looking to fill the void left by Davis & White as the top American ice dance team. The Shibutanis haven’t quite gotten the support from Marina Zueva since their debut in the senior ranks and I would not be surprised if this continued. Still, the Shib sibs should be good enough to get the silver while the bronze is again, a mystery to me. I believe Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin were Junior GPF champions so I’ll put them in for bronze though honestly, it could go any way at the moment.


Gold: Madison Chock & Evan Bates
Maia & Alex Shibutani
Bronze: Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin

Well, I have no clue if any of these predictions are going to be any good. What are your thoughts and predictions? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Trouble Ahead for the 2022 Olympics

After all the #Sochifails we experienced last season, it seems as if things were going to quiet down. The new season is starting, the next Olympics are in a country with no major figure skating podium contender (aka less home ice advantage bias) and a fresh start sounds welcome after the horror that was the ladies event in Sochi. And then, John Oliver brought this to my attention.

Apparently no one really wants to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Except for Beijing and a resort Kazakhstan? Are there even mountains nearby for ski events in Beijing? Or is the Communist government going to build one just for the Olympics? Though honestly, if John Oliver was going to talk about human rights violations for both these contenders, seriously, if Russia can host its Olympics and get away with all its violations, I’m pretty sure China and Kazakhstan can too. I really hope that we do get a good Olympics in 2022. The Winter Olympics need some love.

What are your thoughts on the two remaining contenders? I’ll also put up a poll. Are there other cities you think should host the Olympics?

Florent Amodio is a hipster.


He used vocal music before it became cool. Even though the choreography for the program was extremely… puzzling to say the least, what was even more puzzling was that he didn’t get penalized back in the day when lyrics weren’t allowed.

In case you were wondering why I brought this back (I’m hoping that you won’t hate me for subjecting you to this), this is just a fun reminder… music with lyrics will be allowed in men’s, ladies and pairs programs starting the upcoming season!

Does this make you excited?

Personally, I’m shuddering at the idea of the overuse of Michael Jackson and Phantom of the Opera… with lyrics. Just wait, we’ll have a lady skate to the most popular songs in Frozen soon. For some reason, that entire concept makes me cringe even though I like the movie.

Thoughts on this rule change? Tell me in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

The Rinkside Cafe in My Mind…


For the 4th birthday of The Rinkside Cafe, I decided to do something interesting.

For me, the name of this blog came to me in flight of fancy where I imagined a lovely cafe, similar to the indie cafe near my house right by the rink. The funny thing is, I can imagine that for some people, especially in North America, would imagine a rinkside cafe as a dingy concession stand that serves watered down hot chocolate in flimsy styrofoam cups. For me, the imaginary rinkside cafe never looked like that. It was always something of a combination of the rinkside restaurants you see in Asia as pictured here on the far side of the rink/where the EXP signs are:

Festival Walk Rink

And the indie coffee shops that are so popular around Toronto, like the Rooster (pictured here is the King East location):

Rooster King East

And in the end, that’s what I wanted this blog to be: a place where you could watch figure skating and talk about it with friends.

cat latte art

Here’s to another year of skating, friends, discussions about skating and delicious beverages… at home or wherever you are that is!

~The Rinkside Cafe