Dear Canadians: Please vote!

Hello darling readers!

For any of you who have read my blog for a while, you would know that the democratic process is something that I heartily believe in. In stereotypical Canadian fashion, I apologize if you were expecting a post a figure skating but as someone who does manage to get a message out to people outside my immediate circle of friends, I will take up a small bit of space on my blog to urge my fellow Canadians to please vote! Because voting is contagious.

It doesn’t matter who you vote for but please, please, please, take the time out of your day to express your opinion on how you think what Canada should be going forward.

Election day is today. PLEASE VOTE!

As for my readers, if you can retweet this or post this on facebook or even change your picture with http://votenation.ca/ I encourage you to do so! Please spread the word to your Canadian friends that being part of the democratic process is important!

Fun fact: If all of the people who did not vote in the last election voted for a single party, that party would be in power today. So for those who didn’t vote: did the Harper government produce policies that you agreed with? Express your opinion with your vote!

Slowly Recharging

Hello darling readers!

I know I’ve been neglecting this blog but after the long season, I really needed to recharge, especially since my life has gone up and down furiously. There have been a lot of difficult times this year and I’ve been struggling to keep it together sometimes. Things are still up and down but I know I can manage somehow. For now, I’ll recharge and post once in a while until the season starts so I hope you can be patient with me.

In any case, I thank you all who have read, commented or followed me on Twitter and I hope that you’ll continue to participate in the discussion on this blog. I started writing here as a way to write down my thoughts on skating and I didn’t expect anyone to start reading this. I’m always surprised and happy whenever I see a comment from a reader – it really makes my day. I still have a lot of content and ideas for this blog and I think next season will be very exciting. One of the things I’m excited about are the return of two legends…

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I’ll be more excited for one skater than the other but good skating is appreciated nonetheless. What are your thoughts on the return of Mao Asada and Patrick Chan? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

2015/16 Dance Pattern

For the 2015/16 season, skaters will be skating a waltz rhythm for the short dance with the senior dance pattern being the Ravensburger Waltz – incidentally, the compulsory dance for the 2006 Torino Olympics. For an example of the pattern:

For the juniors, they will be skating the Starlight waltz pattern. An example is also below:

And for a full list of requirements as stipulated by the ISU, click here.

I generally adore waltz music, though I admit that teams tend to overdo it when they try to create that light and airy quality of it. Maybe it’s just me but I’ve always found it a bit awkward when these teams plaster this ginormous fake smile on their face. Still, I’m looking forward to the round of waltzes.

What about you? Do you like the choice in short dance pattern for this season or would you rather see something else? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

#Flawless – Tanith Belbin

The ice dance recap post from Worlds is coming, I swear. It’s just been a difficult patch for me lately as I’m trying to stay afloat mentally in my life. Admittedly, this rough patch is more than just stress and I’m doing my best to make sure that I stay in a good state of mind, so thank you so much for your ongoing patience and support. I really do appreciate all your comments on the blog and on Twitter.

tanith and charlieWhile you’re waiting for the Worlds ice dance post, we should celebrate the nuptials of two lovely ice dancers – Tanith Belbin and Charlie White. Congratulations to the lovely couple!

People magazine took some gorgeous photos of Tanith and her wedding dress and she looks flawless. For the photos and the article, click here~!

What do you think of Tanith’s dress?

~The Rinkside Cafe

World Championships 2015: The Men

2015 worlds men podiumNow that I have had a little time to digest the events of Worlds this year, I somehow just realized that this field is the one with the most veterans staying behind right after the Olympics. As a result, the competition itself didn’t seem to mediocre this season and I was also able to predict the podium with a good degree of accuracy.

For Javier Fernandez, this season represented a major milestone for the history of Spanish figure skating and I hope that the sport will flourish, bringing a more diverse and interesting group of competitors for the future. Overall, Fernandez brought two solid skates to Worlds, which in the end, triumphed over his Yuzuru’s less than stellar LP. Nonetheless, as we go into the next season, I still think that Javi needs to be in a “chase” mindset where he should seek constant improvement on many aspects of his skating.

In both programs, his footwork was a tad sloppy and at times skated carelessly as if he were randomly flinging his free leg around. Some of his spins in his SP were questionable and despite skating well in the LP, it looked as if he didn’t care very much for the program. This is somewhat understandable – we don’t always relate to a role – but as a performer who is expected to interpret different kinds of music, he should also learn to sell programs that may not be up his alley, as skaters like Meryl Davis & Charlie White have done in the past.

In contrast, Javi’s training mate and friend, Yuzuru Hanyu had a bit of a rough time at this competition. Despite skating perhaps the best iteration of his SP, Yuzuru fell at the beginning of his LP and doubled a few jumps here and there, which cost him a lot of points. His saving grace at this competition was likely his PCS but compared to Javi, Yuzuru fought hard to salvage his program and committed to his performance. It also helps that his choreography, although unfortunately set to the Phantom of the Opera, aided him in showing off his skating skills and polish. All in all, I think Yuzuru performed admirably in light of all the health issues he’s had this season.

On a side note, I absolutely adore Yuzuru and Javi’s relationship with each other as friends as well as rivals. Even after a tough performance, it was really adorable that Yuzuru cheered loudly for Javi in the kiss and cry.

While Fernandez is writing the start of figure skating at the elite level for Spain, I think Denis Ten is doing the same for Kazakhstan. Yes, Ten did win bronze at the Olympics but I think that it could be very possible that we see Denis at the top of the World podium one day. In the past, I have admittedly written off Ten in my predictions despite being talented purely on the basis of his inconsistency. This season, however, Denis has shown us that he can muster up solid or even clean skates when the need arises. Lori Nichol is also crafting some very lovely programs for Denis – some in the style of Patrick Chan, though his LP this year packages Denis really well with all of the intricate footwork and choreography which we now know he is capable of, and with a touch of Denis’ heritage and culture. If this is what Denis Ten will be like in the future, I look forward to seeing more of his skating.

Now for a few random highlights and notes on the men’s competition:

  • The Russian windmills (Voronov and Kovtun) imploded in different segments of the competition, thereby assuring my sanity for this season at least. Friend and reader Ay-sa were contemplating the horrific possibility of them winning Worlds this year and did not have anything pleasant to say about it.
  • My heart goes out to Han Yan who positively buckled under the pressure in his LP. His nerves were already showing in his SP where he skated tentatively (the skate itself was decent though with a few minor bobbles) but he completely imploded in the LP. I feel terrible because he reminds me a bit of Takahiko Kozuka – shy, talented and with tons of potential but he will need a lot of work.
  • Speaking of Kozuka, he is not even on my radar these days. Poor chap, finishing in 12th.
  • Misha Ge. I’m not sure what to make of this guy. Firstly, does anyone have any idea about the reasoning behind his costume for his LP? Secondly, I want to like his smooth, graceful style though by the end, his windmill arm step sequence elicited a visceral anger from my unconscious brain.
  • I’ve learned to like Jason Brown a bit more after this competition but I really hope that his choreographer gives him less kitschier programs next season.

All in all, I think it was a pretty good competition. What did you think of the podium and the performances? I’d love to hear from you!

~The Rinkside Cafe

COUNTDOWN: 50 DAYS LEFT

50 days remain until the XXII (22nd) Olympic Winter Games~! Are you excited?

sochi medals

That’s all. I’ll have a few posts coming soon!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Predictions: Cup of China 2013

Ahhhh! I have 16 hours to make these predictions. Bloody time differences. Ok, lunch first.

Done.

Zijin Li 12 lp

Onwards to the predictions for the Cup of China 2013!

Men

First up, the men!

Ah, come on, really? Am I seriously supposed to make predictions based on this clusterf*** of a roster? So many of the frontrunners are so inconsistent. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

Ok. Problem solving skills. Go.

Some names that pop off right off the bat: Takahiko Kozuka, who had a really rough start at Skate America this year but still has the potential to grab a medal… I think. Denis Ten,¬†last year’s World silver medalist who’s win was a complete surprise because he has the potential but his previous results have always put him in the second group of skaters at GP events. Then, there’s Florent Amodio… WHO GOT NEW COACHES! *opens up some champagne* YES. This kid has potential but those horrific programs with a gazillion pauses were weighing him down. This is great news. Han Yan also has home-ice advantage and a lot of potential. A good candidate to snatch a medal off a veteran’s hand if they don’t skate well.

So now that the initial list is done, I’m really not sure how to rank them. It could honestly go any way. Let’s just throw caution to the wind and randomly come up with a ranking.

Predictions:

Gold: Florent Amodio
Silver:
Denis Ten
Bronze:
Han Yan

Ladies

With a newfound consistency and beautiful performances, Carolina Kostner, will likely win the gold. Adelina Sotnikova‘s terrible programs (and hence, lower PCS) and Kanako Murakami‘s lower TES make them somewhat at the same level and these two will likely duke it out for silver and bronze. If any of them make a mistake, fresh-faced Zijun Li could also grab a medal and hopefully her Coppelia LP will be great since I’ve pegged that as a fantasy program for her in this post.

Predictions:

Gold: Carolina Kostner
Silver:
Kanako Murakami
Bronze:
Adelina Sotnikova

Pairs

Barring some freak accident or injury, former World Champions, Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy, should be able to take the gold. They might face some strong competition from¬†Qing Pang & Jian Tong, who took a year off last season but are likely still better than the rest of the competition. I’m almost tempted to say that I refuse to pick a bronze medal winner but I’ll just close my eyes and point to a name on the screen. It’s anybody’s game at this point. Anastasia Martiusheva & Alexei Rogonov. Ok, done!

Predictions:

Gold: Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy
Silver:
Qing Pang & Jian Tong
Bronze:
Anastasia Martiusheva & Alexei Rogonov

Ice Dance

The ice dance competition will likely be a three-way race between Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev, Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat and Madison Chock & Evan Bates. I’d give the edge to the first two teams though even when you narrow the gold medal choices down to two, it’ll be interesting to see who prevails. B/S has been beating P/B for a little while now but P/B have switched to Igor Shpilband, which might give them that extra boost they need to regain the top European spot. This will be a tough call.

Predictions:

Gold: Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev
Silver:
Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
Bronze:
Madison Chock & Evan Bates

What are your predictions for the Cup of China this year? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

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