Sad Farewell: Brian Joubert

With the season over, I continue to bid sad farewells to some of the talented skaters who decided to retire after this season.

To me, Brian Joubert appeals to my girly side in that I don’t really find this skating or choreography appealing by itself (he had good jumps in his heyday) but his attractiveness does make the copious pelvic thrusts and smouldering looks in his programs somewhat acceptable in my books.

Brian Joubert

To me, Brian Joubert is something of a sentimental favourite. Even though I don’t like or understand the logic of the 6.0 judging system, Joubert back in his heyday reminds me of the skating men I admired back in my childhood: Yagudin, Plushenko and Browning. I’m not sure what it is about Joubert that brings back this nostalgia but it could be the focus on jumps and personality. Nowadays, many top skaters tend to take a self-effacing stance towards the media, which focuses on their hard-work and presents a generally “white-bread, down-to-earth good guy/girl” image. But not Joubert. Some of us interested in the skating world remember the Chan/Joubert spat that was overblown a few years ago and his programs for this past season, which were unapologetically easy in IJS standards but were full of his trademark crotch-grabbing sexiness. A nice farewell on his terms, I suppose.

No sex on ice here but it’s a quintessential “macho man” Joubert program. Enjoy!

What did you think of Brian Joubert and his skating or personality? I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Look-Alikes: Brian Joubert

I follow some figure skaters on Twitter and lately I’ve been getting a torrent of tweets about mostly Canadian or American athletes from other skaters. Today, Jeff Buttle re-tweeted this picture of speed skater and Olympic medalist, Denny Morrison.

(Yes, this is still a figure skating blog, even though the first picture for this post is for a speed skater.)

denny morrison

When I saw this picture, I thought he looked a little like lady magnet (I bet it’s all that crotch thrusting in his programs), Brian Joubert.

brian joubert

When I found this picture of Joubert, the disheveled hair and sideburns reminded me of…

toby turner

Toby Turner, aka Tobuscus, a popular Youtuber! (I flipped the picture so he and BJou were facing the same way.)

Funny story… For the longest time, I only knew Toby as Satan because that was the character he played in a Youtube sitcom called “My Music” created by the Fine Brothers (the guys behind all the Kids/Teens/Youtubers/Elders react videos – I have a bit of a celebrity crush on Benny Fine). I saw him everywhere, like in the Youtube Rewind 2013 video (love this video, if you haven’t seen it already, you should) and skit editions of Your Grammar Sucks by Jacksfilms. I didn’t know his real name until I found an old “Kids React” video where the kids were reacting to him. Sorry, Toby!

Anyways, think Brian looks like Denny Morrison or Toby Turner? Let me know in the comments!

If you think that a certain someone looks like a particular figure skater, let me know! I’ll make a post and credit you with the find! Until next time!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Trophee Eric Bompard 2012: Predictions

So today, I came across the concept of a regression analysis, which is super interesting because it is essentially what Nate Silver did on fivethirtyeight to correctly predict the electoral college outcomes for 50 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in the most recent U.S. presidential election. My curiosity has led me to ponder whether I should somehow try to create a regression model to predict figure skating results though I’ll definitely need a lot of guidance and help and maybe more information on it in general. Personally, it might be less biased and a lot easier on me if a mathstatsmagician wizard like Nate Silver could come along and create a model because I hold firm on the adage that ice is slippery and that a regression model would probably fail to capture the insane world of figure skating where the location, the proximity of the Olympics, whether or not you’re sleeping with Nikolai Morozov, all sorts of ridiculous things come into play.

In any case, I’ll do my predictions the same old way as I did before but I may try to see if I can come up with a regression model if I manage to have any free time. For TEB, I would actually love to have statistics do all the work for me because the roster is not only kind of boring but the playing field is quite level, which means I’ll have to piddle around with a whole bunch of B-list skaters to figure out the lower rungs of the podium.

A fierce Liza beckons you in… More

I am so amused…

Two singles Frenchmen trying to do twizzles. They aren’t that bad, really. Mao still trumps them all though, including Takahiko Kozuka.

Enjoy~!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Worlds 2012 – Chan gets booed and Romeo is bronze

After seeing such overwhelming interest in my The Future: Yuzuru Hanyu post, I figured I should get a move on for my post for the men’s competition at Worlds this year. So without further ado…


More

Trophee Eric Bompard 2011: Predictions

My life is still filled with forms to fill out and stuff to write and a;iehf;adkfsakdfja;sdkfasdjkfla. Again, I can’t promise posts on all the competitions but I’ll do my best and I’ll make sure to do a predictions post every week. Normally, I would do predictions on who would make it into the final but with this 3 competition rule, everything gets thrown out of whack because I have no clue who’s in 3 competitions and I don’t have the time to check. I might just do the list blind and come up with a list of 6 skaters/teams for each discipline.  For now, here are my predictions for TEB 2011.

Men

Patrick Chan will undoubted win this competition, even if he does fall on his ass a few times. As much as I love figure skating, I don’t know if I can watch this discipline and have faith in the new judging system. As for silver, Nobunari Oda can very well take it… if he’s finally learned all the lessons from counting 101 that is. If not, then Michal Brezina seems to be on the rise and he could snatch silver from under his nose. If Oda can count, then I think he has the ability to steal bronze from heavyhitters like former European and World champion, Brian Joubert and current European champion, Florent Amodio. Brian Joubert has been a bit washed out in the past two seasons while Florent’s new LP is just WTF. The kid needs to leave Morozov, the Russian Gino is not doing him any favours.

Edit: Joubert has pulled out of TEB. (Source) That won’t affect my predictions though.

Predictions:

Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver: Nobunari Oda
Bronze: Michal Brezina

Ladies

TEB is going to interesting here. We’re going to have a rematch of Carolina Kostner vs. Alissa Czisny and then we’re going to throw Skate Canada winner, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva into the mix. Her arch-rival, Adelina Sotnikova couldn’t win against the likes of Carolina and headcase, Mirai Nagasu and I’ve got a feeling that with tougher competition, Liza will not be able to so easily clinch the gold. As much as I admire Czisny’s elegance, I find her performances and personality very forgettable. Czisny’s programs have better choreography but it’s just more exciting to watch Carolina. Both ladies have gained a great amount of consistency so this will be another tough call. Czisny won last time but can Carolina beat her this time?

Predictions:

Gold: Carolina Kostner
Silver: Alissa Czisny
Bronze: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (though I’d love it if she beat Czisny)

Pairs

Barring major disaster – actually – even if they fell a couple of times, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov should have this competition in the bag. There are no real threats for gold other than them even though their SP this yes is just not pretty. Really, Tanya and Max, we’re no longer wannabe emo teens. Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov may have enough to muster silver while bronze is a bit of a toss of between two headcase North American teams: Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford and Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig. I’ll just go flip a coin and decide who to put in that 3rd position.

Predictions:

Gold: Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov
Silver: Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov
Bronze: Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford

Ice Dance

The ice dance lineup isn’t that bad, there are quite a few interesting competitors. The gold should easily go to Olympic Champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. I really hope they’ve improved since Skate Canada (I’m sure they have) and more importantly, I hope they’ve made some changes to their programs. They’re really going to have to step it up if they want to be competitive with Meryl and Charlie. Davis and White’s FD this year showcases their athleticism and if Tessa and Scott don’t change their pause-ful Funny Face FD, they might find themselves in 2nd place this year. Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat should have the support of the home crowd and possibly the silver medal but bronze will be an interesting matchup with the emerging young Italians – Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte and the rising young Russians – Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov. We may see how much Mother Russia is actually pushing for these two…

Predictions:

Gold: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Silver: Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
Bronze: Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov

Worlds 2011 Predictions: The Men

So here is part II of my predictions for worlds that will happen in T minus 4 days. Hopefully I’ll be able to watch most of the event.

So the men. With Evan Lysacek, Evgeni Plushenko, Johnny Weir and Stephane Lambiel gone after the Olympics, the men’s field has thinned out a bit compared to last season when there were about 10 different guys who could’ve made it onto that Olympic podium.

The front runners, however, are definitely Daisuke Takahashi and Patrick Chan Score. The gold will probably be a toss-up between the two (although Nobunari Oda may win the short program and then do an extra jump combination in his long that won’t count towards his score and then fall down the standings) and the winner will probably be determined by:

  1. Whether Chan lands his 3 quads and more importantly, his 2 triple axels. Daisuke may attempt his quad flip but he’s never landed it with one foot in competition.
  2. Whoever has more political (and emotional) backing: the Japanese Skating Federation and the sympathy for the Japanese people (not to mention the JSF is probably one of the richest federations and Japan one of the biggest markets for the sport) or Skate Canada and how they’re telling everyone that Chan’s wipeouts on 3As deserve a +3 GOE because he fell so prettily. The winner gets a higher PCS. We all know how Chan has been getting bullshit marks all season (*cough*Skate Canada and Canadian Nationals*cough*) but during the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, ISU president $peedy Ottavio Cinquanta, seemed very eager to appease the JSF. So who knows what will happen!
  3. Whether training has been severely affected by the postponement of Worlds. Chan didn’t go to Four Continents probably because his coach did not want him to peak too early (just look at his 2007/8 results) but the tsunami seems to have thrown a monkey wrench into those plans. I wonder how the change in timing has affected Chan… Daisuke’s training wasn’t severely affected by the events in Japan (unlike the up and coming star, Yuzuru Hanyu) and he also skated at a fundraiser for tsunami victims rather recently. From the news clips, he looked pretty good. (On another note, I absolutely love, love, love Shizuka Arakawa’s dress. She looks wonderful in it.)

There may be a few people who have the potential to change things. One is perennial podium bridesmaid, Nobunari Oda. Nobu will need to skate clean and even though his programs aren’t as entertaining as his Charlie Chaplin LP from last year, he still has great jumping technique. (Those knees!) Also, if Nobu wants to win this, he may need to learn how to count his combos while doing a long program. Maybe he should take lessons from The Count from Sesame Street!

Ok, maybe not.

Another possible medalist is Takahiko Kozuka. He seems to be winding down after his win at Japanese Nationals but I’ve underestimated this guy too much this season to discount him from my predictions. He has the skating skills, he just needs to relate to the audience. One thing to note: Takahiko’s chances of medaling probably depend on how badly Daisuke, Chan and Nobu perform rather than on himself. The international judges have been sparing in his PCS and I think it’s about time this guy lives a little. Get your heart broken, do something crazy, go on a weird adventure, I don’t care – just bring out that angsty, passionate artiste from within because your skating skills are too good to go unnoticed at this point in your career!

On the European side, Brian Joubert, Tomas Verner and Florent Amodio seem to be the strongest contenders for a medal but I’m not sure how they’re going to beat the Japanese and Chan because they either have a) so-so skating skills b) shit and just weak choreography or c) a severe and chronic problem of being a headcase. I won’t be putting too much money on these three but maybe one of them will surprise us (in a good way) like Jeffrey Buttle did in 2008.

Oh yes, and the American men are F*&$%!. Most of them don’t really have experience in major international competitions and I don’t even remember the men’s podium at U.S. Nationals anymore. That’s how sad the men’s team for the U.S. is at the moment. I have no clue what the USFSA was thinking but Jeremy was trailing the bronze medalist by a little bit and I’m pretty sure that none of those guys can do what Jeremy did at Four Continents: beat at least one of the Japanese men. Say goodbye to a spot or two at Worlds next season…

Podium Predictions:

Gold: Daisuke Takahashi (for the love of God and all that is holy!!!)
Silver: Patrick Chan
Bronze: Nobunari Oda (or Joubert, Kozuka… who knows? They’re all equally able to implode.)

This World championships will be exciting and maybe unpredictable because of its postponement and its effects on the skaters. I can’t wait!

~The Rinkside Cafe

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