More Details on the Ilinykh/Katsalapov Split

So sometime before Worlds this season, the shocking news that Olympic bronze medalists, Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov were going to split. (I mentioned this in this post.) There were some whispers that these might have been rumours (I’ve even heard that it was a rumour perpetuated by Marina Zueva for some strange reason) but months have passed and it seems that the split is official. Nikita is going to skate with Victoria Sinitsina while Elena seems to be training with Ruslan Zhiganshin, Victoria’s former partner.

elena ruslan

More photos of Ilinykh/Zhiganshin in practice can be found here.

So far, media reports (such as this one here) have quoted Elena saying that Nikita was responsible for initiating the split while she was against the idea. Apparently, Nikolai Morozov is not coaching either of the new teams but it is rumoured that Sinitsina and Katsalapov’s test skate with Marina Zueva has gone well and she will be their new coach. (When definite sources emerge, I will post links.) From the photos, it seems as if Yelena Kustarova is Ilinykh/Zhiganshin’s new coach.

Things are bound to clear up in the future so stay tuned to this new skating drama!

What do you think of these new partnerships and the split? Do you have more info or sources you can enlighten us with? If so, tell us in the comments!

~The Rinkside Cafe

A Series of Cute Videos

A roundup of cute videos.

A documentary of sorts on Yuzuru Hanyu. The narration gets kind of hilariously serious at times. Also, CAN I COINCIDENTALLY MEET YUZURU ON THE SUBWAY ONE DAY???


Queen Marina being diva coach extraordinaire.


Meryl and Charlie talking about community.


Tessa and Scott being adorable.


Yuna Kim and a puppy in a commercial.


A funny commercial with Evgeni Plushenko.


~The Rinkside Cafe

Team Canton Update: Virtue & Moir Staying with Marina – Confirmed

Although the article in my last post stated that all the top teams were staying with Marina Zueva, Skate Canada had yet to give its confirmation though as I said before, I think most of us would suspect that if any of the top 3 teams would defect to Igor, it would be Davis & White. In any case, according to this article, Skate Canada has now confirmed that the top Canadians are staying with Zueva. Unsurprising since I think they’re Marina’s favourites with her comparison of Tessa and Scott with the legendary Ekaterina Gordeeva & Sergei Grinkov and all.

Aunt Joyce has noted in this post that Igor was the technician who brought the Latin flair into a lot of Team Canton’s programs. I hope that Marina can find a suitable replacement because she cannot let any of the talent at Arctic Edge go to waste. On the flip side, I really don’t mind NOT seeing another Latin program from these teams. The Shibutanis need to figure out how to do sexy despite their siblinghood, Davis & White has yet to deliver a Latin routine that really excites me while I’m getting tired of the romantic or Latin themed programs from Tessa & Scott. Seriously, I want to see something different from them this season. Shock me and skate to something with heavy dramatiks (typo intentional) or skate to a story that isn’t romantic or sexy. Please, just stop being white bread. I have yet to be super excited for a V/M program since their Olympic season and they really need to bring fresh life into their skating. They said they were going to be innovative and take ice dance to whole new levels… so it’s time to be incomprehensibly creative like the French. Besides, this is the season to do it – branch out to show versatility and then stick to your big guns for the Olympics.


~Rinkside Cafe

Edit: Here is the official statement from Skate Canada.

Updates on Team Canton and Igor Shpilband

More news is coming in on Igor Shpilband’s dismissal. The most important piece of information so far is the three top teams (and the ones that Marina and Igor concentrated on) – Virtue & Moir, Davis & White and the Shibutanis are staying with Marina according to this article. It seems that Marina and Igor have been having disagreements over scheduling and Igor seemed to want to open a school separate from Marina despite being business partners. According to Charlie’s mum, the disagreement seems to be mainly between the two coaches and the students are unfortunately caught up in the drama.

The drama gets upped a notch as Mother Russia puts in her two cents and announces that they would welcome Igor with open arms and provide him with all the working conditions he needs to help out Russian skaters. We’ll need to wait and see if he does respond to this offer. On one hand, it sounds like a good one especially with Igor losing what seems to be his favourite team (Davis & White) and Mother Russia so desperate on getting a foothold back onto the ice dance podium. On the other hand, Igor did defect from the Soviet Union for a reason… Now I’m wondering if Ilinykh/Katsalapov would leave Morozov if Igor went back to Mother Russia. It’s too soon to say but I admit that this is a scary prospect for my two favourite teams.

In other news, John Kerr tweeted this:

At this point, this would be true… if the Kerrs were at the top of the ice dance world. Let’s face it, the Kerrs had been stagnating technically from 2008 all the way to when they retired. Their main European rivals, Pechalat & Bourzat, on the other hand had improved on their edges, presentation and unison year by year while the Kerrs remained sloppy and rough around the edges. Unlike the Kerrs, the top two teams at Team Canton are heads and shoulders above the rest technically. Pechalat & Bourzat may have done the rumba pattern better than Team Canton at Worlds this year but they still lack speed, polish, charisma and programs that people can actually relate to in order to topple the top 2 teams. At the moment, the French really are the only ones who are somewhat near the level of V/M and D/W… in a sense, they’re like Joannie Rochette in 2009 – not quite at Yuna and Mao’s level but better than the rest of the pack beneath the top 2. To say that the Olympic title is wide open is a statement that comes a little too soon. We have yet to see if there are any veritable challengers despite this coaching drama.


~Rinkside Cafe

Igor Shpilband Fired

I think everyone is reeling at the information that Igor Shpilband, coach of Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, Meryl Davis & Charlie White and the Shibutanis, has been fired from the Arctic Edge Figure Skating Club in Canton. According to this article, the skaters felt that “Igor wasn’t there anymore for them.” There are also hints of disagreements between Marina and Igor but the figure skating club seems to put out the idea that the main problem was that the top three teams were having issues with Igor. I also found it interesting that Igor seemed to try his hardest at contacting Davis & White rather than the other two teams. I had always had the impression that he was backing the top Americans while Marina was more inclined to back the Canadians. Still, what boggles my mind is how this separation could happen at such a pivotal moment. I mean, seriously, why??? What are the politiks behind it? Since the last Olympics, Marina and Igor have been the REAL rulers of the ice dance world, not V/M or D/W. No coaching team has been able to touch them since. I’m not sure what drama this will cause in the world of ice dance – what will happen to the teams?

Thoughts? Opinions?

~The Rinkside Cafe

Some Highlights from the 2010/2011 Season

I just started with this picture of Miki Ando because I thought this shot was simply gorgeous.

There were tons of ups and downs in the 2011/2012 season. Seeing that this is the first part of my wrap-up posts, I probably will not be writing about the men’s event at Worlds as I said I would. I apologize but it’s been so long after the fact and I still can’t bring myself to watch the event. (On another note, I saw Patrick Chan doing an interview on a Chinese TV channel the other day…) So, I say, let’s not dwell on the not so pleasant events of this season (there’s enough unpleasantness in the world to deal with anyways) and think of some of the highlights this season. More

Putin Wants YOU to Come to Russia…

… since the Russian government has expressed an interest in hosting Worlds now that Japan can’t. The Russian government seems to be willing to spend some money on it and in all honesty, do you want to mess with Putin? I mean, he’s kind of badass.

Yeah, you don’t want to mess with this guy.

Anyways, Putin comedy aside, other countries willing to host Worlds are Canada (Vancouver), the U.S. (Colorado Springs, Colorado or Lake Placid, New York), Finland (Turku), Croatia (probably Zagreb) and Austria (probably Graz).

The Russians have stated that they’re thinking of hosting Worlds from April 24 to May 1 or sometime later depending on the ISU’s decision. I’m not surprised at Russia’s interest in Worlds, it’ll give their skaters a hometown advantage and it’ll also give their younger skaters some positive press on road to Sochi. What I find shocking is how I’m already thinking about Sochi even though the 2010 Olympics just happened last year. Sigh. How time flies fast.

Anyways, I really shouldn’t be on the internets right now. I’ll post Worlds predictions if it happens.

~The Rinkside Cafe

P.S. Marina Zoueva is adorable. How is this woman even real?

Previous Older Entries