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Lots of figure skating 1/10/04


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#1 Funny Face

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Posted 09 January 2004 - 08:15 PM

Just an update on what's happening out there on ice:

Tomorrow on CBS at 1:00 p.m. (CST), there's "Nutcracker on Ice," which I know is not exactly timely, but quite frankly, the holidays came too fast and left too early this year for me, and I don't mind a little holiday postscript when I can finally relax and enjoy. This program features Oksana Baiul and Victor Petrenko. I don't know if this is the same "Nutcracker" on ice that also features Carla Urbanski as Clara. I remember being so surprised by that. For those who may not remember her, she was the 30-something cocktail waitress pairs partner of Rocky Marvel (the truck driver), who were U.S. champs. Believe it or not, she actually looked young enough on ice to play Clara.

At 3:00 p.m. on ABC, there is a portion of the U.S. championships. It's the men's free skate.

And a head's up for the tour of Scott Hamilton's group. This year, they are joined by Oksana Baiul who is reviving her Olympic "Swan Lake" routine. Also, by Paul Wylie -- :) :o :wub: -- who, according to choreographer, Christopher Dean, has been bitten by the performance bug again, which I am so grateful for. I saw him skate in an exhibition recently, and he is looking wonderful.

And that's the news from Lake Wobegon.

#2 carbro

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Posted 09 January 2004 - 08:24 PM

And tomorrow (Sat.) evening, at 8:00-11:00 eastern, are the women's and pairs' finals for the US Championships on ABC.

FF, I believe that Oksana is currently dancing a Swan program to the Tchaikovsky music. Wasn't the earlier one to Saint-Saens' Dying Swan? I have seen her on a couple of tv broadcasts, and she looks like she's well on the road back. Her endearing passion is all there.

#3 Funny Face

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Posted 10 January 2004 - 02:43 AM

I actually don't know which music she is using -- I saw a very short clip of Christopher Dean talking about the new additions to this year's tour. There was also a segment of her speaking about reviving her program from the Olympics, but no more information than that. She did look healthier and more at peace than I'd seen her before. Her technique had suffered for so long, and it seemed to make her behave like a rather rude diva to those doing the commentary. After awhile, I thought to myself that she simply shouldn't jump at all for a time because she seemed psychologically unfit for the jumps. There was also the matter of adjusting to the new body she developed after the Olympics, as she grew rather late in life (height and proportion-wise). Let's hope she finds some peace in her skating now. That particular tour seems to have a lot of fun. I love Dean's "Chairmen" piece.

#4 Funny Face

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Posted 10 January 2004 - 01:45 PM

Ladies' competition tonight -- free skate -- should be quite interesting. Cohen is in first place after the short program.

#5 carbro

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Posted 10 January 2004 - 08:17 PM

Cohen's short was terrific, but Kwan's free skate was . . . :jawdrop: :innocent:

What a thrill! Congrats, Michelle!

#6 Old Fashioned

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Posted 10 January 2004 - 08:18 PM

8TH NATIONAL TITLE FOR MICHELLE!!! 7 perfect scores in presentation! I am still recovering from shock to see how far she has come; she never seizes to amaze me. I have to admit, I actually cried with her. I can't imagine what it must have been like for the people who were there to see her perform live. Wow. If she can generate that much emotion and passion through the television...

#7 jbtlse

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Posted 10 January 2004 - 08:48 PM

I cried too.
Sasha Cohen is likely the most gifted female skater ever, but Michelle Kwan connects with the audience in a magical way. She is a pure joy to watch.

#8 carbro

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Posted 10 January 2004 - 09:02 PM

Oh, yeah, and Johnny Weir's long program wasn't half bad, either. :innocent:

#9 mom2

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Posted 10 January 2004 - 10:03 PM

I actually forgot to watch the US program tonight, because the Canadian Champioships were on at about the same time. The depth in the men's group now in Canada seems pretty good, although it just wasn't the night for Jeff Buttle. He skated in last position following a number of men who had done quite well. I don't think he has adequately recovered from the food poisoning that caused him to withdraw from the Grand Prix final...too bad. We won't be seeing him at the Worlds this year. Sandhu had a wonderful skate - which is so nice to see.

Two surprise gold medals in the women's and pairs events...both teams from Quebec (if it weren't so late I'd probably remember the names too)! :innocent:

Too bad I missed the US Championships though!! :jawdrop:

#10 Funny Face

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Posted 11 January 2004 - 12:17 AM

Michelle Kwan was transcendent. I cried. Cohen's technique is lovely, yes, But every aspiring dancer should have watched the competition tonight to learn a valuable lesson. If it were all about just getting your leg as high as possible, there would be a lot of people who have professional careers instead of yours truly. Ultimately, it's all about your heart.

And kudos for Jenny Kirk too. That girl is maturing and no doubt will also have a wonderful professional career if she so chooses.

I too loved Johnny Weir's program, and am glad he won instead of Weiss. It's not that I have anything against Weiss. It's just that there was so much more offered from a number of other male contestants. Jahnke was amazing. What a dancer. And I'd watch Bradley even with all of the rough edges and flaws over Weiss, or over Goebel as well. What performance quality!

#11 tutu14

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Posted 11 January 2004 - 07:38 AM

Mom2

[QUOTE]Two surprise gold medals in the women's and pairs events...both teams from Quebec (if it weren't so late I'd probably remember the names too)!


Marcoux and Buntin(he's from B.C. she's from Quebec) won the pairs. They had a great skate and deserved to win. Langlois and Archetto(5th in World) fell apart for the second year in a row and placed 2nd. I was disappointed with Putnum and Wirtz(3rd)...I think their nerves got to them. The chemistry just wasn't there last night.
15 yr. old Cynthia Phanouf (Quebec)won the Ladies title over 6 time champion Jennifer Robinson who came third behind Joannie Rochette. Phaneuf will be going to Junior Worlds rather than senior which opens a spot for Robinson.
It was nice to see the depth of talent in the men's division. I was very impressed by Shawn Sawyer and Nicholas Young. It's unfortunate that Buttle fell apart but I'm very happy for Ben Ferreira(he is skating in our club show in April!)
The free dance is on this afternoon.

L.
p.s. is there anyone on here that has a boy in figure skating? Could you pm me. I have a couple of questions.

#12 dancemomCA

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Posted 11 January 2004 - 08:18 AM

Yes, it was nice to see Sandhu finally overcome his nerves and skate a good solid program. No other Canadian male skater can meet his artistic ability. But the depth of the men is an encouraging sign - for the past few years, it has been slim pickings. But this year, wow - many good solid young male skaters in Canada.

As for Jennifer Robinson, IMO, it is time for her to retire. She has not progressed at all in the past few years - I do not find her an inspiring skater.

I still think that Kwan is over-rated, transcendent or not, and am waiting for Cohen and Jenny Kirk to mature. When that happens, these two gifted skaters will "connnect" with the audience too - I think Cohen did cast a spell until she fell, but until that point, she was the "swan".

#13 Guest_dancindaughters_*

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Posted 11 January 2004 - 10:32 AM

Sandhu was amazing. He and Kwan have something that Cohen lacks: personality.
Cohen's short program was very nice, but she does not convey passion for skating. She gets by on technique and those constant statements that she looks like a porcelain doll (I find that irritating). Basically, I don't think she seems like a very nice person and maturity won't change that. Kwan is adorable and has proven that she still has it. I knew the commentators were going to be sorry they thought Cohen would win it; shame on them! Jenny Kirk is a beautiful skater. She seemed disappointed by her scores, running away from the kiss and cry. I guess it is natural for her to have hoped that this would be her year, but she is still young, with many good years ahead. She should learn from Kwan that it is important to have a good attitude and get the audience (and judges) on your side. But the judges didn't "hold (Kwan) up" this time, she deserved the win.

Cynthia Phanouf was wonderful to watch. She has so much maturity for a 15 year old. I look forward to seeing more of her in the future. I have always liked Robinson, but maybe it is time to retire.

My eyeballs are now square, but it's been a great weekend. :innocent:

#14 vagansmom

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Posted 11 January 2004 - 03:55 PM

I missed the US Nationals almost completely this weekend except for Jenny Kirk's short program. But today, during the exhibition skate, they re-aired Kwan's skate from yesterday. It would indeed have been hard, even if Cohen had had a clean skate, for anyone to have topped Kwan's performance last night. All the elements were there as well as that extra magical connection - to herself, to the audience - that Kwan so often brings to her performances.

I adore Sasha Cohen's skating but I'm still waiting for her to put together a performance where she doesn't look as though she's swallowing bitter medicine. I don't know if it'll come with age; it often doesn't. But I still sit with my mouth agape :innocent: whenever she skates - unbelievable technique. I can't ever remember seeing anyone with that kind of perfection in individual elements. I long for her to put together a string of clean performances and to include all the little flourishes in between; something that Kwan has an uncanny awareness of. There's very little "dead" time in a Michelle Kwan skate.

#15 Drew

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Posted 11 January 2004 - 04:09 PM

I don't think it's fair to speculate as to whether a skater is a "nice"person or not...I will concede that I think it very unlikely that any highly ranked, world-class athlete (Tiger Woods, Michelle Kwan and those competitors seemingly on their heels) turns out to be a sweety-sweety when it comes to their sport! If Sasha Cohen's problems as a competitor are, as many seem to think, at least partly psychological -- nerves etc. -- then growing up a little more may help. I certainly hope so.

I feel compelled to write a little in Cohen's defense since I just saw her skate live for the first time as part of the exhibition following the U.S. championships. Her positions are even more exquisite in real space/time than on television. The sheer flow of skating is, as everyone comments, much more evident for all skaters when one sees them live, and seeing a skater with such precise positions as Cohen live really adds to the impact of the skate. All the picturesque poses really move across the ice. In short, she seems still more graceful and certainly "softer" than on television (and I like her on television). I realize, too, that she was doubtless much less tense skating in exhibition -- but I've compared the live skate with the ABC telecast and live does seem to me to make some difference.

I'll add one word more in Cohen's defense. I simply don't believe that it's possible to skate the way Sasha Cohen skates if one doesn't have "passion." It's simply too hard to achieve that skill level. I understand that the passion may not communicate itself all the time to an audience, but especially in those extraodinarily stretched spins in arabesque (I don't know the skating term, some kind of camel perhaps?) with her back slightly arched, she seems to be taking the position to the very limits of what it can be, and the image is, in my eyes, one that does convey passion. With more experience, more confidence (I mean genuine confidence not bravado) and, yes, maturity, she may well be able to bring still more of that quality to her performances.

Whether Cohen will ever be able to win the big, prestige competitions -- I have no idea, but I hope so...For the rest, I love Johnny Weir, a skater entirely new to me, though from what I'm reading, the way he skated this week was new even to people who have seen him before. I liked the fourth place finisher, Ryan Jahnke (?) a lot as well; at the exhibition he seemed to me to have tremendous presence and power, though I can't say the audience roared and ABC decided not to include the skate at all...I also thought Michelle Kwan was fabulous in her competitive skates (which I only saw on television), though I would be happy never to see another woman skater skate to Tosca ever again. I think it's dreadful music for skating and I would say that I would be happy never to see any skater skate to it, but I sort of thought Yagudin pulled it off. Perhaps the sheer power of a great male skater can somehow match the melodrama of the highlights style music "cuts" that skating programs use from the opera.

I also thought Kwan's exhibition skate, though not one of my favorites, showed her ability to respond to a very different kind of music and was, of course, thrilling to see live. I am far from thinking Kwan overated...even in her short program with its small mistake on the double axel she seemed to me to have a more compelling presence on the ice than Cohen or anyone else at this competition. Her interview persona is, too, the most poised and pleasant of any professional athlete I have ever seen and has been so, in the past, after disappointments as well as smashing successes. But all my admiration for Kwan cannot keep me from appreciating Sasha Cohen's lovely qualities as a Skater...and hoping for her future success as well.


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