Seeing is Believing – Skate America

27 Nov



(Skate America, Ladies Awards Ceremony, camera’s are clicking away, Paul Harvath is standing at the corner.)


(Close up Photo of the Ladies Medal Ceremony, Rachel Flatt, Yuna Kim, and Julia Sebestyen)

There were a few things I learned at Skate America. Even though I am an avid fan and love to watch skating I’ve never actually seen a competition in person. I’ve seen two Skate America exhibitions and one practice but for some reason or another I have never been able to stay for the actual competition. So, I was extremely excited to see the Ladies, Men, and Ice Dancers compete live and there was a few key details that I missed while watching these elite skaters on tv.

One – Yuna is technically and artistically flawless. I should say comparatively with the rest of the field. Her facial expressions tell how deeply she is invested in her programs. Her jumps for the most part were seamless and it really did seem effortless. Long program and warmup for said long program notwithstanding. It was amazing to watch how focused and technically beautiful her skating was. Even her stroking had a cadence. Keep in mind that I am not a complete Yuna fan, meaning, before this I wasn’t so enthralled with her skating. Her genius though is evident and that magic that always seemed to surround Michelle Kwan when she skated seems to have been transferred to her. It was truly a pleasure to watch.


(Yu-na was so fast it was really hard to get a good photo of her.)

Two – To be honest, I am usually not so interested in watching the Ice Dancers. I like Ice Dancing but my interest lies with the singles skating; Skate America changed that. Actually the practice changed that. I watched the ice dancers practice and was thoroughly amazed by the speed and dexterity with which they used their edges. Their commitment to the music and their moves and expression completely filled the ice. Without the jumps, the ice dancers built speed unseen in the singles programs. Amazing lifts that defied imagination and blended perfectly with music neatly replaced the triple/triple combinations in their programs. In person it looked so much harder than the freestyle skating. The power in their edges and the unison in which they danced was so much more amazing next to the ice where you could hear the ripping of their blades. Hands down, ice dancing is the most underrated sporting event. Tanith and Ben are so unbelievably elegant, Cappellini and Lanotte are the quintessential moody Italians and the Russians (Novitski and Kohklova) were ferocious. It was so interesting to watch how aggressive they were.

Third (and lastly): Ryan Bradley was totally amazing. If you didn’t see his long program and you are a fan of figure skating, you should. I am not sure if it came across on tv but his long program was not only a great skate but also the most entertaining one. Bradley’s enthusiasm, fight, and personality showed through. He delighted the crowd with his antics and his program seemed like mere seconds rather then minutes. He portrayed the music beautifully and time just flew by as he skated. If he makes it to the Olympics it won’t matter if he is not technically perfect, the way he portrayed the music is entertainment enough. (Too bad its not on Youtube and not everyone can see it).

Other notes of interest were that while, yes, Emily Hughes may seem a little bigger then the rest of the field she actually is pretty tiny compared to the average person. I enjoyed watching her skate because I knew that she would fight for every single one of her elements and she did not disappoint. Evan Lysacek was also fun to watch. He gives everything in a performance and has gorgeous jumps. I thought he was alot taller than he was but he’s really just average. Like Emily, he just looks taller because the rest of the field is shorter! Tugba K. is such a pleasant skater with quiet foot placement and Elene G. is so surprising, you never know what she is going to do. She’s such a curvy little thing compared to the rest of the skaters, it’s got to be hard to to do those triple jumps with a chest! Fumie Suguri is my favorite and she was consistent if a little reserved but I enjoyed just watching her skate.


(Tugba Karademir in a catchfoot spiral.)

All in all it was great experience. Lake Placid is a cute little town and I always enjoy traveling there. I think Skate America inspired alot of skaters and non-skater’s alike. It reinforced my belief that its one of the most elegant and engaging sports out there but with a definite edge. All that beauty comes with a price, each move is worth hours of practice and each expression is the work of years of experience.

I can’t wait for my next competition!

*All photo’s included here are from my camera, feel free to use them if you like.


The Yuna and Brian Posters, her fans are really obsessed!

Beautiful lift by Gorchkova and Butikov, loved their costumes!


(Alexe Gilles spinning.)

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