Tag Archives: Ashley Wagner

I, Tonya? I Love!

20 Jan


So, I finally saw I, Tonya this weekend! WOOHOO! and I wasn’t completely disappointed. Finally, there is a skating movie that actually appeals to people over 16 in mainstream America that does not include Sasha Cohen waving around men’s underwear. (Hello…Blades of Glory) Plus, the skating wasn’t half bad either.

Admittedly, I’ve never been a Tonya hater. I was much more focused on Oksana Baiul at that age then I was on either Tonya or Nancy.  I remember the scandal but the closest I can get to disliking either of them is to say that I was never a fan of Nancy Kerrigan’s skating. That’s mainly because I was an Oksana fan and I was less than enthralled by Nancy’s skating. I was also around the same age as Oksana and I remember being in awe of someone that age winning a gold medal. I also really loved her balletic skating. When Nancy made those comments about Oksana crying when she won her gold I think that’s when I made up my mind that maybe she wasn’t all that nicey nice. For years I thought she was a poor sport and maybe, that’s why I’ve never been a Tonya hater. At any rate, as I grew up and started skating myself I actually started admiring Tonya’s skating so I went into this movie more than just a little curious.

It’s safe to say that this movie did live up to the hype. At least for me, it did. I thought the movie was hilarious with some great skating bits (gotta love the skating!) but it was also strangely sad. Sad that Tonya’s life seemed to be nothing but a lot of abuse whether it was her mother or her husband doing the abusing or even herself. It was like a never-ending vicious circle that she couldn’t get out of.  The movie does make you feel for Tonya and maybe for the first time question whether her involvement warranted her being removed forever from US figure skating. After all, we have men in the NFL being accused of much worse crimes and for the most part they are given a slap on the wrist because they play football. But figure skating is figure skating and I think this movie delves into the nastier side of the skating world, the elitist side. And dare I say it? The biased judging that we still see going on at competitions.

Case in point: the judges dropping Ashley Wagner like a hot potato at this year’s nationals with component marks that were almost the same as a newbie skater like Bradie. Whaaaat the heck was that?  That’s a complete 360 from the USFS’s usual scoring and a total bunch of BS. Hate or love Ashley Wagner I don’t think anyone thinks Bradie’s artistry is anywhere near Ashley’s nor should it be! Those component scores were ridiculous. It was obvious the judges wanted to put certain skaters at the top. Most skaters would have shut their mouths about it but not Ashley and I think it’s good for the sport to have skaters speak up. You work so hard for something your entire life, why not? I think that part has to change about skating and I think this movie might open up more of a dialogue on that part of the sport. It might actually bring in more fans if skaters were seen to have a little more personality off ice. Hence the whole explosion of fans when Tonya came on the scene. Not to say people should go whacking kneecaps but a little bit of healthy dialogue would do a lot to open up skating to the regular people of the world who still can’t seem to figure out what skating is all about these days.

But I digress….I think the movie obviously opens up a can of worms about the whole Nancy and Tonya scandal since most people just blamed Tonya for the whole thing. We may never know the truth but I thought the movie was refreshing and at the very least sheds a new perspective on the whole thing. Although I’m by no means thinking Tonya was blameless in this whole debacle, the movie does make you see her in a kinder light. You can’t help but feel bad for her. Margot Robbie made her seem a lot more vulnerable and I think that’s what made her seem so much more likable. I could be just a softy though but maybe not everything is as cut and dry as it seems. Tonya’s evil, Nancy’s not etc. Even if you could care less about skating, Allison Janney as Tonya’s mother was priceless and for her part alone I would see this movie. So. Freaking. Hilarious. Seriously, the best parts of the movie are her lines alone. If you are looking for good skating though then stay till the credits and you’ll see Tonya’s famous triple axel and her winning nationals program.

Have any of you seen the movie? And if you have what were your thoughts? I’m curious… and do you believe her side of the tale? Or do you still think she knew the entire time? I would love to know!



US Nationals and Stalker of Rinks

15 Jan

It was a whirlwind of action up in Boston at the TD Garden this week with so much build up for the US Nationals! I loved every minute of it. The tickets were a birthday gift from my boyfriend in December and I was just so excited to finally be there. I did some indoor and outdoor skating myself while I was up there practicing my silver moves and just basically trying not to impale small children and adults alike that were clinging for dear life onto the boards at the outdoor rink in Lynnfield, MA. We happened to make it for the earlier 11am session at the indoor Peabody rink and that was very much like an adult session. They had donuts and coffee too, yum! Extra bonus! Anyone who is in the area should try that rink out if you want to really have a productive practice, it was a nice session. I will admit to being a stalker of ice rinks though,  I have tried more than my fair share and continue to test them out as I travel.

In addition, that same day we also happened upon “Crystal Lake” in Middleton, MA which I am told can be skated on but I was too chicken to try. It was a beautiful wintry day with the snow falling and my boyfriend and I both tested the edges of the pond ice. He actually went out to the middle where someone had cleared an area for hockey so he was a bit braver than me! The ice did look pretty solid but I am not too into testing unknown ponds for skating, only regulated rinks, thank you!

Here I am doing my spiral in my boots on the pond. Ahem… I do this move at the beach, in front of buildings, at new rinks, even New Zealand! Basically any new place I can find…Weird? Ahem.

Yes, probably.


So, onto Nationals! What can I say that has not been said? I’ll start with the controversial.

Two things.

1. Ashley Wagner deserves her spot as the only US lady to have secured the silver and bronze in the last two international competitions as well as the 3rd spot for the ladies at the Olympics through her placement at Worlds last year. I will also freely admit to being an Ashley follower. I love her skating and have followed her career for years. Her determination and the fact that she is the only US lady that really looks like a fully packaged LADIES skater makes me like her even more. I’m emphasizing that here because over the years I keep seeing 15-16 yr. old girls hop their way around the rink at these competitions without much depth, nice lines or artistry on the ice. Anyone who says she doesn’t deserve her spot probably only tuned in for Nationals and has not been following figure skating for the last two years or for that matter, the last two months. ‘Nuff said.

2. Polina Edmunds. It is a complete shock to me that she is going to the Olympics. Despite the fact that Mirai does not have a coach and has not had a stellar showing the last two years does not mean you place a 15 yr old Jr. skater in her place who does not have even one Sr. competition before this to show on her record. Sorry USFSA, she is not Sarah Hughes or Tara Lipinski or even a Julia Lipnitskaya, who, by the way, all have Sr. competition experience. She needs that EXPERIENCE to even be considered for the Olympic team and yet they think she will pull out two back to back programs to compete on the world scene. All this at the expense of a 23 yr. old who does have experience, proved (despite, yes, the noticeable breathing pauses in her program) that she can compete on the world scene again at a higher level. The worst part is that this is probably Mirai’s last chance while Polina has at least 2 more chances to go to the Olympics. She is the future of skating not the present. Ridiculous decision. Absolutely.Completely. Ridiculous.

I can think of other things to say but I’m going to leave it at that. It’s done and I feel badly for Mirai. She had a standing ovation from the crowd at nationals and she was so happy. It’s just mind boggling why the committee felt that they needed to give her a chance. Does this have something to do with her Russian background? Probably. That and well, duh, her jumps.

In any case, I also felt badly for Ashley. She was so upset about her performance on the ice but I watched all her other competitions throughout the season and there was nothing there to feel bad about. All her grand prix performances had been beautiful and consistently executed with artistry, grace and yes, that damn triple triple combination. I do hope she is just saving the best for last, she is our most consistent skater and I think she will place in the top 6. Yes, I just said that. Watch and see.

Now, Gracie. She is definitely a jumper. I will give her that. Her less than stellar record leading up to this event made me think she was going to tank but she performed. I do not think she is the full package yet. Her jumps are great but that’s about it. What am I missing? She gets the job done on home ice but will she consistently hold up on the world scene? I think we are going to see a crash and burn. Her scores were just a little inflated at Nationals and her fist pumping around the rink after the competition was nauseating and a bit overkill. She won’t be able to jump her way to the podium over Mao, Yuna, Carolina, and even Akiko Suzuki. Not to digress but I actually think Akiko Suzuki has a chance to be the stand out in this Olympics not Gracie Gold. Did anyone see her at Japanese Nationals? Amazing. Just amazing. I think she may surpass all of them and everyone will be left with their mouths hanging open.

Other stand out’s at the ladies event were Samantha Cesario and Barbie Long. They both performed beautifully! Courtney Hicks has explosive jumps and Ashley Cain was so very good! Leah Keiser had some lovely positions and although Caroline Zhang did not perform well that night, it was nice to see her perform. She has a delicate grace about her that is sometimes missing in the current crop of ladies. Very reminiscent of Michelle Kwan.

I’ll post some of my photos below to view and cover the mens next time aka Jason Brown and Jeremy Abbot!

I have so many photos that I don’t know what to do with them right now. It will take me hours to edit them all!

Did someone say OBSESSION? Yes, that would be me!



Samantha Cesario and her Fans


Rachel Flatt performing her infamous ina bauer


Ashley Cain in a Dick Button Approved Spiral ; )


Ashley Wagner Starting Position


Ashley at the Medal Ceremony, Sniff.


Samantha Cesario in a Jump Combination


Mariah Bell’s Spiral


Ashley with her Coach Rafael Arutunian

Till next time…