Tag Archives: figure skating

Olympic Figure Skating Reflections

27 Feb

After staying up many late nights for the Olympic figure skating competitions, I’ve decided that I am either getting too old or the competitions were on way too late for working adults to watch and not look like zombies the next day.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed all the figure skating that was on tv the last two weeks. I also loved that everyone and everything seemed to be about figure skating on tv, magazines, talk shows, twitter, facebook, and blogs. It was like being treated to a buffet after being on a long 4 year fast! I’m so used to only having an hour or two of skating on every couple of weeks that I think I’ve gorged myself.

I’m on figure skating overload and I LOVE IT!

That’s not to say that there weren’t a few moments when I felt really cranky watching the press light up with the ice dancers Aboriginal costume drama, the Weir “anti-fur” hate articles, or the constant debate on whether figure skating was really a “sport” due to the Plushenko quad debacle.

It also does not mean that I didn’t feel that the judging wasn’t without its bias as far as the ice dancing and singles competitions. I thought I was going to have a heart attack after seeing Johnny in sixth after perfect short and long programs and I really did throw my pillow at the tv after seeing Tanith & Ben placed in fourth behind the slowest and sloppiest Russian free program I have ever seen. Fast forward to the ladies competition and I was stomping out of my living room when Rachael Flatt was downgraded too harshly for her jumps and Mirai was placed in fourth after two inspired programs without a bobble to be seen.

Those aspects aside, there were also moments when I was completely inspired. When both Shen & Zhao and Evan Lysacek won gold you knew they had earned it with hard work, determination, and perseverance. Equally inspiring was Weir’s clean short and long programs where his personality finally shone through after years of inconsistent skating and training. I also cannot forget Yu-na’s beautiful long program finale when she wept on the ice in relief and happiness. Finally, Joannie’s struggle to compete after the loss of her mother and her rise to the top was a magical moment for many (although I cannot completely agree with her placement I do think it was a gorgeous program for her). These are all wonderful moments in this year’s Olympics, which I am sure will be remembered by fans and non-fans alike.

Despite all this coverage I still crave more figure skating!
I guess this is how football fans feel all the time πŸ˜‰

The best part of this olympic skating smorgasbord is that it has hopefully inspired a new generation of adults and kids to skate and has revived a waning interest in a sport that is as controversial as it is beautiful and athletic.

Let’s hope people are more inspired by the beauty of the sport and not the drama and that the interest lasts until the next Olympic smorgasbord of figure skating.

Johnny Weir. Pop Star On Ice?

20 May

Alright, well none of us are all that surprised. Johnny Weir now has a documentary premiering May 24 at the Seattle Film Festival called “Pop Star On Ice.” And, who didn’t see that coming a mile away?

It looks interesting and I am definitely intrigued! To say the least. I won’t be at any of the locations that the film is being showed at so I am slightly bummed. I am sure it will be available to the public soon. It sounds like an Eminem soundtrack on the trailer. Rap about ice skating, huh. I never thought I would see the day!

It looks like Johnnie has finally found his outlet- he is very much the diva and while I didn’t enjoy his tantrums on and off the ice in the early days I have always loved his artistic skating.

He is probably my favorite male skater, although I admit that its probably because it is almost like watching one of the female skaters. However, he is such a fluid and graceful skater its hard not to be impressed, despite his sometimes questionable behavior.
You know what though? I think we need these types of personalities in skating to liven it up a bit and to give it a face. Much like the other sports, we need some spark that ignites the public and peaks their interest.
It may not always be the most clean face of skating but its real and its interesting and I guess that’s what counts for now. So check out the film trailer, you’ll be intrigued.

Skate for the Heart and other fun lessons

7 Feb

I did have a lesson last week. I am doing a lesson every other week. I find that while it probably doesnt increase my skills, it does help me appreciate the lesson more. Plus, as usual, its more affordable this way. I was feeling like I was wasting lessons on weeks when I was so busy with work and my business on the side. Some weeks I had a lesson but I hadn’t been on the ice but once since the last lesson. Somewhat pointless to spend money that way.
Although I do want to increase skating time, as usual, finances and real life jobs get in the way- bah hum bug that!

So, on to last weeks lesson. What did I do?
We went over spins mainly. My favorite although on this particular icy cold morning at 6am nothing was working the way it should of!
How many times have I said that one! Truly, 6 am sessions are typical for any skater at any rink so I shouldnt complain. πŸ™‚ But I will never get used to them!

So- spins. We worked on my sit spins, back spins and camel spins. I definitely have a left arm and shoulder that operates by itself- and on its own. No- it does not like the rest of my body, it just swings out any ole’ time it wants to.
You can bet that was the issue with every spin. From reading this blog- y’all will know that I have a pretty reliable sit, OK- a NICE sit. However, even on that spin I let my left arm go and then the rest of me catches up. Eventually.
I let the left arm drop in sit, camel and the back spin. And oh yes. I even do it on my scratch. I can still do the sit and scratch pretty well but dropping my left shoulder and letting my left arm drop halfway into the spin makes for a rocky start until I can recenter myself.

So we practiced keeping the left arm straight into the spin. Also, stepping into the spin by stepping back to where I came from on the circle. Does that make sense? Alot of times I just step a little out of the circle when I enter the spin which also makes for a rocky start and sometimes dooms the spin from the beginning. Thinking about holding my left arm and stepping back to the circle on the entry of the forward spins was very helpful.

Backspins are disastrous. Well, actually I can rotate a backspin from a standstill but the entry sucks. I cant hold that inside edge long enough. I anticipate the turn into the spin and cut it short and I drop my arm and I lean over the circle. I look like I am all hunched over. Issues, I tell you. If its not actually spinning in the back spin, its the entry. So I am really trying to think about holding my left leg behind me and holding that right inside edge without hunching and mantaining my left arm in front.

Camels? Oh god.
Well. I actually have been turning out ok camels lately. Rotating them on freestyle sessions and such. Not that morning. We started doing exercises on the line. Like a really short left inside spiral with a hook. I start from a standstill and try to mantain my left arm in front and straight legs on a deep curve. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesnt. I called it torture.
I’m like a broken plane. Sometimes my leg is bent. I lied. One of the two is always bent but I cant feel it. Lol. Hey, they feel straight to me! I think they are naturally curvy. Sigh. One day I will have a gorgeous camel. My spin learning curve is usually 3 years of intense concentration. So after 3 years of trying a spin I can usually rely on rotating it in a decent fashion. Its about 3. So maybe it will click soon. Although, my good spirals are all on my right leg so this was challenging for me from the beginning. I still cant do very good spirals on the left. Yeah, I got issues!

We also added some more steps to my program footwork. And if I ever get the music cut we might actually finish choreographing the program! The rest of the footwork consists of: mohawk, 3 inside power pulls (changing legs) to a small backwards hop to the left foot with a crossover into 2 continuous three turns on the right foot. I hope that makes sense. Maybe I’ll bring the camera this week so you guys can see it.

Speaking of watching skating. Did anybody watch Skating from the Heart? I watched it today and I dont normally watch those skating shows, preferring the competitions, but it was really good! Irina was skating and so was Shae-Lynn! I love them both. I have to say though, Shae-Lynn makes everything look good and she doesn’t even have jumps! Its amazing, you dont even notice that she isnt doing them. Its really great dance on ice with her and her hydroblading is always awesome. So I will include a Shae-Lynn clip at the end of this so you can see what I mean…
Till next time… ta ta

P.S This video is of Shae-Lynn’s number Living on the edge at the new years gala but she also skated it for Skate for the Heart

New Years and a Return to Skating

22 Jan

Well, I admit. I was very sketchy during 2008. Skating-wise I mean. Now that I have quit my second job (yay!) I have more time and more energy although cash reserve is lower and that is never easy πŸ˜‰ But, I feel like myself again. I really missed skating alot. I still skated the last 3 months or so but it was more like once or twice a week or sometimes like in the month of December – every other week! You can’t improve with that kind of practice schedule and its hard to stay into skating when you aren’t on the ice. I found that I do actually have skating muscles and that I actually missed those muscles when i wasn’t skating very much. Funny, how I didn’t notice them before.
Now, I am working back up to my old fitness level. My sits are a little higher then they were just because I cant get down low enough to hold them. So I have alot of work to do. However, I have a renewed sense of enthusiasm and actually speed. Yep- I said speed. I am not holding back as much. I am also not being so boring on the ice. Meaning – I am practicing and dwelling on certain things I can’t do well but more often in the last two sessions I have been really just skating to the music like I used to. Like I did when I started.
That freedom I felt to just skate and dance to the music rather then just focus relentlessly on elements and dwell on the small details has returned. So with only skating three times in the last 3 weeks (2 of those being since monday) I find that I am faster, my jumps higher, and moves are crisper.
Maybe I was tired? lol
At any rate, my coach and I are working on my program and that work will continue once I get the actual music cut! Sigh… everything cost money!
We have a great footwork sequence developed which I practice and the first 15 seconds is choreographed! Its a beginning.
The new music is from  the Moulin Rouge 2 Soundtrack and its called Bolero by Simon Standage. I would never have picked it. I like the music but I have had that cd for a couple of years now and I wasn’t very into the instrumental since I had obsessed over it early on πŸ˜‰

But, the music is very upbeat, striking, and different. Definitely different from my ice castles program. Oh yeah.. very different from that one!

So I am working a little on the program and we are also working on my flip (as usual) and my lutz. In addition we work on my silver moves. One day I will test again πŸ˜‰ I guess I should by the end of this year since I should try to move up.
I usually test my freestyle and MIF at the same time. Get it all over with. Might as well.
Unlike competitions which I love! I really dislike tests. Judges are no fun to skate in front of.  Yikes..

Ok, in addition to that I am working on my camel, layback and getting my spirals back. It takes more work now to get my leg up in the air then it used to. So I am concentrating on holding the edges, in particular the inside spiral.
Also, I am looking towards my double sal. I really feel that is my strongest jump and I think that if I am going to start trying higher level jumps now would be a good time. My knees are starting to hurt πŸ˜‰
Well then- this week  is US Nationals and I have Ice network! Woohoo. I have been obsessed since I got the subscription for christmas. So very exciting to see live coverage of sooo many skaters! I love to watch everyone.Tonight is the Senior Ladies free program and Sat night is Freeskate on NBC (starting at 9) So everyone turn on the TV to watch! Lets get some good ratings! Since so much skating was taken off of regular tv this year I think we need a really big boost to show them that figure skating is important as a sport! and that we want to watch it!
It makes me mad to see all the football and hockey channels lined up with multiple games on and figure skating only gets their national and world championships broadcasts. No grand prix except skate america was broadcast on US networks. Thats terrible!
At any rate…. hopefully that will change.
I would like to post some videos from youtube of some of the junior ladies that skated this week at nationals when they become available. They arent necessarily the winners just ones that I thought had some really great programs, good extension, technique etc.
There were a couple that were very impressive although they may not have had 15 triple jumps in the programs. I noticed that the ones who had alot of jumps fell on half but landed the other half and then rushed through their program still did better then a few of the girls who presented a full artistic program without mistakes.
Do I sound cranky? Yes, I probably do haha… work does that for you. Oh… and below 20 degree weather tends to make you grumpy too.

Any predictions on the outcome of the Senior Ladies events? Is it going to be Mirai, Caroline, Allissa, Bebe, Rachel or maybe even Ashley?
I personally love Allissa (please land those jumps!!!) she would be totally unbeatable, same thing with Caroline. But I think its going to be Mirai (if she is on) and Rachel. Poor Bebe she is always just shy of the medal, I think she will be 4th as usual. Ashley will probably be third. thats my predictions. But my faves are Allissa and Ashley although Mao and  Yu-na will more than likely be the winners of worlds. 
Yu-Na is amazing and Mao is just so fluid. I am posting Ashley Wagner’s inspiring short program at Cup of China here. It really shows that she has a range of skating between energetic exuberant skating and graceful/extension and quiet skating.
Anywho- better get back to work – take a look below and drop me a line with your National and world predictions! I want to hear what you guys think!

Skate America!

27 Oct

I havent been skating much until recently again… its more like 2 times a week now.
I am still working on my silver moves- slowly. Those inside forward three turns kill me!!
Lol, but at any rate the skating season has just begun!
And the star of skate america was (hands down) YU- NA!
Amazing performance to scheherezade. I think she is only beatable by Mao and well.. actually Yukari was looking really good too. Loved that new program to Giselle! She actually smiled!
But I posted Yu-Na’s long program here for everyone to see… Enjoy!

Sit change sit

19 Jun

I’m back again. The summer skating hours are wonderful!! Every year right after shut down the ice rink opens up and the rink gives us amazing hours for freestyle and coffee club and this year is exceptional. Every day there is a freestyle session! Its amazing! So I usually peak by the end of the summer and then have to pare down my hours towards fall and winter.
Weird isnt it?
But alas, we are subject to hockey’s need of the rink and right now they are gone!!! YAY!
Anyway it was my third day on the ice yesterday after 6 weeks off. (It was too expensive to go to the next closest rink 45 minutes away- like I usually do- gas y’know)
and I am landing all my flips!! I am checking my left shoulder and that is helping so much. I am landing all my waltz loop exercises that my coach taught me. AND… this is a big one. I started working on back spins again and I am rotating them and doing the jump exercise again out of them. This is with only three days back on!!! All that hard work over the last few years or this past year finally paid off.
My cames are so so but at least most of them rotate and they are getting better.

However, yesterday I had a breakthrough. I started doing sit spins into back sit. Not only did I maintain the back sit for a few rev’s but I actually could stand up into a back spin and push out from it!!! Amazing. I am in awe. No, seriously. Last year that was just a dream but it just happened like – poof.
I even called my coach over who was in freestyle and she said I just needed to take more time and step out a bit more into the back sit and then take my time with my arms and it worked even better!
I am soooo happy!!!
The layback is progressing too. Which is good.
And my new thing is working more on getting my spirals back. They have become awkward and they used to be easy.
Ok.. so I have to go back to work..more later!!

Lake Placid Trip to AN 2008

14 Apr

ADULT NATIONIALS TRIP 2008Ok.. ok.. so I went on hiatus for awhile… thats because I was practicing so hard!
Lol… I just got back from Adult nationals in Lake Placid- which was surprisingly warm!
I have tons of pics I can post.. and no.. not all of them were of skating. The weeks leading up to this trip were so busy though that I didnt have time to write.
I should say as a teaser (since i can’t write for long at the moment) that I fixed my flip! Yes… yet again.
HA! but this time I landed it during every practice and the actual competition! Wooo!
My coach fixed it the day before I left. Such a simple fix (like the rest of the fixes throughout the years of skating)
I had to remember to keep my left shoulder checked in front. With that simple advice I was able to land my flip and my loop in combination!
Amazing. Apparently this left shoulder check thing also works weel with my sit, scratch, back spin, and camel..haha
Who would have guessed… well everyone probably but consciously thinking about it helped so much!

So back to the trip. Lake placid was warm and lots of fun as well as a welcome respite from work and life at home.
Sometimes you just need to get away.
I saw alot of good adult skating and it was amazing to have the chance to skate in such a huge arena.
You can really pretend you are sasha and michelle while skating under those huge spotlights and that amazing smooth white ice….. sigh.. everything else will just pale in comparison.

Anywho.. i will post my Bronze freeprogram which we have taped. It was my best program by far! Landed everything and my spins while not there absolute best were good. So all in all it was definitely an improvement. I placed 8th out of 13 with two 3rd place ordinals  and one 4th place(weird again… just like last time-judges marks were all over the place)
So- I cant say I was exactly happy with the placement since last time I performed this program with less jumps against some of the same competitors and was ranked 4th.. strange. But anywho…. I also skated an artistic program to Flashdance in legwarmers and all. The crowd was very into it.. but alas the judges were not. I landed all the jumps and had minor boo boos and no- the program was not extremely technical.. so i will have to work on it. I placed 8th out of 10 with that.
hmmm…sucky… guess when they say artistry and choreography matter the most they really mean only if you throw in a lutz or flip with it.
So-I will have to rework it but the general program I thought went well for its first time out.
I had alot of fun with the outfit πŸ˜‰
 Photo’s to follow later ….


PS we worked on axel prep and choctaws today. So nice to get out of the program rut. I think I forgot how to do a loop by itself I have been doing them in combination so much that my loops this morning were all wack!
Backspins were on the this morning. I’m doing backspin hop and backspin hop hop hop…. lol.. little exercises.
Watch that left shoulder!!!


4 Mar

New Coachy!
Ya ya!!
I have been working with her in group lessons and started to take privates with her. She is very young and takes lessons at a rink an hour and a half from here- with a russian coach. So my way of thinking is…..can’t afford the russian but maybe the knowledge that she is learning will be passed down to me πŸ˜‰

I believe she started skating at the same time as me- years ago lol, but is now working on triples.
Super high energy kid.

My other coach is finishing up the choreography on my artistic so its coming along. I switched coaches because my “adult coach” only teaches up to axel. Not really working on that right now- but getting there- as soon as I get that lutz consistent.

So, the first day (6am in the morning by the way – yeah me I finally got my butt up at that time) she showed me her warmup. Moves around the rink consisting of :
forward crossovers into an inside edge
 into a right mohawk
hold backwards on right inside edge
step forward on left
mohawk to back
extend left leg back and hold
continue cross overs around end of rink and repeat
(I will modify this later with actual names of these moves – they were mostly on the adult bronze test)
This warm up is supposed to open up the hips and get you to think about all the different parts of your body.
Which- unbelievably…. works really well.

Other warmups include:
Cross overs back and forward with arms over head (ballet position)
which slowly move down until they are held rounded in front close to your stomach (another ballet position, which I forget)
You just continue moving your arms like this as you stroke. This really, really helps!!
I just learned this and have done it twice in practice- my shoulders are stiff but I feel so much more secure on my crossovers. I thought I was going to kill myself at first and then I thought I looked like an airplane ready to take off… but it really does promote thinking of the upper half and lower half of your body as two seperate entities ( which is the point) and it helps me to keep my head up which in turn keeps my crossovers even.
I will have someone tape it…so you all all can see it.
There are other things we went over but I will write about it next time… this new job takes the stuffing out of me. I feel old when its 10pm at night and I am ready to just pass out…lol

ta ta

3 yr Scratch into Back scratch Without Dying!

10 Feb

another video… this spin.. its the second one on the video and the move took me forever to get!!!
Yes! Three years to be able to do this much without falling and whacking my head on this ice! Nope-its not complete but its something… and I feel sooo cool doing it. Ha! Thats right, all the cool skaters are doing it..lol
I think I need to get out more.


15 Jan

So… I have not been updating. I suppose thinking about writing is not the same as actually doing it. So I will try and keep this up to date now.

First, now that I have a new job (WOOHOOOO!) I don’t have to spend time job searching and pulling my hair out in frustration  and I can devote more time to everything else…. like my skate journal!

Plus, I have noticed that I can’t remember my skate lessons half as well when I don’t write down the little tips.

So to start off with, the last competition I went to in Aston went really well! My friend and I had a great time! It was also good experience nerves wise. Not to mention that I am the type of person who has to work towards something like a competition to motivate myself to the next level.
I know alot of people say that they can challenge themselves on their own… but nope… not moi.
I say well.. I can practice that Lutz… and then I kind of do it… or I can say I need to practice that Lutz cause I am going to go test or compete with that lutz!! Yeah… that gets my butt moving. Actually it might be the threat of failure in public that makes me move my butt…lol whatever works right?

So, the last competition I placed 4th out of 11! And I had a first place ordinal! Very cool…and I also had a 10th place ordinal and a fourth…just a little confusing. Wish I could ask what made the one place me first and then other place me second to last? Very weird.
 I took the flip out of my program though and played it safe – everything was landed, included my fake lutz (yep- my faux lutz that is actually loop thingy)
I really enjoyed it and I took my time and tried to smile more and enjoy the program, so that helped.
I also competed in the improv portion for the first time. That was cool but harder than I thought it would be. I was hoping for slow celine dion – graceful music but nope…. got that pop song “crazy”…. All I was thinking was that I must be crazy to go out here and dance to that!
I tried and I did my best but I placed 4th out of 5th πŸ™‚
I even through in my belly slide… where I slide on the ice and then get up gracefully πŸ˜‰ seriously it was intentional!!!

Ok, back to the present though. Right now is kind of my out of shape time. The rink here is crowded and the freestyle sessions have not been plentiful and of course when they were over the holiday’s I was traveling… sigh.
So now I am playing catch up and I feel like a beached whale out there right now… the holiday weight around the middle has taken up residence.  However, I have to get back into shape and work on my lutz and flip and programs because I just sent in the forms to the Adult Championships for April! Roadtrip!!! 
SO that means I really have to get back to the grindstone and stop drinking at all those bars on the weekends… ooh. nasty habit that… lol
I’m not sure but I think just a little bit of alcohol on the weekend really just slows me down physically- as far as working out. It might have something to do with the belly fat too!
So my goals are set for this winter.

I have to still choreograph my artistic program and continue working on my free program. That should take up enough time!

So the lesson tips from the group lesson coach for this week:

1. Spot on the jumps (pick a point on both sides and try to look at that point when you take off and when you are landing.) It helps you make the rotation.
-yeah specifically on my suck-ass flip and lutz.
2. Lift the arms up and pretend to grab things in the air when jumping (does it matter if its some hot guy’s butt?)
3. Lutz specific:
Look behind and then to the front when going to pick in.
Dont cross the free foot way behind on the jump (I am completely crossed apparently when I do that…)
Arms up and use the H position

My other goals for skating:
(I have so many I cant keep track any more!)
1. Lutz jump
2. Lower Sit
3. Good Layback

Ok thats it… thats my entire wish list– I totally left the flip out cold. Every year I say.. ooh I want to improve my flip… well too bad.. no more mr. flip! I am moving on.  I am not focusing on it right now. hmmph.

Okay.. guess I should go – I just posted my latest spin attempts on youtube I might post them here… then you’ll see what I mean by lower sit… it feels low! But when I watch the video, its like omg I am almost standing so much for those thigh muscles.
Gotta work on those!