Figure Skating: From the Boards

Vlog: Pairs and Men Make A World-Class Case January 31, 2012

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Vlog: Dancers and Ladies Strike Gold … & Silver & Bronze & Pewter! January 29, 2012

Recorded this just after the events ended last night. Knew I wouldn’t have time to get the recap done before today’s events got underway!

Congrats to the medalists!

Find COMPLETE results here: usfigureskating.org

 

Vlog: Dancers and Men Spice Up The Pavilion On day 2 January 28, 2012

 

What’s the magic word? January 26, 2012

The Senior events kick off later today with the Pairs and Ladies Short Programs. If you need a refresher on the contenders and potential surprises, look back here for Pairs and here for Ladies.

What magic words would YOU tell Mirai?

Meanwhile, we’ve all been sounding off on Twitter for weeks about who needs what to win. So, here’s your chance — channel your inner Frank Carroll, and offer up some last minute advice for your favorites, your Fantasy picks, or just someone you think might need a little word of encouragement!

Speaking of Frank Carroll, how ’bout I start with Mirai Nagasu?

She’s the kind of skater you dream of coaching (or at least, I would dream of coaching someone with her natural talent, if I was a coach). And yet, she can’t seem to make everything “click” in competition. The nerves do her in. She panics. Focuses on how bad it is to be nervous. Or now bad she skated last time out. Or how desperately she wants to win.

My advice to her: Don’t think, just do.

She honestly has it all. She has to forget about what that means, forget about how much she hates to lose, and forget the idea that nerves are a bad thing. Change those nerves into energy and the adrenaline into focus, and just do it (Nike was really onto something with that one way back when…)

How ’bout reigning champ Alissa Czisny?

Her focus has been pretty clear. Her reconstruction of a career — and, really, a skater as a whole — is inspiration in and of itself. And yet, she’s struggled to feel “on” this season. Now, she’s set to begin her title defense.

My words of the day for her: Calm and courageous

“Calm” is often how I’d describe her skating style. Sometimes, though, her competition style is anything but calm. She, too, needs to close her eyes, take a deep breath, listen for the first note of her music, then just let it flow. All the while, channeling the courage it takes to put yourself on the line for the sake of a dream. Courage into each jump, calm flowing out of it. That’s a winning combination. (more…)

 

Tweet all about it, San Jose style! January 24, 2012

With titles already being decided in San Jose, senior competitors are getting their Nationals on, twitter style. Keeping up with all the buzz is tricky, but here are some of the latest and greatest!

Some of the crew has already arrived.

Others have just arrived, giving us visuals to confirm.

And others can’t wait to join in the action!

Can you feel the buzz?! I sure can. Ahh, Nationals!!

 

California Dreamin’: San Jose 2012 Senior Event Schedule January 21, 2012

We’re just a few days away now! And while there will be plenty of novice and junior action early in the week, it’s never too soon to start planning for the live streams and NBC broadcasts!

As always, I’ll be covering as much of the event as possible both here and via twitter (live tweets @fromtheboards). When the “real job” doesn’t get in the way (maybe someday that “real job” will actually BE covering skating!), of course. But for those of you wanting the schedule of events, here’s what we have. Each event will be streamed via icenetwork.com except for the final free skate groups (as noted).

(All times are Eastern)

 Thursday, Jan. 26

  • 7:00 p.m. — Senior Pairs Short Program
  • 10:30 p.m. — Senior Ladies Short Program
 Friday, Jan. 27
  • 5:30 p.m. — Senior Short Dance
  • 10:30 p.m. — Senior Men’s Short Program
 Saturday, Jan. 28
  • 3:00 p.m. — Senior Free Dance (Groups 1 only)
  • 4:00 p.m. — Senior Free Dance (Groups 2-3, shown live on your local NBC affiliate)
  • 7:00 p.m. — Senior Ladies Free Skate (Groups 1-2 only)
  • 9:00 p.m. — Senior Ladies Free Skate (Groups 3-4, shown live on your local NBC affiliate)
  • 11:30 p.m. — Senior Pairs Free Skate (Groups 1-2 only)
 Sunday, Jan. 29
  • 12:30 p.m. — Senior Men’s Free Skate (Groups 1-2 only)
  • 2:30 p.m. — Senior Pairs Free Skate (Group 3 only)
  • 3:00 p.m. — Senior Pairs Free Skate (Group 4, shown live on your local NBC affiliate)
  • 4:00 p.m. — Senior Men’s Free Skate (Groups 3-4, shown live on your local NBC affiliate)
Also worth noting, the 2012 Hall of Fame induction ceremony of Michelle Kwan will be streamed live on icenetwork.com for season subscribers during the men’s short program.
Find the complete schedule (including novice and junior events) HERE.
 

Do You Know The Way To San Jose: Dance Preview January 20, 2012

“I can’t keep up with your turning tables …” Or at least that’s how it’s felt, trying to keep track of the head-spinning game of musical partners! But, all the switcheroos are complete, and we’re left with a field full of promise. With ice dance becoming such a hotly contested international event, it’s a little odd to feel so confident in the gold medal hopefuls. But, when those hopefuls are *this close* to their second consecutive undefeated season, it’s understandable. That’s not to say we won’t have a strong event on our hands, though.

The Break Down

Meryl Davis & Charlie White — What else can you say about these two that hasn’t already been said? They are phenomenal. They are, however, coming off of a controversial win at the Grand Prix Final over training mates Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Well, the win wasn’t controversial, I suppose. The difference after the Short Dance portion more than made up for the scoring error, courtesy of the ever-changing ISU code of points system. What that does say, though, is that their brilliant waltz Free Dance isn’t untouchable. They’ve determined to stay the course, though, and focus on quality (which is code for “Grades of Execution”). Here, though, their biggest competition is their own expectations.

Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani — These two are undoubtedly the second-best American team this season. That said, there may be some unfair pressure on them, after their meteoric rise. They still need time to develop. They need polish. They need an “edge” that goes beyond elegance and good posture. I adore watching them skate, and they continue to improve, this season winning their first Grand Prix gold. They should be a lock for the podium (and likely one of the three World Team spots). *Knock on wood*

Madison Chock & Evan Bates
— This is, perhaps, the couple that benefited most from Pass-The-Partner. Evan came into this season after being sidelined with an achilles injury last year. He has the experience — and the required skills — of being an Olympian with former partner Emily Samuelson. Those two looked to be the anointed ones, coming up through the shadow of Tanith Belbin/Ben Agosto and David/White. But, when they split and Maddie’s partner Greg retired, there was uncertainty for a while. But only until Maddie and Evan stepped on the ice together. They are magical. They engage each other so deeply that you can’t help but be drawn in. They understand choreography (just go back and look at Chock/Zuerlein’s FD last year!), they pay attention to detail, and, oh yeah, they have pretty solid technique. They’ve picked up the partnering thing as quick as anyone, and blown me away all season long. Their FD is one of my favorites of the year. I fully expect them to push for the podium. (more…)