Figure Skating: From the Boards

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.
 

Breaking it down: Skate Canada October 31, 2011

Two down, four to go, friends!

Skate Canada presented another series of season debuts this past weekend. Some hit, some missed. And now that it’s over and Cup of China is on the horizon, we have a few minutes to glance back in the rear view mirror and reflect. Shall we?

“Funny” how some things never change

Virtue and Moir -- Short Dance

Canadian royalty. That’s how Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were received in Missassauga, as well they should be. Like their American counterparts, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, they are the class of a deep Canadian field, and the cream of the crop here. They seem to be one constant in a sport that has so few.

Their spicy short dance won over the crowd instantly … and that’s no surprise. These two thrive on strong character dances and though they only performed it fully one time, last season’s samba free dance was the perfect preparation. Tessa oozes Latin flavor. It will be fun to see this up next to Davis/White’s SD at the Final.

Their free dance is a totally different take on classic dance. Their “Funny Face” program is charming and challenging. While this isn’t my favorite look for them (at first glance, I feel it takes away from some of their best qualities — posture, line, depth of edges, emotional maturity), it’s already better than it was at Finlandia, and I expect it to continue on that path. Scott alluded to his “Fred-like-ness” in the Kiss and Cry, and that he definitely has going for him. Fred Astaire would be proud.

Fellow Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje skated back to back strong programs. Both need more polish, but for their first event, I’m impressed by their improvements. The emotional depth they’ve added — especially in their free dance — is impressive.

Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte have a gorgeous short dance. Their free dance didn’t impress me quite as much. They’re still a little rough around the edges, to be sure. But they are making great strides.

Despite a silly stumble at the end of their well-skated short dance, Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates added themselves to my list of teams to watch — and the list of new teams that had stellar debuts! Their free dance was one of my favorites of the entire event. Madison is the perfect ice dancer — her expressions come from every inch of her body. And Evan, well, it was so good to see him back on competitive ice. Welcome back, Evan! (more…)

 

Skate Canada: It’s anybody’s game! October 28, 2011

After an afternoon watching the practice sessions from Skate Canada (thanks, skatebuzz!), I can say I’m fully ready to see how this event goes down. Let me just say, it could go any which way!

The ladies event continues to be unpredictable, this time with the added impact of a 14-year-old Russian phenom who might just steal the show.

Mirai Nagasu is the skater who should have the edge. She’s been close to the top before, and when she is right mentally, she has all the pieces to be one of the best in the world. At the end of last season, her coach Frank Carroll said she was the best she’d ever been mentally. If that has continued, she could be in for her best season yet. Of course, that is always qualified by her lack of consistency in the past.

Elizaveta comes to Canada armed with a stellar triple lutz-triple toe combination.

Canadian Cynthia Phaneuf is still looking to put herself back in the talk of the top ladies in the world. Generally speaking, she’ll have a strong short program, but lose it in the free skate. Plus, the pressure of skating at home sometimes works against her, rather than in her favor.

Akiko Suzuki won a Grand Prix gold last season, but she, too, has some free skate consistency issues to work around.

The real fireworks, though, could come from Russian Elizaveta Tuktamisheva. She is the 2011 World Junior silver medalist, but more importantly, the 2011 Japan Open champion where she posted a 118+ in her free skate. She’s a jumping bean with a very traditional style, but she’s been impressive. Look out for her!

Don’t forget about the other Americans — Rachael Flatt and Ashley Wagner. They’ll always be in a fight for the podium.

The men’s event seems fairly predictable, at least for gold — it’s a faceoff between Patrick Chan and Daisuke Takahashi, who both looked strong in yesterday’s practice. Patrick looked to be better off from the quad stand point — Dai fell quite hard on his quad toe attempts.

Before everyone goes off trying to say which skater is better, I think it’s important to realize — they are BOTH fabulous, just in different ways. Patrick gives us all the thrill of something that’s larger than life. He sweeps across the ice with speed and flow that is unmatched, and his choreography tells a beautiful story.

Daisuke, on the other hand, shows excellence in the details. His musicality is second to none, and he highlights every little accent throughout his programs. He really believes in his music and choreography and melds them together to hit every note, right on cue. (more…)

 

And so it begins — The season starts … now! October 18, 2011

Remember when summers were for taking a break? Relaxing in the sunshine? Reading a good book and lounging under a shade tree? Nice memories there, huh?

My summer was nothing like that.

Don’t get me wrong, it was good. I took a few fun trips, saw some quality baseball, experienced some new sports, read a few, um, chapters of a good book … all while expanding my sports writing ventures at AerysSports.com. As you may have noticed, that took me away from many things at FromTheBoards.

Yes, I had the privilege of interviewing World Champs Meryl Davis and Charlie White, National Champ Alissa Czisny, Rising Star Christina Gao … if you didn’t get to see the Summer Spotlight series, feel free to check it out now! But I was pulled away from much of the news, rumor, updates, and even the preseason buzz.

BUT …

I’m back, just like the international skating season! This weekend (can you believe it? This weekend!) we’ll get our first glimpse at what everyone has been working on. We’ll see some of the best of thh best — Davis and White, Savchenko and Szolkowy, Takahiko Kozuka, Czisny, and Carolina Kostner.

Plus, we’ll get a good idea of how Caydee Denney and John Coughlin will fair in the debut season of their highly-touted partnership. I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical of this partnership at first, more for sentimental reasons than anything else. But, having seen their programs from Nebelhorn Trophy, I can’t wait to see how they match up with top level pairs teams. Call it wishful thinking, but I fully expect them to contend for a medal.

As you all have probably heard, Evan Lysacek was originally slated to compete in Ontario this weekend. Turns out, he never confirmed that. And has, as many expected, withdrawn from the GP series. That definitely clears the way for Kozuka as the favorite (although, he probably would have been anyway).

But it also gives Douglas Razzano a chance to kick off his season in his home country, alongside Mr. Sherlock Holmes himself, Ricky Dornbush. I’m excited to see how Ricky does on the senior Grand Prix stage with a little more pressure after his National success and top-ten Worlds finish. I love what both of these guys bring to the ice, so I hope they fair well here!

Mostly, though, I’m just excited that skating’s back!

I’ve been overwhelmed with the most exciting month and a half of baseball I have ever experienced. I love every second of it. Why am I talking about baseball? Because it’s a passion. Just like skating is. And if this skating season can live up to the wild ride my baseball season has been, we’re all in for a treat!

And in case you aren’t following me on Twitter yet (ahem … @fromtheboards), I’m happy to announce that I will be writing a Fantasy Skating column for Icenetwork.com this season! If you haven’t registered your team yet, take a quick trip over there and get it done. Plus, take a peek at my Fantasy thoughts for Week 1.

With as hectic as my schedule is these days, it’s probably best to follow me on Twitter if you want to know what my coverage will be like for the GP season. I’ll likely be letting you know as I know!

I’ll leave you with this, because I think it’s fabulous.

 

Americans in Paris (along with some Canadians, Italians, Hungarians…) November 24, 2010

Just a few short weeks ago, we were all bouncing off the walls with excitement as the Grand Prix series got underway. And now? It’s just about over. I won’t lie…I’m even a little bit exhausted keeping up with it all! It’s a trip just trying to watch as much as possible via icenetwork between work schedules (and, perhaps more importantly, sleep schedules!)…I can only imagine the skaters are feeling the cries for rest as well. But with just one more weekend to determine Grand Prix Final line ups, there’s no rest for the weary!

Trophy Eric Bombard (um…can I say I miss “Lalique?”) might have the weakest ice dance field thus far. The only “big name” team is the hometeam – French skaters Pechalat and Bourzat. They’re the obvious favorites here, and barring some crazy circumstances like last weekend, this is their time to shine.

Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein from the US will be hoping to one-up their bronze medal from Canada.

Several other teams are coming off of 5th place finishes in their first GP events, so they’ll be battling it out to move up to podium position here.

The pairs event features Savchenko and Szolkowy from Germany who won Skate America quite easily. They are also the odds-on favorites in France, and should really only face competition from one team – Bazarova and Larionov from Russia who placed 2nd at NHK Trophy at the start of the season. However, they placed 2nd with a score of 173.83 and S/S of Germany won Skate Canada with a score of 197.70. So there still should be no contest for gold.

If the Russians hang on for silver, there will be a trio of young teams looking to improve from their earlier assignments: Felicia Zhang and Taylor Toth (USA), Mylene Brodeur and John Mattatall (CAN), and Maylin Hausch and Daniel Wende (GER). All three finished 6th or 7th at their respective first events and have a shot at the podium here.

The ladies event remains as unpredictable as any thus far. We’ve got Mao Asada trying to make a comeback from a disastrous season debut and Alissa Czisny trying to repeat in her own comeback season of sorts…and that’s just the beginning.

Cynthia Phaneuf of Canada will be looking to make amends for her long program meltdown that kept her from winning at home, Haruka Imai of Japan will try to desperately keep her GPF hopes alive, and Mirai Nagasu will look to be more trained in her long program, as well as fighting off the demons that haunt her free skate, should she win the short program.

I refuse to make any sort of predictions, because the only thing predictable about the ladies events this year is that there’s no possible way to make an educated guess about what will happen!

On the men’s side, however, we once again see likely the best competition of the event.

France’s Brian Joubert is looking for more than just clean quads after even his new-and-much-improved choreography and style left him 4th in China. Kevin Reynolds of Canada will look to repeat his stellar 2-quad short program, but better his own 4th place finish from Canada.

Japan’s Takahiko Kozuka comes in as the best candidate for “the favorite” after winning Cup of China, defeating Brian Joubert and the American Brandon Mroz.

Mroz, as well as the other Frenchman Florent Amodio, are both hoping for Grand Prix miracles after medaling in their early events.

The best part is, on any given day, any one of these guys could throw down back-to-back performances that can’t be beat. The question is…who’s day will it be?

This will determine who’s in and who’s out. And as anxious as the competitors in France will be, some (like Jeremy Abbott) who are already done will be just as anxious waiting at home to see if they did enough to book a trip to Beijing!

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, I may or may  not be able to tweet live this weekend. It all depends on the family activities! But regardless, I’ll be checking in and posting my thoughts throughout.

Speaking of thoughts…

I just read an “open letter” from Plushenko about how he should be reinstated by the ISU. (If you didn’t know, he was banned for competing in a non-sanctioned event that coincided with Worlds, I believe.) As much as there is a part of me that feels sorry for him, it’s only a very small piece. I had a hard time digesting his actions and comments post-Vancouver, and even if he was upset, physically and emotionally hurt, he was wrong to react as he did. Then to go out and compete in an event he knew wasn’t approved (this isn’t his first rodeo, kids…he’s been around long enough he should have known better), fail to submit his appeal by the required deadline, wait several months, then make claims like “You haven’t seen the last of me” and “I will compete in Sochi”…I’m sorry, but rules are in place for a reason. And, fair or not, he violated them. Just because he’s Russia’s star doesn’t mean he should get special permission to get around the rules. …just my thoughts.

As for the thoughts about ABC’s “Skating with the Stars” I said I’d share, well, I’ve decided to reserve my judgement for one more week. It could improve, or it could collapse…we’ll just have to wait and see after next week. I will say, however, that it sounds unfortunately (but not unexpectedly) bad from non-skating fans. Too few real celebrities, and too much cheesiness. But we shall see…

And now for my TEB Fantasy picks:

Until then…

 

And the 2010-2011 Comeback Kid is…. October 9, 2010

With the Senior Grand Prix series just around the corner (13 days, for those of you counting down with me!), things are quickly picking up in the skating world. The Junior Grand Prix is flying by, this week stopping in Dresden, Germany as the juniors battle it out for a place in the Grand Prix Final.

(Speaking of the JGP in Germany, I want to say congrats to Richard Dornbush on his gold medal performances, Christina Gao on her second Grand Prix silver, and to Charlotte Lichtman and Dean Copely for their third place finish! Find complete results of the event here.)

Also happening this week, skaters are in Finland for the 2010 Finlandia Trophy. The US has been well represented – Johnathan Cassar and Grant Hochstein competed for the men, Madison Hubbell and Keiffer Hubbell in ice dance, and Amanda Dobbs for the ladies. Grant came *this close* to the bronze…only a difference of .01 separated the 3rd place finisher, Samuel Contesti from Italy! He was second in the Free Skate though, so congrats Grant! Also, check out Grant’s blog/diary posts for Icenetwork from the event in Finland – a fun read!

And with all the international buzz, there’s even more to keep an eye on nationally! Regional competitions going on around the US, and many skaters already have their eyes set on Nationals in Greensboro, NC. But to get there, they’ve got to take it one step at a time. One pair looking to do just that is none other than two-time National Champ, Rockne Brubaker.

Now, if you’ve been keeping up with posts here at From the Boards, you know this isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned Rockne. He’s been in the news often in the last few months, sadly, not because he’s gearing up for the GP series, but because he’s been on the lookout for a new partner. Well, as I said in a previous post, he’s found one in Mary Beth Marley. She’s only 15, but in this article from Icenetwork.com, Brubaker says the age is not even a small factor. He says she’s the hardest worker he’s ever known, and from the sounds of things, I have to agree! She was landing a throw triple on the second day of the new team’s tryout, and here’s the kicker – she’d had no pairs experience before….ever! Looks like she’s as hungry for that top spot as her 24-year-0ld partner!

But skating in the pairs discipline is a bit more complicated than, say, singles, because not only do two people have to be able to do the pairs tricks, but they have to be able to do them together, and learning how to be a team, a couple on the ice, doesn’t often come too quickly. So, when I heard in June that Rockne’s former partner, Keauna McLaughlin, was leaving the sport, I (like Rockne himself) figured his season was over.

Enter, Mary Beth Marley.

And after just a few months and several skills tests passed, the two have their sights set on the international spotlight. They were hoping if they showed enough promise, USFS would give them one of the open spots at Skate America in November, but they weren’t quite that lucky. Still, their plan is to blow us all away at Nationals, make it back to that podium, and on to Worlds.

I tell ya, I just love a comeback story. (Okay, so I loved Rockne anyway! But still…) I could only imagine how Rockne must have felt in June, thinking his season was done and he wouldn’t have the chance to come back from a disappointing finish at Nationals that led to not making the Olympic team. And yet, he never gave up. Good thing. If he had, we may have missed out on the story of the year! (Okay, okay! I know it’s not really much of a story yet. But I can’t help it, I’m really excited to see things work out for him and Mary Beth.)

So as we make our way to the NHK Trophy in just under two weeks, keep an eye out, come nationals, for those who may not have had their day internationally. I have a feeling it’s going to be exciting!

Speaking of comebacks, as I was scouring YouTube for any video evidence of Rockne and Mary Beth (which you can find here, by the way), I found another interesting video of another interesting pair: Lindsey Davis and Themi Leftheris. Themi skated with Naomi Nari Nam when she came back to the sport as a pairs skater, and the two of them were cuter than cute…I was so sad when Naomi’s injury struggles came back to haunt them, because I felt they had something really special. Well, looks like half the team is back, this time with Lindsey Davis. And they have some potential. The video shows some interesting elements. She looks to be a strong singles skater, which should help as they progress. Anyway, thought I’d share this find with you! Enjoy!

Don’t forget!! Check your local listings for NBC’s airing of “All that Skate LA” TOMORROW, 10/10/10. (I knew all those 10’s was a good sign – skating on TV, must be good luck!)

Until then…

 

The magical world of Pairs and Poems September 9, 2010

I’m not going to lie. The icenetwork.com pairs rankings are kind of intimidating to me. The men, the ladies, even the ice dance…I feel like I can make a valid attempt at analyzing the way things stack up heading into the season. But the pairs? Sketchy, to say the least.

I mean, I watch pairs. I watch it all. But other than Shen and Zhao (who just had a beautiful “wedding” celebration ice show…search for videos on YouTube. Beautiful!), there are not too many pairs teams who WOW me. At least not yet.

So, instead of forcing you to read a bunch of mumbo jumbo about the entire top 20 rankings, I’ve decided that it will be less painful – and more importantly, far more entertaining! – if I key in on a few I think will make their mark this year. Sound good? (Oh, and if you’re sad because it sounds like this will be short, no worries! I’m not a short blog kind of chica. I’ve got a story for you, once we make it through this pairs analysis. Deal? Great.)

Here we go!

At the top of the leaderboard is the Chinese duo of Qing Pang and Jian Tong. These two have kind of lived in the shadow of Shen and Zhao, but this season they may have that top spot to themselves. They were second to their fellow Chinese skaters at the Olympics in February, then beat out the early season favorite – the Germans – for the World title. I just saw their performance of “Impossible Dream” at Shen and Zhao’s show, and let me just say, these two have really developed their style. Their lines are longer, their edges cleaner, their facial expressions are, well, expressive. It hit me while I was watching that this seems to be the way of Chinese pairs teams. They burst onto the scene because of their massive technical elements, but don’t seem to show much style or grace or passion. But if you give them enough time, that comes. And when it does, it’s brilliant! Seems to me most other skaters do things the other way (at least the Americans who seem to get the artistry but not the technique). Interesting. Regardless, these two will still be at the top of the game this season, no doubt.

Right behind the newly improved Chinese artists are the German skaters who seemed to have it all going their way leading up to the Olympics. Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy make a beautiful team. Sometimes I feel that skate a little too much within themselves, but I have to commend their creativity and their efforts to push the envelope with their choreography. Last season was a disappointment for them, so I expect great things from them as well.

The top Russian team of Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov, as well as the second ranked Chinese team of Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang are in similar situations – they both have the skill, but haven’t put it all together at the peak moments. They’re both still young enough to grown, and that is exactly what I expect this season to be for them. They’ve been around long enough now to know what it takes. Now it’s just a matter of implementing that.

Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison fill out the top five (all of which I’m familiar enough with to comment on!). This Canadian couple is hard not to root for. I was watching the 2007 Four Continents competition where Jessica was hit in the face by Bryce’s blade on a side-by-side camel spin…I was horrified. I will never watch side-by-side spins the same way. But such is the sport of figure skating, and Jessica has come back stronger than ever. (I think I’d have a hard time just getting back out there, much less ever doing that spin again!! Kudos to her for her bravery and determination!) They didn’t have a flawless season last year. They struggle with some technical elements. But if they can get some consistency with those tricks, their artistry is almost natural, they so beautifully emote the character of their programs. I’m excited to see them this season.

Jumping around a bit now, the top two American teams come in at #7 and #9. These two were a pleasant surprise last year. Neither of them had much international experience, but when it counted at the Olympics and at Worlds, they put out pretty solid programs. Now, they’ve got a LOT of work to do to catch the top teams, but they made it known that they want to play with the big kids, and I expect more of that from them both. They’re no longer training under the same coaching staff (see my post, “Oh, the drama!” for more on Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett’s move to John Zimmerman and Silvia Fontana) but they both have the desire to move up drastically this season. Denney and Barrett are a much newer team than their compatriots, Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig, but look out for them both in the years ahead, starting, of course, right about now.

Taking the role of the grandparents on the list (I kid…sort of…) are the long-standing American champs, Rena Inoue and John Baldwin. They’re like the Energizer bunny or something. They just keep going and going and going…
It will be interesting to see how they hold up another season. Don’t get me wrong, they can be magical out there. I was in St. Louis when they nailed the throw 3-axel for the first time and that crowd was electrified. It was AWESOME. They always seem to find a way to make it close to the top, just not all the way there. They passed up their GP assignment, so we’ll see how they rank after that.

American’s Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin make the September rankings, coming in at #18. These two will be fun to watch. They’re a team with so much potential, and the determination to make anything happen. One of their goals for the year, as posted on icenetwork.com, is to win the U.S. National Championships this season, plus have a strong debut at Worlds. They’ll face some tough competition, that’s for sure. But these two, along with the other young American teams, bring some excitement to US pairs this season. We’ll see how they all do internationally, but I see a lot of good to work with from this team, and the others who will be pushing each other to the top!
Well, I think that’s about where I call it a day with pairs. I’ll try to keep you updated through the season if I feel there’s another team coming on strong that just has to be mentioned and discussed! But for now, as I promised, a little something else.
Figure skating has brought me so much since 2002 – the trip of a lifetime in 2006, a reason to be excited about the cold, the desire to push myself in whatever I do each day, an introduction to all sorts of new music, and some really great new friends. I’ve had the privilege of participating in a few on-line forums as a fan of various skaters, and some of the people I’ve “met” via those forums have become wonderful friends! From the Michelle Kwan Forum and the Evan Lysacek Fan Forum and even a Josh Groban Forum where I found a group of fans who also adored figure skating, I’ve had the chance to share in my skating joy with people who love it as much as I do.

At the Evan Lysacek forum specifically, I’ve had the chance to participate in various projects that were either sent or hand delivered to Evan. We (as a group, known as “Evan’s ELFF’s”!) have not only gotten to know each other, but in a general sense, Evan, as well. He knows who we are, mentions us in Tweets/Blog posts, and always recognizes the fact that he’s received something from us. The fact that a group of fans can become that memorable is, well, pretty awesome to me! Well, we have, on several occasions, created message books filled with personally written “good luck” messages for Evan prior to competitions. Trying to be unique, and trying to make use of my writing skills, I decided that for each of these message books I’d write Evan a silly little poem all about the task at hand. For example, this was the pre-Worlds 2009 rhyme:

Hello, dearest Evan
I’m back with a rhyme
This time for Worlds,
And it’s right on time.

With all the world
Coming to your backyard,
Show ’em what it’s like
Give ’em LA’s best regards.

Then head to the ice
To show what you’re made of
Don’t worry ’bout techniques,
Wear your heart on your sleeve, love!

Remember the time
You first landed that axel
The time you looked back
And knew you did right well.

Capture the essence
Of your childhood dream
And show to the world
Your passion extreme.

But most of all
When you step on the ice
Know you are loved
Don’t ever think twice.

With ELFFs ’round the world
Cheering most loudly
You’re certain to feel it
And we’ll clap ever so proudly

When you stand on that podium,
Champion at last,
(…knock on wood, just for safety!)
You’ll have such a blast!

So go get ’em, kid.
I’d be there if I could
But you’ll do just fine
With Frank, that’s understood!

“Undaunted courage”
Your motto will be
It worked for Michelle Kwan…
…now’s your time, we believe!

And whaddya know, he DID win! And what a glorious win it was…

I also had the opportunity to organize a collection of video montages for Michelle Kwan and send that her way…

All in all, I suppose what I’m getting at is this: I’m a sports fan because I love the magic of sport. I’m a skating fan because I love the passion to skate. And because of these loves, I’ve been blessed with the other thing I love about sport – the power it has to bring people together. That’s what they Olympic spirit is all about. That’s why the world’s gone crazy for college football, that’s why my skating friends are such a blessing. Sport – and silly Evan Lysacek poems – bring us together, no matter what other circumstances may be around.

So whether I know all there is to know about the current top 20 pairs teams or not, I know that come competition time, we’ll all watch together and share in the magic of sport, the magic of skating.

Until then…

(Follow me on twitter: @FromTheBoards!)