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: Pairs Preview January 19, 2012

“What do you say to taking chances? What do you say to jumping off the edge?” Chances are, this title will be won by the team willing to simply take the chance. Between new partners and retired skaters, this event does not have a defending champion. Yes, John Coughlin is there, but in a very knew partnership. Veterans Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig have come awfully close, but never to the very top. Will experience trump chemistry? It’s an interesting battle, for sure.

The Break Down

Caydee Denney & John Coughlin — The closest thing to a returning National champ, both Caydee and John have been there, done that. But, not together. It’s been interesting watching these two compete this year. They seem to have a natural fit in their technique, and more importantly in their connection. They both seem to be skating with an enormous amount of determination, and the talent to back it up. Still, their partnership is new. Their choreography isn’t complex. Their elements are huge, but it takes more than that to win a title.

Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig — I think it’s safe to say these two have more experience together than the top four teams combined! That certainly plays to their advantage here. Not only does their time together have them at a comfort level unheard of by the other teams, but it allows them to add difficulty to every element. Their lifts, their in betweens, their footwork, their choreography — all things they have improved this year. The trick for them is hitting the side-by-side jumps. The called in some backup from Christy Krall (yes, Patrick Chan’s coach) to help solidify the jumps. If they hit them, the may be looking at their first National title in 10 trips to the championships.

Mary Beth Marley & Rockne Brubaker — This is a team that, in a way, confuses me a bit. Let me explain. Of course, I expected Rockne Brubaker to be competitive, with whatever partner he chose. And they were at last year’s Nationals. However, trying to keep up with internationally experienced teams with Mary Beth learning pairs skating on the fly … it’s a challenge that seems to widen the gap, not lessen it. I adore them both, don’t get me wrong. But they have to be flawless to keep up. The expectations on Rockne may have people anticipating more from them sooner than they are capable of it. That said, the bronze medal position is very open. They have a chance at claiming it. (more…)