Walking in the Judges’ Shoes: The Sochi Judging Project

Figure skating fans love to talk about judging–everyone has an opinion on it! But, talking about the judges’ work is quite different from actually getting in there and doing it yourself–as I recently found out.

This spring, the Naked Ice web site launched a judging project (“We’ll Be the Judge of That!”) in which fans would actually judge an entire competition, issuing a full set of TES/PCS marks for each skater, just like real judges. Not only that, Naked Ice upped the stakes by choosing the 2014 Sochi Olympics ladies’ event—one of the most controversial of the IJS era—as the competition to be judged. The results of the project are available tonight on the Naked Ice site: “We’ll Be the Judge of That–2014 Sochi Olympics Results.”

I participated in this project as one of the 7 judges. It was really interesting and a lot of fun! It was also a lot of work; and very educational. To be honest, I think this is one of the most important fan projects I’ve ever seen done in the skating community. Because, as much as we all talk about judging, very few of us have actually done the job and really understand the challenges. This project gave us a window into what judges really experience when they’re using IJS. And I have to say: Judging under this system is not easy. Continue reading

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Artistika Interview

This summer, I was honored to have my web site featured in Artistika, an online magazine devoted to the arts and the artistic sports. Artistika republished my interview with Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran, and also included a little interview with me about pairs skating in general. Many readers have probably already seen this interview, but I wanted to post a direct link to it here, in case anyone missed it earlier.

A big thank-you, again, to Artistika for featuring A Divine Sport! If you haven’t seen an issue of Artistika already, I encourage you to check it out! The magazine is gorgeous and includes lots of skating articles, in addition to stories about gymnastics and the arts. It’s great reading!🙂 The first edition of the magazine had a great story on World champions Papadakis/Cizeron; the second edition includes an interview with British champion Philip Harris, as well as beautiful drawings by figure skating artist Yoshie Shibaike. Enjoy!

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Interview with Denney/Frazier

In April 2015, Haven Denney & Brandon Frazier were at a high point in their career. The young American pair had just won a silver medal at U.S. Nationals and competed at their first World Championships. They were already determined to make the World team again the next year. But then, disaster struck. Haven sustained a serious injury to her right knee on April 22, 2015. Surgery followed. It was seven long months before Haven was cleared to even do single jumps. And Haven & Brandon lost an entire season of competition.

What is it really like for an athlete to come back from such a serious injury? In this interview, Haven & Brandon talk in depth about their journey back to world-level competition. We also discuss their early career, their recent coaching switch, their plans for the upcoming season, and more. Continue reading

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An Evening with Champions 2016

All photographs by Marni Gallagher

It’s early fall in Boston. For skating fans in the area, that means it’s time for An Evening with Champions (EWC). This famous show, which takes place at Harvard University, is an annual ritual for many Boston-area fans and skaters alike, and effectively serves as the local kick-off to the season. It’s always a fun event, and this year’s 46th annual Evening with Champions was no exception.  Continue reading

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5 Reasons to Love Meagan Duhamel

Meagan Duhamel and partner Eric Radford have been World champions for 2 years now and have led the pairs discipline technically since the Sochi Olympics. Yet, despite all their accomplishments, this pair continues to be the target of criticism from skating fans, some of whom do not appreciate D/R’s style or approach to the sport. So much of the criticism of this team is over the top and unbalanced, in my opinion. I therefore feel compelled to offer just a little bit of a counterpoint!

Why should you love Meagan Duhamel?? I’ll give you 5 reasons right now. :-)  Continue reading

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Notes from Skating for the Jimmy Fund: Providence July 2016

Last night, I went down to Providence, Rhode Island, to see “Skating for the Jimmy Fund,” a summertime benefit show to support cancer research, starring Nancy Kerrigan, Castelli/Tran, Richard Dornbush, and others. Unfortunately I don’t have time to do a full review of the show, but here are some quick notes! Continue reading

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Figure Skating Calendar 2016-17

Here’s a list of competitions, shows & events to keep an eye on this season! Included are the major ISU championships, Grand Prix events, Challenger Series events, Junior Grand Prix events, major national championships, some summer competitions, and local Boston-area events (because I’m from Boston). I’ll try to keep this list somewhat updated—we’ll see how it goes! Continue reading

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Passing Pre-Preliminary

Back in 2014, when I started my web site, I wrote a post about getting back on the ice after surgery for a broken wrist. Since then, I haven’t posted anything about my adult skating. I thought I’d bring things up to date, for those interested. Continue reading

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Interview with Castelli/Tran

U.S. bronze medalists reveal new SP music; discuss plans for upcoming season

In mid-2014, Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran joined forces to start a new pairs partnership. Both had been very successful with previous partners—Marissa won Olympic team bronze in 2014 and Mervin won World bronze in 2012. However, both felt they still had more to accomplish in the sport. Last year was Castelli/Tran’s first full competitive season together. They had some ups and downs, but won the bronze medal at U.S. Nationals and silver at U.S. International Classic.

Recently, I spoke with Marissa & Mervin on the phone. The U.S. bronze medalists shared their thoughts on last season, their impressions from Boston Worlds, their plans for the upcoming season (including their new short program music!), their perspective on competing in the Olympics, and much more! Not only that, we discussed Marissa’s costumes and Mervin’s quirky sense of humor.🙂 Continue reading

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Interview with Christopher Buchanan

Reform candidate calls for changes in ISU management; elimination of anonymous judging; total revamp of IJS


Christopher Buchanan is a candidate for ISU President, chair of the ISU Synchronized Skating Technical Committee, and finance director of NISA (Great Britain’s skating federation). A man with a formidable resume/CV. But, during a wide-ranging, two-hour interview with him this week, I learned that Chris Buchanan is also a pragmatic reformist, an unpretentious straight-shooter, and, not least, a self-professed figure skating fan. Buchanan now seeks to lead the sport to which he has devoted much of his life. Continue reading

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