Trophee de France 2016: Pairs Review

The pairs event at Trophee de France featured some some big names, but I was disappointed to see a field of only 6 pairs (instead of the allotted 8). Two French pairs who were originally assigned to the event withdrew quite late, and were not replaced. Since pairs skaters already have the lowest number of entries in Grand Prix events, it was really disappointing to see 2 slots go unused. With only 6 pairs entered, Savchenko/Massot easily dominated the event. Continue reading

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Rostelecom Cup 2016: Pairs Review

Last season, Aliona Savchenko/Bruno Massot burst onto the scene with an unexpected World bronze medal. Savchenko/Massot showed huge potential in their debut season. This season, their task is to fulfill that promise and establish themselves as gold-medal contenders at Worlds and Olympics. They took a step forward this week by winning Rostelecom Cup. Meanwhile, Russian pair Natalia Zabijako/Alexander Enbert—also in only their second season–turned heads by winning silver at their home Grand Prix. Let’s look at the action in Moscow. Continue reading

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Skate Canada 2016: Pairs Review

Skate Canada was the first Grand Prix event for two-time World champions Duhamel/Radford. Their presence automatically raised the level of this competition; but there were quite a few other good pairs in the field as well. Overall, this was a better-skated pairs event than at Skate America, with some close competition for the medals. Let’s see what happened. Continue reading

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Skate America 2016: Highlights from Ice Dance, Mens, and Ladies

Since I attended Skate America in person, I thought I’d share some of my personal highlights/impressions from ladies, men, and ice dance. No scoring analysis here; just some opinions, based on seeing the competition live! Continue reading

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Skate America 2016: Pairs Review

The Grand Prix season started this week at Skate America in Chicago, and luckily, I got to see the event live! This was my second year attending Skate America, and it was a lot of fun! The level of competition in the pairs event wasn’t the highest. But there was drama and some emotional highlights, too. Let’s take a look at what happened.

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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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