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Jan 22, 2018

2018 European Figure Skating Championships: Ladies Recap



The ladies event at the 2018 European Figure Skating Championships in Moscow, Russia set the stage for one of the most hotly-anticipated tête-à-têtes in figure skating this season: Evgenia Armanovna Medvedeva vs. Alina Ilnazovna Zagitova.  On stage left was reigning World and European Champion Evgenia Medvedeva: undefeated since November 2015, but convalescing from a foot injury that necessitated her absence from the competitive ranks for months.  On stage right was upstart Alina Zagitova: reigning World Junior, Grand Prix Final and Russian National Champion, undefeated in the senior ranks since her senior debut this season at the Lombardia Trophy.  Dare I slip in a metaphor here about an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object? Throw in the fact that Ms. Medvedeva and Ms. Zagitova both train under the sharp, disapproving eye of Eteri Tutberidze, and here we have 2018's version of Michelle Kwan and Tara Lipinski circa 1998, if Michelle Kwan and Tara Lipinski both trained under Frank Carroll and were even more dominant than they were in 1997-98 (really--do you see Ms. Zagitova losing anything to a Laetitia Hubert-like skater anytime soon?). Or would the more relevant comparison be to Alexei Yagudin and Evgeni Plushenko in 2002 (history of sharing a coach; unparalleled rivalry at the top of the field; Russian)? Take your pick . . . though I suppose the results of the Pyeongchang Olympics will determine which comparison is more apt.

Dec 5, 2017

Best Moments of the 2017 Grand Prix Season (So Far)



Another year, another Grand Prix of Figure Skating season. Gone are the days in which the top skaters skipped the Grand Prix season with impunity and skaters like Michelle Kwan had to be enticed to just show up with cold, hard cash.  No--these days, even skaters of the topmost echelon are gritting their teeth through injuries, illnesses, and other assorted maladies so that they can tough it out through to qualifying for the Grand Prix Final (or worse, injure themselves trying to do). Correspondingly, national figure skating federations look to the results of the Grand Prix series to help select their Olympic and/or World teams, fans of the sport engage in vociferous debates over the scoring and/or tech panel calling after every single Grand Prix event, and the Japanese Skating Federation glitzes out their perennially sold-out NHK Trophy as if it were a contemporary Super Bowl halftime show with an unlimited budget. Observers of the Grand Prix of Figure Skating live in exciting times indeed.

With the Grand Prix Final coming up soon, let's dispel the dark cloud of injuries and absences hanging over the Grand Prix Final this year and focus on the highlights of the Grand Prix season so far:

Nov 27, 2017

Skate America 2017: Twenty Questions



As the final Grand Prix event (aside from the Grand Prix Final itself, of course) of the 2017 Grand Prix of Figure Skating season, Skate America 2017 in charming Lake Placid, NY proved to be a fitting ending to an unpredictable and generally weird Grand Prix season: withdrawals galore, on-ice injuries, insects lurking about, surprising podium results, system malfunctions . . . never let it be said that figure skating is staid and predictable! For in this brave new world where even Evgenia Medvedeva falters during a competition--there is no certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain . . .

Anyway, here are twenty questions that came to mind during Skate America 2017: