Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why Me?

So what qualifies me to blog about figure skating, anyway?

Ummm… since it’s a blog, I’ll keep it to a set of three quick reasons, upon which I’m likely to expand at a later date:

1) Skating’s been a part of my life for over 30 years…

2) …With five of those years spent training/competing, and the past two getting several articles published in national and international magazines.

3) And while the TV/video industry has been a part of my life for over 20 years, I know the pool is far too deep with talented writers critiquing American Idol and The Office for me to try my hand at that.

So I froze the pool and skate on it instead. Makes sense, right?

For your Clip of the Day, this time I searched “Figure Skating Pairs” video. Again, from last year’s Worlds, comes a brilliant free skate… this time from 2007 World Champions Shen and Zhao, courtesy of Eurosport:


When I heard this year that the Inoue/Baldwin marriage proposal at Nationals was a knockoff of the proposal offered at the end of this program, I was stunned. There was a proposal at the end of this--? But as you’ll see, it lasts all of eight seconds.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Introducing... Clip of the Day

One more “test” this week before I take off for a few days!

Time to see if my Clip of the Day idea works as easily as it should. Think of this as your moment of Skating Zen… with all apologies to Jon Stewart at The Daily Show, of course.

For this maiden voyage, I simply put “Figure Skating” into the You Tube search engine to see what popped up. Since I only plan to feature performances from ISU-sanctioned events, I skipped over the various montages people have crafted for You Tube’s audience. I skipped over the home video attempts as well. (Sorry; I’m sure they’re lovely.)

And the first qualifying “performance” I came up with today was Mao Asada’s free skate at 2007 Worlds (as seen on Japanese TV I believe). Which really makes sense, as Asada is arguably the finest the sport has to offer at the moment. You might want to scratch the arguably, since she just won the ladies’ event at Worlds a month ago. But ironic or not, this clip from last year’s event (at which she actually won silver) might show her in a better light.

For last month, she won the gold despite an agonizing wipeout on her triple axel. A slip on the takeoff edge, crash into the boards, oh-my-god-is-she-all-right kind of wipeout.

Sometimes irony is, indeed, the backbone of competitive figure skating.

(It helps to know how the rest of the event proceeded, too.)

Here’s the clip; let’s see if it works!


Monday, April 21, 2008

This Is Only a Test Post... But Please Read it Anyway

“You need to start a blog,” said a friend, a colleague, a page of Writer’s Digest.

And off I went on my mental list of Reasons Not To: three journals I keep up with regularly, off-line… the question “Who has time to write so indulgently?” when you’re busy freelancing for others… the follow-up question “Who takes the time to read those things?”

But there’s a whole lot of blogging going on, and a surprising amount of reading said blogs. Shows how on top of things I am… but then again, wasn’t I the last one on my block to replace my Discman with an IPod?

So here I am, and with an area of specialty to boot (pun completely unintended): figure skating. A sport that is either wobbling along on its last pair of Phantom blades, or headed for yet another renaissance, or merely lying low in the U.S. for now (while bigger than ever in the Far East and Canada). It all depends on the day, the event, who you hear from, who you believe.

As for me, I believe there’s a magic in skating, beneath all the sequins and Biellmann spins, that has to be seen to be believed. I’m not here to proclaim where exactly it’s headed—I just want to hitch a ride and follow it. Who’s with me??

Watch this space a couple times a week for stories, speculations, and my own special feature, Clip of the Day… all officially getting underway May 1st. Yes, just as the off-season really heats up.

Hey, I told you I wasn’t particularly on top of things…