Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Class OF 2010 Awards

Since we’re getting to that time of the year for academic classes (and a little past that time for the skating class), thought I’d better start posting what I’ve got of these before they go completely stale!

THE CLASS Of 2010 Awards…

Men’s SP most likely to pull me to the TV (or computer) every time:

A Day in the Life, Jeremy Abbott

Ladies’ SP most likely to be remembered as the “It” program of the season:

Bond Medley, Kim Yu-Na

Original Dance most likely to attract press in a very very good way:

Indian Folk Dance, Davis/White

Pairs SP most likely to be found charming, even though the song they used actually has zilch to do with clowns:

Send in the Clowns, Savchekno/Szolkowy

Best—and by “best” I mean most cohesive, exciting and inventive
FS Program, Men: La Strada, Daisuke Takahashi, and Chaplin, Nobunari Oda

Best (see above criteria) FS Program, Ladies:

Gershwin Concerto in F, Kim Yu-Na…Samson & Delilah, Joannie Rochette…West Side Story, Akiko Suzuki

Free Dance most likely to be found spellbinding, and not just in Vancouver:

Mahler’s 5th Symphony, Virtue/Moir

Pairs Free Skates that were most likely to make people want to fly
Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor, Shen/Zhao, Impossible Dream, Pang/Tong

Best Success Story in 1st Half of Season—Nobunari Oda

The only thing he missed in those first events of the season was the 2nd triple axel, which he tended to pop. Perhaps we should have taken that as a sign of things to come by Worlds time…

Best Success Story in 2nd Half of Season—Evan Lysacek

Wow, talk about somebody peaking at the right time. Lysacek has never been my favorite among the men, but there’s no denying he got the Vancouver job done in extraordinary fashion. And he earned bonus points for handling the Plushenko fallout with terrific class. (What a success story right there—he defeated Plushenko!!) And his double-duty efforts this spring as the headliner for Stars on Ice while also bringing in the votes for Dancing w/the Stars continue to transport Lysacek to skating superhero status…

Best comeback (singles)—Evgeni Plushenko & Johnny Weir
… that is, if you don’t already have your “superhero” sights set on one of these two gentlemen. Plushenko, for all his post-Vancouver angst, trash talk, and ability to induce multiple eye rolls (at least from yours truly), still must be credited for returning to form in a way very few athletes can—particularly when they haven’t been back “at it” for that long. And Johnny Weir, while never really going anywhere to justify a need to “come back”, has still managed to do so in his own inimitable way. Who else could parlay a 6th place finish at the Olympics into such a publicity bonanza? For his reality series, for his book, his documentary, his public appearances, his “tweets”, his whatever.

Best comeback (pairs or dance)—Shen/Zhao
They were so much older than the rest of the pack… worked so much harder… deserved every bit of additional success that they found this year. And I hope they ponder a career in coaching as they “take a break” to settle in to raise their family.

Most unique music (singles)—Adrian Schultheiss (FS)
Featuring a hybrid of Insane in the Brain, Teardrop (aka the theme from House MD), and that always-charming ditty Smack my B**ch Up, Schultheiss’ straitjacket routine got more impressive as the season rolled on, including a best-yet 9th place finish at Worlds.

Most unique music (pairs or dance)—Dube/Davison (FS)

Unlike their SP music—the if-I-hear-it-next-season-I’m-ripping-my-own-ears-out Requiem For a Dream—I can honestly say I’d never heard Marvin Hamlisch’s lovely The Way We Were used for a skating program until this season. Seems odd, given how easily it lends to a skating program’s needs, but it’s true. Just wish D&D had been able to live up to the program more often than they ultimately did.

Best breakout season (men)—Adam Rippon & Michal Brezina
I would’ve said Rippon on the National front and Brezina on the International, but then by the time of Worlds, both guys finished within the top six. Blond guys haven’t been this well-represented in figure skating since, oh, what’s his name, with the mullet… and the ego…

Best breakout season (ladies)—Akiko Suzuki & Mirai Nagasu

One rebounded from years of discontent and recovery from a devastating eating disorder. The other rebounded from a year of growth spurts, coaching changes, and a fear that she’d never return to her pre-puberty greatness. Both managed to take absolute warhorses of skating music (Carmen and West Side Story) and inject them with something fresh and new.

Best breakout season (Pairs)—Evora/Ladwig & Berton/Hotarek
If anyone timed their peak better than Lyacek, it was Evora/Ladwig… I can’t fathom who’d have picked them to not only make the team, but have the best U.S. pairs finish at Vancouver (and still do well enough at Worlds to show it wasn’t a fluke). Berton/Hotarek, on the other hand, are the kind of young team that made such a strong impression at Worlds we can’t wait to see their GP efforts (assuming they get an assignment or two?) next fall. Incidentally, one of their coaches is former U.S. pairs champ John Zimmerman…

Best breakout season (Dance)—Zaretsky/Zaretsky & Crone/Poirier
The Z’s are relatively young but have been at this (at this level, I mean) for a while; on the other hand, C/P are still pretty new to the senior ranks. The Z’s are in a class by themselves for Israel; on the other hand, C/P will likely be challenging Virtue/Moir for Canada’s top honors for the next 4 years (Lord willing). In any case, these two teams finished 6/7 at Worlds, at a time when several teams above them are likely to bow out of competition. I look forward to their future efforts, and hope Samuelson/Bates are able to keep up with them too.

Berton & Hotarek’s Gala performance in Torino is the
Clip of the Day … a gorgeous take on Romeo and Juliet that could easily be adapted into a competitive program next season (hint hint)


Anonymous said...

Great choices. Best post of the kind among the figure skating blogs for sure.

Kelli Lawrence said...

What a nice thing to say. Thank you!