Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Changes en route to Moscow's Worlds, pt. 1: The Kerrs

So what’s been happening in the skating world in the week or so since the Moscow announcement? Quite a lot… and we bring the good, the bad, and the to-be-determined news this time around. (There were also a few things happening prior to the Moscow announcement that kind of got lost in the shuffle. I’ll be getting to those soon as well.) And for the time being I'm having trouble with the way these posts are turning up on the blog-- in case you haven't noticed!-- so I'm going to break these into smaller posts until I can figure this out... thanks for bearing with me............................................................................ Let’s get what I consider the worst of the bad news out of the way first: The Kerrs will not be competing in Moscow’s re-scheduled Worlds due to injury. According to, this is what was posted on John Kerr’s Facebook page this week: "I am sorry to announce that Sinead and I will not be participating at the world championships in Moscow. Sinead re-injured her shoulder in a training accident three weeks ago, and medical opinion has now advised that it would be impossible for her to be ready for that event. She is going in for surgery tomorrow and the recovery is expected to be about two months." But according to this article, they’ve announced their retirement as well. A quote from Sinead: "It's disappointing we have had to retire in these circumstances, but when we came off the ice at the Europeans in Berne, we turned to each other and said 'if this is our final performance, it's a pretty good way to bow out'.” Rather sad though not altogether surprising, especially with both Kerrs now in their 30s. I’ll try to re-visit this particular “retirement” in the future, when I can devote a little more time to it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

And the Worlds 2011 Relocation Goes to... MOSCOW

It's been decided, as of this morning (U.S. time)... Moscow, Russia will be the host of the 2011 World Championships.

AND, we have dates: April 24-May 1. Or in other words... it'll start exactly one month from now.

Again, you can read the full announcement

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2011 Worlds Update: Look For a Relocation Decision By Week's End

The latest from the ISU (via an interview with Ottavio Cinquanta for IceNetwork) indicates they hope to have a relocation announcement for Worlds by this Friday (March 25)... and that the relocation will be in late April or early May in either North America or Europe.

Read the newest article here.

If you're interested in the criteria a "host city" needs in this situation, chcek this post from Vlad at the World Figure Skating blog.

More soon... (we hope)

P.S. While I'm painfully aware that folks in Japan probably have much, much more important things to do right now than keep tabs on the skating blogs... I'd still love to hear from you if you happen to stop by. Please let us know how you're doing if you're so inclined.

Monday, March 21, 2011

2011 Worlds: Japan Can't Hold it, But Maybe Another Country Still Can...

Spring has officially sprung, but our favorite winter sport is still looking for a workable way to wrap up the season.

For those of us wishing that the ISU would relocate Worlds shortly rather than cancel them or move them to the start of next season… there’s still hope. As of today (the day Worlds was originally to begin), the only definitive decision made thus far is that Japan will not be able to host an event there in 2011. So the World Team Trophy has been moved to April of next year (still in Japan). As for Worlds… looks like they’re going to take their time to examine all the options… probably a wise decision, though admittedly it’s brutal on the athletes involved.

Want to read the whole statement from the ISU?
Check it out HERE.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Few Words About the Wait on Worlds 2011...

With the current batch of World Championship competitors in mind, I’m tempted to quote Tom Petty (as I often do in times of limbo) and say “The waiting is the hardest part”…

Except that, in light of all that’s happened since last Friday, it simply doesn’t apply this time.

Plenty of words have transpired since Monday’s initial announcement about the postponement of Worlds (and subsequent announcements about a "final decision" coming soon). Words about the difficult logistics of moving the event to a different country. Words about other countries inviting such a move anyway. Words (mostly Cinquanta’s) about postponing the event all the way to next October… words (mostly everyone else) about how much they dislike the October idea.

Words from
would-be competitors like Ryan Bradley (via…

Word from
Japanese competitors like Nobunari Oda (via Toronto’s Globe and Mail; the article also mentions other Japanese skaters who have been declared “safe” from harm)

Words from bloggers like Vlad over at
World Figure Skating, who raised the excellent question as to why the ISU doesn’t always have a “plan B” in times like these…

Words, words, and more words from
Philip Hersh , including his voting in favor of canceling the entire event… and most recently on his blog, a post from Alissa Czisny stating why she thinks moving the event is the best option.

I tend to agree with the words of Czisny, as well as those in this article posted by
CBC Sports … indicating Japan’s athletes could give the country a little boost if they got the chance to compete (and in 2 cases, defend their world titles) at some point this spring.

By now, I certainly hope it goes without saying that what’s happening in Japan far eclipses just about anything else in terms of What’s Important. And I don’t think anyone in the skating community is trying to suggest otherwise when they bring up the relocation option. It seems to me that if the Japanese world team is intact, and safe (I hear that they are, anyway), and still wants to compete, Worlds should still happen—logistics and profits be damned.

That’s my two cents, anyway. What do you think?

Monday, March 14, 2011

2011 World Figure Skating Championships Postponed Until Further Notice

I plan on adding to this post later in the day, but wanted to get this part out as soon as I could... just in case you aren't up for checking in with the ISU or IceNetwork websites on a regular basis. Here is the official statement that went out this morning:

Lausanne, March 14, 2011

Taking into account the continued critical developments in Japan, the ISU’s primary concern for the safety of all participants, spectators and members of concerned entities as well as the travel advisories from many governments to avoid travel to Japan until the situation is settled, the ISU in consultation and agreement with the Japan Skating Federation (JSF) and in line with the advise of the Japanese authorities, has concluded that the staging of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2011 scheduled to be held on March 21-27, 2011 is not possible and the Championships will not be held during that time.

The postponement of the Event or alternatively the final cancellation is under evaluation.

The same applies to the ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating scheduled to be held in Yokohama on April 14-17, 2011.

It is understood that a postponement of the above-mentioned World Championships as well as the holding of the ISU World Team Trophy is subject to the confirmation by the competent Japanese authorities that the situation is back to normal conditions allowing the safe conduct of major ISU sports Events in the Tokyo area.

As soon as the situation in this respect has been finalized, the ISU will inform all parties concerned of the decision taken.

Ottavio Cinquanta Fredi Schmid
President Director General

Friday, March 11, 2011

Prayers for Victims of Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami...

I woke up this morning to the news of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that has stricken Japan, and just watched some of the stunning footage of the damage on the news. I sat here for a few minutes trying to think of a different word to use than “devastating,” but given what I’ve just seen, there isn’t one. I know I have readers in Japan (and Hawaii, where they are now under a tsunami warning)… if those people still have electricity and are able to read this, please know we’re keeping Japan, and anyplace that is ultimately affected by this, in our prayers over here. Feel free to post a comment and let “us” know how you’re doing.

And of course, the World Championships are supposed to take place in Tokyo in a matter of days… I will pass along any news of that event’s status as soon as any becomes available.

UPDATE: You can read a statement from the ISU here.... basically the site for Worlds is still OK, but for a number of other logistic reasons they are still taking a wait-and-see approach.

Dube/Davison, Zhang/Toth, Bereswill/Young All Part Ways

This week—or more accurately, Thursday—the North American pair breakups happened in threes…

First one I heard about was Felicia Zhang and Taylor Toth, who were the 2010 U.S. Junior Champions (they were to compete as seniors this past Nationals but withdrew due to injury). They were together for about two years, finished 9th at Junior Worlds last year, and competed at Skate America and TEB earlier this past season (finishing 7th and 5th, respectively). I thought this would be because Zhang was going to focus on her singles career, but apparently both she and Toth are looking for new partners.
Here’s the Ice Network update.

Perhaps Zhang should consider Trevor Young, for he and his pairs partner (of one year) Becky Bereswill also made
at least one headline today with their breakup. The team finished 10th at 2011 U.S. Nationals, a result that was apparently “disappointing” (gee, just when I was thinking a Top 10 finish your first time out was admirable). I’d say Toth could consider a team-up with Bereswill… except, according to the article, she’s considering a career in ice dancing. Seems like a waste of perfectly good training in the ways of the death spiral and press lifts, but oh well. At age 20, I hope she can find herself in this sport soon.

In between learning of the above two breakups, I took note of perhaps the most significant split… not just of today but in quite a while: Canada’s Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison were one of the more successful Canadian pairs in recent memory;it was a 9-year relationship that resulted in two Olympic appearance, a Skate America victory in 2007 and World Bronze later that same season, in 2008. But
they, too, are parting ways as of now. Sounds like it was Dube’s idea in this case, but of course they’ve been absent this season anyway due to a bone chip on Davison’s part. At ages 23 and 25, time will tell if either of them finds a new partner a la Megan Duhamel (or Craig Buntin before her)… but it sounds like Dube wants to pursue her singles career a little more, at least. She was 6th in the ladies event at Canadian Nationals two months ago.

I’m making that 2008 Worlds FS to Damien Rice’s “The Blower’s Daughter” the
Clip of the Day… lovely stuff there. I’m signing off for now before any more pairs get to thinking about their futures :-)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

One 2011 World Figure Skating Championships in the Books; One to Go...

To make up for the tardiness of this Junior Worlds report, I’m going to mention some names of previous winners so you can be reminded how significant this event has the potential to be…


Previous winners include Miki Ando (2004), Kim Yu-Na (2006), and Rachael Flatt (2008).

GOLD— Adelina Sotnikova (RUS)
SILVER—Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS)
BRONZE—Agnes Zawadski (USA)

It is worth mentioning that Zawadski probably skated her best international free skate of the season and actually finished lower on the podium this year than last (she won silver in ’10). In other words, the up and coming Russian ladies are STRONG. They’re also a couple of years younger than 16 year-old Zawadski… so let’s see how they’re doing when they’re old enough to drive :-) Christina Gao finished 4th, while Courtney Hicks turned in the 4th best free skate to pull up from 10th to 6th. (Check it out on the
Clip of the Day.)


Previous winners include Johnny Weir (2001), Nobunari Oda (2005), and Adam Rippon (2008 and 2009).

GOLD: Andrei Rogozine (CAN)
SILVER: Keiji Tanaka (JPN)
BRONZE: Alexander Majorov (SWE)

As for the Americans… SP winner Keegan Messing only turned in the 7th best free skate, which left him in 4th overall. Max Aaron ended up 5th, and the triple axel-less Jason Brown (who did a great free skate otherwise) was 7th.


Previous champs include Zhang/Zhang (2001 and 2003), McLaughlin/Brubaker (2007), and Iliushechkina/Maisuradze (2009).

GOLD: Sui/Han (CHN)
SILVER: Stolbova/Klimov (RUS)
BRONZE: Takahashi/Tran (JPN)

The American contingent was 4th (Ashley Cain/Joshua Reagan) and 9th (Cassie Andrews/Timothy Leduc).

Previous champs include Belbin/Agosto (2002), Virtue/Moir (2006), and Samuelson/Bates (2008).

GOLD: Ksenia Monko/Kirill Khaliavin (RUS)
SILVER: Ekaterina Pushkash/Jonathan Guerreiro (RUS)
BRONZE: Charlotte Lichtman/Dean Copely (USA)

The U.S had three dance teams here; Anastasia Cannuscio/Colin McManus finished 7th, and Lauri Bonacorsi/Travis Mager were 11th.

Senior Worlds Update

2010 World Bronze Medalist Laura Lepisto has been injured for much of this season, and despite her hopes to be ready for Worlds (she was named to the Finnish team despite withdrawing from the Finnish Championships), it doesn’t appear to be in the cards this year. A new back injury is the culprit, according to
this article. Will it be Kiira Korpi’s year to break through instead? The whole shebang starts in less than two weeks, by the way…

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's a Junior's World... This Week in Figure Skating

Junior Worlds has yet to bring us its ladies; that will remedy itself tomorrow (or later today, depending on when and where you read this) as the SP gets going. As for the other disciplines… two of which are still in progress…

Junior men (after SP)— USA’s Keegan Messing in 1st, Russia’s Artur Dmitriev Jr. in 2nd, and Canada’s Andrei Rogozine in 3rd. As for the USA’s other two contenders-- Max Aaron is in 5th; Jason Brown is in 7th. (Messing’s winning SP is here as the
Clip of the Day.

Junior dance (after SD)—Russia’s Ksenia Monko/Kirill Khaliavin are leading by almost 5 points over fellow Russians Ekaterina Pushkash/Jonathan Guerreiro… but less than one point behind them are the USA’s Charlotte Lichtman/Dean Copely. Down in 5th is another US team (Anastasia Cannuscio/Colin McManus), while Lauri Bonacorsi/Travis Mager, the final US team, are in 11th.

Junior pairs—China’s Sui Wenjing/Han Cong (aka Sui/Han) won gold, Russia’s Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov took silver, and Japan’s Narumi Takahashi/Mervin Tran claimed bronze. USA was represented by Ashley Cain/Joshua Reagan (who took 4th), and Cassie Andrews/Timothy Leduc (who finished 9th).

And while we’re talking about Sui/Han—who are actually repeating as Junior World Champs this time—you might have heard that they were one of the focal points of some “age inconsistencies” that were recently discovered between ISU bios and the same bios for the Chinese skating federation. In fact, to look one of them up on Wikipedia right now is to see the rare personal info box with
two options regarding a birthdate. The discrepancies also included 2006 Olympic Silver Medalists Zhang/Zhang, as you may have seen in this CBC article from a couple weeks back. I’m not sure exactly where the “inconsistencies” stand as of this moment, but I have a sneaking suspicion this conversation isn’t over yet.