Readers: do me a favor, would you? Leave a comment if you happen to live in a part of the world that is receiving enough or nearly enough rain right now. It might prove comforting to be reminded of places that are NOT bone-dry and blistering hot as it is here in the Midwestern USA.
And IF YOU LIVE NEAR COLORADO SPRINGS or any other locale suffering under the strain of recent or ongoing forest fires, I’d love it if you left a comment letting us know how you, your neighborhood, loved ones, etc. are doing. As with the earthquake/tsunami that rocked Japan last year, disasters like these resonate all the more when you feel a personal connection to the victims... and I like to think skating enthusiasts such as us share a common bond, no matter where in the world we happen to be.
While I don’t have any immediate family in Colorado, former classmates and current Facebook friends of mine do, and have provided their own accounts over the past few weeks... and of course concern escalated as stories/updates about “The Springs” and the Waldo Canyon fire became the mainstay not just on Facebook and Twitter, but the Ice Network website (where even the staff at USFS issued a statement to concerned fans about the relative safety of their headquarters). Whether you keep thoughts for the firefighters and other emergency responders involved, the victims of bodily and/or property damage, the ones evacuated, or the weather conditions... here’s a Saturday update. Let the prayers and good thoughts continue; the battle is far from over.
Colorado Springs is clearly one of the great U.S. figure skating hubs, and Detroit (and/or) Ann Arbor is another one. Most of the flurry of recent Michigan skating news has involved the public split of a certain coaching team, and the custody issues (for lack of a better term) that have erupted in their wake. But those of us who were wondering about a sort of off-the-radar Michigan dance team by the name of Emily Samuelson and Todd Gilles, wonder no more. Samuelson issued a statement this week on Facebook about the break-up of the team, which finished 8th at its Nationals debut this past winter. Interestingly, she writes in the initial paragraph “US Figure Skating will not be writing an official press release...” but Ice Network was quick to pick up her FB statement and turn it into this headliner on their website. Maybe the fire or some other unforseen circumstance kept them from covering this particular split on their own; nonetheless, I tend to think a 2010 Olympian (which Samuelson is, of course) deserves better than having to be her own press agent in a situation like this. As with Caitlin Yankowskas last season, it’s a crying shame to see an elite skater standing on the sidelines, partner-less in what could well be the athletic/artistic prime of her career. The difference is that at least Yankowskas (who is now partnered with Joshua Reagan) has two solid seasons to try and make a bid for the Sochi Olympics... whereas even if Samuelson found another partner late this summer—which seems unlikely, to read her statement— her Sochi chances would be extremely diminished, especially with an ice dance field as deep as we have now in the U.S.
But she remains upbeat, to her enormous credit, despite facing little more than career adversity in the years since Vancouver. More power to her!