Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Pic of the Week

It has been such a sad week in figure skating. I wanted this pic of the week to be happy and uplifting. I decided to feature the happiest moment in figure skating.

But what is the happiest moment in figure skating? This question alone could be quite a topic of discussion on this blog! It's a matter of opinion I suppose so I decided to settle it the only way I know how...Google! I went to Google, typed in "happiest moment in figure skating" and Google returned with a quite appropriate answer via the Encyclopedia Britannica website!

Apparently, as per Google, the happiest moment in figure skating belongs to Irina Slutskaya at the 2005 World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow! To understand why this might in fact be the happiest moment in figure skating, we have to go all the way back to the 2002-2003 figure skating season.

She was coming off of a win at the 2002 World Championships and skating very well. However, as the season progressed, her mother was becoming very ill. To care for her mother, Irina decided to not compete in the 2003 World Championships. As her mother recovered, ironically, Irina became ill and was diagnosed with debilitating vasculitis.

Determined to not give in, she took advice from her doctors, and sat out of figure skating competition for an entire year. She made a competitive re-debut at the 2004 World Championships where she finished 9th. It was at this point that many said, "Well...she's done."

But determined beyond belief, Irina trained hard, worked through her illness, and showed up at the 2004 Cup of China on a mission. She won that event and went on to win Cup of Russia, the Grand Prix Final, Russian Nationals, and the European Championships which brings us back to the 2005 World Figure Skating Championships.

She had to this point an undefeated season, coming off a season where she had finished 9th at worlds! She was in her hometown, and there was no way Cohen, Kostner, or Kwan was gonna get in her way! She not only won the competition, she blew through the competition! Landing 7 triples including a triple lutz/triple loop combo (a feat she hadn't accomplished in competition since the 2000 Grand Prix Final).

It couldn't have been scripted any better for the headlines! "Skater makes amazing comeback caps undefeated season and crowned World Champion at home!" After the event, Irina remarked: "I'm very happy because I think nobody else in this championship had to come back so many times and to go through as many hard moments like I did. I was really ready, and did it! It's what I've been waiting for all season. For the first time I won every competition I entered." It was really a very happy moment! I'll let all of you decide if it was the happiest!

p.s. I bet if you ask Irina what her happiest moment is, she'll tell you November 15, 2007! Need a's a boy!


Ice Mom said...

I just love these kinds of triumph-over-adversity stories. Thanks, Aaron!

Laura said...

Ha, this is so cute, and I do remember that as one of the best moments ever for a skater.