Jo-Ann Barnas of the Detroit Free Press touts Michigan's Skating Success
From Detroit Free Press by Jo-Ann Barnas...
Thoughts while (still) deleting dated releases and messages left over from the Beijing Olympics ...
• Although the performance of Michael Phelps and the hugely successful Summer Games might still be on everybody's mind, it's time to turn our attention from swimsuits to sequins: We're just more than two weeks away from figure skating's ISU Grand Prix opener -- Skate America in Spokane, Wash.
• Hard to believe, but the ISU Junior Grand Prix series has had five competitions already.
• Speaking of juniors and figure skating, no other place can match our region's strength in ice dance. Look at the results from the first few competitions: The brother-sister team of Maia and Alex Shibutani of the Arctic Figure Skating Club in Canton won the Junior Grand Prix opener in Courchevel, France, then added a silver medal two weeks ago in Madrid, Spain; Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein of the Arctic FSC took home gold in Merano, Italy; and Madison and Keiffer Hubbell, the Ann Arbor Figure Skating Club's brother-sister duo and last season's junior national champs, captured the gold medal in Mexico City. The Hubbells are on the entry list for this weekend's event in Cape Town, South Africa.
• Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates of the Ann Arbor FSC, reigning world junior champs who placed fourth in their senior debut at nationals last season, elected to go to Oberstdorf, Germany, for the Nebelhorn Trophy last month -- and won. Next up for the team is Skate America, where Samuelson and Bates will make their senior Grand Prix debut.
• Alissa Czisny keeps surprising me. Two years ago, the Detroit Skating Club ladies singles skater won the bronze medal at the U.S. Championships. Last season, she dropped to ninth. When I saw she was competing at Nebelhorn, I was hoping for her sake that she performed well enough to regain her confidence for nationals in January in Cleveland. Check that off the list -- Czisny won the ladies crown in Germany.
• 2006 Olympic ice dance silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, who left the Arctic FSC in April after taking fourth at the world championships, are settled in at their new digs at the IceWorks Skating Complex in Aston, Pa. So, too, is their competition: European champs Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin arrived in Aston to train two months after Belbin and Agosto relocated there.
• Although Belbin and Agosto aren't in Michigan anymore, there's no drop-off in senior talent at the Canton rink. Not with Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who won the ice dance silver medal at worlds last March, and reigning U.S. silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
• On my to-do list this fall: Head to the Detroit SC and take a closer look at the dance program being rebuilt by coaches Pasquale Camerlengo and Angelika Krylova.
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