Part Two...time for some of the more interesting awards. Lots of these are new awards that weren't amongst the ranks of awards last season. It's just so much fun to hand out awards (which is interesting since I'm 'really' not handing any awards out!). Categories include:
*Best Jump (NEW)
*Best New Face
*Most Improved Skater (NEW)
*Best Outfit (NEW)
*The OMG Moment of the Season (NEW)
*Best Comeback (NEW)
*Blog of the Year (NEW)
*Best Jump award goes to Canadian Vaughn Chipeur for his Triple Axel in the short program at Cup of China that just took us all by surprise. If you've never seen his Axel...it's huge! Other great jumps that were taken into consideration include Evan Lysacek's Quad at the Four Continents Cup, Mao Asada's Triple Axel at the Grand Prix Final, and every jump Miki Ando attempted in the Free Skate at Worlds. ;-)
*Best New Face goes to Denney and Barrett. They really have been remarkable this season. Being a team for such a short period of time and in their two first international competitions, to put down clean free skates...impressive. It was the year of Ten as well, as I considered both Jeremy (the Canadian version) and Denis (the version from Kazakhstan) as well as Russian newbie Alena Leonova.
*Hottest Skater is always tricky for me. Like last year, I had to confer with others. I actually put together a panel of six individuals (close friends) and put 4 skaters in front of them. It was a tie so I broke the tie with my vote and named Aliona Savchenko the winner. She is a stunner, so much so, that at the Public Pairs Medal Ceremony in L.A. Peter Carruthers looked at her, stepped back, looked at her again and proclaims, "She's looking good, huh? Very L.A." Before my tie breaker, Keauna McLaughlin was right up there with her, but as she is only 16 it felt a little wierd. Also in the mix was Alexander Smirnov (last year's winner!) and Rockne Brubaker (although he had tamed the curls at Worlds...and that made me sad).
*Best Fall award absolutely goes to Candice Didier for that frightening fall she had on an easy triple toe in the free skate at Worlds. I thought no way can she comeback from that, not only did she, but earned a standing ovation for the heroics she displayed. Two other Worlds falls made the nominee list, Yuko Kavaguti's spill on her throw quad salchow and Jenna McCorkell's fall in the free skate. Also on the list, Emily Hughes for her crash and burn Triple Flip at Eric Bompard Trophy.
*Best Coach I decided to give to Nikolai Morozov. At almost any competition, he is the coach for like a third of the competitors...no joke. I always wonder how he has the time to teach so many but he must be doing something right as he has so many high level athletes. Almost gave it to the dup of Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karpanossov for getting both Domnina and Shabalin and Belbin and Agosto in such amazing shape for worlds with little prep time. Brian Orser made the list for his amazing work with Yu-Na Kim and recently Adam Rippon, and Tatiana Tarasova for her work with both Lysacek (she worked with him to perfect and work out his program a bit) and Asada.
*The Most Improved Award goes to Samuel Contesti who really put himself on the map this season with an unexpected Silver at Europeans and a really solid 5th place finish at Worlds. Previously (and as Frenchman) , not even close to being in the mix at major international competitions, suddenly he's a big time competitor! I considered Caroline Zhang for the remarkable progress she has made this season, Adam Rippon for the same, and Kavaguti and Smirnov for really beginning to gel as a team.
*The Best Outfit Award is highly subjective and I'm sure plenty will completely disagree with me but I went with Kerr and Kerr's Free Dance Outfit. There is a story behind the program, brother and sister that survive a natural disaster, and I think the costumes tell that story beautifully without being over the top. I was a big fan of Samuelson and Bates Original Dance Outfit, especially Evan in his Popeye bits. Although some thought it a bit 'nude' I liked Ashley Wagner's 'Spartacus' digs. I'm also a sucker for gloves, and loved Nobunari Oda's 'Warsaw Concerto' get-up.
*The OMG (Oh My God!) Moment of the Season for me was definitely when I was looking at the scoreboard inside Quicken Loans arena and said "Did Alissa Czisny just win National's?" I had several OMG moments this season, thus the award, including "Did Craig Buntin just slice his hand in half on Megan Duhamel's blade?" Also, "Did Patrick Chan just bitch-slap Brian Joubert in the L.A. Times over a Quad jump?" Don't forget, "Jeffrey Buttle just retired! Did he get the memo that the Olympics were in Canada next year?"
*Best Comeback award goes to Miki Ando for after a rocky season, getting it together to have a...well at the least...technically proficient skate at Worlds to claim the Bronze medal. Belbin and Agosto nearly got it for getting it together to fast and narrowly missing the World Title. Tomas Verner for finishing 4th this season at Worlds after the disaster and meltdown that was Goteborg, Sweden. And Alissa Czisny for almost keeping it together the entire season.
*The last award is a fun one. Our online skating community is growing and I'd like to take a little time to give some credit where I think some credit is due. I give the best figure skating blog award to myself...just kidding! Actually, after some long thought I really decided to give it to Lifeskate! Susan over there is a genius and I look at Lifeskate as more than a blog, but rather a resource for all things skating. She not only keeps tabs on competitive figure skating, but also professional skating, adult skating, synchronized skating, leisure skating, Ice Theatre, special events, basically everything. Her Journalism skills are crazy...she got interviews with Lu Chen and Denis Petrov...in Shenzhen, China! Exclusives with Nikolai Morozov, Johnny Weir, etc. etc. etc...Lifeskate...we are not worthy! If you have not bookmarked this site...who am I kidding...of course you already have it bookmarked!
That does it for the 2009 edition of the Loop Axel Awards.
If you missed part one...they're right here.
You can revisit the class of 2008 here.