So yesterday I spilled the beans about myself, today I answer some of the burning skating questions you all had for me.
Question received via e-mail - What is your favorite Olympic figure skating moment?
A: The sad part is that so many have just not panned out. My would be favorite moments have actually been let downs. Nancy losing in 1994, Eldredge in 1998, Michelle in 1998 and 2002, Sasha in 2006. I haven't really gotten my Olympic figure skating wish yet. But of all those great moments that have happened, I'd say that Sale and Pelletier's 2002 Olympic Free was pretty amazing (the fallout from it less so).
Question received via blog - I always wonder, how did you get all those latest news on skating? From Asia to Europe, you know everything that's going on! Do you just keep searching? And! Do you skate? Have you tried?
A: The best source of news on figure skating is from the figure skating fans themselves...in online form, that would be fellow bloggers. I generally keep good tabs on places that report figure skating news such as the U.S. Figure Skating website, Skate Canada website, Ice Network, etc. Social media also helps keep me connected, Twitter has been an amazing tool. I follow individuals from all over...Korea, U.K., France, Japan, Canada, and Russia. They help keep connected to whats going on in their 'neck of the woods.' As for skating, when I was a wee young lad living in Seattle I did 'dabble' at skating. I was never very good and had way more fun watching than actually skating. I like that I have done it because I appreciate how hard it really is and recognize the extraordinary talent competitive skaters have.
Question received via Twitter - Do you only like eligible skating? The only time you mention professional skaters is when they are on reality shows.
A: No, I love professional skaters tremendously. Remember, they used to be my favorite eligible skaters! Unfortunately, they just aren't as broadcast these days as they used to be (insert sad face). But any opportunity I have to mention pros, I usually try to take.
Question received via e-mail - Who is your favorite Korean skater? Do you think Korea has a chance to make more than one podium finish in Olympics in Canada?
A: Well the obvious answer to your question is Kim Yu-Na! I think she is brilliant. On an aside, I kind of took a liking to another young Korean competitor at the Four Continents Cup in Vancouver, Kim Min-Seok. As far as the podium in Vancouver (2010 that is), barring disaster I put money on that Kim Yu-Na will be on the podium. As far as anyone else, doubtful. The depth in the Korean team isn't quite there yet, but I firmly believe it's one of the hardest working teams out there and I foresee an emerging powerhouse in skating in the near future.
Question received via e-mail - Do you think Michelle Kwan will comeback this season?
A: If you had asked me that up until a month ago I would have said no. But the mystery spot at Skate America combined with the fact that Michelle wont simply answer the question (why keep people in suspense if you know you're not?) makes me think she's at least considering it. It doesn't take a genius to figure out who U.S. Figure Skating would like to give that final spot at Skate America to and I don't think they would deny a berth to another U.S. Skater based on a whim...there is something going on behind the scenes here. I think Michelle will comeback if she feels she can be competitive.
Question received via e-mail - 1998, Michelle or Tara?
A: Ah...one of the greatest skating debates ever. This one is tough. Tara had speed and youthful exuberance...and a ridiculous arsenal of jumps while Michelle had beauty, grace, line, expression. I feel with this I'm totally biased...but I say Michelle. While I give it to Tara for going gang busters out there, I don't think Kwan's beauty could even be approached by Tara (Lu Chen was about the only skater I thought on par artistically with Kwan that night). And while Kwan was a bit cautious, I don't feel it distracted from the overall feel of her program which was mesmerizing. I think I would have judged it close with a Kwan victory.
Question received via e-mail - I would like to see you mention which competitions you'll be going to for the upcoming season. Who knows, others may be planning to go to them (Skate America, Nationals) and you guys could have a blog party.
A: Well, I am teetering on Skate America. The problem is that is the same weekend my friend is getting married. But if per chance Michelle Kwan ends up at Skate America...I just don't know what I'll do! I've been to every U.S. Nationals since 2001 however I think this will be the first one I'll miss (I'm not a fan of the two weekend format) but I am considering (considering...) going to Canadian Nationals in London, Ontario. Should Michelle end up at U.S. Nationals, I think I'd probably fly out to Spokane for the ladies event. The only other event I had in my head to go to was Worlds in Turin, Italy...but my job at the unnamed healthcare organization may actually prevent that...we'll see. As far as a blog party, it's a great idea! Myself and Jumping Clapping Man actually met at World's in L.A., we could certainly plan a bigger blog convention!
Question received via Twitter - Who do you think will medal at the Olympics from the U.S.? Who is the most overrated skater in your mind? Underrated?
A: Tough! Let's see, if I had to predict who will medal in Vancouver for the U.S. I'd go with Belbin and Agosto, Evan Lysacek, and outside of that I can't say. The Grand Prix Series will help me crunch those predictions a bit better...I'm on the fence with skaters like Jeremy Abbott and Davis and White. And I don't even think I can begin to speculate on U.S. ladies. Overrated...in my opinion, Evgeny Plushenko! I don't get what is so spectacular about him other than his jumping prowess. I find his style phony and uninteresting and the applied machismo unflattering at best. I'm still appalled at his short program score from the 2006 Olympics...are you kidding me? I think Laura Lepisto and Carolina Kostner are a bit overrated as well. Underrated...lots, but the team that comes to mind immediately is the British Ice Dance Team of Kerr and Kerr. I think they should be ranked right up there with the best and the judges seem to hold them back a bit, not sure why, I think they're brilliant. I also think the Ashley Wagner of the U.S. is underrated, she's amazing in my opinion.
Question received via Twitter - There is so many great Japanese ladies that can make it to the Olympics. Which ones do you think will go?
A: Unless the world ends, I think we can easily put Mao Asada on the Japanese Olympic team. Miki Ando is a bit of a wildcard but she's seems to be more consistent these days and I think has a great shot (not to mention she's the reigning World Bronze Medalist). The real battle, I think, will be for that third spot (Lucky for Japan, they get three. Imagine the fight for two that will take place here in the U.S!). Suguri, Nakano, and Suzuki are the three likely candidates. If I had to guess today, I'd say Suguri experience wins out but it's a long way off yet. Anything could happen.
Question received via e-mail (It was in French so I've done my best to translate) - Do you really think Joannie Rochette can win the Olympic Gold in Vancouver with so much pressure from her home crowd?
A:The only thing stopping Joannie is Joannie. She is an amazing skater that only needs to believe in herself. She will need to up the bar technically to compete with the likes of Kim but she has proven many times in the past she's capable. Her performance at World's this past season also shows that eve with a few technical glitches the judges greatly respect her skating. I'm not going to sugar coat this, it will be damn hard for her to win and the odds are probably against her, but I believe she does have a shot at it.
Final question received via Facebook - Do you think the Code of Points judging system works?
A: Yes and no. I like that skaters get a number to shoot for and highest point total wins...that was one of my biggest beefs with the 6.0 system in that you could be out of the top three after the short program and you were screwed. What I don't like is the inconsistency in judging. At one event a skater gets a level four spin credit and at the next competition they get a level three for the same spin? I don't like how a gorgeous triple axel with the tiniest of cheats is judged as a crappy double axel? And what I certainly don't understand is why I can't know what judge gave what mark? I think if they can fix these problems and find a way to make it easy for the general public to understand they'll have made huge strides.
Whew...that wasn't even a third of the questions so I apologize if I didn't get to yours. Maybe I'll post some of the other questions in individual blog posts.