Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Testament on Ice

The Ladies Short Program was a testament on ice. It was an evening of amazing skating, great personal triumphs, small victories, and big accomplishments.

First, One Winter, Five Dreams athlete Tugba Karademir gave us all something to cheer about. Tomorrow I'll share some insights about Tugba and the time I spent with her but I am pleased that she has qualified to skate in the free program. She gave a wonderful performance to 'Bazaar Istanbul' and while I was a little disappointed in the judges marks I was not disappointed in her at all. We proudly waved the Turkish Flag she had signed for us! Great job Tugba and go get em' the free skate!

The American Women have exceeded expectations here and both Rachael Flatt and Mirai Nagasu find themselves in the top group of women heading into tomorrow's free skate. U.S. Media has been harping on the fact that American women had little chance to medal but both Rachael and Mirai have proved they are in this competition too!

Joannie Rochette, had probably the toughest job of all. On top of the pressure to compete for your home country, she tragically lost her mother to a heart attack just Sunday and had to deal with the intense grief that accompanies such a painful lost. But rather than withdraw from the competition and mourn in private, she choose to continue with the competition and compete. When she took the ice, I have never felt such a wave a support for any athlete. Canada is well aware of her loss and the crowd at Pacific Coliseum showered her with love prior to her performance. I watched with tears in my eyes as she hit element after element perfectly...effortlessly. At the end of her performance she was met with thunderous applause, an instant standing ovation, and a flood of tears from the Canadian crowd that was so proud of her and behind her. She herself collapsed into tears in the arms of her coach as she received her marks. She's in position to medal, but I suspect that doesn't really matter at this point. What's more important is she is doing what her mother wanted her to do...her best.

The two top competitors gave the crowd an epic showdown. First, Japan's Mao Asada hit the first ever triple axel combination in an Olympic Ladies short program on her way to a huge score that brought the house down. Completely unaffected, Kim Yu-Na from South Korea, turned in an equally brilliant performance to music from 'James Bond' that also was an instant hit in Pacific Coliseum. The crowd went nuts when she broke her own World Record with a new high top score. I was sitting behind Kim Yu-Na's choreographer David Wilson, who basically skated the program with her from his seat. He was probably one of the most nervous people in the room and was delighted (and I think relieved) to see her score. These two ladies, Yu-Na and Mao, were billed as the two to beat coming into these Olympics and they didn't disappoint.

What will the free skate hold?
You can read this and all my other blog posts at the One Winter Five Dreams Gold Blogger Site!

4 comments: said...

What an amazing performance in spite of tragic circumstances. Even if she doesn’t win a medal for her performance, Rochette deserves a gold medal for persevering through an extremely difficult time. Her story makes me want to watch her in figure skating just to see how she does in the rest of the Olympic competition.

slieberm said...

Two things.

One: That was THE BEST that I have seen Mao in a couple of seasons now. Even with he less than awesome choice of music/choreography, that lightness in her skating that we have been missing so much was actually back. Every time NBC's crappy cameras actually showed her face, she was smiling--something that has also been sorely missed from her recently. I was SO excited to see her skate!

Two: I somehow missed the memo that David Wilson choreographed that Bond program. So, now I'm beyond perplexed. If he was capable of that code cracking masterpiece then why, oh WHY, isn't the same code cracking involved in Johnny's programs?! With only the "transitions" that everyone was whining about and some more IJS-friendly tidbits here and there, last week might have turned out differently. MIGHT have...

Stella said...

I don't know if this is the answer but -- on the most recent episode of Be Good Johnny Weir - they show David teaching the short program to Johnny and then the rest of the episode is all about how Johnny knows that Galina (his coach) will want to change the choreagraphy but he's willing to go along with her changes as long as he is able to get the costume he's designed (pink tassle!) - and he got the costume.

I don't know if this is something that happens a lot and I don't know how extensive the changes made by Galina were (there was a lot of focus on a butt wiggle or something).

Anonymous said...

what Johnny needed was Evan's choreographer. Whomever choreographed Evan's skate was brilliant. Evan was able to get all those transition points and footwork to topple Plushenko. Someone had done an awesome job of counting the points. Why Weir couldn't get someone to do that for him is beyond me.

I'm glad to see Mao skated so well. I hope she changes coach next season. To someone who lets her skate much lighter.

Yuna was amazing as usual. I wonder if she'll go to the Worlds this year or take a break?

Joannie was impressive. With so much pressure and mom's death, she was able to skate with great composure. The best I've ever seen her skated her sp +lp.

I suspect that Russian coaches are not very used to or very good at getting those transition points, etc. They are used to teaching their skaters the old way. Example: Plushenko. Had his coach do a better job of choreographing Plushenko's transition, he would have come off with a gold easily even with his wonky jumps. But instead, Plushenko just skated his old ways and loss because overlooking those little detail that garner points that worked so well for Evan.