Figure Skating

Any BK's follow figure skating? I used to be OBSESSED in high school, I ran a cheesy Michelle Kwan geocities fan page back in the late 90's. I lost track for a while, but it seems like since the last Olympics, NBC has been starting to carry the Grand Prix series throughout the season, and also the major competitions (nationals, worlds, Europeans, etc).

And as much as I had major sour grapes in high school when Tara Lipinski won the Olympics over my beloved Michelle in 1998, the commentating team of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir has been amazing for the sport. While I'm well versed enough to be able to identify the jumps without help, Johnny in particular is amazing at explaining the technical details of what is going on, what went wrong, how an error impacts the scoring, etc. NBC was really smart to bring them on full-time.

And I still think of TLo every time I see ridonkulous outfits, particularly from the men. You couldn't make some of this stuff up.... :)

Anyways, World Championships are coming up! Anyone else watching and have favorites?
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Comments

  • I do like to watch Figure Skating but have a really hard time keeping track of them (seeing as how I'm a casual/Olympics fan).  When are the world championships?
  • It's the end of this month (I think the week of the 23rd) in China. If you get the station USA Sports, they have been airing almost the ENTIRETY of the main competition, unedited, but NBC has been showing 2-3 hours of coverage for competitions on Sunday afternoons. They usually tend to focus on just mens/ladies...
  • You know, I just remembered, I ran into Evan Lysacek at a bookstore in Century City once.  He looked like this:

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    Not like this: 

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    Okay Violina, I'm hoping that will get people to your worthy thread! :-)
  • DaveinHollywood, I think you're on to something!

    I don't follow figure skating but will watch if it happens to be on and I think you're right about commentators.  So much has changed since I was a kid, back when people were getting their hair cut like Dorothy Hamill.

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    But for boy skater eye candy, that Evan you didn't see at the bookstore is quite something.

    Violina, who are skaters you're watching?

    For ridiculous costumes, I offer:

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  • edited March 2015
    @Violina23,
    I, too, was heartbroken when Michelle Kwan lost the gold. HEARTBROKEN!
    Tara has done a great job of stepping into the commentator shoes of the gracious Peggy Fleming, so I am close to forgiving her.

    In a TLO Forum cross-over #TBT post, I offer a "Champion's Flip" from Ms. Surya Bonaly:



  • Yes! I got really into figure skating late 2013 (just in time for the Olympics!). My mother has always been a fan but it hadn't grabbed my attention until, by chance, we happened to watch Jason Brown's long program in the Trophee Eric Bompard. And that is how I became a figure skating fan. I can't wait for Worlds! Should be an interesting one.
  • I loved Surya Bonali. God, her mother was SO weird.  I loved that Surya was always doing the backflip even though they practically penalized her down to zero for it by the end there.
  • YES!!! I am so in love with figure skating, turning to obsession each Olympic year!  @violina23 I could have written your post, agree so much :)  Michelle Kwan, love her dearly. Ah, that Fields of Gold exhibition dance...sigh. It took a long time to get over my dislike for Tara when she won the gold that year ;)  I love Tara now, btw, won me over with her commentating with Johnny Weir. What is not to love about figure skating - the costumes, the music, the personalities and drama (Tonya Harding, Nancy Kerrigan, and Oksana stealing the show from them). It is just plain beautiful to watch. I even love and feel like I know the commentators, good old Dick Buttons and Scott. So many favorites skaters, even when I am sad for them when they falter.  Evgeni Pleshenko, Brian Boitano, Scott Hamilton..Katerina Witt, Mao Asada, Michele (of course). I stray into pairs and ice dancing, and have even, for the sake of a secret and inappropriate crush, watched short track feverishly, to see Apolo Ohno. In the off years I equally obsess over gymnastics, such high drama.
  • edited March 2015
    ridiculous costume offering 
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  • Evgeni Plushenko awesomeness

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  • ridiculous costume offering 
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    I remember this program from the Olympics. So hilariously, horribly wrong. Didn't he grab her hair and drag her like a caveman at some point? I grew up watching figure skating on Wide World Of Sports and I still watch it. I loved Tai and Randy, Dorothy Hamil, Scott Hamilton and Debi Thomas. I was crushed when Debi didn't beat Katarina Witt at the Olympics in the battle of the Carmen's. I had an irrational dislike for Witt. Still do.
  • Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, this makes me so happy! I'm in bed with the stomach bug, but I have so much more to add later... :)
  • Gemfemme said:
    I remember this program from the Olympics. So hilariously, horribly wrong. Didn't he grab her hair and drag her like a caveman at some point? I grew up watching figure skating on Wide World Of Sports and I still watch it. I loved Tai and Randy, Dorothy Hamil, Scott Hamilton and Debi Thomas. I was crushed when Debi didn't beat Katarina Witt at the Olympics in the battle of the Carmen's. I had an irrational dislike for Witt. Still do.
    Who *is* this? I want to look it up and watch it on YouTube! 

    I'm old enough to remember crying when Tai and Randy withdrew from the Olympics because of his injury. Yes, irrational hate for Katarina Witt, but that's another thread.

    I loved Kristi Yamaguchi, and Nicole (Bobeck? - that beautiful blonde girl who always choked in the big competitions.) I never gave up hoping she'd get her shit together. Michelle Kwan has always unreasonably bugged me, I felt that she was so ungracious about winning the silver Olympic medal. 

    And I was rooting for Tanya Harding. Nancy Kerrigan always struck me as such a stuck-up bitch. I was sorry she got hurt, of course. But Tanya Harding was such a scrapper. And I don't think she knew that her idiot husband was planning to hurt Nancy.
  • Gemfemme said:
    I remember this program from the Olympics. So hilariously, horribly wrong. Didn't he grab her hair and drag her like a caveman at some point? I grew up watching figure skating on Wide World Of Sports and I still watch it. I loved Tai and Randy, Dorothy Hamil, Scott Hamilton and Debi Thomas. I was crushed when Debi didn't beat Katarina Witt at the Olympics in the battle of the Carmen's. I had an irrational dislike for Witt. Still do.
    Who *is* this? I want to look it up and watch it on YouTube! 

    I'm old enough to remember crying when Tai and Randy withdrew from the Olympics because of his injury. Yes, irrational hate for Katarina Witt, but that's another thread.

    I loved Kristi Yamaguchi, and Nicole (Bobeck? - that beautiful blonde girl who always choked in the big competitions.) I never gave up hoping she'd get her shit together. Michelle Kwan has always unreasonably bugged me, I felt that she was so ungracious about winning the silver Olympic medal. 

    And I was rooting for Tanya Harding. Nancy Kerrigan always struck me as such a stuck-up bitch. I was sorry she got hurt, of course. But Tanya Harding was such a scrapper. And I don't think she knew that her idiot husband was planning to hurt Nancy.

    It's Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin's Aborigine program. According to this short program, Aborigines are monkey like, woman dragging, grinning idiots. So very, very, hideously wrong. And yes, Nancy Kerigan came off as a frigid, no sense of humor, my crap don't stink twit.
  • I remember seeing Peggy Fleming skating when I was young. I loved Dorothy Hamill, Yamaguchi, I hated Kerrigan and loved her pissy face when Oksana won the gold!! Good times!!

    But my favorite was Michelle Kwan and I was heartbroken when Tara L beat her with jumps and limited artistry. Such a shame that she never won the Gold medal. She deserved it more than any other skater I can think of. And this year, also, when that Russian beat the Korean girl - Kim Yuna - c'mon, she was flawless. Just stunning and captivating, she is the best since Kwan, IMHO.

    Can't wait to watch Worlds. Always so much drama - but I do miss Dick Buttons because he understood the sport, edges, spins, lines - I have to doubt that Lipinski can talk about that stuff since she had terrible edges and not very good technique. I didn't catch them at the Olympics, but will give them a chance. Maybe. 
  • Didn't that "aborigine" routine actually involve blackface?  I think I remember that scandal.  They toned it down to Joan Crawford level "tropical makeup" after the outrcy.

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    And I love remembering Surya Bonaly.  She had such a bad attitude (in a great eff you kind of way).  We called her Surly Bonaly at my house.
  • Is that Joan Crawford in blackface? Did you do that with Photoshop??
  • I totally got into skating after the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding thing. I think that may have been why I became a Michelle Kwan fan at a young age, because most people forget that she had come in 2nd at the nationals that year, and would have gone to the Olympics had they indicted Tonya sooner.  She was my age and adorable and I loved how she transformed herself from the jumper into the jumper AND artist.  ;)

    The irony of that Olympics was that although Tara had a more technically difficult program, had the scoring taken into account Tara's technique flaws (taking off on the wrong edge for her lutz jump, i.e. "flutzing", weaker spinning positions,  chronic under-rotations --- she would often rotate an entire turn before she even left the ice on her edge jumps), she would have been NAILED in today's scoring system. However, Tara played the game as it existed at the time, and even though I disagreed with it, it is what is is.  I may have been biased, but I thought Michelle handled the loss incredibly well, all things considered (especially as compared to a certain Nancy Kerrigan badmouthing Disney...haha). She was clearly crushed, but I remember her going on Jay Leno or something and saying "I didn't lose the gold, I won the silver".   And I admired her desire to continue after that defeat. While Tara had every right to say "Okay, I got what I wanted out of the sport, bye bye!", I think someone like Michelle will be remembered far longer as a legend of the sport, even without the gold medal. 

    As for the Olympics this past year -- at least there IS some transparency with the scoring system in that we can see the breakdown of the technical elements. When there was that Pairs controversy with the Canadians vs. Russians, even though wrongdoing HAD taken place, there WAS an argument to be made that the Russian pair had a technically superior program, and it was hard to see that from the arbitrary numbers.  I think something similar is what happened with YuNa Kim vs. Adelina Sodnikova (sp). They were VERY close when it got broken down technically. That's when, I guess, emotion kind of takes over, and maybe Adelina's energy was the real difference.  Plus, I think a lot of the skaters suffered from the addition of the whole "team" competition. It kind of killed their momentum/excitement because by the time they got to the individual competition, the novelty and energy wasn't there. So many of them seemed to peak in the team competition (Jason Brown, Gracie Gold..)

    As for the current crop of US skaters... I absolutely ADORE Jason Brown. He just seems like a sweet human being, and I really hope the approach of waiting on the quad pays off. This year's program isn't quite as exciting as last year's Riverdance number, but it was so nice to see him win his first title!  Something about Gracie Gold kinda annoys me, but I'm not sure why. Her skating itself COMPLETELY appeals to me (she skates with Frank Carroll, Michelle Kwan's old coach) and I love how she moves, but I get this kind of "entitled" vibe to her that I'm not sure if it's even fair of me to attribute that to her. I think she needs to move on from fairy-tale programs. Enough Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty and Phantom of the Opera -- do something edgy, girl!

    Ashley Wagner... she is rough around the edges, and the fact that being named to the team meant someone else got bumped didn't shine her in a great light, but she BROUGHT it to the nationals this year, and if she has that kind of fire, I think she can do well at Worlds.

    In terms of the rest of the world skaters -- I adored that little Russian Girl Lipniskaya ALL of the Olympic season... I thought her Schindler's list program was stunning. But she seemed to be another victim of "too much" hype with the team competition, and her skating lost ALL the magic when she started making mistakes. There is an adorable Spaniard named Javier something-or-other that I like on the men's side... and I remember there was a Japanese fellow that I liked too, but I can't recall his name.

    Ahhh, so fun to talk about this you guys....hope my ramblings make some kind of sense.
  • edited March 2015
    Not sure if this will work, but here is a picture of me with Michelle Kwan circa 2000 -- they filmed a cheesy pro-am competition near where I went to school. It was my first "celebrity" meeting. I totally fan-girled and said dumb things...

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    I had also gotten photos with Elvis Stojko, Sasha Cohen, Irina Slutskaya, and Michael Weiss
  • I was never a fan of Elvis Stojko. Just too overtly butch. Like he thought artistry was for sissies or something.
    That's why I always liked watching Brian Orser. Artistry in equal measure with athletism.
  • Gemfemme said:
    I was never a fan of Elvis Stojko. Just too overtly butch. Like he thought artistry was for sissies or something. That's why I always liked watching Brian Orser. Artistry in equal measure with athletism.
    Agree completely, stylistically.  And nothing annoys me more than straight guys in skating doing the whole "look how macho and NOT GAY I AM" thing. Because I don't care if you skate to Mozart or Metallica, just make it interesting, connect your elements, and execute it. Brian Orser was a beautiful skater, and appears to have quite a coaching career at this point.

    But Elvis single-handedly brought the quad into mainstream men's skating, so that influence (good or bad) will always be felt. He was super-sweet when I met him.
  • violina23 said:
    Not sure if this will work, but here is a picture of me with Michelle Kwan circa 2000 -- they filmed a cheesy pro-am competition near where I went to school. It was my first "celebrity" meeting. I totally fan-girled and said dumb things...

    image

    I had also gotten photos with Elvis Stojko, Sasha Cohen, Irina Slutskaya, and Michael Weiss

    Is Sasha Cohen as pretty in real life as she is on TV?
  • edited March 2015
    jib said:

    Can't wait to watch Worlds. Always so much drama - but I do miss Dick Buttons because he understood the sport, edges, spins, lines - I have to doubt that Lipinski can talk about that stuff since she had terrible edges and not very good technique. I didn't catch them at the Olympics, but will give them a chance. Maybe. 
    Most of the technical talk tends to come from Johnny and he's INCREDIBLY insightful. He'll immediately point out what went wrong if someone fell, with a comment like:  "Oh, he dropped his shoulder on the takeoff and couldn't quite get the rotation in". Tara pipes in every now and then, but she tends to talk more about the competition itself, the pressure of competing, etc.  I have definitely softened on Tara because she and Johnny seem to have this genuine BFF thing going that I find adorable, but if it was JUST Johnny and not Tara, I wouldn't really miss her.

    But yes, Dick Button... and his obsession with layback spin positions and the "treacherous foward edge" of the axel jump.  But really anything was better than Scott Hamilton, who just became a glorified cheerleader by the end. He just stopped giving any insight into the technical aspects of the sport, and I think that is part of why people were always confused/outraged by results they didn't understand.  Although, I suppose, maybe that's what makes good TV
  • edited March 2015
    Gemfemme said:
    Is Sasha Cohen as pretty in real life as she is on TV?
    Yes, absolutely, but she was just a kid at this point, maybe 15 or 16? I was most surprised how TINY all of these skaters were in real life. I'm 5'2" and I towered over all the ladies.... (excuse the scary face I'm making here... lol)

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  • edited March 2015
    OK, and I HAVE to link to the TLo posts on the skating costumes which NEVER fail to make me crack up aloud.

    Olympics 2010:
    http://tomandlorenzo.com/2010/02/ice-princesses-the-costumes-part-1-the-men-2/
    "He’s spelling out “macho” in Russian, in case you didn’t know."
    http://tomandlorenzo.com/2010/02/ice-princesses-the-costumes-part-2-the-women-2/
    "“Honey, the stripper gloves in your ice-skating costume give you linebacker shoulders.”
    http://tomandlorenzo.com/2010/03/ice-princesses-the-costumes-part-3-the-couples-2/


    Nationals 2011:
    http://tomandlorenzo.com/2011/02/u-s-figure-skating-championships-men-2/
    "That’s one grumpy little spinning wood elf."
    http://tomandlorenzo.com/2011/02/u-s-figure-skating-championships-women-2/
    "A Gay would tell her perky little lemons don’t win medals. A Gay would tell her that everyone hates perky little lemons."

    BWAAHAHAHA, I miss these SO badly!
  • edited March 2015
    Is that Joan Crawford in blackface? Did you do that with Photoshop??

    I didn't mean to hijack the thread but I thought a funny photo would entertain people between postings about skating.

    I really WISH that was photoshop but I don't even know how to do that.  No indeedy, that is all Joan Crawford and MGM from the movie Torch Song.  At this point in the song, she got upset by something and ripped off her wig a la Julie Andrews in Victor Victoria, and underneath her black wig was her "natural" tangerine colored "hair."

    They originally thought they had a classy movie:

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    But eventually they just gave up and realized they had a camp classic a la Mommie Dearest, so they went with it:

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  • edited March 2015
    Okay, back to skating.  All this talk of Dick Button made me want to look for images from his heyday.  Does anyone know if they actually skated outdoors at that time?  Talk about a different era:

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    And I wouldn't say he's a great beauty or anything, but he had nice looks for the time, no?

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  • They DID skate outside! Same with speed-skating! Weather be dammed! It was the Winter Olympics! Weather was a part of it!

    I didn't know who Dick Buttons was but my Mom always loved his commentary during the Olympics. We were gathered around watching the Games in... probably '88 and it's skating and it's the men's competition and skater does his thing but flubs something and no response from Buttons. My Mom yells 'Come ON, Dick!!'

    I was shocked and appalled because my mother NEVER used such language! And I can't say I saw anything that the skater did to illicit such a response from her!

    She about fell out of her chair laughing at my reaction to her. She then had to explain that Dick Buttons was the commentator. 

    So... yeah... there you go.
  • Okay, back to skating.  All this talk of Dick Button made me want to look for images from his heyday.  Does anyone know if they actually skated outdoors at that time?  Talk about a different era:

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    And I wouldn't say he's a great beauty or anything, but he had nice looks for the time, no?

    image



    Because I couldn't go without knowing, at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St Moritz the figure skating event was held outdoors. Looking at that sent me down the rabbit hole, Dick Button was a super dominant figure in ice skating, he was the first skater to complete many of the jumps that are so much a part of skating today.
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