LIFE ON THE EDGE is on sale for 99 cents for one week only! You can pick it up on Amazon here. And more book news - the cover reveal for GOLD RUSH will be on November 7! Look for a giveaway to be part of the celebration :)
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Saturday and Sunday were packed with activity, so I didn't have time then to catch my breath and gather my thoughts. Just a few musings from the events:
- Shoma Uno proves that a skater who is small in stature can command an entire arena and skate with the power of someone twice his size. He has such strength in his posture. It gives him a regal presence on the ice.
- Mariah Bell put her name solidly in the conversation for the upper echelon of the ladies' podium at nationals.
- Someone please rescue Gracie.
- I think a less bedazzled costume would be more fitting for Ashley's Muse long program. I thought her dress was more suited for a flashy piece of music.
- You will never convince me that Jason didn't land the quad.
- Who wins the award for looking happiest after a coaching change? Mariah or Nam?
- Haven's facial expression while skating is so calm and lovely - one of the most natural out there. I've missed her bright energy this past year. She and Brandon have such a wonderful connection, too.
- Marissa and Mervin landed the throw Lutz!
- After seeing more hip hop short dances, Min/Gamelin's K-Pop/hip hop section was my favorite of the event.
- Chris Reed looks like a totally different skater with his new partner Kana Muramoto. He's really come alive with personality, and Kana is a star.
Here are the rest of the photos from Saturday and Sunday!
A closing note - I'm really bummed that I'll probably have to miss next year's Skate America after attending the event the last eleven years. Putting the event in Lake Placid during Thanksgiving is a decision that makes no sense to me. The town is over two hours from the nearest airport, so fans are forced to drive a long way in potentially hazardous weather in late November. Also, airlines jack up their prices during Thanksgiving, so airfare will be ridiculous. Not to mention that many people will not want to travel away from family during the holiday. Why would the ISU assign the United States' only GP event to a holiday weekend only celebrated in the U.S.? Did USFS volunteer for these dates? Someone please explain the rationale behind this.
See you soon from Skate Canada in Mississauga, Ontario!!!!
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Just a couple of thoughts from the events on Friday:
- Mariah was the highlight for me. Haven't looked at the protocols, but I'm assuming there were some underrotations in there to explain the score.
- Mao's program was very sophisticated, but I prefer when she uses softer and lighter music to match her ethereal style.
- Mai was adorable.
- Loved Gabrielle's music (shout-out to the Kween, Michelle Kwan!)
- The pairs scoring was suspect. How did A/R score higher than Marissa and Mervin and Valentina/Ondrej? I thought their program and skating were sloppy all around.
- SO HAPPY for Haven and Brandon. Love their step sequence and the fact that they skate very close together through a lot of it. Haven looks positively radiant over being back in competition.
- Marissa and Mervin looked fierce and were really selling the program until the lift mishap. Their footwork was also a highlight for me.
- Tarasova/Morozov have great skills, but I wish they had more excitement to their skating.
You can view all the photos from Friday's dance practice, the ladies' short, and the pairs' short here!
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Hello from Hoffman Estates, Illinois! Today was the chill practice day before the competition starts tomorrow night. The men were up first, and overall it was a messy affair with lots of falls and wonky jumps. Adam did a nice clean run-through of his short program (complete with sassy footwork), and Jason did a full run-through of his long program. He almost had the landing on the quad but looked like he caught his heel. Shoma didn't look to be at his best in his run-through of his short.
The ice dancers brought the perk after the men departed the ice. With the two Russian teams, Bobrova/Soloviev and Ilinykh/Zhiganshin, both using "Sing, Sing, Sing," the perk was at level 200. We also had two "Pas de Deux" from The Nutcracker, which was unusual since that piece isn't used much in ice dance. I preferred Tobias/Tkhachenko's version since there were no jarring music cuts like there were in Guignard/Fabbri's program. Speaking of jarring music, I wasn't loving the Shibutanis' Jay Z/Sinatra mashup. It sounded like loud, incomprehensible noise with the hip hop lyrics over Sinatra's "That's Life." Maia's costume was on point, though! (Sorry I didn't get any photos. I was videotaping their run-through. View it here!). Regarding the new American team on the senior scene, I think Pogrebinsky/Benoit have a really bright future, and the future may be coming sooner than later with their beautiful long lines and striking presence on the ice.
I made it back from lunch in time for the second group of ladies. Gracie had a rough go of it in her free skate run-through and in just practicing her jumps. I didn't think she had her usual speed. Mariah also had a rough short program run-through. Both Raf and Rohene were at the boards with her. Ashley didn't attempt many jumps in her free skate run-through. Love the Muse song but not sure I like "angsty Ashley." Jeremy Abbott had such a memorable program to that music that I find myself thinking about that instead.
The pairs ended the day, and I thought Seguin/Bilodeau had added maturity in their Cinema Paradiso long program (I could've done without the lyrics in the last section). Tarasova/Morozov's music was a song I'd never heard before, but it was not easy on the ears. It sounded like bad 70's pop. Loved James/Cipres' song choice of "Sound of Silence." If they can skate the program clean and land the throw quad Salchow (they didn't land any today), it will have a great emotional impact on the audience.
The jumps and throws were hit and miss for most of the teams in the final group. Tarah was having lots of trouble with the side-by-side triple Salchows, but she landed a nice throw Lutz in the long run-through. Marissa and Mervin landed SBS Salchows outside their Journey run-through (where they only did a few sections). They did a couple of successful throws, too. Haven and Brandon did a gorgeous throw triple loop (seriously, her landing was like +10 GOE. She held it forever AND smiled at the audience.) The lifts in their long program are showstoppers, and I hope they can put together the jumps at the beginning to set the tone.
Almost forgot to mention - Raf was working with both Marissa and Tarah at the boards during practice. Is he some kind of new jump specialist for pairs lol?
You can see the rest of my photos here!!