Thursday, January 15, 2009

"What the Buck" gives his take on skating

Even if you're not one of the 300,000+ subscribers to his outrageous YouTube channel, chances are you've caught at least a few episodes of What the Buck. Among the pop culture topics Michael Buckley doesn't hold back on is the sport of figure skating, a longtime passion of his.

"I loved watching skating on TV my whole life. I recorded it and I watched it, but I didn't necessarily have the guts to try it. I had bad memories of being a child, renting skates and going out to a pond, being cold and the skates not fitting, just hugging the side of the wall," said Buckley.

"Then after watching the '94 Olympics thinking, 'I'm going to try,'" he added. "I knew I was springy [he's a former gymnast] and I knew I could probably rotate some double jumps just standing there with no speed. I bought a pair of cheap skates. I taught myself single jumps. Then I bought myself a pair of like $300 skates. Showed up on Cape Code and said, 'I'd like to skate.' I started skating every day, trying double jumps. Long before I was doing any crossovers, I was landing double Salchows.

"It was funny to see me, this terrible 20-something, skating around all these 13-year-olds, but I didn't care."

You can see Buckley's fairly decent skating skills on videos on both What the Buck and the new YouTube channel of his friends, six-time U.S. ice dance medalists Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov. With the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships starting in a few days, you can count of him riffing on the rivalry between Johnny Weir and Evan Lysacek as well as his discontent with the current state of U.S. ladies skating.

"The Johnny/Evan thing is good for skating and it's good for us who want to watch it and make fun of it, because they are so different," he said. In one show, Buckley speculated that Weir and Lysacek secretly send each other text messages about what nasty barbs to throw down at a press conference. "It's good for skating, and it's humorous.

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